Looking for the best restaurants in Sussex?
Brighton and Hove is well served when it comes to fantastic places to eat; but sometimes you want to escape to the country and try something different. Thankfully the county of Sussex boasts some of the best places to eat in the country. In a county that covers nearly 1,500 square miles you can easily get lost when it comes to finding that perfect spot. Allow us to give you some direction with our top picks when it comes to restaurants in Sussex.
Rathfinny Wine estate was established in 2010 by entrepreneurial couple Sarah and Mark Driver. In 2018, The Tasting Room restaurant was added to the vineyard and offers the ultimate dining experience. Overlooking vineyards in the valley, the stylish glass window fronted restaurant offers tranquility by the bucket load and is the perfect escape from the city. Celebrated head chef Chris Bailey runs the kitchen alongside local talent, and between them a menu showcasing the best local produce has been curated. A lunchtime menu consists of two or three courses whilst dinner is a five course set menu, arranged as either meat, fish or vegetarian.
Whether you’re combining your visit with a picturesque walk from Devils Dyke, making a countryside getaway from Brighton or attending one of their regular events, The Shepherd and Dog is a thriving venue nestled in the sleepy village of Fulking at the bottom of the foothills of the South Downs National Park. Think toasty fireplaces, low beamed ceilings and a wooden rustic panelled interior. The menu boasts local produce cooked to perfection by their award winning kitchen team and you can enjoy everything from a classic pub lunch to fine dining style dishes here, great for every occasion.
The Sussex Ox sits at the foot of the Long Man of Wilmington and is surrounded by panoramic views of the South Downs. Ever changing craft local ales are served alongside a drinks list championing natural wine, homemade cocktails and soft drinks from Sussex. The fresh and seasonal menu uses meat from the pubs own farm 2 miles away, vegetables from their kitchen garden and fish from Newhaven fishmongers. The Sussex Ox is also home to one of the best beer gardens in Sussex with panoramic views of the South Downs and plenty of room for children to run around. They also serve a mean roast dinner on a Sunday too, but be sure to book as this pubs excellence is no secret!
The Crabtree Horsham is a family run public house, located in the beautiful Sussex village of Lower Beeding. They pride themselves in serving great local, seasonal food, organic wines and fabulous real ales in warm and welcoming surroundings. The Crabtree is family-run and headed by Simon Hope (who opened the popular Food For Friends) and Hamish Adamson-Hope who has a extensive background in restaurant management. Their food is a modern British pub grub with a European flavour influence meaning the dishes here are big on flavour. Head down on a Tuesday for their burger night and choose from a selection of their famous burgers plus a drink for just £12.
Situated in the village of Rusper, Horsham, the Ghyll Manor is close by to many scenic market towns and locations of historic interest and natural beauty. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner for residents and non-residents alike making it a perfect venue to punctuate a day of exploration. Dining is modern European with a focus on quality ingredients matched classically but with a little creative flare keeping it fresh. Dishes change seasonally and draw from the cornucopia of local produce and a changing wine list is selected to match the seasonality of the menu. The simple menu of four to five dishes for each course, has at least one well considered vegetarian option.
In the historic village of Alfriston you will find Wingrove House. This gorgeous 19th Century hotel and restaurant offers a relaxed sense of luxury, with its informal restaurant and stylish terrace and veranda. The spacious restaurant is bright and airy giving views over the terrace and village church on the Tye. Head chef Mathew Comben serves modern British fare with a focus on seasonality and sources from local Sussex producers wherever possible. Offering Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner there are plenty of ways to enjoy Wingrove House. It is the perfect spot for a delicious refuel whist enjoying the beautiful village of Alfriston and the surrounding Sussex countryside.
Situated north of Hurstpierpoint at Goddards Green, the Sportsman public house serves great food and real ales to the heart of West Sussex. Families, children and their dogs are most welcome at The Sportsman as too are walkers and cyclists. The menu showcases pub grub at its best and the selection of drinks is into way secondary, with local ales and a specially selected wine list.
A new addition to the well established Rathfinny vineyard is The Tasting Room. The restaurant is intimate, sleek and stylish overlooking the breathtakingly beautiful valley their grapes grow in. The kitchen is led by Chris Bailey, a chef who is renowned for his fine dining touch and this is certainly reflected in the menu. Diners can enjoy seasonal produce on the menu inspired by the surrounding South Downs, which changes regularly. The restaurant is open for lunch Wednesday to Sunday with dinner served Friday at Saturday evenings however pop in for their snacks menu from 3 – 6 pm and enjoy a glass of their exclusive sparkling wine and take in the spectacular view.
The Talbot Cuckfield sits in the heart of Cuckfield Village and serves a wonderful range of lunch, bar and dinner menus as well as the traditional Sunday lunch. It has an extensive wine list, regional ales, and a relaxed atmosphere. The Talbot is child and dog friendly – as any village pub should be. The Talbot prides itself on being a great place to entertain friends, family, and colleagues. Head down on a Saturday from 9.30pm where they host the Cuckfield Food Market in the courtyard!
Head chef of The Wheatsheaf Nilton grew up on a farm in Brazil and has a passion for cooking using fresh and whenever possible organic ingredients from reliable sources. His Brazilian roots shine through with regional dishes that pack tons of flavour featuring throughout the menu offering diners a unique taste of Brazil just 20 minutes outside Brighton. For this reason the pub oozes traditional country pub vibes with a welcomed difference. Nilton chooses local ales for the guests to enjoy along with wines and spirits from Sussex. Visit in the winter months and experience their beautiful log fire for added character!
The Schooner Southwick is an independent gastropub nestled on the Sussex shoreline between Hove & Shoreham, offering locally sourced meats, fish & seafood. Situated in an 18th Century building with a warm welcome, real fires and stunning panoramic views overlooking Lady Bee marina & the harbour, it’s a wonderful place to spend the evening or a Sunday lunch. They offer seasonal menus with gluten free and vegan options available. Just a stones throw away from the beach, The Schooner is the ideal place to spend an afternoon after a beach walk and they even have Bonios waiting for your four legged friends!
The Glass House Restaurant is located within the beautiful Wickwoods Country Club, Hotel & Spa.The first class experience begins as you walk through the door here with stunning interiors and natural light. Open for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner there is something for everyone. The dinner menu showcases the best of modern European cooking at its best cooked by their talented kitchen staff. Check out their roasts too, served from 12-6pm on Sundays.
Situated within the stunning South Lodge hotel, The Pass is a modern restaurant that focusses on providing diners with a culinary experience to remember. The Pass aims to take diners through an exploration of food, flavours and textures through a variety of tasting menu’s. The Pass was one of the first restaurants in the area to provide diners with an immersive open kitchen and chef’s table experience. Originally under the guidance of Matt Gillan, where he achieved a Michelin Star, the three AA rosette rated restaurant is currently under the guidance of head chef Ian Swainson. Ian brings 15 years of Michelin experience to The Pass, focussing on interesting ingredients and big bold dishes with plenty of artistic style.
The Plough Inn has gained a great reputation around town for offering quality home cooked food using fresh and local ingredients. Their extensive menus offer something for everyone and gives an opportunity to try dishes that you would not usually find in a traditional pub. They also offer two special boards which change frequently and really take advantage of products in season at the time. This venue caters for everybody, from kids to couples, from walkers to your everyday regular so head down and feel right at home.
Imagine low beamed ceilings, a cosy cavern of rooms, solid farmhouse tables by the fire and wonky floorboards. Picture perfect. The Fountain Inn brings charm and welcoming atmosphere to Ashhurt by the bucket load. This venue is well worth a visit if you want to escape to the country – whether it’s for their great outdoor garden area for the summer, or for their cosy warm inglenook fireplaces on those colder days. Sit by the water outside enjoying a pint of local ale and a homemade burger – perfect!
The Bull is a stylishly converted pub in the charming village of Ditchling, about 10 minutes north of Brighton. Think low timber beams, open fires and plush leather sofas. There’s also a terrace and a large garden with views of the South Downs for the summer months. The menu is affordable and changes daily including modern British classics, inventive fusion dishes and some lighter vegetarian fare. Great Sunday lunch menu and kids menu also.
This is one of Sussex’s two Michelin Star restaurants. Horsham’s Restaurant Tristan is housed within a 16th Century building within the historic town. The restaurant pride themselves on their seasonal menus that make the most of the wonderful produce available, creating simple yet original dishes and flavour combinations. With a la carte and tasting menu options available, restaurant Tristan is a modern and innovative dining experience that is refreshingly relaxed.
Another one of sussex’s Michelin star venues is Gravetye Manor, a beautiful country hotel set in 35 acres of stunning gardens. It is these gardens that influence the cookery on offer, with head chef George Blogg taking full advantage of the kitchen garden and produce from the estate. There are many dining options from the full seven course tasting menu through to relaxed garden dining and superb afternoon tea. There is always a sense of occasion when dining at Gravetye Manor, so be prepared for something exceptional.
Jeremy’s restaurant is set within the beautiful grounds of Borde Hill on the outskirts of Haywards Heath. Head chef, Jeremy Ashpool, has set about creating wonderful dishes that are as creative and modern as anything you will find elsewhere. The light and airy dining room is a fabulous space to dine in, but Jeremy’s comes into its own with the terrace overlooking their walled Victorian Garden. With thirty years’ experience in Sussex dining, Jeremy and wife Vera know a thing or two about how to create dishes that make the most of local and regional produce. Certainly a Sussex highlight, this is a dining experience not to be missed.
This former coaching inn for travellers between London and Hastings has been transformed into a modern British restaurant for Modern British diners. Within a stone’s throw from the fabulous Bodiam castle, The Curlew has twice been named Sussex dining experience of the year. Despite the historic backdrop to the restaurant there is a distinctly modern feel to it. From the quirky décor to the organic and biodynamic wine list, The Curlew is bang up to date with current culinary trends. The Curlew is a place where formal food meets informal dining, where the city and country brush shoulders, style meets stile.
Head to the Ockenden Manor website and you will be faced with the words “Tranquility, elegance and indulgence”, and this sums it up superbly. This fine Elizabethan manor house has been transformed into a luxury hotel and spa with a fabulous fine dining restaurant within. The beautiful dining room is awash with the style and elegance that you would expect from this historic building, and offers a unique setting for diners. Offering a full service from breakfast through to dinner this a restaurant for all occasions. The evening menu offers diners a taste of the best Sussex has to offer with a la carte and tasting menu options. Ockenden Manor is a destination venue that you can spend a whole day enjoying.