With the America's Cup World Series starting this week in Portsmouth, we ask local blogger Penny Hopkins for the low-down on the best foodie spots around town
We’ve teamed up with blogger Penny Hopkins, author of the popular blog Hop’s Hikes & Bites, to bring you a guide to the top places to grab a bite to eat in Portsmouth and Southsea.
Here’s what she recommends to all those off to watch the America’s Cup World Series…
Many thousands of us will be heading to Southsea Common on the 24 – 26th July where food, fun and frolicks will play second fiddle to the big screens showing the nip and tuck that is the America’s Cup in the breathtaking AC45s.
To shore oneself up here are a few pointers from the Best Bite team, conveniently all just a coupla streets back from the common, in the Indy food mecca that is Osborne Road. We set off from Haslar though, where we find calm succour at both Hardy’s and Trinity’s on the Lightship, but we’re taking the other green boat over the harbour to Old Portsmouth and Southsea, the only way to travel – and bikes go free!
10 minute gun – best coffee? Some good choices but we rate Southsea Coffee Co at No 63, who grind the beautiful Hasbeans and have some great snacks – particularly recommend the rawsome cakes, which are in fact awesome too, try the tiny tiramisu.
If you are coming in via the station grab a take out from Canvas Coffee Shop as the coffee is top drawer (they use coffee from the Roasting Party in Winchester) and these guys are a Social Enterprise Pop-Up training barista skills to recovering addicts.
5 minute gun – missed breakfast in the excitement? Jump on the Teatray in the Sky at No 31 and go for their full breakfast, or BB’s favourite, the bacon, mushroom & gruyere crepe – and we’ll probably be back for full English Afternoon Tea Tray Style – best to book if you can
They’re off – pop into Circolo at No 78, for a quick pizza. We had a pizzette with soft drink for just £7, so we can be back outside to watch them rounding the mark. (Don’t forget to return for their Affogato…)
General recall – well never mind, there is just time to visit the popular A Bar Bistro, 58 White Hart Rd, which many locals still call the American Bar, situated next to Portsmouth’s vibrant fish market Viviers in old Portsmouth, just behind the Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing HQ on the Camber.
This is a delightful spot for lunch or dinner; enjoy the moules or whatever was caught that morning, simply grilled in butter, whilst sampling the extensive wine list, offering the opportunity for a decent try before you buy as the Camber Wines is just upstairs. They had a great Cote de Provence Rose offer when I was there. Next Fishy Friday is Aug 7th.
The winner, or is it a tie? – we’re not sure yet, but we think the Wave Maiden at No 36, is well worth a visit, not huge, only open in the evenings during the week, but this is the place to try artisan beer and cheese. Not cheap, but memorable, and great for a lighter snack if you’ve been grazing all day. Particularly recommend the twist & snout, who could resist? Open 6-11pm but 12 – midnight on Saturday and 12-10 on Sunday, but think they might all extend for AC. And one of our favourite small chains (there are only two of them) Belle Isle at No 39, fun, cheerful, value bar and decent range of burritos, club sandwiches, burgers and moules, quite a large space so you can bring the gang.
The Protest Card – has to be Gunwharf Quays – you know we try and support independents but there are a couple of reliably good small chains here starting with Loch Fyne for the fishies, Azzurro for the Italianos and Jamie’s Italian for those who are risk averse.
Penny Hopkins runs the blog Hops’ Hikes & Bikes (www.hopshikesandbites.blogspot.co.uk) which reviews the best places to eat around sailing hotspots in the UK, including Weymouth, Gosport and Portsmouth.