A foodie’s guide to Dartmouth: where to eat and drink in style

A foodie’s guide to Dartmouth: where to eat and drink in style

From small batch wine tasting to nose-to-tail cooking, Vicky Jessop has the must-try spots in the coastal Devonshire town

Situated on the mouth of the Dart estuary, the sleepy fishing town of Dartmouth is the perfect place to while away a lazy summer week. Its rolling hills, chocolate-box fishing villages and endless sunshine have made it an established tourist destination.

What’s less well known, is its status as a foodie paradise. With the ever-increasing number of vineyards springing up (yes, English wine really is having a moment) and the fish brought in fresh on the boat each day, the Dart estuary has become home to a growing number of the country’s most exciting restaurants.

For people seeking an escape from city life, it doesn’t get much better. It’s a bonus that the train journey from London is gorgeous — one of the country’s best, winding its way through lush greenery and along the coast (tickets can be booked on gwr.com and trains leave from Paddington) — and the food is sublime.

Here’s our guide of where to go to get the best of Dartmouth’s wine scene and nose-to-tail cuisine.

The best place for… fine dining

Angel Restaurant

Not only is The Angel situated right on the sea — with views onto Dartmouth Harbour — it also plays host to a truly stupendous tasting menu (which starts from £95 per person). The brainchild of former Masterchef finalist Elly Wentworth, it’s the place to go for artfully-crafted bites that change with the seasons — anybody for seared salmon in a fragrant crayfish bisque, or the most tender, melt in the mouth lamb? And if the super-attentive staff place a glass of champagne in your hand as you enter, then all the better.

2 S Embankment, Dartmouth, TQ6 9BH. theangeldartmouth.co.uk

The best place for… seafood


Seahorse has a pleasingly old-school Italian feel to it: step inside and be transported back to 1960’s Rome. Framed menus from guest chefs clutter the wall, the artwork is funky and the service excellent. Kick things off with a drink at the Aladdin’s Cave-esque Joe’s Bar, then head in to savour some of the best fish the area has to offer. A meal will cost around £90 per person, though the Menu del Giorno, which runs up until 2.45pm, offers a three-course meal for £30.

We recommend the garlicky scallops (the restaurant’s signature dish), but the main courses also deserve some love: the cod flakes away at the touch of a fork, whilst the catch of the day will be brought to your table fresh from the grill, before being expertly carved by a waiter. Delicious.

5 S Embankment, Dartmouth, TQ6 9BH. seahorserestaurant.co.uk

The best place for… wine tasting (and lunch)

Sandridge Barton vineyard

Sandridge Barton is currently somewhat of a hidden gem — but that’s about to change thanks to its interesting wines and excellent food at on-site, no-waste restaurant Circa.

The site works as a vineyard and as such offers wine tastings for curious tourists. Well worth the £22 fee, your session will run the gamut from smooth whites to some surprisingly experimental small batch wines named after Dartmoor landmarks (we expect to see them cropping up in several Hackney restaurants soon).

Do make sure to factor in a visit to Circa, which serves some truly out of this world food. It boasts an ever-changing menu that does weird and wonderful things with spruce tips, yuzu, cuttlefish and nettles (among other things). Though rest assured, whatever is on the menu, it is always delicious. Wines start from £12 a glass, while larger sharing dishes will set you back £19.

Lower Well Farm, Waddeton Rd., Stoke Gabriel, Totnes TQ9 6RL. sandridgebarton.com

The best place to… grab breakfast

Poppy Jakes

The Embankment is as cute as it gets for brunch spots. Once a Victorian ferry terminal, it’s now been transformed into a sweet little bistro that sits right by Dartmouth harbour and offers brunch options galore for those in need of a morning pick-me-up (the avocado on toast with tahini and red pepper salsa is a surprise hit, and dishes start from £4.50). In the evening, swing by to sample the frankly indecent collection of gins on the back wall — and if you’re in the mood to walk off last night’s dinner instead, these guys also do hampers to go.

South Embankment, Dartmouth, TQ6 9BH. Find out more here

The best place for… London chic


What do you get when you combine the minds behind Soho’s Ducksoup and Hackney’s Little Duck? Turns out, it’s Emilia, which brims with London cool despite behind a hundred-odd miles from the capital.

Emilia serves food from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, but done to perfection: think silky smooth strands of pasta, salami slow-cooked in red wine, and mozzarella served with roast fennel, asparagus and lashings of wild garlic pesto. Grab a seat at the counter and watch the chefs on the other side prepare every dish fresh while you sip on your negroni (a meal for two, plus drinks, costs around £150). Then, head down the street to sister bar No. 14 for a nightcap.

2 East Street, Ashburton, TQ13 7AA. emiliaashburton.co.uk

The best place for… fish and chips


What trip to the English seaside is complete without a hefty serving of fish and chips? To that end, Rockfish does the job and then some. A few streets back from the harbourfront and run by celebrity chef Mitch Tonks, it serves a cracking twist on the classic takeaway (around £20 for one portion), which can be enjoyed overlooking the sea. They also offer more highbrow fare, such as seafood platters (£37.50pp for two) and pearl oysters with chilli sauce (£18.95 for six). The restaurant itself has racked up award after award for its food, which is all caught locally. Not one to miss.

8 South Embankment, Dartmouth, TQ6 9BH. embankmentbistro.co.uk

The best place to… let the food come to you

Peers Communications

Can’t decide what to taste first? Dittisham Hideaway has you covered: it’s recently launched a foodie weekend experience. Hidden in the rolling hills above the scenic Dittisham village, a 10-minute drive from Dartmouth, its package promises visitors a stay in one of its signature treehouse properties — which are anything but back to basics, with luxurious features such as wood-fired hot tubs and huge balconies on which to soak up the sun.

Combine that with a series of dinners, afternoon teas and wine tasting experiences (all sorted pre-arrival by the Dittisham team), and the end result is the no-fuss foodie weekend of dreams.

Don’t fancy the drive? They’ve got that covered too: one phone call will summon an in-house chef from Dittisham’s sister property in Dartmoor to whip up a meal right there in the treehouse. Sit back and tuck in.

Dittisham, TQ6 0JB.The Devon Artisan Food Weekend package for two people starts from £795 (for a 2-night stay in a Shepherds Hut) or £1495 (a 3-night stay in a Treehouse). dittishamhideaway.co.uk