You can’t get much better than eating local seafood in the sunshine, while gazing out to the very sea it was caught in…
That’s the treat Goodtrippers enjoyed last week when we visited the (relatively new) Rocky Bottoms cafe in North Norfolk. This eco-friendly, purpose-built eaterie is run by a local fishing family of over 35 years.
The cafe sits in its own field set back from the cliff-tops of West Runton in North Norfolk. Serving fresh, locally-caught seafood daily, this is a fantastic foodie addition to the Norfolk coast.
Local and seasonal menu
Pick from smoked mackerel, fish cakes, smoked salmon sandwiches, and fresh lobster or crab (famous in this part of the world) caught down the road at Weybourne. We tried the delicious grilled lobster and fries which was topped with garlic butter and served with an inventive, caper-filled salad. There’s also a very yummy seasonal tart on offer – lobster and asparagas in the spring, turning into lobster and samphire in the summer.
Kids can also enjoy the local seafood with a children’s menu offering morsels such as line-caught cod goujons. Puddings are also available – try the ‘Runton Mess’ or classic ice-creams.
Drinks on offer include the usual teas and coffees plus refreshing Fentimans so you can wash it all down with a ginger beer. Or the restaurant operates a BYO option at just £1 per person (so bring some bubbles and make it even more special!).
And you don’t have to eat in – a takeaway menu means you can grab some perfect picnic food for taking down to the beach.
On a sunny day such as our visit you have to grab an outdoor table (plenty of them but on busy days, which are frequent, it would be best to book), or sit inside for a bit of shelter (large glass sliding doors ensure you can still feel the sea breeze if you want to).
If you’re having a briefer stopover, sit back on one of the many deckchairs in the grounds and gaze out at the sea view peeking up over the horizon. The lovely sandy beach of West Runton is a mere three minute walk away.
All in all, we think this is one to rival (whisper it) the infamous Cookies seafood restaurant down the road at Salthouse – Rocky Bottoms has friendly service, wonderful food, and a fantastic location. (We can’t wait to go back to try out their candle-lit indoor eating area for an early seafood supper later this year!).
Opening times: Mon-Sat 10am until 6pm (with later 8pm closing during high season Thurs-Sat); Sun 12pm until 5pm.
Location: Cromer Road (look for the orange signs), West Runton, Norfolk NR27 9QA. Tel: 01263 837359
With so much coastline you’re never far away from a great eating and drinking spot with a stunning sea view in Cornwall. Here’s a selection of a few of our favourites…
The Cabin Beach Cafe, Perranuthnoe
This small cafe sits right on the top of the cliffs overlooking the quiet Perran Sands beach in the lovely village of Perranuthnoe. The menu is basic but very nice including filling breakfast baps and paninis, gluten-free homemade cakes, Cornish ice-cream and good teas and coffees. You can sit inside when it’s raining, but go for the unobstructed sea view from a table in the garden.
Fifteen Cornwall, Watergate Bay
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen has become a well-established part of the Cornish foodie scene since opening a few years ago. Very friendly staff give everyone a warm welcome, particularly those with little ones (as you’d expect a Jamie O eaterie to do!). Top quality, Italian-style food is the order of the day including locally-caught seafood and Cornish ales. The restaurant is a social enterprise so all profits go to the Cornwall Food Foundation and its chef training programme. The floor-to-ceiling glass walls allow you to watch all of the surfing action across the vast Watergate Bay.
The Fire Engine Inn, Marazion
A traditional pub with a friendly landlord and a range of St Austell beers on tap. Food is served, including gluten-free fish and chips and other seafood dishes, but if you don’t happen to be hungry make sure you at least grab a pint of local ale and take a seat in the beer garden – this pub boasts a stunning view across the water to St Michael’s Mount.
The Point at Polzeath, Polzeath
You don’t have to be staying here or using the health club or golf course to eat in The Point’s restaurant (although it is a handy add-on if you are). You can enjoy almost panoramic views from your table (or on the outside terrace) across farmland, the golf course and down into the surfers’ paradise of Polzeath beach and Pentire Point. Look out for Fizz ‘n’ Chips Night (Thursdays) for their choice of three fish with three batters and a glass of fizz (all £15) and Steak Night (Fridays) for their offer of two steaks and a bottle of wine for £30.
Ben Tunnicliffe, Sennen Cove
This informal beachside eaterie and bar is brought to you by Michelin-star chef Ben Tunnicliffe. With wonderful, unspoilt views across Sennen Cove, it does a great job of combining a relaxed and stylish ‘Ibizan beach bar’ vibe without making you feel unwelcome with a little one (they make great efforts to be family-friendly). The restaurant only ever serves ethically sourced seafood with an ever-changing ‘catch of the day’ on the menu. The food is excellent as is the cocktail list, which included a Ben’s G&T made with Cornish gin on our visit.
The Square at Porthleven, Porthleven
Porthleven has become a well-known destination in Cornwall for foodies with several top eateries in the village (including a new Rick Stein). The Square, now run by the previous owners of the renowned Victoria Inn in Perranuthnoe, offers a brasserie-style menu for informal lunch, dinner and coffee and cake in between. Locally-sourced is the order of the day with all fish landed at Porthleven harbour, meats from Primrose Herd and Vivian Olds, and local vegetable suppliers. They can also offer locally-sourced champagne if you’re celebrating! Plenty of seating indoors, or grab a table outside so you can watch the boats coming and going in the harbour.
The Godolphin Arms, Marazion
Sitting outdoors at this newly renovated gastropub is blissful on a warm, sunny day. You can hear the waves lapping a few meters from your table as you gaze across at St Michael’s Mount and its castle. We enjoyed the shared seafood platter plus their guest craft beer.
Pedn Olva, St Ives
We’ll be honest – we haven’t tried the food here, but we did escape the crowds of St Ives harbour and enjoy a drink. And what a view from their large, outdoor terrace! Choose either the side facing the famous St Ives harbour view, or pick the other side which looks down onto the lovely Porthminster beach and all of the paddle boarders gliding across the calm sea.
Fresh From The Sea, Port Isaac
OK, not technically one with a sea view (you’d have to drag your seat closer to the road and perhaps crane your neck a bit) but it had to be included in this list as a sea view is mere seconds away and the seafood is fantastic! The fishing village of Port Isaac is a tourist hotspot, particularly down at the harbour, but make sure you spot at this small café before walking down the hill (or treat yourself on the way back up). It does exactly what it says on the sign serving fish and seafood freshly (and sustainably) caught from its own boat ‘Mary D’ in Port Isaac harbour. Try a delicious lobster or crab salad, then buy a few cakes and Cornish foodie delights from their shop to take home.
No.1 Rock Road Bar & Grill, Rock
Grab a table on the outdoor balcony (beware of cool winds if there’s a northerly!) and enjoy the view of moored boats gently bobbing in the still waters, and the night ferry going back and forth to the more varied foodie destination of Padstow across the bay. There are plenty of cocktails and decent seafood mains to keep you satisfied.