Bites: On Dorset Beaches

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Bistro on the Beach, Solent Promenade, Southbourne, Bournemouth (01202 431473). Wed-Fri 7-9.30pm, Sat 9am-4pm, 7-9.30pm, Sun 9am-4pm.A beachside position, no curtains, no tablecloths, no price shocks and no great surprises - but satisfaction from the menu means weekend dinners are booked up months ahead. They're opening another in Christchurch in November. Dinner's a fixed price of £14.95 for, say, leek-and-parmesan risotto with scallops, tiger prawns with chilli and lime dressing, ribeye with onion mash, salmon with spinach crust and leek sauce; monkfish wrapped in Parma ham with tomato confit, then passion fruit and white chocolate parfait.

Bistro on the Beach, Solent Promenade, Southbourne, Bournemouth (01202 431473). Wed-Fri 7-9.30pm, Sat 9am-4pm, 7-9.30pm, Sun 9am-4pm.A beachside position, no curtains, no tablecloths, no price shocks and no great surprises - but satisfaction from the menu means weekend dinners are booked up months ahead. They're opening another in Christchurch in November. Dinner's a fixed price of £14.95 for, say, leek-and-parmesan risotto with scallops, tiger prawns with chilli and lime dressing, ribeye with onion mash, salmon with spinach crust and leek sauce; monkfish wrapped in Parma ham with tomato confit, then passion fruit and white chocolate parfait.

Moonfleet Manor, Fleet Road, Weymouth (01305 786948). Daily lunch and dinner. Gorgeous Georgian hotel that's famous for going out of its way for families, but visitors can enjoy lunch or dinner and breathtaking sea views from its two restaurants. Light lunches among the palm trees in the Verandah consist of club sandwiches, Caesar salad and so on for less than £10. Dinner in the elegant restaurant is £22.50 or £26.50 for three elaborate courses: calf's liver, black pudding, kidneys and herb risotto for the lower price; beef fillet, wild mushroom tartlet, foie gras and fondant potatoes or turbot with salsify and port jus are typical top-whack dishes.

New Inn, Church Knowle, Dorset (01929 480357). Daily lunch and dinner. A village pub en route to Kimmeridge that people seek out for its food. Fish is delivered from Poole and it's fantastic. You won't find a fresher or vaster piece of haddock in batter (£9.45). Vegetables are crunchy, chips are frozen. Good beers and a large garden.

Riverside Restaurant, West Bay, Bridport (01308 422011). Tue-Sat lunch and dinner, Sun lunch. Heaps of really good seafood, and views across the bay. Fish comes whole and grilled, or more elaborately - John Dory fillet with black olive mash, roast tomatoes, herbs and balsamic dressing (£16.50). Starters are simple, seafood soup is one vast and crowded chowder for £5.50. Lovely puds like treacle tart. All adds up to £20 plus.

Shell Bay Seafood Restaurant, Ferry Road, Studland, Isle of Purbeck. (01929 450363). Daily lunch and dinner until October, then Fri lunch, Sat lunch and dinner, Sun lunch. Poised at the entrance to Poole Harbour and reached by ferry from Sandbacks or west from the Isle of Purbeck this informal restaurant has a singular appeal. And by serving brilliantly fresh, mostly local seafood simply but imaginatively cooked, it doesn't abuse its position. The sweetest, juiciest scallops might have Thai spicing; John Dory with samphire and a kumquat chutney, mahi mahi with beetroot and celeriac mash, lemon sole simply with chips. The full works is around £30.

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