Updated: Nov 15, 2018
Knowing where to go to eat when you visit somewhere new can be a bit hit and miss. If you are in the mood for something different to the usual chain restaurants, then here are some suggestions to help make the most of your dining experiences in Portsmouth.....
Recently refurbished, Becketts is a boutique hotel with a fantastic restaurant. The interior is so inviting with it's wooden and exposed brickwork alongside an eclectic mix of elegant and modern furniture. The menu is split into brunch, lunch and mains and offers a range of traditional style bistro style food with a twist e.g. crab mac n' cheese - they do have the less fancy versions of these on the kids menu if you have little ones in tow. The Sunday lunch is amazing and would highly recommend this if you are here for the weekend. You can book a table on line too which is great.
Chambers is a lounge and bar offering fine dining. It's one of those places that everyone living in Portsmouth knows of. The interior is fab with the back drop of what feels like an old stately home. Complete with huge guilt mirrors, high backed chairs and chandeliers, it feel like a night at Downton Abbey. The conservatory is packed with big green plants offering a totally different, but great atmosphere to dine and if you are here during the summer, the sun terrace is great. The food lives upto the flamboyant interiors and comes highly recommended.
The Merchant House food offering is supplied by Need Street Food and it's a menu offering burgers and steak rolls with an asian twist alongside a vegan menu which just looks amazing. For me however, it's the sharing platters that are their forte - I am a 'fries' person and these come with all sorts or amazing toppings like the Hanoi Hangover Fries ( you do not have to be hungover to appreciate these!). But even if you go to enjoy one of the great ales the pub offers, a plate of thier rosemary and and salted fries are really really good.... oh and the coleslaw is amazing!
This is an Indian Tapas and cocktail bar and it's a really great experience as well as great food. The interiors are amazingly over the top with lots of colour, sparkle and a feeling like you are somewhere special - you wouldn't feel out of place getting all dressed up to come here, especially with the cocktail bar on hand. To order your food, you are given a piece of paper with all the options and you and your group choose between you what you want and tick the boxes which is then handed to the waiter - this is such a good idea as ordering tapas can be confusing to do in a group, but somehow doing it this way made the whole process much easier - they also give you pointers for group orders which is also very helpful. What can I say, really good food in a fab environment.
This is a record cafe... offering the most amazing pie and mash options it's definately a place to visit on a cold and rainy day. 21 pie options (including vegan and gluten free) alongside 7 varieties of mash and then there are various toppings you can add onto of that! I also love the 15 temperance cordials they serve with either still, sparkling or hot water. There is a shop attached which as you would imagine sells records and a really great selection of own branded merchandise. It is a small place and popular and so you need to be prepared to wait your turn - it is a strictly first come first served basis and is not dependant on your group size but you can always have a mooch in the shop while you wait.
Set in the historic Southsea Castle, the location of this place is really great and feels special as you walk through the gates of the castle to get into the courtyard. During the summer, the outside is amazing and a fab place to sit and enjoy a few drinks with your lunch. They offer breakfast, lunch, high tea and dinner putting a focus on homemade, rustic, and seasonal food which includes good traditional burgers, scampi, thai fish cakes, ploughman's, and steaks. They also have deli counter selling local produce.
Sourcing local produce from small, local independents, it is a predominantly a food store selling great foodie products, but they do have a small seating area where they offer breakfast and lunch. Fresh cooked food including tarts, sausage rolls, sandwiches, and pies - all served with delicious salads. Great selection of cured meats and bread alongside lovely cakes and coffee, it's certainly worth a visit.
Although not an independent, this place does GREAT thai food. Set in an old bank, the space here is amazing and as you would expect from a great thai restaurant, its dark with lots of low lighting which really sets the tone. Great food and a lovely environment make this a lovely place to go and eat some thai food - they also do great cocktails and have a good selection of world beers.
Now this isn't one specific restaurant, but more an area to go and eat. Gun Wharf Quays is home to all the main chains inc, Five Guys, Wagamma, Prezzo etc but more important is quite simply a fab place to spend an evening. Set on the water, there are great views, a great vibe and if you are here during the summer, it really is a lovely place to go and eat.
This place is an institution in Portsmouth! Set on Portsdown Hill, if you are looking for burger and chips, you have to go here - yes it's a burger van, but this van is open 24/7 364 days of the year (they close on Christmas day). It is what it is - they sell a HUGE selection of burgers and hot dogs and quite honestly the best chips ever - I said earlier I am a fries person, but these really are amazing and they come in a paper bag! The location is pretty great too - you will need a car - but you just pull up in the car park which overlooks the whole of Portsmouth, get your food, sit in the car and take it all in!