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The coast off Dorset offers a daily bounty of fresh seafood. From mackerel to mussels, the English Channel is renowned for its fish and shellfish.

The opportunities to enjoy fresh seafood in Dorset are seemingly endless, from market stalls and seaside shacks, to fine dining restaurants and your cottage back garden barbecue. If you want to truly embrace the seaside during a cottage holiday in Dorset, take the opportunity to buy, cook and eat fresh fish.

Here are some great suggestions for doing all three:

Buying Fresh Fish in Dorset

There are a number of fantastic fishmongers who sell freshly caught fish and shellfish. What’s more, most of them will prepare their products for easier cooking, especially important whilst on holiday.

Davy's Locker

Located in the Dreadnought Trading Estate in Bridport, this fishmongers supplies the general public and the region’s restaurants with the finest in fresh fish. They operate six days a week and price their seafood daily. In addition to all the usual local fish, they also import Scottish salmon and offer a number of frozen fish choices as well.

To give their customers the personal touch, they will prepare fresh seafood choices to order. Visit their website for more details.

The Fish Stall at Mudeford Quay

The Fish Stall is located in the heart of Christchurch Harbour; you can’t get much closer to fresh seafood in Dorset, other than catching it yourself. At the Fish Stall, you can even pick out live crab and lobster as an extra special seafood treat. The shop is open seven days a week and they can deliver fresh fish to your cottage as well.

Contact them today to see what specials they have on offer, or visit them on Mudeford Quay.

The Dorset Fishwife

This unique fishmongers offers door-to-door delivery of fresh fish, with a regular travel schedule of the region. They offer weekend and evening delivery on certain orders. When it comes to purchasing something to prepare in your holiday cottage, they provide a full filleting and fish preparation service and are an excellent source of fresh fish.

The Dorset Fishwife places an emphasis on local, sustainable sources and is an active member of the culinary community in the county. Learn more about their innovative service from their website.

The Fishbox Dorset

This fishmongers only sources fish from the local fishermen operating off the coasts of Dorset and Devon. They focus on small boats using sustainable fishing methods. All their fish is fresh, never frozen, and all caught recently, including favourites such as crab, lobster, scallops and mussels.

From their counter in Weymouth, they will fillet, gut and prepare your fish for free. Visit their website for more information.

Cooking Fresh Fish in Dorset

After a trip to the fishmongers, your next decision is how to cook it. The joy of spending your holiday at a self-catering coastal cottage is that you get to enjoy cooking and eating fresh seafood the way you like it. With portable barbecues and well-equipped kitchens, cooking on holiday can be just as fun and delicious as eating out.

Family Fish Pie

The Dorset Wildlife Trust offers this family-friendly meal that incorporate a variety of different locally caught seafood. Recommendations for great fish to choose for their family fish pie include pollock, sea bream, mackerel, and prawns.

For the complete recipe and cooking instructions, visit their website.

Pan-Roasted Dover sole

Chef Mark Jordan offers a fantastic recipe for pan-roasting some fresh fish. Using fillets of sole, he creates a great dish with crab-crushed potatoes. Jordan – who is a head chef in Jersey – is very familiar with Channel seafood.

Read more about his pan-roasted Dover sole recipe here.

Grilled Mackerel

You can cook freshly caught mackerel that the entire family will love by incorporating Chinese flavours with the smokiness of the barbecue. With help from your fishmonger, you can marinate and cook the entire fish for a summertime treat.

Here are all the details from BBC’s Good Food recipe for mackerel with sizzled garlic, ginger and tomatoes.

Fish Stew

Andy Gray may have grown up near Northampton, but his delicious fish stew recipe is perfect for the bounty caught off the Dorset coast. This low-fat choice includes prawns and can utilise a number of different whitefish varieties. It is perfect all-year round, but can be especially nice on a rainy or chilly day.

Here is the recipe from the Great British Chefs for a sustainable fish stew.

Eating fresh fish in Dorset

For some, great seafood meals are best left to the experts. If looking for a seafood restaurant in Dorset, there is no shortage of choice. There are plenty of places that make the most of the sea and its delicious produce.

South Deep Café, Poole

Near the vibrant Parkstone Yacht Club, this café is perfect for enjoying a day (or evening) on the coast. It is close to bike trails and nearby Poole Park, and it offers all you need to enjoy fresh seafood. With the rotating menu and outdoor seating, they take advantage of seasonal availability. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a special Sunday service.

For more information and sample menus, please visit their website.

Crab House Café, Wyke Regis

Overlooking the coast, this seaside café focuses on great seafood and great flavours. The restaurant manages their own oyster beds and puts a clear emphasis on serving them in unique and delicious ways. As their name suggests, they also specialise in locally caught crab. Rustic and interesting, the Crab House Café has even received a stamp of approval by British seafood expert and chef Rick Stein.

To join this celebration of Dorset seafood, visit their website to learn more.

The Olive Tree, Bridport

Just a stone’s throw from the town market, the Olive Tree takes advantage of local produce. Named one of the best fish restaurant in the UK by The Sunday Times, the restaurant’s head chef Stephane Frigon loves cooking with fresh seafood. They offer Exe mussels, salmon, local clams, and plenty of local fish dishes. They also serve “The Spectacular” which includes a selection of different seasonal delicacies served with vegetables, a white wine sauce and crusty bread.

For more details about the Olive Tree’s passion for seafood, please visit their website.

Hive Beach Café, Burton Bradstock

This popular restaurant typifies the Jurassic Coast with stunning views and fresh seafood. Located on the beach, visitors rave about their delicious herring, sardines and fried mackerel fillets. Throughout the year, the Hive is quite busy as their name suggests. But their reputation for speed, service and amazing food keeps people coming back time and time again.

This restaurant is dog and child friendly as well. For more information, visit their website.