We often get asked for recommendations for great places to eat by people who are visiting for a weekend break or longer holiday. We have gathered together some of our favourite places to eat in locations across Dorset. You can view the others in our series here…
Great places to eat in East Dorset – including Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch.
East Dorset is dominated by the 7 glorious miles of award winning sandy beaches from Sandbanks right through to Hengistbury Head. With two Bournemouth Piers and all their accompanying entertainment, it can be easy to allow the beach to be the main focus of your visit.
However, East Dorset also has the lovely Old Town of Poole and the Quay, the bustling suburbs of Bournemouth and the lovely town of Christchurch, built beside the convergence of the two rivers – the Avon and the Stour.
You can find many smaller hubs across the area, full of local shops, award winning bakeries and an abundance of independent restaurants and cafes that are worth exploring.
Here are some great places to eat in East Dorset…
Coffee & Cake
Espresso Kitchen in Bournemouth – a tiny little cafe specialising in artisan coffees and homemade bakes. This is the perfect place for a coffee on the go.
Riptide Espresso in Poole – located just off the Quay in the Old Town of Poole, this place has great coffee, delicious bakes and lunch options.
Bosconova in Boscombe – serving locally sourced ingredients with thick cut, locally made sourdough bread, thick and fluffy pancakes drizzled with maple syrup and oodles of locally roasted coffee… Bosconova’s brunches are dreamy.
Twelve Eatery in Bournemouth – tucked away at the top of the high street, this vegan restaurant has created a vegan menu that doesn’t try and replicate meat dishes, but rather simply celebrates vegan foods. Excellent cooking in a fun and vibrant interior.
Amazing Bakeries to pick up lunch on the go
BigWigs Bakery in Tuckton – this bakery hand makes breads, savoury pastries and sweet bakes… including incredible freshly made donuts in a multitude of flavour combos. I recommend getting there early to avoid missing out and expect to queue!
Patisserie Mark Bennetts in Ashley Cross, Penn Hill, Lilliput and Christchurch – These award winning bakeries offer a wide range of sandwiches, fresh bread, croissants and pastries as well as sweet bakes and patisserie items. These are perfect for a picnic or to grab for brunch.
Tea & Cake
Compton Acre Cafe and Tea Rooms in Canford Cliffs, Poole – this cafe is deceptively large and offers a wide range of lunch items as well as lots of choice for tea and homemade cakes. The cafe also sits alongside beautiful, ornate gardens which are also worth a wander to explore.
Forno Pizza in Winton – If you are looking for local pizza then Forno offer a great range of delicious pizzas, all cooked with freshly made sourdough over a wood fired oven.
Fish and Chips
Chez Fred in Westbourne – Ask any local and they are likely to recommend Chez Fred. Every order is cooked fresh and their dine in restaurant and their takeaway often have a queue out the door, but it is worth the wait!
Urban Garden in Bournemouth – just off the lower gardens in Bournemouth, Urban Gardens is an oasis overlooking the bustle of the tourist stretch. Their extensive cocktail menu is ingenious and inventive and do ask the friendly staff for their recommendations.
Great for lunch
South Deep Cafe in Parkstone Bay Marina, Poole – this lovely restaurant is in amongst the boats in the marina and serves up a tasty menu of classic dishes. Lots of space inside and out and truly feels like you are on holiday.
The Old Thatch in Wimborne – this beautoful thatched pub has a great menu full of salads, sandwiches, sharing dishes as well as larger meals. With a large pub garden, this pub is great for a sunny lunch with your family.
Amazing local restaurants
Schpoons & Forx in Bournemouth – this menu is full of locally sourced ingredients and the Head Chef Matt Budden has curated a menu that combines and cooks them to perfection using unique cooking methods, like their in house tandoor oven.
The Jetty in Christchurch – set right on Christchurch harbour, The Jetty has an A La Carte menu as well as a tasting menu curated by Head Chef Alex Aitken, celebrating the amazing local fish.
Noisy Lobster in Mudeford, Christchurch – This restaurant is right on the beach and makes the most of the glorious views and access to the local fishing boats with their signature lobster dish pride of place on the menu. This is a great place to go for families but do book ahead as it gets busy peak season.
Restaurant Roots in Southbourne – already listed in the Michelin Guide, this restaurant, run by Head Chefs Jan and Stacey Bretschneider is a feast for all the senses. Their tasting menu is simply incredible and you will need to book up well in advance to secure your table.
Rick Steins in Sandbanks, Poole – making the most of the beautiful view across the bay, this restaurant offers a menu of modern classics designed by Celebrity Chef Rick Stein.
Guildhall Tavern in Poole – set back slightly from the main Quay, the Guildhall Tavern, run by Frederic and Severine, offers a delicious menu of french classics as well as a wide selection of fresh fish options celebrating the fish being brought into Poole Harbour daily, including fresh lobster and oysters,
If you are looking for more great places to eat in East Dorset or your would like to find your local butchers or farm shops, then our searchable Directory contains over 550 local food and drink businesses.