Many visitors come for Cornwall’s rugged coastline, but it’s also the source of endless inspiration for the county’s chefs. From crab and scallops, to monkfish and mussels, there’s plenty of vibrant tastes found in Cornwall’s waters. Along the shoreline there is bounty to be had too, in delicacies like samphire and dulce. And inland, across the county’s many farms and small artisan food producers, there is lots of local produce on offer.
While people come for the coast year-round – with many continuing to enjoy its beaches, paths and views come rain or shine - sometimes watching dramatic weather or even a storm roll in over the coast is best enjoyed while you’re snug and safe inside. Better yet, with a plateful of something delicious in front of you.
Fortunately, when it comes to restaurants in Cornwall with sea views, you’ll be spoilt for choice. So, if you’re planning a trip down to Cornwall this autumn or winter, here are some excellent spots to enjoy big, blustery coastal scenes while indulging in some of the county’s finest tastes.
If you're looking for Newquay restaurants with sea views to die for, you need to book a table at Lewinnick Lodge pronto. Perched on the edge of the Atlantic, the views out to sea and across to Fistral are vast and more than a little mesmerising.
There is an informal, dog-friendly bar area, but you'll want a table in the main restaurant which is light and airy with floor to ceiling windows. Ask for a table by the window when booking, or better yet dine outside on the terrace for truly uninterrupted views.
What was once an early 20th century bungalow has since been redeveloped into a contemporary restaurant that takes its cues from its surroundings with seafood featuring heavily. There are monthly changing specials, so there's always something new to try. Current delights include polenta crusted squid, king prawn laksa and a 28-day aged Cornish steak. They also cater to gluten free eaters, along with vegetarians and vegans.
Weather permitting, why not leave the car behind and walk in from Newquay? Sat on the rugged cliffs of the Pentire headland, it’s a great spot for wildlife fans with seals and peregrine falcons often spotted nearby.
When it comes to Newquay restaurants, sea views are often part of the deal. But if it's sweeping views across the UK's best surfing beach you're after, you'd be hard pressed to beat The Stable.
Situated in the upstairs of the Fistral Beach Complex, it boasts elevated, panoramic views of the revered surfing beach. Here it's all about watching thrill seeker surfers, followed by epic sunsets.
Inside there’s a mix of smaller and long bench tables, along with outside picnic benches best saved for balmy summer nights. When you book a table, you can request a window seat and they'll do their best to get you in. But really, the views are glorious wherever you're sitting.
Once you've got over the view, it's time to place an order. They're big on pizza here, with fresh sourdough made every morning, topped with their own homemade tomato sauce and Glastonbury mozzarella. There is a focus on top quality ingredients, like Somerset lamb and beef, Suffolk chorizo, English pepperoni and Cornish rapeseed oil and sea salt.
Along with classics like Margherita and Hawaiian, you'll find adventurous options (anyone for a Blazing Saddle? Slow roasted pulled beef, roast piquillo peppers, red onion marmalade, jalapeños, homemade garlic and herb drizzle!) and vegetarian and vegan options too. They offer a non-gluten base too.
Afterwards, take a stroll along Fistral or why not take it a step further and have a go at surfing with the local surf school? Alternatively, take a wander back into town and indulge in Newquay’s lively after-hours scene.
If you're in a group and you can't decide what you want, head down to Newquay harbour and take your pick at The Boathouse. It's a laidback street food market where you'll find all sorts, from decadent waffles and doughnuts to proper Mexican tacos, twelve hour smoked brisket with mac 'n' cheese, and lobster and fries. There's also a bar serving up a range of Cornish lager and ciders along with wines, cocktails and barista coffee.
There's no need to book, you just turn up and find a table on covered decking, converted lobster tanks, outside seating or a picnic table on the beach. You could even pack a picnic rug and enjoy your food beachside. While you tuck into your fare you'll be treated to scenes of a working harbour; keep your eye out for the year-round group of cold-water swimmers who like the calm waters here, along with the resident seal.
Given the nature of the business, opening hours and vendors change so it's always worth checking their website or social media for details before you head down.
Celebrity chef Nathan Outlaw did something rather surprising last year. He turned his two Michelin-star dining room into a relaxed seafood restaurant. Where before you'd be looking at over £140 per head, he now operates a scaled back set menu for £80 each. This change in direction is matched with a new name: Outlaw’s New Road.
The restaurant sits at the top of Port Isaac and enjoys views out to sea from the second-floor dining room. The intimate tables and chairs are angled towards the windows to capitalise on the views.
When it comes to dinner, any menu anxiety is removed by way of a set menu. And given Outlaw's credentials, it's fair to say you'll be in safe hands. An example menu includes raw bass with pea and mint dressing, dover sole, Port Isaac lobster salad, peppered John Dory with clotted cream and peppercorn sauce followed up with strawberry and champagne sorbet and an 80% dark chocolate baked mousse. Is your mouth watering too? Vegetarians can be catered for, but you will need to mention when booking.
Head to Schooners and enjoy relaxed vibes, hearty food and big views across Trevaunance Cove in the picturesque village of Agnes. And with no bookings required and the grill open 12pm - 8pm, it's the perfect spot for a spontaneous pitstop lunch while you're out walking the north Cornish coast path.
The informal atmosphere is reflected in the minimalist decor, which is all about the big windows with picture perfect views over the beach and out to sea. But while people are no doubt attracted by its location, it's the food that keeps them coming back. The famous Schooners gravy cheeseburgers is a particularly popular hit, but given their location they make use of the local fishermen's hauls too. There's also a big focus on open fire cooking and they even do a bit of in-house butchering too.
With no bookings available, it's wise to turn up early as they do get busy, especially between 12-3pm and 6-8pm. After lunch, with its high cliffs and dramatic settings, the north Cornwall village is a great place to explore the county's mining heritage. Located within Cornwall's World Heritage Mining area, you'll find remains of ancient tin and copper mines as well as the nearby iconic engine house, Wheal Coates.
Check out more things to see and do in our Guide to North Cornwall
Snuggled in between ancient smugglers cottages and the beach, you'll find The Blue Peter Inn, known locally as The Blue. This quaint 16th century pub is all about a friendly, traditional pub atmosphere, with its thick walls, well-stocked bar and a roaring fire.
The menu features plenty of pub classics like fish and chips and cheeseburgers, along with a heavy focus on fish thanks to its location. From salt and pepper squid to crab linguine, fish fans will be in their element here. You'll also find vegetarian options and a daily vegan special, along with plenty of allergen advice on the menu.
It boasts views over Polperro's working harbour, giving diners a glimpse into village life. Fishing has always been big business in Polperro and for centuries it was a pilchard fishing and processing port. Once they'd been salted and pressed, they were shipped throughout Europe and the leftover oil used for heating and lighting. While pilchard fishing has all but gone, you can watch the local boats head out in search of scallops, crabs, cod and more.
Looking for a meal with a view in the bohemian town of Falmouth? Look out for The Lookout. This bar and restaurant boast a spacious patio with views across the hustle and bustle of Falmouth's busy harbour. Inside, a few of the tables are sat next to harbour view windows, so you'll want to try and snag one for a lingering lunch with a side of views.
Throughout the day you can indulge in smashed avocado on sourdough for breakfast, Moules and frites for lunch and tapas for dinner. We'd go for the grilled mackerel with mango salsa, rump of lamb with fondant potatoes and fried halloumi with celeriac remoulade.
Afterwards, all of Falmouth lies ready waiting for you to explore. You could have a go at paddleboarding, take a shoreline stroll along Gylly or head to Pendennis Castle and explore a mighty fortress built by Henry VIII.
One of a few restaurants in the 2020 Michelin Guide to be awarded a Bib Gourmand, which recognises high quality food at under £30 for three courses, The Sardine Factory has to be on your list.
It was the brainchild of award-winning Chef, Benjamin Palmer, who reached the quarter finals of Masterchef in 2011. He has since returned to his hometown of Looe for this latest project which focuses on seasonal produce, sustainable fish and modern coastal tastes.
The menu reflects the building's heritage and location, with seafood featuring heavily. It’s split into small bowls and plates which start at £4 for the pickled cockles, vinegar and salt, and go up to £13.50 for the baked camembert for two with truffle, honey and toast. You can also opt for the bigger bowls and plates, with prices starting at £14.50 for the fish n' chips or plump for the monkfish, saag aloo, onion bhaji and cucumber raita for £23. All in all, it offers tremendous value given the ingredients and skill being served up.
Once you've had your fill of fish, there’s plenty of fun to be found in the historic port of Looe. Duck into one of the amusements for a jolt of nostalgia, organise a boat trip to the wildlife mecca of Looe Island or get a sobering history lesson at the Old Guildhall Museum & Gaol.
If a sea view doesn't quite cut it, head to Sam's on The Beach where, as the name suggests, you can eat on the beach. And if the weather is being a bit British, well, sitting inside with the huge floor to ceiling glazing with views across Polkerris Beach is never going to disappoint, is it?
Inside the beautiful restored RLNI Lifeboat House feels modern and airy, with the focus on the food and the stunning view beyond. Speaking of food, you might want to tuck into a huge dish of bouillabaisse for two, Moules mariniere or trust the chef and go for catch of the day.
The restaurant is situated on a lovely stretch of the coast path, the walk from Menabilly is especially glorious on a blue-skied day. You'll have certainly worked up an appetite if you arrive on foot.
Overlooking the harbour in the picturesque fishing village of Mevagissey, Sharksfin is the perfect spot to stop and watch the world go by and life unfold on the harbour.
Inside, the interior features plenty of Cornish charm with rustic wooden floorboards and chunky beams. Even better are the perfectly framed views out to colourful fishing boats bobbing about in the distinctive twin harbour.
The menu here takes inspiration from Cornwall too, with local produce featuring strongly and reimagined with a decadent American twist. You could tuck into blackened cod burger with Cajun fries, roast cauliflower tacos or scallop and prawn polenta.
Afterwards, take your time exploring the narrow streets which are home to plenty of interesting independent shops. If you want to learn more, head to Mevagissey Museum where the history of the village comes to life through memorabilia and local artefacts.
Check out more things to see and do in our Guide to South Cornwall
Nestled atop some shops, you'll find Porthminster Kitchen in St Ives. Although when it comes to St Ives, restaurants with sea views are plentiful, there’s something very special on offer here. Its seafront, second storey position lend it some magnificent views out across the harbour and beyond; you can even see down the coast to Hayle and its three miles of golden sand starting at the Hayle estuary and stretching as far as the lighthouse at Godrevy Point.
For the best views in the house, sit out on the balcony where you can practically taste the salty sea air. In the event of rain, there are several window seats with views that will still make you want to whip out your phone and take a photo.
With its art adorned gallery white walls, thick timber framed fire and stripped back wooden floors, the decor inside is stylish, but refined, letting the setting and the food do the heavy lifting. Speaking of which, here you'll find inspiration from across the globe. There's Korean fried cauliflower in a green sauce, Bourbon glazed pork with deep south slaw, and seared local scallops in roast hazelnut butter for those who want to keep things local.
Afterwards, head to Tate St Ives and soak up modern British art with links to the St Ives area. Or alternatively, if you’ve room to spare, grab a crepe on the harbour front and soak some more views (just watch out for seagulls).
For Southeast Asian vibes in Britain’s South West, head to the harbour front in St Ives. One floor up from the street level, you'll need to take a flight of stairs. Inside, Talay Thai offers a contemporary, bright dining aesthetic thanks to its huge picture windows that capture St Ives harbour in all its glory.
There's a mixture of seating including table and benches, but try and snag a tall table and bar stool by the window for the best views. Unlike most places, you can't book here so it's a first come first served setup and queues aren't unheard of. Arrive early if you want to guarantee a table.
While the food is all about Thai flavours, the serving style is borrowed from Spain with a heavy focus on tapas dishes. You can pick and choose from a range of these small plates, such as prawn toast, vegetable spring rolls, homemade sticky pork meatballs and a Thai beef salad with toasted ground rice. There's also a selection of bigger mains to choose from if sharing isn't your idea of a good time. Try the seafood jungle curry or roasted duck in tamarind sauce for big, bold flavours.
Fancy a view of St Michael's Mount while you tuck into dinner? The handsome, Grade II listed Godolphin Arms sits on the edge of the water at Mount's Bay, along a two-mile slice of beach in Marazion. Along with beach and sea views, diners will be treated with unforgettable views across to the tidal island of St Michael's Mount.
Inside, you'll head to Shutters at The Godolphin, a new restaurant and bar serving seasonal menus and local beers. They're open throughout the day serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. (And afternoon tea if you can't wait until dinner time). Choose from classics like fish and chips and homemade burgers, to local specialities like Cornish crab rarebit, lobster in roast garlic butter and west country lamb loin chops.
Once you've filled up on fantastic fare you can explore the ancient market town of Marazion. Whatever you do, factor in a walk (or boat ride) across to St Michael's Mount and explore the castle and gardens, which date back to the 12th century.
With lashings of English charm and views across the bay to St Michael’s Mount, you could easily while away hour upon hour at The Old Coastguard in Mousehole. In warmer times you could spot seals catching some rays on St Clement’s Isle, while in the winter simply kick back and watch the tide do its thing at St Michael’s Mount.
Inside, the decor is eccentrically British which lends itself an air of easy-going elegance. You can dine on a scrubbed oak table inside, or on a sunny day opt for the terrace. But really, it's all about the food here. Head here for supper and you could tuck into steak tartare with egg yolk, followed by plaice on the bone, bouillabaisse, sea vegetables and braised fennel and finish with roasted peach, amaretti, lemon thyme and lemon curd. Or head here on a Sunday for one of their legendary Sunday roasts.
Afterwards, the traditional Cornish village of Mousehole is a short stroll away and well worth a wander. Life here revolves around the busy harbour, but take a walk around the winding alleyways and you'll discover tucked away galleries and artists' studios.
Check out more things to see and do in our Guide to West Cornwall
Feeling inspired to book an autumn or winter break in Cornwall for a spot of storm watching with a side of something delicious? Check out our Cornish cottages and get your next Cornwall adventure in the calendar.