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Beachside Eats: The coolest coastal cafes in Sussex

Heading to the beach? You'll be wanting somewhere to eat, then. How about a laid-back beach cafe serving top quality grub al fresco? Coming right up, milady.

Nothing says summer like eating al fresco in a beachside cafe, watching the wave while you tuck into pancakes, fresh seafood, salty chips or a big indulgent sundae. We’ve rounded up five of the best beachside cafes for you, chosen for the location, view, food, warm welcome and general cool factor. Dive in….

Crabshack, Marine Parade, Worthing

Worthing’s family-run Crabshack was chosen by The Guardian as one of the top 10 beach restaurants in the whole of Europe. The menu is relatively small and changes daily, depending on what’s available. But whatever you choose, everything is done to perfection. From the fresh dressed crab served with the lightest of fries and fresh salad to the heartier dishes like fish stew and Sussex smokie – smoked haddock and buttered leeks in a delicious cheese sauce – along with pints of prawns, sandwiches and fish boxes for one or two with a little bit of everything, this is serious but unpretentious seafood heaven. Eat outside or grab a takeaway and head down onto Worthing beach.

East Beach Cafe, Littlehampton

Eyecatching much? The unique East Beach Cafe at Littlehampton is a feast for the eyes as much as the stomach, with architecture designed by Conran-trained Thomas Heatherwick. Food-wise, think uncomplicated seaside classics done very well. Fresh locally-caught fish, day boat fish soup, traditional fish and chips, crab, n’duja and spring onion linguini and tempura prawns with chilli dip are just some of the delights that have caught Muddy’s eye. There’s also a brunch menu served all day, with lighter bites like eggs Benedict, and the house speciality and most popular dish is salt and pepper squid with chilli, salad and alioli. Look out for the daily specials and the weekly Fish and Fizz offers.

Perch, Lancing Beach

Perch is an absolute one-stop shop serving coffee and cake, breakfasts, lunches, pizza….you could quite happily spend the whole day here and Muddy has, on more than one occasion. The food isn’t outstanding, but it’s more than good enough and very convenient. Currently the restaurant is open 9am – 3pm but there’s a kiosk running a full day service, 9am to 9pm, depending on the weather. The kiosk menu is smaller than the restaurant but you can still get your staples – coffee, breakfast rolls, fish and chips, ice cream and pizzas. There’s plenty of outside seating (not to mention the beach itself) and the overall vibe is busy, happy and friendly. Great for families.

Drift-In Surf Cafe, East Wittering

You had us at ‘surf cafe’. This stylish haunt in East Wittering is just next door to a surf shop, and the beachy vibes abound. It’s all driftwood-style panelling, light Scandi colours and rustic, sunbleached wood. The food is on the indulgent side and the coffee is reputed to be excellent – vitally important if you’re gearing up for a day at nearby West Wittering. There’s an extensive menu of breakfasts, salads, sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas and a really comprehensive and frankly mouthwatering selection of sweet and savoury pancakes. The sweet options are also available as waffles. This is one screaming out to be incorporated into a relaxed day with friends or family, just drift right in.

Lucky Beach Cafe, Kings Road Arches, Brighton

Best known for brunch and burgers – in fact, ELLE reckons this joint serves the UK’s best organic burgers – the fish, crab and vegan dishes at Lucky Beach are also worth getting to know. Everything is hyper-locally sourced, the fish is caught sustainably right here in Brighton and the meat is Sussex-bred and reared. The team behind this cafe also run Brighton’s only organic coffee roastery, so the coffee’s top notch too, in fact, it’s also sold at Selfridges. No wonder it’s raked in the awards. Soft drinks are made on-site, all the booze is local too. And alongside sister Brighton cafe Redroaster, the team raises money for and donates profits to social projects in Rwanda, where the coffee comes from.

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