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17 Must Eats In Hastings & St Leonards

There's more to us than fish and chips, but it's a good place to start.

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1. Fish 'n' Chips at The Blue Dolphin

Instagram: @pgofton

The Blue Dolphin Fish Bar staff cook proper fish 'n' chips in a deep fat fryer on Hastings High St. Worth braving the queue in the bracing wind, where you can chat with the locals about whether Maggie's chips are better.

2. Pub lunch at The Crown

Christopher Snook / Via

An independent freehouse on All Saints Street, The Crown is one of Hastings most rated gastro pubs. Boasting that magic mix of local art and locally-sourced food, open fires, craft beers, and crafty afternoons, The Crown is a boon year-round.

3. Street Food and Cocktails at The Observer Building

Instagram: @observerbld / Via Instagram: @observerbld

Derelict for over 25 years, the Observer Building on Cambridge Rd re-opened in summer 2015 as home to a pop-up art events programme. Throughout the summer they had street food "in the alley". You can now find burritos, falafels and vegan Indian street food at their indoor flea market. Plans are on the table to extend upwards to create student digs as well as permanent gallery spaces, arthouse cinema, shop and restaurant.

4. Indian Thali at The FILO

FILO / Via

The FILO is a pub-lover's pub, serving up their own ales, six of them, live music and banter. FILO began their popular Thursday thali nights about a year ago, making all of their own curries and dhals from scratch using fresh spices and their own-roasted garam masala for a home-cooked authentic flavour.


5. The Gonzo at Half Man Half Burger

Dave Brown / Via

Half Man Half Burger on Marine Ct St Leonards has only been open since this July, but owners Rory & Matt say they've had queues every weekend. Their new local following just can't seem to get enough of their craft beers, burgers, chilli cheese fries and "trashy" desserts. "The Gonzo" (pictured) features two patties, smoked bacon, HM!HB! Memphis Screamin' Whiskey BBQ Sauce and monterey jack.

6. Tush n Pat's Fishermen's Rolls

Tush and Pat / Via Facebook: Tush

The husband and wife team fry up freshly-caught fish – usually dab or plaice – and slam it into bread rolls with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pure, simple, cheap, and famous too.

7. Posh Fish at St Clements

Chowder to start, with salt cod, mussel, spring cabbage & potatoes

St Clement's is recommended by The Michelin Guide, Harden's and a whole bunch of broadsheet food critics, and why the hell wouldn't they? Fish fresh off the boats, including prized turbot and salt cod chowder (pictured), cooked with care and minimal ponce. The restaurant also has a great value weekday lunch menu and evening set menu.

8. Sunday lunch at Clubhouse at The Beacon

Instagram: @beaconclubhouse / Via Instagram: @beaconclubhouse

The Beacon "arts hub" on West Hill houses a bnb and artists' studios as well as an events space that transforms into a pop-up restaurant every Sunday. Buddies Dora and Jess run Clubhouse Sundays from 12-4pm in winter and 10-4pm in summer, serving up healthy, hearty, home-cooked food, mostly to the hungover and weary parents of small children.


9. Meal and a movie at Kitchen

Media 25 / Via

The building that now houses the KinoTeatr on Norman Rd St Leonards has been a picture house since 1913. It is now home to an independent cinema, the Baker Mamonova gallery of Russian art, and a pretty funky cafe named Kitchen, serving up delicious sandwiches, light mains and salads like glazed chicken with hazelnut (pictured).

10. Thai classics at the Boulevard Bookshop / Via Instagram: @smelsb

The residents of Hastings and St Leonards love dual purpose. First there's Kassa, the café-optometrist, then there's Boulevard Bookshop and Thai Café, both well-loved for a spot of lunch. Boulevard Books has much to offer, not just those who are easily bored by their company, but the millions who leap for joy at the mere mention of BYO.

11. Fruits de mer at Webbes Rock-a-Nore

Instagram: @tillybliss / Via Instagram: @tillybliss

It's a bit of a job isolating just one seafood restaurant to go to, 'cos Hastings has many good value, good quality restaurants serving up the classics. One friend enthusiastically calls out Whites Bar, another prefers Rock-a-Nore Kitchen, but Webbes have a broad and loyal following, and a number of restaurants to boot, including one in nearby Rye and The Jerwood Gallery café.

12. Afternoon Tea at Petit Fi / Via Instagram: @bettyaloha

Petit Fi, a cute hideaway on bustling George St in Hastings Old Town serving up colourful salads and plentiful sweets. Tiered cake-stands, pastries, savouries and seasonal mains make this the perfect spot to host a baby shower and/or scoff your face and wash it down with a hot choc.


13. American breakfast at Pelican Diner

Instagram: @jazminelle / Via Instagram: @jazminelle

Brunch. American-style pancakes, French toast, scramble, eggs Benedict. The Pelican Diner does it very well indeed, plus it's situated in a cracking spot close to the sea, in an Instagram-friendly blue-and-white fronted period building. Not to say the burgers aren't decent too.

14. Turkish barbecue at Ada

ADA Turkish Barbeque & Meze Bar / Via

At the right moment, you can't beat the smell of grilled lamb wafting through a dining room. Ada is a no-nonsense Turkish restaurant. Expect great value – £7.95 for a two-course lunch – friendly service, casseroles, baked dishes, grills, and the occasional extravagant salad presentation.

15. Homemade soup at Hanushka

Instagram: @hanushkacoffeehouse / Via Instagram: @hanushkacoffeehouse

Okay, so it's just about simple lunches, soups, cakes and coffee but who can resist nestling into a comfy sofa surrounded by floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on a blustery day? Hanushka Coffee House on George Street in Hastings is the perfect spot to meet friends or just hang out and read the paper.

16. Modern British at Pier 9

Instagram: @lottetravers / Via Instagram: @lottetravers

Pier 9 is situated in the boutique Zanzibar Hotel on Eversfield Place St Leonards. The food is upmarket new British, expect dainty presentation, sous vide, ceviche and velouté, but don't be put off, Pier 9 offers great value set menus for lunchtimes and on Sundays. They also have a cosy outdoor terrace.

17. Two scoops from Will the Cone-queror

Helena Wojtczak / Via

Willie the Cone as he's sometimes known shuttles real ice cream along the seafront on his tricycle during the summer months. His magnificent Italian ice cream is churned by Di Paulos in nearby Bexhill to old family recipes. Molto buono.