The best places to eat in Lowestoft
- Credit: Archant
Lowestoft may not have the foodie renown of its seaside neighbour Southwold, but there are tasty treats to be found in the town and its surrounding villages. Here’s our selection of places to go.
1. The Jolly Sailors
This popular and characterful pub and restaurant has been given a recent makeover by new owners Moss & Co, which has given three other pubs in the region a revamp, and is now a gleaming gastropub. One thing the new owners couldn’t improve on was the location, right on the sea front overlooking Pakefield beach. Tables inside and on the outside terrace afford a wonderful view and there is miles of beach for a post or pre prandial walk. The food is not quite as dramatic as the view, but it draws from local suppliers, the fish of the day is locally caught and there are a range of interesting vegetarian options such as sweet potato, spinach and coconut curry and a chargrilled aubergine and buffalo mozzarella burger.
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Bridge Road, Lowestoft
The website of this cosy eaterie bills it as “a small town restaurant with big ideas” and it does have a few tricks up its sleeves. While it serves creative dishes from scratch for its lunch and dinner guests every day, it can offer a more personal service. If you book the six-seater Chef’s Table right next to the kitchen you can have a mystery five-course menu cooked just for you and in front of your eyes. You might not know what you are going to get, but head chef Hayden guarantees it will be “the pinnacle in taste and freshness” with seafood plucked from the sea bed just hours previously and herbs picked minutes before being used. Hayden will ensure you are eating what is at its absolute pinnacle in taste and freshness. We are talking about crabs that were wandering around on the sea bed hours before being served to you or herbs picked minutes before they are used. The drinks choice is similarly specialist with a bespoke cocktail list and more than 100 varieties of gin.
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3. The Waterfront Restaurant
Church Road, Kessingland
With warmer weather imminent (it can’t snow all year, right?), there are few things better than enjoying an alfresco meal while taking in the stunning views of Suffolk’s Heritage Coast from The Waterfront Restaurant opposite Kessingland beach. The Thursday ‘Paella Night’ is always popular, but any day of the week you can pick up delicious dishes such as red snapper pan fried with chilli and soya dressing on a bed of purple kale (£12) or home made fishcakes filled with salmon, smoked haddock, crab capers and herbs served on a bed of salad with samphire and chilli sauce (£9.95).
4. The Plough
Blundeston was picked by Charles Dickens as the birthplace of one of his most famous characters, David Copperfield, and the quiet village, three miles from Lowestoft, has never forgotten with road names such as Copperfield Terrace and Dickens Court. The Plough Inn, a former coaching stop, is also mentioned in David Copperfield, being the place where the “willin’” stage coach driver Barkis starts his journey. It is much changed from those times with a restaurant and games room. The restaurant is renowned for its Sunday roasts (£15 or £8.95 each), but its beer battered fish with celery salt seasoned chips is also worth seeking out.
5. The White Hart,
Adnams pub and restaurant The White Hart, which dates back to the 16th century and offers stunning views across the Blyth estuary, has its own smokehouse on site. It is used daily to create dishes on the menu such as Adnams Blackshore Stout and coriander cured smoked salmon with horseradish Crème Fraiche (£7.50), smoked haddock scotch egg with curried mayonnaise (£7.50) and smoked Mackerel pate with melba toast and a cress salad (£7). You can also buy the smoked salmon and kippers from the shop on site to take home with you.
6. The Third Crossing
This seafood and steak restaurant is located in the picturesque Haven marina in Oulton Broad. You can get whole lobsters, either served plain, in garlic or thermidor, served with new potatoes or French fries and salad. The place is also renowned for its steaks, which can be given a surf and turf boost with garlic prawns or a half lobster. Bring your appetite.
Sparrow’s Nest Gardens, Lowestoft
This is a great place for a lazy Saturday morning breakfast. Martello’s is known for serving the best coffee in Lowestoft, and the brew comes free with the also none-too-shabby full English here, if you grab it before 10am. You also get to welcome in the day looking out across the landscaped charms of The Sparrow’s Nest gardens in the North Denes area of town.
8. The Seafood Restaurant
Norfolk’s first seafood restaurant and still going strong 39 years later. Often frequented by the leading lights of the turf after a day’s racing at Great Yarmouth Racecourse, the award-winning restaurant is renowned for serving the freshest North Sea fish and shellfish. The lobsters are caught, in season, in the cold waters and rough grounds of the North Norfolk coast, by traditional potting methods, and then are brought to the restaurant’s own lobster tank. Just take your pick. The selection of fish, from the same local fishmonger the restaurant has been using for 30 years, moves with the seasons but if the wild sea bass with chilli, garlic and soy sauce (£22.50) is on the menu you should grab it.
9. Upstairs at Baileys
For many people Spanish food begins and ends with tapas. Baileys has some fine examples, such as Pulp a la Gallega, thinly cut Spanish octopus served on potatoes with sweet paprika (£8) at its downstairs diner and deli, but on Friday and Saturday evenings its upstairs restaurant opens up for some Iberian fine dining. Led by a Catalan chef the a la carte menu includes treats such as Presa Iberica, grilled shoulder of Iberico pork, black garlic sauce, fondant potato and stewed petit pois (£20). An authentic taste of Spain in Beccles.
10. Mark Gee at the Tramway Hotel
Mark Gee and his partner Joanne Croom fought off the might of Tesco to purchase the faded Tramway Hotel and renovate it as a striking pub, seafood restaurant with rooms. Such independent enterprise should convince you to pay a visit, but the excellent food, which combines European influences with rustic, seasonal and sustainable British ingredients, should seal the deal. Dishes such as North Sea hake and pancetta fishcakes with a gherkin and mussel cream and crispy kale sound wonderful and how about tapas salted cockle popcorn as a bar snack if you’re just popping in for a drink? Beats a bag of pork scratchings.