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The Independent Culture

Summer traffic will be heavy to Padstow, to Rick and Jill Stein's Seafood Restaurant and St Petroc's Hotel. Mr Stein's BBC TV series, Taste of the Sea, was a hit; the accompanying BBC cookbook won the Andre Simon Award. If these places are booked, why not go south to St Ives, where Paul and Debby Sellars run the Pig 'n' Fish, Norway Lane (01736-794204). Mr Sellars once cooked with the Steins, and his food is of much the same style: cod with thick herb crusts, variations on sushi, gutsy fish stews with Gruyere, croutons and rouille. Taped music can be irritating and wines should be better, but, if it were as perfect as the Seafood, it would be booked up. Open Tue-Sat, lunch 12.30-1.30pm, dinner 7-9.30pm. pounds 20-pounds 30. Access, Visa


If fame came in step with talent, Ian Bates, chef of the Chiswick, 131 Chiswick High Road, W4 (0181-747 8708) would be a star. Part of the reason he is a relative secret is the design of the Chiswick - a big, rackety place, painted lavender blue, fitted out like a canteen. Service is breezy, even cavalier. But Bates's food is gutsy and very, very classy. It could pass muster at Bibendum (where he trained). Perfectly cooked mackerel may come with a light mustard sauce; terrines are first rate, chutneys punchy and singular, puddings excellent. There is a decent list of affordable wines. Vegetarian meals. Open lunch Mon-Fri and Sun, 12.30-2.45pm, dinner Mon-Sat, 7-11.30pm. pounds 30-pounds 40. Major credit and debit cards


The Moorings, 6 Freeman Street, Wells-next-the-Sea (01328-710949) has just reopened after damage caused by a Rolls Royce careering through the front. The Moorings has a tiny bar, a small dining room and a cheery staff. Most ingredients are organic or wild, and local: cockles, oysters, dabs, trout, duck, even goat. Imports are used for spice: chillies, soy sauce and manzanilla for the oysters. Bread is from a local baker. The smoked whitefish pate is the best outside Brooklyn. Perfect for family meals, no place for smokers. Open lunch Fri-Mon, 12.30-2pm, dinner Thur-Mon, 7.30-9pm. Meals from pounds 15-pounds 25. Cash and cheques only