23 Devon restaurants with a view to dine for
If we eat with our eyes then why not make it a great view to go with the meal? Kate Haskell discovers a feast of restaurants and cafes in Devon that have views to dine for.
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The Guardhouse Café is located within the Northern Fort of Berry Head National Nature Reserve. On Torbay's southern tip, there are stunning views North to Torquay and Paignton, East and South over the sea with frequent sightings of porpoise, dolphins and sea birds. The guardhouse, completed in 1802, was used by the troops defending the fortress; inside the café you can still see part of the tunnel system which was built inside the fort all those years ago.
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The Breakwater in Brixham is just a stone's throw away from Berry Head. The cafe has long been there supplying ice creams and the like but in recent years this has developed into a fine eatery with a cafe feel in the day but more intimate dinners by night. This family run bistro offers stunning vistas of the half a mile long Breakwater with Torquay and Paignton looking enviously over from the other side.
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A pleasant stroll from Berry Head into town and you'll stumble upon the newest addition to the Mitch Tonks empire. His other restaurants in Dartmouth & Torquay have great views too but this latest addition in the historic fish port of Brixham offers the chance to spy on the very people that catch that little fishy ending up very soon on your little dishy! A take-away, a chef training academy and a first floor dining room means there is something for everyone.
4. Living Coasts Cafe, Torquay
A quick boat ride across the bay from Brixham and you'll come ashore at Living Coasts. Whether you want to see the penguins or not don't miss the café at Torquay's coastal zoo. The sweeping vista of sheltered, shining water takes in everything from Berry Head round to Torre Abbey Sands; cormorants dry themselves on the rocks below the terrace and you could even see dolphins.
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If you fancy something a bit more grown up whilst in Torquay or perhaps an indulgent cream tea then The Grand Hotel bar offers a different perspective of glistening views over Torre Abbey Sands and the victorian seaside town.With views across the bay, the elegant, award winning AA Rosette "Restaurant 1881" offers a daily changing Table d'Hote menu whilst the Compass Lounge and Brasserie offers more informal dining with brasserie style food, together with a range of sandwiches and lighter fare, all of which you can enjoy whilst admiring the view.
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6. Teignmouth Golf Club
You will never get tee'd off with the view from this restaurant! Arguably the finest view over Teignmouth, Shaldon and beyond and you don't even have to play golf! Just become a social member and you too can have your breath taken away by the sheer beauty of the landscape whilst tucking into a light lunch or try their Sunday carvery but booking is essential as it's a popular haunt for carvery fans. Some 800 feet above sea level the bar, terrace and dining room are understandably popular with golfers and non-golfers alike and it makes a great venue for wedding receptions and parties.
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Hop across the estuary from Teignmouth and you'll get a different view again this time from the upstairs of The Clipper Cafe in Shaldon. A relaxed bistro style café on the Shaldon waterfront with uninterrupted views across the Teign Estuary. The view across the busy river is ever changing with the weather, the bustling activity and the twice daily tide.
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8. Cafe ODE, Shaldon & Gara Rock, South Hams
A bit of a double whammy here as Cafe Ode in Shaldon, run by renowned chef Tim Bouget, has just opened another Cafe Ode at Gara Rock. Both have the the same ethical and sustainable principles that have made the original cafe award winning and a firm favourite in the area.. Their motto is"family friendly food that doesn't cost the earth". Whilst the Shaldon cafe also has amazing views of Teignmouth and beyond, Tim has chosen another breathtaking site for his new venture. Located close to the beach on the spectacular south west coastal foot path in the South Hams, Cafe-ODE, Gara Rock is a modern cafe with glass walls which has unrivalled panoramic views of the South Devon coast and the Atlantic beyond.
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Not all great views have to be of the sea. In the heart of Exeter you may think that a great view whilst you eat isn't possible but don't forget about this little gem. All locally sourced produce, even the tea is blended and the coffee roasted in Somerset, means that Tea on the Green is a busy restaurant serving lunches and tea and splendid Sunday roast which you can enjoy whilst taking in the splendour of Exeter Cathedral either inside or al fresco and all in the tranquility of no traffic!
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Gaze up towards Haytor Rock and sample the delights of this 2 AA rosettes restaurant that serves fresh, local produce. Home smoked meat and fish on the premises and even their own flock of hens for eggs means you really can taste a bit of the good life whilst your eyes take in the wild moorland.
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The Occombe Farm Café is all about delicious, fresh and local food sourcing as much of the menu as possible from Occombe Farm itself and it's this view you can take in whilst munching! Luscious farmland and rolling hills allow you to see and taste Devon at it's best.
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Back to the beach again but worth it for an outside seat at this little local secret. In front lies the sparkling sea and a sandy beach, behind a rolling valley, lush and green. Sample breakfast, brunch or lunch! BBQ's in the summer and evening meals. There is even a dressing up box where little kids (or even big kids!) can dress up and have fun by the sea!
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The historic Waterfront bar and restaurant in Plymouth re-opened with a well-deserved fanfare this March after being almost completely destroyed in last year's storms. A one million pound refurbishment and two of the finest landlords in the west country guarantee this high-end establishment will have food, clientele, drinks and ambience as classy as the view it has of Plymouth Sound from the water's edge.
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Look up from the waterfront and you'll spy another great Plymouth venue. Perched on Plymouth's historic Hoe and looking across and beyond Plymouth Sound, the food and the view make the perfect combination.
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We stay in the Ocean city for the new boy on the block- The Dock! This new venue burst on to the Devon dining scene last summer. Based at King Point Marina, Millbay, its contemporary, nautical styling and two outdoor balcony dining areas offer great coastal views.
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At The Venus Café you can sit gazing out over a seascape that is often named as one of the most beautiful in the world. Whether you're visiting the region or live locally, a trip to the secluded 'Blue Flag' awarded Blackpool Sands with its clear turquoise waters is an absolute must. Open daily, The Venus Company's beach café and takeaway serves the best, organically made, locally sourced ingredients with many of its dishes coming from the nearby land or sea. The company's philosophy is best summed up by their strapline 'Loving the Beach' with co-owners Michael and Louisa keen to support and help develop sustainability in the regional economy through enterprise and innovation.
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Plenty of coastal character with echoes of New England, The Cary Arms captures the essence of effortless seaside living. With a terrace providing beautiful views - on a clear day you can see across to Portland Bill - the Inn is already well known for its friendly style and gastro-pub dining such as superb Devon beef, Lyme Bay lobster and line caught seafood.
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Describing this venue as a shack may sound like I am doing it a disservice but it is a might fine shack with the delicious seaside food and a view to match overlooking Thurlestone Rock. A great pit stop on a salty air walk, compare notes with fellow walkers about the food, the view and how many dolphins you can spot!
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Once you have sampled the delights of the south coast head north and discover a unique seafront location overlooking Bideford Bay, Lundy Island and Saunton Sands in the distance. There's an extensive menu to satisfy all tastes with stunning views whether inside or out on two decked terraces.
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20. The Red Lion, Clovelly
The views as you come down into the village look out over the entrance to the Bristol Channel and Lundy Island. It is the most wonderful site looking down on the beaches and small inlets. The coastline is just so perfect that you almost expect a pirate ship to enter from one of the headlands. These days it's more likely to be one of the many restored tall ships of the area.
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The Inn is on the shore of the estuary where the confluence of the Taw & Torridge rivers meet. The rivers are tidal and constantly changing as you gaze across towards the yachts at Instow, the Marine Amphibious training centre, Chivenor on the shore of the Taw, Braunton Burrows and out across the Bar, Saunton and the Bristol Channel! Enjoy all manner of marine vessels: merchant, pleasure and naval as they sail past; or spy on the wildlife from wading birds, gulls, otters, seals and the occasional dolphin. You can even witness the picking of mussels which then appear on the menu!
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22. Saunton Sands, NR Braunton
This hotel can boast of unrivalled views across miles of golden sands, Braunton Burrows - World Heritage site and the beautiful sparkling sea. The AA rosette award-winning Art Deco restaurant overlooks this stunning view where visitors can enjoy contemporary European fine dining. The terrace in the warmer months enjoys the same vista and also the fabulous North Devon sea air.
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At 1,425ft (434m) above sea level this pub certainly wins the highest venue award!It sits isolated in the very centre of Dartmoor and on clear days the views are sensational. Overlooking the ancient Bronze Age settlement "Grimspound" and the numerous gullies of Birch Tor and Vitifer Tin Mines are a reminder that this was once a very industrious busy area. The colours and lights of Dartmoor are ever-changing and the mist rolling in and out can be both captivating and treacherous! Enjoy all this whilst sampling hearty home-made food and a selection of local real ales and ciders.