Where to eat in Brighton
There are more than 500 Brighton restaurants and cafes, and recently the traditionally laid-back culinary scene has started to buzz rather loudly. Big London chefs are moving in, national critics are taking note, and local ventures such as the UK’s first no-waste restaurant, Silo, are breaking important ground.
Silo mills its own flour, churns its own butter and composts 60 kilogrammes of food scraps every day in its rustic North Laine premises. Herbs are grown for them over at another new arrival, The Set Restaurant, where two top local chefs (formerly of the esteemed Gingerman group) are constantly evolving three parallel and highly creative set menus. There’s another interesting collaboration underway at favourite Kemp Town restaurant Sam’s of Brighton, where owner Sam Metcalfe has teamed up with French chef Ollie Couillaud.
For local catch, forego standard recommendation The Regency in favour of The Little Fish Market, a cash-only former fishmongers serving just 20 covers a night (cooked by Duncan Ray, ex of Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck). Opened in 2011, it’s one of the best seafood restaurants in the city, though it’s recently met with stiff new competition. At Hilton Metropole’s new restaurant The Salt Room, sister to acclaimed grill house The Coal Shed, you can order whole fish, by the weight, grilled over charcoal. If it’s curry you’re after, the brilliant new Curry Leaf Café serves South Indian street food and craft beer in casual split-level premises in the Laines. For breakfast try New Club, a lofty, retro-style diner opposite the seafront where you can wake yourself up with a blast of salty sea wind and a Chorizo Bloody Mary.
Well off the beaten track is Mediterraneo, where on Fridays and Saturday nights a Sicillian husband and wife serve authentic arancini, Parmigiana di Melanzane and limoncello cake in a space too small to be their sitting room. You’ll also need to book well in advance to secure a stool at the pass at 64 Degrees, where intricate precision cuisine is assembled under your nose. Dinner really is a performance at Brighton’s quirkiest restaurant Bom Banes, run by musicians Jane Bom-Bane and Nick Pynn. The filling Belgian food is served at mechanical tables (including one with a working model of the pier). New Polish-run arrival WitchEZ is another place where you go for the personality as much as what’s on your plate – though the stews, dumplings and rostis are delicious and beautifully presented. You’ll meet the resident witch at the door.
But for a while now, Brighton has been having an illicit affair with the gourmet burger. This got even more steamy with the arrival of cult London export MEATliquor on York Place. But favourite among Brighton residents are the supremely juicy takeaway affairs served by Burger Brothers (no website) – a duo so committed to bespoke burgers and cock-sure of their quality that they don’t even serve chips.
Brighton cafe and coffee shop pointers
A word about coffee, which Brighton, for a party town, has often been guilty of fumbling: look out for the name Small Batch. This passionate and ethically impressive local roastery now has six cafes (with a central flagship off Jubilee Square) and numerous other outlets, including meeting-place-of-choice at Seven Dials in the middle of Brighton, and a cosy wi-fi and pastry hub by Hove station. As the archetypal Brighton cafe, Small Batch places will invariably do you right, and like many of the city’s sackcloth and brushed-steel options, are deliberately austere.
For long philosophical chats, solitary poetry-writing sessions and entrenched hangovers you may feel more comfortable at the characterful and cultish Marwood (in the Laines) or its new sister coffeehouse, Presuming Ed (on London Road). The latter is housed in a former bank – if you’re eating, pick the table in the former safe propped on £5 notes.
The best Brighton restaurants for fish and chips
Of course sometimes, at the seaside, only fish and chips will do: though for some of the best it’s a hike away from the shore to family-run Bardsley’s. Also inland, next to Hove rail station you’ll find the city’s only daily gluten-free option, Wolfie’s of Hove.
Restaurants and cafés venue details
Silo 39 Upper Gardner Street, BN1 4AN. 01273 674259
The Set Restaurant 33 Regency Square, BN1 2GG. 01273 324302
Sam’s of Brighton 1 Paston Place, BN2 1HA.01273 676222
The Little Fish Market 10 Upper Market Street, Hove, BN3 1AS. 01273 722213
The Salt Room 106 Kings Road, BN1 2FU. 01273 929488
Curry Leaf Café 60 Ship Street, BN1 1AE. 01273 207070
New Club 133-134 Kings Road, BN1 2HH. 01273 730320
Mediterraneo 2A Clyde Road, BN1 4NP. 01273 674350
64 Degrees 53 Meeting House Lane, BN1 1HB. 01273 770115
Bom Banes 24 George Street, BN2 1RH. 01273 606400
WitchEZ 16 Marine Parade, BN2 1TL. 01273 673652
Terre à Terre 71 East Street, BN1 1HQ. 01273 729051
Iydea 17 Kensington Gardens, BN1 4AL. 01273 667992
Foodilic 60 North Street, BN1 1RH. 01273 774138 163
and Western Road, BN1 2BB. 01273 760190
MEATliquor 22-23 York Place, BN1 4GU. 01273 917710
Burger Brothers (no website) 97 North Road, BN1 1YE. 01273 706980
Small Batch 17 Jubilee Street, BN1 1GE. 01273 697597
The Marwood 52 Ship Street, BN1 1AF. 01273 382063
Presuming Ed Coffeehouse 114-115 London Road, BN1 1JL. 01273 911991
Bardsley’s 22-23A Baker Street, BN1 4JN. 01273 681256
Wolfies of Hove 90 Goldstone Villas, Hove, BN3 3RU. 01273 962395