Top 25 South Coast restaurants to visit by boat

Peter Cumberlidge names his favourite South Coast restaurants and explains how to get to them by boat


Il Rustico (Italian-Sardinian)

To me, Dover feels more foreign than Calais just across the water. Those spectacular white cliffs never seem quite real, as if they were some kind of English PR stunt.

I have often called at Dover, mostly on the way up to Holland or beyond, and its sense of frontier staginess always seems to linger.

Yet Wellington Dock is a handy stop for timing a Channel crossing and you can eat well if you know where to look. As so often in rather old-fashioned UK towns, the Italians have the answer.

Il Rustico is my Dover choice, a 15-minute amble from the marina behind the A20. Francesco Pasquino presides over this haven of Italian family cooking with a Sardinian twist. Their pizzas are the real McCoy.

  • Tel: +44 (0)1304 211110 Web:
  • Signature dish: Tagliatelle carbonara
  • Proximity: 15 minutes walk from marina
  • Approx cost: £40 (three-course meal for two exc. wine)

Ganges restaurant

Sovereign Harbour Eastbourne

Ganges restaurant (Contemporary Indian)

While I can never work up much enthusiasm for Eastbourne’s vast interlinked marina complex, it has often been a welcome port-of-call during a long haul along the South Coast.

While there are plenty of eateries around Sovereign Harbour, I have found that Ganges (pictured above) has the edge – a lively Indian restaurant with a homely feel and views over the inner basin.

Not usually a fan of Indian food, I thoroughly enjoy the fishy treats on their amazingly varied menu.

  • Tel: +44 (0)1323 479988 Web:
  • Signature dish: Hyderabadi lamb biryani
  • Proximity: Situated on marina quay
  • Approx cost: £45 (three-course meal for two exc. wine)


Luna Rossa (Italian)

This friendly Italian café-restaurant is an ideal cruising eatery, just north of Newhaven Marina on West Quay.

A useful port though it is, and I have called here often, Newhaven tends to be a passage staging post and few visiting boats find reasons to linger long.

Wandering about in search of good food you might easily pass by the unassuming Luna Rossa, and yet it often fits the bill nicely – handy for a convivial, inexpensive late supper, as well as a hearty early breakfast before you push on (they open at 0800).

  • Tel: +44 (0)1273 515600 Web:
  • Signature dish: Pizza Napoletana
  • Proximity: 5 minutes walk from marina
  • Approx cost: £45 (three-course meal for two exc. wine)

Into the Blue restaurant


Into the Blue (Contemporary seafood)

I’m fond of small shipping harbours and have sometimes put into Shoreham in preference to Brighton. You lock into attractive Lady Bee Marina, a well-kept Channel secret.

The marina has a restaurant and bar, but I recommend a short taxi ride to discover Into the Blue (pictured above). This accomplished seafood bistro is in Ferry Road, between the Adur River and Shoreham beach.

The suburban surroundings don’t look promising, but press on for some of the finest fish and shellfish on the South Coast.

This light and airy diner has a stylish conservatory adorned with bright artwork. The lively theatre kitchen keeps you entertained.

  • Tel: +44 (0)1273 464768 Web:
  • Signature dish: ‘Blue’ seafood platter with lobster
  • Proximity: 10 minutes by taxi from Lady Bee Marina
  • Approx cost: £60 (three-course meal for two exc. wine)

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