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Revealed: the best food in Bournemouth

Bournemouth has a fabulous nightlife and is also gaining a reputation as a favourite for foodies touring the UK. Expect world-class cuisine, sourced locally, served with care in a series of cosy bars and restaurants, some with stunning views of the dea.

And that’s no surprise to us. Dorset, in general, provides a wealth of excellent food and drink including smoked meats, cheeses, organic meat, speciality breads, ice-creams and fruit. And there are plenty of farm shops, smokeries and artisan centres in the area to purchase gourmet hampers, preserves, pates, cured game, poultry and, of course, fish.

And, when it comes to seafood, there’s nowhere better. Tuck into the freshest sea-bass with a lemon and tarragon bleu blanc, the crispiest pan-fried mackerel or a juicy lobster salad with marinated fennel and spicy guacamole. Westbeach, on Pier Approach, offers views of the ocean alongside daily specials freshly caught off the harbours of Poole. For more casual dining, head to Aruba on the Pier for wood-fired pizzas, cool cocktails and a family friendly menu that also includes small plates, salads and sharing tapas.

Situated just steps from the sea, Urban Reef restaurant offers Purbeck lamb, New Forest venison, Dorset sausages, apple tart and excellent Blue Vinny and drum cheddar cheeses on its Dorset cheese board. The restaurant’s owner is passionate about local food, even owning his own small farm in the New Forest to harvest produce for his restaurant and hotel.

Finger sandwiches, delicious pastries, crumbly scones with fruit-stashed jam and clotted cream – nothing beats a Dorset cream tea. We recommend Derby Manor Hotel – newly refurbished, it is already regularly rated number one on TripAdvisor by residents and locals alike.

Out to impress? Why not splash out with a martini tea at the Norfolk Royale Hotel and relax in Edwardian splendour? Or head to the Cumberland Hotel, a beautiful Art Deco hotel overlooking the bay, and tuck into a selection of Dorset cheeses, grapes and home-made chutneys along with a refreshing cuppa or glass of fizz.

Slow-braised cuttlefish, champagne-cured mackerel and Dorset-farmed Artic char are among the options on the menu at the Green House Hotel, along with a tempting choice of Dorset wines. In addition to our wines, there are plenty of local breweries and cider farms to quench raging thirsts.

And finally, end your culinary voyage of discovery with a cool cocktail at Canvas, Bournemouth’s only loft bar, in the trendy ‘Soho’ BH2 district. You’ll find Canvas on Poole Hill, open from 5pm every night.

It’s also the ideal place to catch the World Cup games, be they England or whichever nation you adopt. The massive stage area in the Live Loumge that has hosted the likes of James Morrison and Craig Charles is the ideal setting for a memorable Russia 2018.

If (when) England let you down, why not adopt Brazil? The Samba Kings kick off Canvas’s World Cup coverage this Sunday with a match against Switzerland in an environment not to be missed. Bournemouth’s thriving international community (including students) mainly live in the BH2 area, not far from the language colleges and, of course, Canvas’s prime Poole Hill location. Expect the dancefloor to fill at the final whistle.

Tickets are £5 (£7 on the door) and that includes a welcome drink from 6pm and a selection of Brazilian snacks. Caipirinhas (made with cachaça, sugar and lime) are on sale two-for-one during every Brazil game or hit happy hour (5pm-7pm) during other matches where all cocktails are on offer.



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Editor in chief Suzi Dixon studied at Bournemouth university, went away for a while to work at The Daily Telegraph, then moved back to the sunny South coast for a quiet (er) life. Bournemouth News & Info is her website and she is assisted by the fabulous Fred From France in all things geeky and technical. Hire us to make your website, too, if you like.

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