For sea views…
If you're looking for a fun spot for a group of friends, check out Shelter Hall, which finally opened its doors earlier this summer. Housed in a converted Victorian building right on the seafront, the venue is home to six of Sussex’s most exciting chefs, who’ve each launched a new food concept: think MasterChef 2018 winner Kenny Tutt, who’s joined the roster with Ox Block; Tart, a fresh concession from popular local bakery Sugardough; and Caught, an offshoot of Worthing’s excellent Crab Shack, which is selling its moreish cockle and shrimp popcorn and crab-loaded fries. Alongside banquet-style seating in the stylish hall – which serves food from breakfast to dinner – Shelter Hall has a huge al fresco terrace, plus a large programme of live sessions and DJs.
Kings Road Arches, Brighton, BN1 1NB
Along the seafront, towards Hove, you’ll find slick newcomer Rockwater, a bar and restaurant right on the beach. This month, its plant-laden roof terrace has opened on a walk-in basis for all-day dining and sea views, with a retractable roof that allows for unpredictable weather. Designed with long summer afternoons in mind, this is the place to head to for locally sourced food such as seafood platters and charcuterie boards, along with a decent selection of cocktails, wine and beer. Inside, you’ll find a stylish, mid-century-inspired restaurant, bar and event space, where yoga classes, workshops and live music take place across the week.
Western Esplanade, Hove, BN3 4FA
In one of the arches on Brighton seafront, Murmur overlooks the iconic ruins of the West Pier. The sister restaurant to the award-winning 64 Degrees – more on that later – Murmur was opened by Great British Menu winner Michael Bremner in 2016 and offers a different dining concept to his original site, serving local seafood – such as jerk monkfish tail and lobster croquettes – for lunch and dinner in a bright beachside location. The child-friendly restaurant offers further seats on the terrace, which overlooks the beach, making it an immensely popular place in the summer months.
91-96 Kings Road Arches, Brighton, BN1 2FN
Tucked away inside quirky hotel The Artist Residence, The Set started its journey as a Halloween pop-up in 2014. Since then, the team has evolved into this highly regarded bricks-and-mortar establishment, while keeping its relaxed vision and a focus on local produce. When it first opened, the kitchen served three three-course set menus. Now, it serves one 12-course dinner to 16 diners per night, offering a similarly inventive selection of dishes – think crumpets topped with Marmite-glazed ox tongue, pickled cockles and turnip; and short rib with bone marrow hash browns, mussels, smoked garlic and parsley sauce.
33 Regency Square, Brighton, BN1 2GG
Bison Beer Beach Bar
Bison Beer stocks a huge range of craft beer from around the world but places a keen interest in the Sussex beer scene. For the last few summers, the team has partnered with Sea Lanes on the Kemptown coastline to create a pop-up beach bar offering some of the best sunset views around. It’s the perfect spot to sink one of the brewery’s See Side APAs in a deckchair. If beer’s not your thing, you’ll be pleased to learn the bar also sells prosecco on tap, alongside cocktails and a decent gin menu. Street food by Humble Plates is also on hand, offering everything from pizzas to smoked tofu and truffle fries.
299 Madeira Drive, Brighton, BN2 1EN
Brighton Beach Club
If location is everything, then the Brighton Beach Club has it in spades. This two-floor pub and dining room is right on the beach, and next to the i360, Brighton’s 162m observation tower. With outside terraces and direct views across the sea, this is a great spot for drinks, snacks or something more substantial – you’ll find everything from moules marinières to Sunday roasts. On gloomier days, it’s also an ideal spot for watching the crashing waves with a coffee and slice of homemade cake.
26 Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2LN
Launched by Renato Marrocco and his wife Maria in 1969, this authentic Italian restaurant and ice-cream parlour has stood the test of time. The Marrocco family continues to run the place today, and queues down the seafront are still the norm. While the restaurant is a useful place for low-key family lunches, it’s well worth stopping by just for a scoop or two of its gelato, with flavours spanning the likes of apple crumble, carrot cake and classic pistachio.
8 King's Esplanade, Hove, BN3 2WA
For casual dining…
Preston Street’s Bincho Yakitori is an ‘izakaya’ – a modern, Japanese drinking den. Run by a Japanese team, the menu is printed every week and specials are drawn up daily. Here, food is for sharing, is cooked as it is ordered and is served when it’s ready. There are no starters or main courses, rather Asian small plates, mostly grilled over natural fire. We like to order multiple portions of the chicken karage – it has to be up there with Brighton’s best chicken dishes.
63 Preston Street, Brighton, BN1 2HE
This month Burnt Orange – the new restaurant and bar from the team behind The Salt Room and The Coal Shed – opened on Middle Street. This is a grown-up, late-night hangout, which – alongside dinner and drinks – offers a curated music programme from legendary DJ Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim). The menu is centred around seasonal ingredients cooked predominantly over fire and designed for sharing, including crab and samphire fritters with brown crab tahini and nigella salt; smoked stone bass crudo with lettuce, pistachios and lime; and octopus with harissa truffle butter. Situated in a 16th-century coach house with many original features still intact, Burnt Orange is an inviting space and comes with a pretty courtyard terrace for drinking and al fresco dining.
59 Middle Street, Brighton, BN1 1AL
The Flint House
From the same team behind The Ginger Pig and The Gingerman, The Flint House is located among the cool boutiques and galleries of the Lanes. The relative newcomer offers counter-level dining and small plates with beautiful Sussex wines by the glass, a first-floor cocktail bar and an in-demand rooftop terrace. Guests can choose from options including sweetcorn fritters with jalapeño mayo; pea and ricotta agnolotti with confit onions and summer truffle; or tomato salad with smoked tomato dressing with goats' curd and crispy capers. When it comes to puddings, don’t miss the doughnut with banana custard, salted caramel and peanuts; or blue cheese crumpet with honey.
13 Hanningtons Lane, Brighton, BN1 1GS
Cin Cin started life as a street-food truck. Today, it spans three restaurants – one in Brighton, one in Hove and a new site in Fitzrovia, which opened earlier this summer. Tucked away in the North Laines, the award-winning original 20-seat restaurant offers an intimate counter dining experience centred around an open bar and kitchen, while the Hove spot is much bigger, complete with al fresco dining. Across both restaurants, the team serves seasonal small plates and aperitifs, plus handmade pasta and wines from across the boot of Italy. Make sure to start with a ‘Lemon Drop Martini’, made with Malfy gin, Cointreau and lemon.
13-16 Vine Street, Brighton, BN1 4AG & 60 Western Road, Hove, BN3 1JD
Curry Leaf Cafe
Curry Leaf Cafe was launched in 2014 with the goal of providing a relaxed, colourful space where diners could explore authentic South Indian food alongside a wide range of craft beers that complement the flavours of the region. Today, the team offers this at two dining spots in the city. The original Lanes location operates as a cafe-cum-lunch spot during the day with a range of snacks and traditional street food, as well as more substantial meals such as thali platters, dosas and tandoor naan wraps. In the evenings, diners visit the cafe to experience its small but diverse menu of tandoor-grilled specialities, street food and expertly spiced curries. Meanwhile, the Kemptown location offers a playful take on Indian food and focuses on sharing plates.
60 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AE & 40-42 Upper St James's Street, Brighton, BN2 1JN
Plateau focuses on natural wine and inventive sharing plates. Sustainability informs everything the team does – from the menu to the wine list and cocktails. The menu changes daily based on what is available from local day boats, game hunters, butchers and foragers and is designed around the idea of sharing. Perfect for groups or couples, this buzzy spot hits the mark whether you’re after a few snacks to accompany a glass of wine or a full-on feast.
1 Bartholomews, Brighton, BN1 1HG
O’shio is owned and run by Korean-trained and Japanese-qualified chef, Min. Having spent years honing his skills in the restaurants of Korea, Japan, London and Brighton, he opened this casual spot in Brighton’s North Laine in 2016. Fusing the purity of Japanese ingredients with the heat of Korean cuisine, this is an atmospheric spot where guests can revel in Asian flavours. From Min’s wife’s homemade kimchi to Korean soju and Japanese sake, the restaurant offers an authentic dining experience – and it’s the perfect place to try something new.
87-88 Trafalgar Street, Brighton, BN1 4ER
This restaurant is about more than just food: the team behind relative newcomer Kindling all share a passion for local suppliers, minimal waste and quality service. Diners will be greeted into the bright, stylish space by front of house Phillip Scott, formerly of St John Restaurant, before tucking into the likes of grilled Sussex asparagus with hazelnuts, brown butter and Duddleswell cheese; or BBQ artichoke with panisse, Nutbourne tomatoes, goats’ curd and pine nuts; followed by chocolate, almond and olive oil cake with fig leaf ice-cream. A great spot if you’re looking for somewhere central.
69 East Street, Brighton, BN1 1HQ
For special occasions...
Etch is a 12-table, tasting menu-only restaurant by MasterChef: The Professionals winner Steven Edwards. Previously a bank, the restaurant is a smart spot complete with dark-blue walls, smatterings of modern art and views into the open kitchen and bar. The philosophy behind Etch is to celebrate local and British produce using monthly changing tasting menus. Offering a choice of five, seven or nine courses, menus are created using two main ingredients per dish: think croissant with Valrhona Alpaco 66% dark chocolate; and lobster with peas. The restaurant currently holds a Michelin Plate and 3 AA Rosettes, and is the area’s surest bet for a coveted Michelin star.
216 Church Road, Hove, BN3 2DJ
Riddle & Finns
Riddle & Finns has become a household name in Brighton and is loved for its quality local seafood and champagne. Taking inspiration from the high-end liquor shops and oyster bars of New York and Paris, the team offers an impressive culinary experience. Whether you're looking for a bowl of chowder and a glass of wine or 24 freshly shucked oysters and a vintage champagne, the kitchen caters for every occasion. In the original Lanes oyster bar, you’ll find yourself seated side by side and lit by candlelight, while its new beachside restaurant features an al fresco terrace and almost unrivalled views of the sea. A few steps away, you’ll find Due South, the team’s new offshoot, which serves wild food cooked over fire.
12b Meeting House Lane, Brighton, BN1 1HB & 65 Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 1NA
Tucked away in the Lanes, 64 Degrees is an intimate restaurant with a great reputation. Here, passionate chefs concoct an evolving menu of small plates using fresh, local produce. Every year since opening the kitchen has been awarded a Bib Gourmand by Michelin and it took the number one spot at the Brighton Top 20 awards when it opened in 2016. 64 Degrees revolves around food – the main feature is the open-kitchen where diners are encouraged to sit at the pass and watch the food be prepared right in front of them. Although the set menu changes constantly, expect to sample the likes of cod loin with shrimp and dashi; lemon sole with crackling, olive, courgette and parmesan; and cherries with almonds and burnt honey.
53 Meeting House Lane, Brighton, BN1 1HB
The Coal Shed
The Coal Shed is a steak-focused restaurant in the centre of Brighton which celebrates the art of cooking over coals. The concept is simple: the highest quality ingredients, sourced as locally as possible, expertly cooked over fire. In 2017, the team launched The Coal Shed in London Bridge. However, this glossy original still hits the mark with its seasonal à la carte menu, great-value express lunch and its ginormous Sunday sharing roast. Highlights from the menu include smoked Old Spot pork belly with black vinegar glaze and apple and radish slaw; its Cornish crab on toast with crab XO; and flamed sea bream with chorizo-fried barley and grilled squid. Perfect for date nights.
8 Boyce's Street, Brighton, BN1 1AN
The Chilli Pickle
Inspired by owners Dawn and Alun’s Indian travels – from the tropics of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to the wetlands of West Bengal and Rajasthani desert plains – The Chilli Pickle is vibrant and big-flavoured in every way. Since opening in 2008 and expanding to its current site at Jubilee Street in 2010, the restaurant has become something of a Brighton institution. Here, lunch focuses on light bites, kebabs, salads and street food with thalis showcasing India with a kaleidoscope of flavours. Dinner offers a sharing experience with regional curries such as peanut aubergine and Chennai monkfish and mussels, alongside BBQ-ed sea bream and masala prawns. Yes, it’s pricier than your average Indian, but it’s also some of the most exciting Indian food you’ll try in the UK.
17 Jubilee Street, Brighton, BN1 1GE
The team at Isaac At is a group of close friends, who share the same passion when it comes to serving seasonal local ingredients found on the south coast. Sourcing all of its ingredients from Brighton and the surrounding area, it was the first restaurant in the UK to serve an all-English wine list. Since opening in 2015, Isaac At has picked up numerous awards – once you’ve tried its seven-course tasting menu, which currently features scallop, smoked ham and egg yolk, followed by plaice with foraged seaweed and sea herbs, you’ll realise why.
2 Gloucester Street, Brighton, BN1 4EW
The Little Fish Market
The Little Fish Market is owned and run by Duncan Ray. As its name suggests, the restaurant’s focus is on cooking the freshest, highest-quality sustainable seafood from the British Isles: think Thai langoustines served two ways, Orkney scallops and grilled turbot. Each service has space for just 20 diners, and everyone is served a set tasting menu, which changes every four to six weeks. An accompanying wine selection is curated by Keeling and Andrew from London’s Noble Rot. Warning: this place is always booked up, so make sure you secure a table well in advance.
10 Upper Market Street, Hove, BN3 1AS
For relaxed lunches & brunches…
This Instagram-worthy spot is on picturesque Third Avenue in Hove. Close to the seafront, with outside seating both out front and in its ‘secret’ garden, Oeuf is a great spot for breakfast and brunch. On the menu, must-tries include the kitchen’s ‘frumpets’ (French toast crumpets) filled with either melt-in-the-middle cheese and bacon, banana and caramel or berry compote with coconut yoghurt, alongside seasonal specials such as fresh crab on sourdough with brown butter sauce and poached eggs. Cocktails such as hibiscus margarita and the ‘Hangover Killer’ (prosecco, chilli and pineapple) all help to kick-start any celebrations you might be hosting.
8 Third Avenue, Hove, BN3 2PX
Over in Kemptown, Marmalade is one of the very best places to eat breakfast or have a leisurely lunch at the weekend. Set up by one of the co-founders of Bill’s, Marmalade is a standalone cafe which offers excellent coffee, superlative salads and must-order cakes and pastries. The kitchen rustles up the best scrambled eggs in Brighton, and – if you get there early enough – a fantastic selection of salads, quiche and ever-changing hot dishes. Right now, it’s high-end takeaway booth over the road is its main focus, while the café undergoes a refurb. Selling ready meals such as truffled mac 'n' cheese and deli essentials, it’s an ideal spot to grab a coffee ahead of a seafront stroll.
237 Eastern Road, Brighton, BN2 5JJ
The Flour Pot
The Flour Pot is a modern British bakery committed to all things artisanal. As well as great coffee, the bakery serves freshly baked pork and fennel sausage rolls, traditional croques, vegan rolls and huge selection of sandwiches – there’s a reason there’s always a queue out the door come lunchtime. True to its community spirit, the team has collaborated with independent local florist Matt Gunn at its newer site on Portland Road, creating a flower-filled Insta-friendly destination in which to sip coffee, while its seafront location has branched out to serve brunch, baked sourdough pizzas and sharing plates.
40 Sydney Street, Brighton, BN1 4EP, 85-90 Kings Road Arches, Brighton, BN1 2FN, 124 Elm Grove, Brighton, BN2 3DB, 41 First Avenue, Hove, BN3 2FH, 138 Preston Drove, Brighton, BN1 6FJ, 141 Dyke Road, Hove, BN3 1TJ & 121 Portland Road, Hove, BN3 5QH
The Open Bakery
The Open Bakery is a local family business in Kemptown, operated by a team who have been baking in Brighton since 1997. The shop used to be part of the Real Patisserie, a range of premium patisseries in town, but recently changed its name to The Open Bakery to reflect its expansion into baking and cookery classes. Absolutely everything sold is baked or prepared fresh on the day within the shop. As well as the bakery on the shop floor, work goes on downstairs in the patisserie where they bake fresh pastries and cakes, plus biscuits, jams and seasonal treats like Easter eggs and Christmas cakes.
34 St George's Road, Brighton, BN2 1ED
For Sunday roasts & pints…
Part of the same group as Bier Haus and Haus on the Hill, The Freehaus is a modern tavern that pours a rotating range of local craft beer along with guest beers from across the UK and overseas. A hit with the local Hanover community, the pub also offers one of the largest selections of cider in Brighton and its wine list features local boutique and organically grown wines. When it comes to food, you’ll find a delicious menu of souvlaki. Come Sunday nights, the pub operates one of the best pub quizzes in town.
1 Howard Road, Brighton, BN2 9TP
The Pond is an independent pub in Brighton's North Laine serving up delicious beer from all over the world, including its very own Pondwater Pale Ale. When it comes to food, this cosy boozer plays host to Taiwanese steamed bun purveyors Baby Bao. On Mondays the menu goes completely meat-free and dishes change with the seasons. On Sundays, we like to tuck into its sharing Sunday roast baos, where you can fill buns with roasted meats and excellent side dishes.
49 Gloucester Road, Brighton, BN1 4AQ
The Hand In Hand
Possibly the best boozer in Brighton, The Hand in Hand is a brew pub in Kemptown which makes its own beers down in the cellar and at a new brewery in Worthing. Run by a fun, friendly team, this cosy spot holds Sunday jazz nights, Toad championships (a local, highly skilled game where you have to throw metal coins into a hole in an old school desk) and one of the best New Year’s Eve parties in town. When it comes to food, you’ll be well served by Al The Pie Man, whose handmade wares are sold behind the bar.
33 Upper St James's Street, Brighton, BN2 1JN
The team behind The Pond recently collaborated with Kanthi Kiran Thamma, chef and director of The Spice Circuit, to offer a fresh kitchen experience at The Hampton. Easy Tiger is inspired by India’s famous Toddy Shop street side bars. When it comes to the menu, we like to tuck into one of the kitchen’s lamb roti wraps or the masala mackerel fish and chips. A great selection of drinks, a laid-back atmosphere and a cracking beer garden make this a vibrant place to hang out come Sunday afternoons.
57 Upper North Street, Brighton, BN1 3FH
The Ginger Dog
The Ginger Dog is a local pub offering real ales, craft beers and fine wines together with an elevated menu of traditional pub food. As with its sister sites – Hove’s The Gingerman and The Ginger Pig – The Ginger Dog uses seasonal ingredients to offer a high-end dining experience in relaxed surroundings. When it comes to Sunday lunch, we’re a fan of the pickled mackerel with smoked mackerel croquette, celeriac remoulade and gooseberry ketchup, followed by lamb rump with lamb fat pressed potato, romesco, chard and lamb nugget. Families and, of course, dogs are welcome and the team knows how to make a decent Bloody Mary.
12 College Place, Brighton, BN2 1HN