Whether you’re visiting Bournemouth for a few days, planning to move there, or a local looking for a new spot, you may have already heard about the city’s reputation for top quality restaurants.

However, it’s not always so easy to pick the best restaurants in Bournemouth considering there’s such a large selection of dining opportunities here. Well, that’s where we come in!

We’ve been picky. This isn’t a list of every restaurant in Bournemouth (like some websites), or a list of the biggest and most well known ones. Instead this is what we believe to be the 12 best in the city.

They span many cuisines and different dining experiences, from small family-run eateries to chain restaurants. There’s restaurants with Michelin star trained chefs, and ones where a local lad has done good and followed a dream. But across these 12 you are guaranteed to find something that suits your taste and mood. Bon appetit!

The 12 Best Restaurants in Bournemouth

1. Arbor

Located in eco-friendly hotel The Green House, this award winning restaurant is fine dining at its best, but set in a casual laid back environment. Expect English cuisine made with fresh local produce that has been picked specifically to ensure it’s the best that the region has to offer.

But this isn’t just any typical English food. Arbor’s menu is inventive and creative and changes depending on the season. After all, there’s a reason why this restaurant has been awarded a Michelin Plate.

The Glazed Beef Cheek, Mushroom Ketchup, and Buttered Kale is a favorite dish of ours, not just for the taste but the fact we know exactly where the beef came from – Stokes Marsh Farm. While the Sweet Potato and Puy Lentil Cottage Pie is a good example of a classic English dish with a delicious twist to it.

The actual decor of Arbor matches the building it resides in – elegant yet unpretentious. It feels like a break away from the city, despite being in the heart of it, and is perfect for those special occasions and date nights.

Address: Green House Hotel, 4 Grove Rd, Bournemouth, BH1 3AX

2. Lola’s Spanish Tapas              

Lola’s is a small, cozy tapas restaurant that’s perfect for anyone looking to relax and enjoy a little taste of Spain. The staff are friendly and happy to help you pick out your favorites, or even suggest something new.

The decor is modern, stylish, and photo-worthy. This homely restaurant even holds comedy nights and live music events, and sometimes gives out free tapas so you can try something new. So as you might expect, this is a lively fun place that is always popular at the weekends. As for the food, well there’s a reason why this place is one of the highest rated restaurants in Bournemouth. The tapas here is spectacular.

With such good food, you might be happy to hear that the portion sizes are really generous! So make sure you visit when hungry. So what’s our favorites? Well the Spanish sausage on black pudding with eggs, Spanish omelette, and chicken croquettes, tend to always get ordered! The menu is comprehensive though, and there’s even a dedicated vegan menu.

This is definitely one of the best restaurants in Bournemouth for enjoying conversation, food, wine or gin (or both!) with friends and family. And if you do have any space after your tapas experience, order the sweet churros with hot chocolate sauce. Might as well completely embrace Spanish cuisine right?

Address: 95 Commercial Rd, Bournemouth, BH2 5RT

3. Hot Rocks

Looking for a Bournemouth restaurant near the beach? Then try out Hot Rocks Restaurant and Cocktail Bar which sits on Bournemouth’s beachfront and is known for its outside terrace with sea views.

This popular spot beside Bournemouth Pier serves international cuisine, so you’re bound to find something you like. The wood-fired pizza, Indian-style curries and fajitas are all great choices, but what this place has become known for are their huge 10oz ‘Big Kahuna’ burger. It’s juicy, delicious, and perfect after a day shopping or exploring.

The laid-back vibe in this Hawaiian-inspired restaurant is exactly what you need at the end of the day. Especially when enjoying one of their tropical cocktails.

Address: Pier Approach, Bournemouth BH2 5AA

4. Ojo Rojo    

If you love Mexican food, then Ojo Rojo is the place for you. This Mexican restaurant has everything you would usually expect like tacos and burritos, but they specialise in Mexican tapas so grab some friends and come taste a little bit of everything that Mexico has to offer.

Of course they also specialise in mezcal, the famous Mexican spirit. So unsurprisingly their selection of mezcal cocktails is superb. There’s three dining areas to choose from: the downstairs bar, upstairs, or the Hacienda, which is a wonderful outside seating area where you can order traditional food truck items like tacos.

The atmosphere here is fun, friendly, and there’s a real appreciation for food. If anything, dining and eating is treated as an experience more than anything else. The staff are very knowledgable about the menu too. So don’t be shy to ask for recommendations on what mezcal to pair your food choices with. In fact Ojo Rojo is home to the largest selection of agave spirits on the South Coast, with over 100 to choose from – so use the staff’s knowledge to your advantage!

If you’re looking for a real food experience in a lively atmosphere then Ojo Rojo is a great option. Plus they often hold events like quiz nights and mezcal tasting! No wonder they’re one of the best restaurants in Bournemouth.

Address: 106 Commercial Rd, Bournemouth BH2 5LR

5. Urban Reef

If you’re looking for one of the best restaurants in Bournemouth for beach views and a sundowner spot, then the aptly-named Urban Reef will be right up your street.

It was always a dream of Bournemouth local Mark Cribb to open up an oceanfront restaurant, and the hospitality and welcome you get as soon as you walk into Urban Reef shows that customers are really appreciated here. Customers aren’t hard to come by either considering the food is so good.

Expect a combination of world cuisines made with fresh local produce and a creative twist. Favorites include the Tuna Ramen, and Plant-Powered Burger. Urban Reef also has a great breakfast menu, perfect for grabbing something to eat early while people watching from the big outside terrace.

Even better, dogs are allowed on the outside terrace so feel free to take your furry friend along. You can also get wood-fired pizza to go, so if the weather is nice grab a pizza and sit on the beach for true laid-back dining. Considering all of that, it’s little surprise this is one of our favorite restaurants in Bournemouth.

Address: The Overstrand, Undercliff Dr, Boscombe, Bournemouth BH5 1BN

6. Pinocchio Italian Restaurant

There’s always something nice about eating at a family run restaurant. The atmosphere is welcoming, the food lovingly prepared, and your custom feels genuinely appreciated. That’s exactly how we feel when visiting Pinocchio.

A mainstay of Bournemouth’s dining scene, Pinocchio has been in business for over 30 years, becoming a favorite of many during those decades. This Italian eatery serves up delicious classic comfort food with a Mediterranean accent so expect dishes like veal saltimbocca and risotto with prawns and asparagus. Of course you can get many of the Italian classics (pastas and pizzas) we all know and love too.

To start your meal off on the right foot, order one of the restaurant’s classic cocktails or a glass of wine from the extensive wine list. They’ve got a small outside terrace perfect for people watching, the service is always friendly, and the prices affordable.

Address: 18 Poole Hill, Bournemouth BH2 5PS

7. Turtle Bay

This restaurant with its Caribbean cuisine has been a favourite with locals for years thanks to a menu packed full of delicious dishes that draw inspiration from across the Caribbean. There are many different options on offer but the Jerk Chicken and Caribbean Curry Katso deserve special mention.

We love Turtle Bay not only because it serves up some great food – but also because it has such a laid-back vibe. Here you can kick back with an ice-cold rum punch or relax with a cold beer – all while enjoying some good music. Best of all, Turtle Bay is just a ten-minute walk from Bournemouth Pier too.

If you want to enjoy drinks at their rum bar then make sure you’re there for happy hour, which runs from 10am – 7pm and again from 9.30pm-close (10pm on Friday & Saturday). Looking for a place to chill with friends after work? This could be it!

Address: The Citrus Building, 24 Madeira Rd, Bournemouth BH1 1NL

8. Cafe Bistro (Formally Known as Sal e Pepe)

This restaurant came under new management in 2020, but has only grown in popularity thanks to its hearty affordable food.

You’ll find a selection of international cuisine here, from chicken and steak dishes to Italian pastas and contemporary French inspired dishes. All served by friendly staff in a gorgeous exposed brick-wall setting.

As a bistro, you can also get a variety of wraps, paninis, burgers and brunch items depending on the time of day, making this a great place to stop in for lunch. But they’ve also got a notable wine selection, so it’s a nice dinner spot too.

Address: 43 Charminster Road, BH8 8UE Bournemouth

9.  The Crab

You’re in Bournemouth, so you have to try the seafood! One of the best places to do that is at The Crab, which is a lively seafood restaurant perfect for those who want to enjoy great food just a few steps from the sea.

This fine dining restaurant has two Rosettes and Michelin Star trained chefs, so there really is no better place in the city to enjoy seafood. Plus with their seafood sourced from fishing villages in Dorset as well as Newlyn, Brixham and Looe, you can’t really get any more local or fresh.

Try the crab claw starter if it’s on special – you’ll have a fun time eating it! The Fish Pie, and Seafood & Tomato Linguine are two of our favourites, but there’s plenty to choose from. There’s several vegetarian and non-seafood options too, perfect if you’re taking a loved one with you that prefers something from the land rather than sea.

Address: Exeter Road Bournemouth BH2 5AJ

10. Tiien Thai 

Craving Thai food? Then give Tiien Thai a visit! This restaurant is a favourite among locals and tourists alike for its authentic Thai cuisine and comprehensive menu. Expect items like Pad Thai, Drunken Noodles, and a number of curries. But also more unusual ones too, such as Steamed Sea Bass served in pineapple!

They have a great selection of starters including Spring Rolls, Prawns and Chicken Satay, and a wide range of main course options including some great curries and stir fries. The Taster Menu is also very reasonably priced and a great way to try out a few different Thai classics.

The service is friendly and the food is widely considered to be some of the best Thai food in the region. So it’s well worth it’s mention on our list of the best restaurants in Bournemouth.

Address: 105 St. Michaels Rd, Bournemouth BH25

11. The Real Greek              

Right smack in the middle of town is The Real Greek! As you might expect given its name, this place is all about serving up traditional Greek dishes. The menu isn’t vast – but what they do serve is done right. Their Chicken Souvlaki is always tender and tasty and the hummus and pita bread are the perfect accompaniment.

Tantalise your taste buds with a Mezze Platter or try their delicious Lamb Cutlets served with rice pilaf, garlic sauce and grilled vegetables. Whatever you decide on, you won’t leave disappointed!

It’s not fancy dining, but it’s tasty affordable food done in authentic Greek style. Which is exactly why we had to include it in our lost of best restaurants in Bournemouth.

Address: Unit UG1, Bh2, Exeter Cres, Bournemouth BH2 5DD

12. Wildwood        

Wildwood is a bright and airy restaurant with diner style seating (albeit done in a classy way) that specialises in pizza, pasta and grilled foods! The wide range of gluten free options is worth noting too.

It may be a chain restaurant but there’s often a queue to get in at the weekends because the food is so good. For that reason it’s worth making a reservation if planning to visit on a Friday or Saturday night.

The stone-baked pizzas are exceptionally good here, and so is the lasagne – which is probably the best lasagne we’ve ever tasted!

Address: 6-7 Richmond Hill, Bournemouth BH1 1BA