Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
Matt and Cat are always grateful for your suggestions for places to try next. If there’s a food venue you want them to visit,...

Matt and Cat are always grateful for your suggestions for places to try next. If there’s a food venue you want them to visit, just leave a comment here with your suggestion. They check this post regularly and every suggestion is taken on board… although with so many great places to eat on the Island they might take a while to get round to visit each one.

If you’ve got a comment about a particular restaurant they’ve already visited then please comment on the review page, not here.

Please check they haven’t already been to your suggested venue by using the search feature, as otherwise your wisdom might get deleted unread!

They won’t normally respond directly here in this page, but watch out to see whether your suggestion is taken up. To keep the page to a manageable size comments here are deleted once they get old and/or when the review suggested is written.

Latest comments are at the top of the page

  • da yw wyth says:

    Adgestone Vineyard has now changed hands. The whole approach has been freshened up, with chickens and a deck outside, and two scones rather than one for the excellent cream tea! Try it and I’m sure that you will now enjoy an unalloyed welcome from the charming new hosts. Hurry, though – 21st Dec is the last time it will be open until it re-opens in March…!

    M&C respond: thanks da that is a great tip – we’ve never been there. So don’t know what it was like before, but looking forward to finding out now!

  • da yw wyth says:

    Under the Umbrella Tree (East Cowes) – perfect for a “light bite”!

    A homely atmosphere, with potted geraniums, spider plants etc.all round the window, the windows themselves look nicely un-tampered with. A quiet but convincing welcome, and good straightforward choices presented with care and a minimum of fuss.

    A very good point is that a salad garnish is only provided if asked for – rather than being piled on regardless without asking!

    A lovely tasty panini (panino?) with succulent and good quality ingredients, along with a tasty cup of tea in a nice down-to-earth cup.

    A prime spot overlooking the newly-burgeoning heart of East Cowes. Try it, I say…!

  • Nick Churchill says:

    Hi Matt and Cat, don’t think you have visited the Broadway Inn, Totland? Worth a visit. I ate there last Friday 1st November and had their homemade burger and it was yummyness in a bun with hand cut fries. Great value at £6.50 !! Obviously there are other items on the menu and they do, I am told a fantastic Sunday roast at £7.50 a serving.

    Matt and Cat respond: no, not yet, but a recommendation from you is something we always pay attention to, Nick!

  • Tim b says:

    Have you reviewed the Chine Inn in Shankin lately?? Visited yesterday, and had a fantastic lunch in what is surely one of the finest pub dining locations on the island.
    All our food was spot-on; the pork belly, blue cheese risotto and cod loin, all tasty, fresh and reasonably priced. With great service and decent beer it couldn’t be faulted!
    Only shame was it was so quiet because this kind of cooking deserves to be appreciated!
    Highly recommended.

  • Steve Williams says:

    French Franks at the top of Union Street, Ryde might be worth a visit by the intrepid duo, but I suggest you bring a pair of ear plugs if you don’t want to be drowned out by loud music being played through wall mounted speakers.

    My wife and I visited around 4pm on Tuesday 22nd October 2013, the music being played on the right hand side was so loud we could hear ourselves speak.

    We would like to visit again to try the food one day but the experience has put us off.

  • Mary says:

    SuzieQ – If you’re after good tapas try “Amabi” in Cowes (near the West Cowes side of the chain ferry). We went there this Summer and loved it – very good authentic tapas cooked by a Spanish chef who knows what he’s talking about. Good atmosphere and service too.

    Hopefully this will help you recover from the bad tapas you had at Carisbrooke!

    Mary Arthur

  • Clare says:

    Have had 2 really good breakfasts in the Café in the Victoria Arcade , Ryde. Very welcoming, clean, bright and doesn’t have that terrible greasy food smell that always put me off previously. The breakfasts are excellent with nice bacon – I am very fussy about bacon ! 🙂

  • Jo says:

    I suggest the perfect place for an afternoon tea in Southsea. Situated very near the King’s Theatre, the Casa de Castro has the most wonderful cakes and pastries with a small and restful courtyard garden and welcoming but unobtrusive service. I had some delicious lemon drizzle cake which I will certainly have again on another visit.

  • suzieq says:

    have just had the most disgusting meal of my life in a new place called tapas 44 in carisbrooke. It was advertised on the price is wight and as we love tapas and have eaten it extensively thought we would give it a try. Whatever you do dont!!! We sat in a completely empty restaurant for 40 minutes (if we hadnt paid in advance we would have walked) when the meal came eventually it was unlike any tapas I have ever seen. Clams allegedly in white wine arrived dry on a massive plate of salad, the crab cakes were soggy and greasy again on a massive salad bed my husbands beef strips were completely obscured by rice and they served his meatballs on a dish containing slices of bread in gravy!. The final insult was a bottle of wine for £15 which you can buy in Lid l for £4.99 Yes I know restaurants mark up wine but that was ridiculous. This restaurant does not deserve to be called tapas and I have complained to the price is wight website

  • Jan says:

    Hello Matt & Cat,
    After visiting the new restaurant Rendezvous Newport (Holyrood St) on Saturday evening, I wanted to send you a message of recomendation. We had a most wonderful meal complimented by a fantastic ambiance, and extremly tasteful decor.
    Hope you will consider visiting in the future

  • da yw wyth says:

    Queenies Tea Room, Ventnor Sea Front. A welcoming approach with all the choices presented on a blackboard in an inviting way. Cream teas have pride of place, so what could be more fitting for a Sunday afternoon!

    So well worth a try – I think the venue has a lot of promise, and with just a few tweaks could be outstanding!

    It’s a really great location for a tea-room and the shop is bright and cheerful, though on the day of my visit was playing Latin American music seemingly left over from its days as a Tapas Bar!

    Disappointingly, plain scones were not available. The alternative fruit scones turned out to be stupendous apple, cinnamon and sultana affairs. Great in their own right, but more like a rich fruitcake in texture than a scone. The large portion of jam was really superfluous in this situation!

    The tea materials were nicely presented complete with dainty tongs for the sugar cubes. However, the absence of a strainer suggested tea-bags and lifting the lid confirmed this. Also no separate jug with hot water, but it may be that the cream tea folk do receive this.

    So well worth a try – I think the venue has a lot of promise, and with just a few tweaks could be outstanding!

  • Alex says:

    The Chine Inn, Shanklin

    Tucked away on a steep path by the side of the chine overlooking the the sea, the Chine Inn would be easy to miss if you are walking on the seafront. The extra effort of climbing the path brings rewards in both excellent food and stupendous views. It is reputed to be the oldest pub on the Island and has long been my favourite.

    What a perfect way to spend a couple of hours, sitting on the terrace with superb food, well kept ale and a wonderful view.

    This year has seen the arrival of a new chef, Helen, who was at the Pointer which has a very good reputation for its food. I had pork belly priced at a very reasonable £10.50, a favourite which I normally order when I see it on a menu. I must say it usually disappoints against a benchmark set many years ago by a chef in a Southsea pub who has now moved on. The Chine Inn has more than cracked it! A large succulent portion was presented with perfect crackling, mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked vegetables. What a perfect way to spend a couple of hours, sitting on the terrace with superb food, well kept ale and a wonderful view.

    Food is served all day with specials available for 6pm. While I was there the specials board was being prepared for Sunday lunch, rump of lamb was on, another fave but sadly I could not make it due to other commitments. They hope to be open all winter but it depends on what trade is around, with food like that it shouldn’t be a problem once the word gets around.

    I’m off there today for lunch, I have been dreaming of that incomparable pork belly all week!

  • Peter Kirchem says:

    After years of varying degrees of awfulness, THE BREEZE at Island Harbour near Newport seems on an even keel, serving wholesome food in a very pleasant environment, both inside and out. Amazing views up the Medina towards Cowes
    You might care to give it a try!

  • da yw wyth says:

    Seems to be no review on here of the Falcon Inn in Ryde? Deserves a glowing write-up for the cooked breakfast alone! For both quality and value this is far and away the best pub breakfast ever in the area – and a good flexible choice of components (e.g. mushroom, beans, black pudding etc) Choice of areas in which to eat – including pleasant outside areas. The hot drink is included, and only 50p charge for an extra cup! The one slight drawback is the lack of clarity as to whether the sheltered area with table under a lean-to rood is an indoor or outdoor area, and therefore whether smoking can take place. Clarity would be handy for both diners and smokers, I feel. Otherwise top marks!

  • Lizzi Eyre says:

    Hi guys

    You have got to come down to try out the amazing Food Court at Cowes Parade this year. They have a great and unusual selection including handpulled pork baps, burgers, surf and turf wraps to name just a few. It is really great value and probably the best offering of food here in Cowes!!!

    Would love to know your feedback

  • Sean says:

    I would be interested in your Cowes Week Report!

    Especially if your popping into Cowes newest bar…Berties
    I did have not seen any food mentioned except complimentary table snacks (if you pre-book a table) in this over 21’s burlesque/cabaret style bar

  • Sean says:

    Ref: Cowes Week 2013…apart from the musical highlight of The Wonderstuff in the Marina on Tuesday night (they must play ‘Size Of A Cow(es)’)

    Any interesting food stuff happening like pop up restaurants this year? Your in with them there welly wearing regatta sorts so thought you might be in the know!

    I did see foodie Jay Raynor is giving a talk at The Little Gloster but thats in September, and not much (new) mentioned for Cowes Week 2013 eating?

    M&C respond:
    we are going to see Jay Rayner (how could we miss that?)but AAM Cowes Week didn’t approach us to get involved this year so we don’t have any particular insights! We might go and do our annual survey of menus if anyone is interested.

  • James says:

    Hi, I visit the island every couple of years and noticed last week when i was down that the taj tandoori in sandown which is a family favourite is now called the eastern eye. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit there and try it out but I’d like to see what it is like, so please try it and let me know, thanks.

  • da yw wyth says:

    why not try out the new coffee shop and deli in part of the former Brading Experience premises in Brading. Complete with Graces bread! Not sure how viable it will be with so little else on offer in the ghost town that is the present-day town…?

    Matt & Cat respond: Not a bad idea. We might just do that.

  • Jane and David Lewis says:

    Visited The Hut at Colwell on Tuesday – previously Barefoot on the Beach. Limited menu – we had cheeseburger and chips with coffee. Very good
    cheeseburger but rather pricey at £10. Mussels and crab were not available, which disappointed some diners, and there weren’t many! We heard cake and sandwiches requested, but they only provide meals. Clean and fresh decor, lovely position, but a disappointing menu.

  • Sean says:

    Reading your archived review for Cinnamon Indian Restaurant in Ryde I know its incarnation ‘Island Spice’ is on your list.

    Wanted to say we had an amazing meal there Friday night, the food was excellent, the service and especially the presentation! Would not hesitate to recommend!

  • Sue says:

    Last Sunday we stopped at the Roadside Inn Nettlestone for Sunday Lunch. We sat out the front (we had out dogs with us). The choice was Roast Beef which was lovely, three different veg, Yorkshire pud, roast spuds etc. The young lad which served us was very polite and looked after us very well. In all a very nice meal, representing excellent value for money. A traditional English Sunday roast, well done to all concerned. We will return.

  • Sue says:

    We went to the Culver Haven café last week when we stayed in Bembridge. It does the best Apple pie and clotted cream on the island. None of this horrible Apple Pie with currants and cinnamon in but just lovely Bramley Apples. We always stop there every trip (sometimes twice.

  • Sean says:

    Popped in The Stag (horsebridge hill) on way to IW Festy. Looks great after its refit, now in same group as Fishboune Inn/New Inn. Menu was very fresh and we ordered a salad and baguette which were very nice indeed. Will be returning to sample an evening meal soon, but was shocked Sparopramen lager cost me £4.95 a pint!!

  • Sean says:

    Will we be getting an IW Festy Report from Wendy again this year?

    It has influenced our eating decisions in past years, both what to have and avoid!

    (request for any Gluten Free goodies she spots would be appreciated)

    Matt and Cat respond: Thanks for your comment, Sean – your wish is our command!

  • Sandra says:

    Just so you can update The Siam Pearl Thai restaurant in Shanklin has reopened.
    My family and I had a very enjoyable meal there this evening, the chef is the same one as Inthe past although front of house staff are new, and rather inexperienced ,but the food was as good as ever.

  • John & Hilary Woodhouse says:

    Dear M & C

    Have you had a chance to visit New Nammet in Shanklin yet? In the old Mamma Mia location. Been there twice now. Excellent reception, superb local food & good value for money. Usually busy.

    Contrasts with Morgan’s opposite, which has now resorted to free WiFi – another reason NOT to visit!

    M&C respond: good idea J&H, we hope to go there. It’s certainly proving popular.

  • Joe Fishburn says:

    It is a members Club but willingly accept public from off the street.

  • Joe Fishburn says:

    Matt and Cat would you be able to do a review of Cowes Combined Services and Social Club (The old RBL).
    Sarah is a great cook and does some really good meals.

    M&C respond: is it fully open to the public, or is it members only?

  • Jacqueline Chambers says:

    Dan’s Kitchen, St Helens.

    Great staff, great food. Prices comparable to a pub but MUCH better quality. For something a little bit special. Try it.

  • The Roadside Inn says:

    My goodness ,how amusing our tablecloths are causing such a reaction !Our customers are loving our decor and love the fact we are making an effort .Our OAP lunches are going down well and again these customers love the fact they can sit in a warm and welcoming setting and enjoy good food at great prices and feel they are somewhere a little bit special .Our decor we feel has the look of a cosy country pub and the table cloths were inspired from french/Italian bistros .Our aim is to offer something slightly different from other pubs .To say booking is not essential is a strange remark as again this Sunday we sold out of roast dinners as we often do ,so the comment booking is often essential is relevant if you know you definitely want to dine with us on certain days .
    To keep comparing us to past landlords is silly as we have certainly put our own mark on the Roadside and have given the community back it’s village pub .

  • Bushy says:

    Rather than criticising the tablecloths, we should be celebrating the fact that a (mostly) young and enthusiastic team are making a good effort to revive a village pub that was in danger of being closed down and redeveloped. Three years ago this was a lively pub with a very cosmopolitan clientele, but the management at the time walked away because of the rent being charged by the pub company, and the next landlord (despite his comments to paul s) drove off most of the regulars through a combination of hideous “gothic” décor, harsh lighting and incredibly loud music: a combination guaranteed to drive away diners as well as killing the conversation that is a key feature of any village pub. The new team are providing good food in a proper pub atmosphere: a formula that I greatly prefer to those pubs where food is the only emphasis.

    By the way, I like the tablecloths – they remind me of many Bavarian hostelries!

  • Dave Bally says:

    Although a Grockle, I have family connections to the Island, and make regular sailing trips and cycle tours.

    On somevsailing forums, visitorsto the Newtown/Shalfleet areaI have recommended “The Dairy Deli”, farm shop and cafe at Shalfleet, part of Calbiurne classics. I have not yet had an opportunity to visit there yet, but would like to know what our esteemed gastronomes make of it, their website is


  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    As I previously stated,Paul, the thought of sitting down for a meal with a bar full of pool players and drinkers chattering away about 6 feet from you is not ideal. I have eaten in several pubs and restaurants on the Island and never encountered red and white chequered tablecloths. I’ve seen them in Gossips at Yarmouth and the cafe in Monkton Street but there again, they are cafes.

    With respect to clientele, when I go past during the week there is hardly anyone in. One guy told me it does better at weekends.

  • paul s says:

    The Roadside – I did some work for the last owner a couple of years ago, he told me that despite getting positive feedback from the few diners he served, in general the pub wasn’t supported locally so he moved on.
    I found the pub to have a small but regular group of vocal ‘wet led’ customers who contrast starkly to what the new owners seem to aspire towards.
    I would think that the suggestion “booking essential” is not used as this is obviously not the case, and will deter the casual diner when passing.

  • SueA says:

    Three Buoys – Appley Beach. New bistro/restaurant above the Appley Beach Cafe opened a few days ago. Fantastic setting, especially on the balcony overlooking Ryde Sands. Excellent menu, we went for Brunch, all very fresh and innovative, and great choices for us veggies. Emphasis on fresh and natural ingredients, foraged leaves, edible flowers etc. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff. A great addition to the Ryde eating scene. We’ll definitely be going back for dinner.

    Matt and Cat respond:
    Thanks for your comment, SueA. We’d spotted that Bay Grill had been renamed, and we look forward to trying the food at Three Buoys.

  • The Roadside Inn says:

    Firstly thankyou for your comments on our pub .We have only been trading at the Roadside since December having never run a pub before !!!!! I am pleased to say we have been so well supported since our opening by our locals and those who have further to travel .Our Sunday roasts are becoming well known already as good quality ,good value meals and often now booking is sometimes essential as we regularly sell out .
    To compare us to a greasy spoon cafe is an unfair comment ,everyone who comes through our doors comments on the look and feel of the pub and think we have made a great effort with our decor .Feel free to visit our Facebook page and view our photos .Yes maybe our tables are close together but no worse than many other pubs unfortunately that is the space we have and we use it the best we can .We have had such lovely comments and support since we opened and as we are new to this trade we are eager to learn .I would like to add that people like us who decide to have a go in this time of recession I believe should be praised and supported ,if not we all know the pub is a dying trend and it would be a sad day to see little pubs like ours disappear .

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    I cannot comment on the food but I have been to the Roadside for a quick pint to check out the eating arrangements.

    The eating area is too near the bar. Not an ideal place for a quiet meal.

    The tables are too close. I suggest they take out the armchairs from the alcove and put two tables in there and re-arrange the rest to give more space between the tables.

    The tables are covered in red and white checked cloths which looks very much like a greasey spoon cafe. These should be replaced with white tablecloths.

    Given the closeness of the bar to the dining area, I would eat early before the drinkers arrived

  • da yw wyth says:

    Can I echo the comments of SOPHIE VEENENDALL from last July regarding the Beach Shack at Steephill Cove? This must be the best vantage-point for a panarama of the cove, and positively Mediterranean in its feel. Goergeous crispy baguettes and ever-fresh fillings, accompanied by top-notch coffee! Don’t arrive too near closing-time, though – everything is so fresh that the local crab – and even the ham – may be gone by that time!

  • iow surfer says:

    Well we have been to the roadside, a couple of times now, and we have had the roast and we thought it was very good value for the quality and amount. I think this pub is trying to achieve something a bit better then being just a pub. I have met the chef, James, and he sounds like he knows what he wants to achieve and i have all the confidence that he will, with a bit of support,so i would advise to check them out!

  • Keith W says:

    In all my disappointment I neglected to name the culprit – of course it is the Union Inn in Cowes.
    I am now frequenting the Pier View instead. Such a shame, the Union used to be great.

  • brading boy says:

    Re: Roadside Inn Nettlestone.
    Not sure about the last review, as I called in last Sunday and found the place empty. Only one choice of meat & unfortunately that was cold, ok when returned re-heated, but still a bit pricey.

  • da yw wyth says:

    It’s crystal clear it’s the Union that’s being talked about…

  • Neil (Local) says:

    Keith W… interesting comments. But it would be useful if we knew where you were talking about?

  • Keith W says:

    We are Cowes residents and we used to love this old town legend. However, the young new landlady seems to inexperienced and her start has not been good. She fails to understand the significance of this pub and need to keep a niche in order to gain back the regular crowd through the harsher winter months when the yachties aren’t in. She misses a trick with the new menu – we ordered a starter of seafood selection. It was average and contained a standard selection that you could find anywhere. It failed to show off the fantastic local seafood available on the island – Bembridge crab, Ventnor dover sole and lobster. It came with a bland French baguette. Why could the chef not prepare home baked bread using the flour milled locally? This would really impress. There is so much Isle of Wight produce – garlic, tomatoes, seafood and fish, beef, pork. Yet the kitchen fails to showcase any of it. The all female staff are underskilled and rude. We sat at the large table by the end of the bar (we have sat there many times) and no one served us. We had to ask. One barmaid sat checking her Facebook page, while the other two talked loudly about their boyfriends. Also, through the winter one of the real features of the place is the open fire. No one bothers to light this anymore, and it adds to the cold feeling of the place.
    Olivia – please take note from your regulars on whom you depend on out season. Step it up or find someone who can.
    Keith Winters.

  • da yw wyth says:

    Great discovery today – a new tea and cake venue towards the top of Ventnor High Street – going by the name of “Cake”. It is an offshoot to one side of the shop “AtSarahsHouse” housed in the former Stiby & Elderfield store.

    The tearoom itself is beautiful – restrained colour scheme with classic furniture and real bay bushes in pots in various corners. Window to the back looking out towards holm oaks.

    The cakes? Gorgeous textures and flavours abound. My date and walnut cake was moist with almost the texture of a brownie, fabulous spicy tang to it. Another customer left saying she had just eaten the best chocolate cake in the world.

    The icing on the cake? The enticing sign outside advertising “sumptuous cheese scones”! I will have to return another day at bit earlier in the day, before they sell out like hot…. scones!

    Matt and Cat respond: Thanks for your comment, da. We were in Ventnor last night, dining at El Toro Contento and spotted ‘Cake’ on our way back to the car park. It looks lovely from the outside – from what we could see with our noses pressed to the window at 11pm at night!

  • Bushy says:

    The Roadside Inn at Nettlestone is now well into its stride, having got most of its local trade back and now doing very reasonable food. The young chef, James, is genuinely interested in customers’ views, and is doing a good range of properly home cooked dishes. Sunday lunches are particularly popular (essential to book) and there are some innovative touches in the bar snacks (e.g. crispy duck with pancakes). For the pre-quiz snack on Friday, they even laid on a “retro” moment by providing scampi in the basket for a fiver!

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    Absolutely cracking little coffee shop at Whippingham. The cakes are a joy and the surroundings peaceful. Excellent spot.

  • da yw wyth says:

    Could I suggest dropping by at the Coffee Shop at Whippingham Church Centre? Bright, clean and full of fascinating displays on the more obscure aspects of history of church and churchyard.

    Coffee and soup are of the instant variety. However, it is the cakes that elevate this venue into the elite category! Hearing that they were made by “a local lady and her daughter” was immediately a good sign, and so it proved to be when I bit into a memorable coffee and walnut cake. The main thing, and worth the visit in its own right? Here is to be discovered the ULTIMATE cheese scone…!

    Matt and Cat respond: you know exactly what we like, da…

  • Cay says:

    Hello Matt and Cat,

    May I suggest you both take a trip to Shanklin and try Fine Nammet. A welcome new addition to the Shanklin restaurant scene!

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