Best-of Guides Cornwall

Cornwall's Best Waterside Restaurants

7 Restaurants
Jutting out to the southwest of England, Cornwall boasts not only the UK’s most southerly point, The Lizard, but also the UK’s most westerly tip, Land’s End. It’s bordered by the English Channel to the south and the often more dramatic Celtic Sea – which leads into the Atlantic Ocean – to the northwest. Being home to over 400 miles of coastline taking in dramatic cliffs, secluded bays, busy harbours and sandy beaches, you'll never be too far from a restaurant with a fantastic waterside view when in Cornwall.
Updated on 15 July 2024
Housel Bay Road, TR12 7PG Lizard
£££ · Modern Cuisine

Even among the waterside restaurants of Cornwall, the view here stands out as spectacular. Sitting inside Housel Bay Hotel, Fallowfields lies just up the road from The Lizard Peninsula and sports stripped-back décor that lets that stunning view do the work. The menus have an overtly seasonal bent, with excellent local produce given the chance to shine in ambitious dishes with good attention to detail in their execution. There’s a calm, relaxing air to the place and the friendly service team make the experience all the more enjoyable.

Old Coastguard
The Parade, TR19 6PR Mousehole
££ · Mediterranean Cuisine

A few miles to the west of Penzance sits the fishing village of Mousehole and its charming harbourside cottages built from locally hewn granite. It was attacked by the Spanish Armada in 1595, when they burnt down the entire village save for a single property – which still survives today. As its name suggests, the Old Coastguard was once part of the lookout station for the village – and, as such, offers beautiful views out over the sea towards St Michael’s Mount. However, it now also comes with sub-tropical gardens, a laid-back vibe and a menu which makes the most of the daily catch.

Porthminster Beach Café
Porthminster Beach, TR26 2EB St Ives
£££ · Seafood

Voted the UK’s Best Seaside Resort on several occasions in recent years – and even making it into some of Europe’s Top 10 lists – St Ives has risen in popularity since the arrival of the railways in 1887, and is now a hit not only with tourists but also artists and creative types. Visit Tate St Ives, the Barbara Hepworth Museum or relax on one of six beaches, then head for the Porthminster Beach Café – a whitewashed 1930s beach house which now offers a seafood-orientated menu that incorporates produce from their own coastal kitchen garden.

Sardine Factory
Quay Road, West Looe, PL13 2BX Looe
££ · Seafood

As the name suggests, a Grade II listed former Sardine factory is home to this laid-back establishment. Nowadays, it enjoys a new lease of life as a rustic and well-run seafood restaurant. There is an informal air to proceedings, paired with an appealing menu that ticks all the boxes for a place like this. An affordable range of nibbles and small plates are on offer, alongside whole fish cooked over coals. Care is taken in the kitchen and the accompaniments are well-judged, allowing the pure and natural flavours of the main ingredients to shine. It goes without saying that sardines are always on offer – and they really are good!

The Idle Rocks
Harbourside, TR2 5AN St Mawes
£££ · Modern Cuisine

Located at the tip of the Roseland Peninsula, kept watched over by a 16th century castle on the headland, St Mawes looks out over the River Fal towards Falmouth, and its steep, narrow lanes peppered with Cornish cob cottages lead down to the harbour. The Idle Rocks Hotel enjoys an enviable position right by the water’s edge and its restaurant and terrace run the full length of the property, ensuring everyone gets to enjoy the bay view. Prime Cornish ingredients underpin the flavoursome, eye-catching dishes; the 'Signature Menu' is the way to go for the full experience.

The Mariners
Slipway, PL27 6LD Rock
££ · Traditional British

Situated on the northern side of the Camel Estuary, across the river from Padstow, Rock has gained a reputation as 'Chelsea by the sea', thanks to its smart holiday homes and well-heeled visitors, including those from the yachting community. Indeed, the best way to arrive is by sea, via the Black Tor (aka Padstow) ferry. Make the most of the fabulous views by sitting on the terrace at the brightly painted Mariners, and enjoy fresh oysters from nearby Porthilly, along with a pint of the famous Sharp’s Doom Bar beer which is brewed nearby.

Ugly Butterfly by Adam Handling
Carbis Bay Estate, Carbis Bay, TR26 2NP St Ives
££££ · Modern British

Once a well-loved secret of British holidaymakers, Carbis Bay – with its sandy 25-acre blue flag beach – was a name that became known around the world in 2021, when it played host to the G7 Summit. The beach is privately owned by the Carbis Hotel, which sits right on the bay and offers breathtaking views over the ocean towards Godrevy. London-based Chef Adam Handling certainly chose the perfect spot for his new restaurant (one of several within the hotel); it comes with an open kitchen, a choice of two tasting menus and superlative views.