The Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England, is an often underrated destination in the UK. Its natural beauty, golden sandy beaches and quintessentially British promenades are a few of its draws - but it’s also got a thriving culinary scene, so is a paradise for foodies. From boutique beach cafés to fine dining establishments, there are masses of eateries to choose from with something for all tastes and budgets. And being an island, of course, the fresh seafood is second to none. As are the sea views.
The journey across the water from Portsmouth is just ten minutes but getting on the ferry to depart from the mainland is sure to ignite your sense of adventure! If you’re looking for some foodie inspiration for your trip, here are some of our favourite restaurants on the Isle of Wight.
Garlic Farm Restaurant, Newchurch
Best for: Garlic lovers
Garlic fans rejoice - this unique farm restaurant tucked away in the rolling fields of the Mersey Downs grows garlic, cooks with garlic and makes garlic produce of all kinds! From the picturesque log cabin restaurant, AA Rosette winning chef Charlie Bartlett provides beautiful breakfasts and lunches, most of which feature the farm’s own garlic and meat products (they rear highland beef here). Example dishes include the BBQ Pulled Salt Beef Burger, Garlic King Prawn Caesar Salad and The Garlic Farm Ploughman’s.
Be sure to stop by the farm shop afterwards, where you can pick up goodies like garlic chutneys and relishes - and even garlic beer! And if you’re visiting in mid-August, you might be lucky enough to catch the vibrant annual Garlic Festival too, with live music, a dog show, a funfair and plenty of opportunities to sample garlicky delights.
Where to stay: Oystercater | Take a seat and watch the tide ebb and flow at our beautifully hand-crafted houseboat overlooking the picturesque harbour of Bembridge.
Smoking Lobster, Ventnor Beach & Cowes Marina
Best for: Seafood with a twist
This restaurant group serves first-class seafood in a contemporary pan-Asian style, and it's popular with locals and visitors alike. They’ve got two beautiful locations - one on the beach front with panoramic views and one on the picturesque Cowes high street. On both menus you’ll find small Plates and large Plates with the likes of Tempura Fish of the Day with Yuzu salad and slaw, Whole Ginger Baked Sea Bass with Black Bean Sauce, and Lobster with Miso Butter. Or for a delicious pan-Asian feast for two, order the Seafood Platter.
They’ve got a great collection of wines and spirits for an after-dinner tipple too. And at Ventnor Beach you’ll find a delicious cocktail menu, with equally unique pan-Asian style and flavour - think Mandarin & Maraschino Margaritas and Coconut Espresso Martinis.
Tansy’s Pantry, Godshill
Best for: Vegan food
Serving 100% plant-based food, Tansy’s Pantry started as a vegetarian food truck and has evolved into the popular vegan restaurant it is today, in the pretty village of Godshill. On the menu you’ll find a variety of flavoursome, freshly prepared dishes like ‘Vish & Chips’, ‘Soul Bowls’ and ‘Mac and Cheeze’, as well as a hearty pulled-jackfruit roast on a Sunday. There’s an extensive vegan-friendly drinks menu too and their coffee is made with beans from the local roastery, Island Roasted.
The stained glass windows, vaulted ceilings and arch doorway create a beautiful interior space to enjoy your vegan meal. And there’s often lively event nights or live music happening at Tansy’s Pantry as well - check out the website here.
Foresters Hall, Cowes Old Town
Best for: Fine dining
This boutique hotel and restaurant (previously known as North House) in the heart of Cowes Old Town sits amongst an array of shops, marinas and yacht clubs. Renowned chef Robert Thompson runs the kitchen. He was the youngest person to ever receive a Michelin Star - and the menu is as exquisite as you’d expect.
In the morning a fine breakfast is served, or for lunch or dinner you can choose from a wide range of seasonal tapas from ‘Land’, ‘The Fishermonger’ and ‘The Butcher’s Block’ menus. For the ultimate fine dining Foresters Hall experience though, try the nine-course seasonal tasting menu with dishes such as Fillet of Cod Poached in Seaweed Butter, Roasted Duck Breast, and Muscovado Parfait.
The Taverners, Godshill
Best for: Gastro pub grub
For a classic British pub with tasty food and a cosy atmosphere, look no further than The Taverners. Set in the beautiful countryside in Godshill, this 17th century pub is a favourite of both locals and tourists. The flagstone floors, oak beams and open fireplaces create a warm, rural pub feel that’s perfect for a rest and refuel after a day out exploring in the brisk countryside air.
On the menu you’ll find pub classics focusing on seasonal local produce, like Braised Beef and Local Ale Pie, Steamed Mussels and Goan Style Vegetable Masala. There’s plenty of real ale at the bar too, if you fancy a local brew to wash it all down.
The George, Yarmouth
Best for: Dinner by the marina
The George is a charming 17th century townhouse on the water’s edge in the bustling harbour town of Yarmouth, with the castle to one side and the pier to the other. It’s steeped in history and was once home to Admiral Sir Robert Holmes, governor of the island who often entertained King Charles II. From the light and airy brasserie you’ll get gorgeous views across the Solent whilst you enjoy local produce and a hearty meal. The a la carte menu often features crowd-pleasers like burgers and steak, or if you want something a little more fancy, the likes of Monkfish with a champagne sauce.
It’s close to the Wightlink ferry as well, making it the ideal stop if you’re only visiting for the day and want to dive straight into dinner. And there’s plenty of outdoor seating so on a dry day you can enjoy the fresh sea air as you dine right beside the water.
Off the Rails, Yarmouth
Best for: Something quirky
This award-winning restaurant certainly offers a unique dining experience. Set in an old railway station in Yarmouth, it retains much of the station’s old charm - and the views are stunning too, overlooking the beautiful landscape of Yarmouth Marshes and Mill Copse.
There are breakfast, lunch and dinner menus featuring hearty meals for all tastes, from soup and sandwiches to chowder and ramen. Plus, there’s a special menu for dogs, so hungry four-legged friends can come along and enjoy a starter, main and dessert!
Off the Rails is known for its quirky themed evenings too, including its Black Adder and Fawlty Towers comedy dinner shows. Check out the website to see what’s on.
The Royal, Ventnor
Best for: A luxurious afternoon tea
For silver service dining fit for royalty, head to The Royal in Ventnor. This prestigious hotel and 2 AA Rosette restaurant is situated in a stunning four storey building overlooking the English Channel, with south facing gardens and a clifftop Riviera Terrace for al fresco dining. On cooler days the Conservatory and Brasserie offer equally lovely settings to relax and enjoy some award-winning food.
The menu features an array of opulent dishes, but for a traditional British experience go for the Royal Afternoon Tea served with elegant finger sandwiches, cakes, patisseries and scones. And you can upgrade to the Champagne Afternoon Tea if you really want to treat yourself.
The Hut, Freshwater
Best for: A coastal escape
This self-proclaimed ‘easy-going beach restaurant’ has a superb location on the north western coast of the Isle of Wight, amongst colourful beach huts at Colwell Bay. The al fresco seating, hanging wicker shades, white wooden furniture and beachy details create a distinctively Mediterranean feel. And most diners arrive by boat which all adds to the coastal experience (they can arrange to collect you from your mooring or the passenger ferry!).
The food is a simple and fresh mix of seafood and grilled meats, such as Fish Tacos, Ribeye Steak and Grilled Lobster. There’s a decent vegetarian and vegan menu too, plus extensive wine and cocktail lists - no special occasion required.
The Blacksmiths, Newport
Best for: Families
This traditional 400 year old pub and restaurant won Best Pub at the Isle of Wight Awards in 2021, and for good reason. It’s located just outside the village of Carisbooke, with stunning panoramic views across green countryside and farmland - and the food is just as good as the setting.
On the menu you’ll find hearty mains and home-cooked comfort food, like The Blacksmith’s famous Newchurch Pie (made with slow cooked lamb shank, oak smoked garlic. spinach & redcurrant gravy, house potatoes and vegetables) and Scampi & Chips, as well as sandwiches, ploughmans, steaks, burgers and a popular Sunday Roast. There’s lots of child-friendly food and a children’s play area in the garden too, making it a great choice for families.
Best for: A romantic dinner & wine
This recently opened restaurant is a sophisticated addition to the high street in Ryde, a seaside town on the north east coast of the island. Their menus are based on locally sourced, sustainable, seasonal ingredients - they’ve kept everything unpretentious but it’s certainly fine dining, making it a great choice for a romantic evening for two. The dishes change all the time, but you can expect the likes of Salt Baked Cod Bon Bon, Island Lamb Rack, and Spinach, Pumpkin & Feta Tart. And they offer a Blind Tasting Menu paired with wine, for the ultra-foodie couples.
After your meal head to the Heron Lounge, just seconds away from the restaurant. This welcoming wine bar and cocktail lounge from the same owners is the perfect place to savour a post-dinner tipple or aperitif together.
Where to stay: Fortune | A life on the ocean waves... our modern houseboat in Bembridge is just as luxurious!
The True Food Kitchen, Niton Undercliff
Best for: Nourishing food & sea views
This popular eatery is in the rather unconventional setting of a caravan site. The True Food Kitchen might be surrounded by classic 1960s static caravans, but it serves contemporary, locally sourced food and has breath-taking sea views from its perch on the southern tip of the island, in an idyllic fishing cove that’s said to have its own micro-climate.
The food on offer is simple, delicious and nourishing, with the likes of poke bowls, bao buns and catch of the day. There’s a variety of small plates too, if you fancy sampling and sharing a bigger variety of the award-winning chef’s cuisine.
The eatery is closed during the winter months, so make sure you check the website for opening hours before visiting.
Where to stay: Stargazers' Retreat | Tucked away in tranquil seclusion, this heavenly glamping abode is the perfect all year-round retreat. Admire glistening sea views on a gorgeous summer afternoon or stargaze in one of the alfresco bathtubs on a chilly evening!
The Duck, Ryde
Best for: A special Sunday roast (and pudding!)
In a peaceful setting on the edge of the iconic Ryde canoe lake, The Duck is an elegant, relaxed and highly rated restaurant serving exceptional food. You can enjoy views across the Solent and the beaches of Ryde as you dine on breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The ever-changing menu features satisfying dishes like Crispy Slow Cooked Belly Pork and Mustard & Thyme Chicken - and they serve a top-quality roast on a Sunday, with all the trimmings. There’s an ample pudding menu too and with indulgent options like Sticky Toffee S’Mores, Apple & Peach Crumble and Bakewell Trifle, you’ll want to make sure you leave room.
Staying on the Isle of Wight
Whether you’re hiking, wild swimming, discovering historic sites or exploring vineyards, there’s plenty more to see and do on the Isle of Wight between sampling its foodie delights, so it’s well worth staying for a little while. We have some wonderfully unique luxury glamping accommodation to choose from on the island including a hand-crafted houseboat overlooking Bembridge Harbour and a gorgeous yurt with not one, but two, outdoor bathtubs.
Take a look at our full collection of Isle of Wight hideaways here.