The trendy seaside town of Brighton has no shortage of great places to eat and drink. Try creative seafood, Naples-style pizza or inventive Indian thalis.
Brighton, on the south coast of England, has evolved over the years to become one of the hippest holiday hangouts in the country. Take a weekend away beside the sea for reimagined seafood, sparkling cocktails and unique tasting menus.
For cheap eats:
At Dizzy Gull chef Dan Kenny of modernist restaurant The Set (see below) has turned his skills to pub food at this characterful boozer near Brighton's main shopping street. The public voted this the top Sunday lunch spot in the 2017 Brighton's Best Restaurants awards, and you won't be disappointed by the roast Sussex beef rib-eye served with dripping roasties, crisp Yorkshire pudding & veg, including celeriac purée and kale. Sunday lunch, around £12.
Fatto a Mano
This smart neighbourhood pizzeria in Hove (there's another branch on London Road) is the ideal place to bring hungry kids after a day on the beach. They may not notice that the pizzas are Naples-style, soft and billowing, or that they've been cooked in a wood-fired oven and topped with quality San Marzano tomatoes. But they'll love how delicious they are, and you'll appreciate the list of daily specials that might include pizza with Tuscan finocchiona & fried aubergine. Pizzas from £5.50.
You will not find a more local, ethical or sustainable artisan burger than one of the lovingly-prepared and extravagantly-named range served at this pop-up burger shack under Brighton station. Come early, as the likes of the Succubus burger with hot date sauce, pickled chillies and Sister Sarah goats cheese sell out fast. Burgers from £5.
Milk No Sugar
Milk No Sugar is an unassuming café close to Brighton station and one of the city’s true hidden gems. Yes, there’s the usual hot drinks and sarnies but they also serve a short menu of authentic and delicious Vietnamese food, including a killer Banh Mi and top notch pho. Plates for around £5.
For casual dining:
Head to boho Kemptown for a memorable afternoon tea at Metrodeco, a camp and quirky 1930s-style converted Art Deco furniture showroom. Relax into an ornate vintage armchair and choose from two dozen tea blends (the delicate Silver Needle white tea is particularly good), served in mismatched bone china to accompany dainty open sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries. The tea-infused cocktails include a Sweet Sunburst made with rum, rhubarb & vanilla-flavoured rooibos. Afternoon tea from £20.
This funky, spartan restaurant located in a converted Victorian warehouse in North Laine is billed as the UK's first zero-waste diner. Chef Douglas McMaster has worked at St John and Noma, and he also adheres to the nose-to-tail approach along with the local and sustainable ethos in dishes such as cured gurnard with oysters & broccoli. Silo is also a great spot for unusual breakfast fare, like coddled egg, blood pudding & kimchi. We also recommend trying a drink from cocktail guru Mr Lyan in the bar. Three courses from £25.
Cin Cin started out as a pop-up serving prosecco and nibbles from a vintage Fiat van. Now owner and genial host David Toscano has moved to a bricks-and-mortar site in the North Laine. Eighteen stools surround the open kitchen and bar where chef Jamie Halsall cooks up some of the best pasta dishes in the city. Do not miss the likes of tagliatelle with a richly flavoured Sussex lamb shoulder ragu & salted ricotta. Small plates from £7.
Book in advance to bag a stool at the counter overlooking the open kitchen of the hugely popular but tiny 64 Degrees to watch chef Michael Bremner and his team cook modern small plates from a short, daily-changing menu. You’ll recognise Michael from his stint on BBC’s Great British Menu – also at the helm of newly-opened Murmur, a casual seafront restaurant close to Brighton's i360 tower. Don’t overlook veggie dishes such as darkly roasted hispi cabbage with a rich hollandaise & truffle dressing, which are as impressive as the meat or fish selections. Dishes from £6.75.
Bag one of the prime seats at the counter for a peek into the open kitchen at this lively, stylish modern European restaurant where traditional Spanish tapas meets robustly flavoured modern small plates like tender grilled squid with black lentils and mojo verde. Specials at Market, such as 90-day aged beef rump with roasted turnip purée, are always worth ordering. Small plates, £3-9; larger plates, £12-22.
This chic but friendly neighbourhood gastopub is worth the trip into Hove for the simple, fresh seafood dishes (check out the chalkboard for specials like lobster with salsa verde; £32.50), and the incredible range of around 100 craft beers. Sunday lunchtime is popular with families and dog owners as well as discerning drinkers. Mains from £11-16.
This centrally located wine bar and restaurant is much loved for the charmingly Gallic service from owners Vincent and Thierry who carefully curate the list of organic, bio-dynamic and natural wines to accompany the gutsy, eclectic food. Their classic cocktails are among the best in town. Mains from £14.
The Ginger Pig
Part of local celebrity chef Ben McKellar’s Gingerman group, The Ginger Pig is a large bustling gastropub just off Hove seafront that serves a mix of pub classics like burgers and steaks plus modern inventive dishes like butter-roast pork fillet with pig cheek croquette and duck fat potato terrine. Don’t miss one of barman Rob Maynard’s cracking cocktails. Mains from £14.
Semolina is the mom and pop local bistro of your dreams, that in-the-know Brighton foodies would rather keep for themselves. Orson Whitfield creates a modern British menu of local and seasonal dishes such as the pan-fried gurnard, clams and pancetta tagliatelle, while wife Linda provides the warm welcome. The three-course set £15 lunch is a bone fide steal. Mains from £11.
For exotic eats:
Chef Dave Miney spent three years working in Tokyo before opening Bincho Yakitori, an authentic izakaya (Japanese gastropub). You’ll find him behind the counter of this small, atmospheric and always busy restaurant, tending the charcoal grill. Among the many must-order small plates are sweet and crunchy karaage (fried chicken), teriyaki grilled quail, and grilled aubergine with miso. Dishes from £2.80.
The Chilli Pickle
This modern Indian brasserie reinvents subcontinental dining for the 21st century with its bright, contemporary interior, spicy cocktails and authentic regional dishes, such as Keralan red duck curry. The whole crispy pork knuckle vindaloo for two, served at Sunday brunch, is a must-order; the generously proportioned thalis are one of the best lunchtime deals in the city. Mains from £11.50.
Curry Leaf Café
The flavours of the authentic regional Indian food are as vivid as the green and orange colour scheme at Curry Leaf Café, a casual Brighton Lanes diner. Look out for Keralan dishes such as prawn ularthiyathu (fried with mustard seeds, curry leaves and coconut), a speciality of the restaurant. Mains from £12.95
For special occasions:
The Salt Room
The roomy terrace at this glamorous seafront fish and steak restaurant offers views of Brighton’s past and present: the remains of the West Pier and the new i360 observation tower. On a sunny day, it’s the ideal spot to share the signature Surf Board of hot and cold crustacea. Inside, there are fabulous cocktails, and chef Dave Motherill's imaginative dishes include gurnard and grilled octopus with punchy romanesco sauce & green olive tapenade. Mains from £14.
The Little Fish Market
Tucked away in a side street just off Hove seafront, former Fat Duck chef Duncan Ray is cooking (single-handedly) some of the best modern seafood dishes in the country at The Little Fish Market. The £65 five-course tasting menu showcases the day’s local catch, transformed into precisely cooked, elegant dishes, such as turbot with chicken wing, morel mushroom & sherry sauce. Desserts such as nougat glacé with mango sorbet & chocolate sauce are every bit as delicious and refined as the savoury courses.
An enthusiastic team deliver a modern fine dining experience with bags of character and panache at Isaac At. Watch chef Isaac Bartlett Copeland and his team craft elegant, hyper local dishes such as loin of veal with smoked broccoli in the open kitchen or on the monitors in the intimate dining room. Six course tasting menu from £35.
Top Brighton chef Dan Kenny (also the brains behind Dizzy Gull, above) serves tasting menus of inventive small plates from the open kitchen of The Set, a rustic modern restaurant. The interconnected café is a more casual affair where the amazing carrot tartar that tastes just like steak is a must-order. Tasting menu from £32. Dishes from £7.
Street Diner where you can sample some of Brighton's best street food.
All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of the 01 May 2017 and will be checked and updated annually. If you think there is any incorrect or out-of-date information in this guide please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.