Best restaurants in Bournemouth

Once known predominantly as the retirement capital of England, the coastal town of Bournemouth has well and truly shaken off its sleepy reputation of yesteryear, and is now a thriving hub of culture, creativity and most importantly (in our books, at least) genuinely exciting cuisine. Whether you’re in the market for casual dining, feeding a crowd, in search of budget bites or planning a celebration where you want to pull out all of the stops, the best restaurants in Bournemouth can rise to the occasion. From well-known and loved Boscombe legends to spectacular seafood and the most special of hidden gems, here’s where to eat and why.

Updated on 11 December 2019

It’s common knowledge that Bournemouth is home to a grand pier, parks a-plenty, and some of the most stunning sandy beaches the country has to offer. In fact, Bournemouth has won the British Travel Award for the best seaside town in the UK for the last two years running, and with just a single glance at the scenery, it’s easy to see why. But jaw-dropping Jurassic coastline aside, what should also be on your radar are Bournemouth’s best restaurants: an impressively diverse array of options that will satisfy your appetite for any type of dish.  

While the seafront location may summon up images of freshly fried fish and chips and generously swirled 99 cones (head to the biggest Harry Ramsden’s in the world for the former, and the closest traditional van for the latter), there have also been some exciting alternatives gaining traction in Bournemouth’s food scene for several years now. Seafood is, of course, a major player, and excellent it is too – but dig a little deeper and you’ll find everything from great Thai tapas to gourmet burgers, plus trendy chains like Franco Manca nestled next to reliable old favourites like Wagamama and Côte.

Hungry? We’ve whittled down the best restaurants in Bournemouth and made it easier than ever to book them – simply scroll through the list below and click to read the full review and secure your table.

Urban Reef

Urban Reef

Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH5 1BN

A relaxed fusion of café, bar and deli located right on the beachfront, dog-friendly Urban Reef keeps its rotation of meals as local and ethically-sourced as possible. Enjoy the views of while tucking into options like Cornish mussels with cider-braised leeks or rib-eye steak with a side of creamy dauphinoise and watercress salad. 

£30 - £49
British
Fish
Koh Thai Tapas - Bournemouth

Koh Thai Tapas - Bournemouth

36-40 Poole Hill, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5PS

Thai + tapas = a surprising match made in heaven. Located in Bournemouth’s buzzy Soho Quarter, the atmospheric dining room at Koh Thai Tapas serves up small plates including crispy squid, chicken satay and green curry that are made for sharing, as well as traditional mains like pad thai with a choice of prawn or beef or roasted duck smothered in sweet tamarind sauce. 

£30 - £49
Thai
Tapas
WestBeach Restaurant

WestBeach Restaurant

Pier Approach, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5AA

Situated just metres from the shorefront, only the freshest catches are served up in this airy, contemporary restaurant, and you can watch your chef prepare yours thanks to the open-plan kitchen. Lunch is a simpler affair of fishcakes, fish pies and fish finger sandwiches, but dinner gets more sophisticated with delicacies like pan fried scallops and poached cod.

£30 - £49
Fish
The Libertine

The Libertine

1 Alumhurst Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH4 8EL

The Libertine, in Westbourne, is a gastropub with a difference. You’re spoiled for choice with a varied menu of British classics, but if you need to whittle it down, the wood-fired pizzas and the steaks, prepared in a Josper charcoal oven, are particularly special. For events, there’s a separate, equally attractive space that can be hired for parties and private dining.

£30 - £49
Pubs
British
Brasserie Blanc Bournemouth

Brasserie Blanc Bournemouth

Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel, 105 St. Michael's Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5DU

The clue’s in the name: yes, the clifftop Marriott Highcliff Hotel’s restaurant Brasserie Blanc boasts a French menu designed by Raymond Blanc himself. Come for the amazing views and chic interiors, stay for the fluffy cheese soufflé, excellent moules frites, slow-cooked beef bourguinon and chargrilled Cornish steak selected by Aubrey Allen (personal butcher to the Queen, no less). 

£30 - £49
French
Terroir Tapas

Terroir Tapas

81 Southbourne Grove , Bournemouth, Dorset, BH6 3QX

The quirky décor sets the scene for Terroir’s unconventional ethos: an environmental friendly, zero-waste philosophy that means the mainly meat-free menu changes daily, depending on what needs using. Portions are modest but still satisfying, and food is served til 11 so it’s ideal for the late-night crowd. We won’t spoil the surprise, but don’t leave without paying a trip to the toilets.
Under £30
Modern European
Blakes at The Connaught Hotel

Blakes at The Connaught Hotel

30 West Hill Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5PH

The recently refurbished, bright and breezy Brasserie at the Connaught Hotel and Spa has a menu spanning both established favourites and refreshingly modern morsels. More adventurous diners will love offerings like the pulled duck leg ragout over pappardelle pasta or chickpea tagine with orange and apricots, while others will be reassured by the presence of old faithfuls like beer battered haddock and chips, and chicken and mushroom pie.

£30 - £49
British
Arbor Bournemouth

Arbor Bournemouth

4 Grove Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 3AX

The Green House Hotel’s Arbor Restaurant boasts two AA rosettes, and is the ideal destination for fine dining whether the focus is on the food, rather than excessive fuss. The sustainable, seasonal menu is crafted from as much local produce as possible: the result is outstanding dishes like slow-cooked lamb shank, smoked artichoke risotto and ‘seafood for the soul’. Don’t skip dessert – the salted caramel tart has a reputation for a reason.

£30 - £49
Modern European
1805

1805

1805 Unit 1 West Coast Beacon Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5ER

1805 does traditional Chinese food exceptionally well, with high quality ingredients that pack a real punch when it comes to flavour. Admire the surroundings – complete with a full-size rickshaw – as you work your way through bowls of hot and sour soup, homemade prawn curry or Cantonese-style chicken. The lunch set menus also represent great value.

£50 - £79
Chinese
Sal e Pepe Restaurant

Sal e Pepe Restaurant

Sal e Pepe Restaurant 43 Charminster Road, Bournemouth, BH8 8UE

An authentic taste of Italy might not be what you expect to find in Charminster, but Sal e Pepe, which has been open since 1997, delivers. A wide range of pizza, pasta and risottos sit alongside ever-rotating chef’s specials, brought to you by welcoming staff who make a point of going the extra mile wherever they can.

£30 - £49
Italian
Crab at Bournemouth

Crab at Bournemouth

Exeter Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5AJ

Walk along the exterior of the Park Central Hotel and you’ll discover The Crab Restaurant and its extensive fish-filled menu. The options are considerable, ranging from grilled oysters Rockefeller to exquisitely fried soft shell crab, lobster thermidor basted with garlic and chilli butters to medallions of monkfish in saffron sauce. Live music from a pianist provides additional elegant ambiance.

£50 - £79
Fish
7Bone

7Bone

9 Gervis Place, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 2AN

7Bone’s #dirtysexyburgers, as the Instagram hashtag proclaims, tower sky-high, with 6oz beef patties cooked pink as standard and whatever toppings take your fancy. Well-seasoned fries are a given, but there’s also more inventive sides like poutine, onion straws and ‘prickles’ - picked fried in buttermilk batter and served with blue cheese sauce.
Under £30
Burgers
Chicken and Blues

Chicken and Blues

414 Wimborne Road, Bournemouth , Dorset, BH9 2HB

This isn’t any old chicken shop – in 2019, Chicken and Blues was awarded the prestigious title of Best Family Restaurant in the UK in the Deliveroo Restaurant Awards. What makes it so special? Friendly team and atmosphere aside, its chicken is marinated for 48 hours in a blend of secret spices before being served by the half, whole, breast or leg, or tucked into a tasty wrap. Veggies and vegans are surprisingly well catered for too.
British
Barbecue
International
Aruba Bar & Restaurant

Aruba Bar & Restaurant

Pier Approach, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5AA

Beachside bar Aruba brings a tropical Caribbean twist to the UK coast, and not just with its rum-heavy cocktail selection. If you’re feeding a crowd of 10 or more, check out the group set menu which offers a selection of tasty platters of coconut prawns, jerk chicken and signature Aruba wings at a very fair price. 

£30 - £49
Caribbean
International
Schpoons and Forx

Schpoons and Forx

Hilton Bournemouth, Terrace Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5EL

Matt Budden has been running the kitchen at the Hilton Bournemouth since 2015, and takes particular pride in changing the way people view everyday hotel dining. Elevating the standard are meals like chateaubriand with local Dorset watercress, glazed pork loin chop and crackling atop olive oil mash, and roasted whole mackerel served from the restaurant’s own tandoor oven.

£50 - £79
British

Exploring more of the great British seaside? Check out our selection of Brighton’s best restaurants.