Restaurant Digest

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The Independent Culture

Rick Stein, of TV and cookbook fame, and his wife Jill provide a top class establishment overlooking the harbour in Padstow. The Seafood Restaurant, Riverside (01841-532485), is a converted warehouse with a white, airy dining room, with jazzy paintings and prints on the walls and crisp linen on the tables. There is a tremendous buzz about the place, making a lively eating environment for some of the finest fish dishes in the country. Simple sauces and emulsions accompany fish and shellfish literally straight from the sea. All extras down to the bread are excellent, but this kind of understated quality is the kind that costs. Open Mon-Sat 12.30-2.15pm, 7-9.30pm. All major credit cards. Set three-course lunch pounds 23, set dinner pounds 31.50. Three courses without wine, about pounds 35


Dedicated to locally caught fish, the Riverside Restaurant, West Bay (01308-422011), is a friendly place that has been on the premises 25 years and has matured into a great little fish restaurant. Enhanced by delightful views of the River Brid, the cooking ranges from humble fish and chips through to full-blown lobster dishes. Main dishes, served with a choice of potatoes or salad, may include grilled fillet of local brill with crispy spinach and sorrel sauce, or sea bass cooked en papillote with clams. The menu, which changes for every setting, is relaxed, whether you want a full or half portion, a dessert or just a cup of tea. Vegetarians and meat eaters are also looked after. Make sure you book: it's sure to be busy this summer. Open 11am-2.30pm and 6.30-9pm, but times vary according to the season. Main courses pounds 7.95-pounds 18.95. Access and Visa


Quite a departure from your traditional seaside offering, the Magpie Cafe, 14 Pier Road, Whitby (01947-602058), is set in an 18th-century merchant's house now run by the third generation of the Mackenzie family. Expect to queue and share tables: this is a real crowd puller, tempting customers with sea-fresh honest fare. Local haddock, cod, plaice, skate, turbot and salmon, grilled, fried and poached. A good selection of daily specials, salads (dressed crab is a must), vegetarian and meat options and desserts on offer. Cream teas available. Children are welcome, and well catered for. Open 11.30am-6.30pm (closed Dec-Feb). Main courses pounds 4.95-9.95. Access and Visa