New Forest Restaurants
You are spoilt for choice as long as you don’t mind a short drive. Here are some of our favourites, starting local, finishing with Bournemouth and Southampton if you’re striking out further.
The Beach Hut
Hengistbury Head/Mudeford. Hengistbury Head is where you can buy your own beach hut if you have more than £200,000 to spare. We rent (!) and when we’re there we cook for ourselves. But if you’re visiting for the day and haven’t taken a picnic, the Beach Hut restaurant is very good and a very family friendly place to visit. Get there by ferry from Mudeford Quay or take the little land train walk in from Hengistbury Head car park.
Barton-on-Sea. Very good menu and always some unusual wine on the wine list. Particularly good sea food choices though plenty of non-fish choices too. Fairly large and typically quite busy.
Milford-on-Sea. Personal favourite. Tiny restaurant, only about ten tables. Intimate, friendly and delicious. Very seafood orientated – the front entrance is a fish monger where you can buy fresh fish and shellfish – but has some other choices too. The tasting menu is always superb – who would have thought liquorice sorbet with homemade sherbet could be so good? Great for romantic meals.
Milford-on-Sea. Big, bold white building right on the beach. Made national news on Valentine’s Night 2013 when the sea got far too close and the wind was outrageous. The Army had to be called to evacuate diners who were being battered by stones picked off the beach by the wind and hurled in through the windows!
Choice of eating: wholesome, tasty café type food on the ground floor or restaurant fare on the first floor. Benefit of upstairs is outstanding views of the Isle of Wight. Family friendly throughout.
Milford-on-Sea. Brasserie style restaurant and bar. Good food and good atmosphere too. Family friendly.
Ringwood. Brasserie style also. Good value, very tasty food. Especially good at lunch time.
Ringwood. Excellent Indian food, beautifully presented. Only a bit pricier than an average Indian, but well worth it. There’s another Indian in Ringwood, Curry Garden, also good. There’s another standard but decent Indian in Brockenhurst High Street.
Ringwood. Standard format and family friendly. If you like that kind of thing, this is the closest. There’s another Prezzo in Lyndhurst, Lymington and yet another in Christchurch.
Lyndhurst. High end. We never understood how delicious Tarte Tatin can be until we had a proper one here.
Brockenhurst. Quite high end. Absolutely rave reviews all over the press: now very well known and popular. Book ahead. Up market brasserie style specialising in local produce.
New Milton. Very high end. Very good of that’s what you like.
Fish and chips
Big contrast with Chewton Glen, but sometimes nothing else will do. You can find decent fish and chips locally in Brockenhurst in a parade of shops set back on the on the left as you head out of the High Street towards the station. Best fish and chips for miles though is in Stanpit, on the road between Mudeford and Christchurch. This can be the perfect end to a day on the beach. Turn left out of Mudeford Quay, Stanpit Fish and Chips is about a mile on the left. You’ll find it when you see the queueing locals. It changed hands a couple of years ago, but so far has maintained its quality.
Again, many to choose from. Two that stand out near the pier are Aruba; large restaurant at the pier, standard brasserie fare, but family friendly, efficient and great location; and Westbeach, just along the promenade to the right as you look out to sea, excellent food and great atmosphere being right on the beach.
Many restaurants to choose from. Two sister restaurants that stand out are both called Kuti’s – one is a Thai down near the docks and one is an Indian on Oxford Street. Both worth visiting if you are in Southampton for any reason. The Thai has two floors: downstairs buffet is ok, but the a la carte upstairs is very good. The Indian food in Kuti’s on Oxford Street is absolutely excellent.