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“Good food, great service” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Restaurant at Drakes

The Restaurant at Drakes
44 Marine Parade, Brighton BN2 1PE, England
01273 696934
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Ranked #57 of 875 Restaurants in Brighton
Price range: $46 - $78
Cuisines: European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Description: Considered by many to be Brighton���s best restaurant, backed up by its status as the highest scoring local dining room in the Good Food Guide, The Restaurant at Drakes is an elegantly stylish setting for any occasion. Subtle lighting casts moody shadows across exposed brickwork and rich colours throughout the intimate dining room while Drakes��� cocktail bar offers airy sea views and excellent cocktails. The kitchen team insist on the best of ingredients, fresh and seasonal, including fish bought daily from local fishing boats, to create the excellent, refined menu that has earned the restaurant two AA rosettes. A special place, unpretentious in its warm atmosphere, it���s easy to see why The Restaurant at Drakes has such a reputation.
East Sussex, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
45 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Good food, great service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2012

We had booked as a table of 8 for a birthday celebration.
The restaurant itself is rather cosy, located in the basement of a large victorian property.
Our greeting was friendly and professional, being shown to our table.
As an amuse bouche, we were given smoked salmon on rye bread which was delicious.
My starter was the crab ravioli which was out of this world- a beautifully cooked, plumb ravioli pillow stuffed with creamy Newhaven crab meat and served with a gorgeous broth.
For main course I chose the beef which was nice but the portion was on the small side - but, what I did have was expertly cooked and presented beautifully.
We were also offered various warm rolls and butter.
None of us ordered desserts but we did enjoy some beautiful wine and cocktails. The bill came to around £600.00. We would return

  • Visited August 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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217 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Any
English first
12 reviews 12 reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“nice - not amazing”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2012

Sigh....I feel bad only giving 3 stars, because there was nothing wrong with it, but I have very high expectations. We went for the 5 course tasting menu, I explained I don't eat 'pig' products or sea food, so they tweaked the 2nd course which was mackerel in a cockle sauce...when I say tweaked they basically didn't add the sauce. Unfortunately all I ended up with was mackerel on a bed of fresh seaweed which was extremely salty.

I appreciated the in between dishes, this was a nice extra.....however, none of the dishes were amazing. The souffle was yummy though.

Like I said, it was good, just not amazing...we preferred The Ginger Pig just down the road in Hove.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Romantic evening”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2012

We visited on a Sunday evening of the Bank Holiday weekend and whilst not full, had sufficient guests to creat a subtle atmosphere. The setting was pleasant and we were in an arc of 6 couples. Later a larger group arrived who whilst bousterous were in no way imposing. The a la carte menu was select and small but catered for all. The drinks menu was extensive. The service was first class. The quality of food and presentation was excellent. The glasses of prosecco and in-between courses were lovely touchs and the chef's entree was delight and an excellent sign that the impending meal was going to be exquisite. I thought at ~£60/head (excluding drinks) it was excellent value for money

  • Visited August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“An Excellent afternoon”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012 via mobile

Excellent food. We liked that fact it wasn't very busy on a bank holiday afternoon. Service was good but could have been more attentive. Staff were very friendly. Set menu was very good value. Happy to endorse.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
“Four star restaurant but two star bar”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2012

Many people would say that the test of a good bartender is the breadth of their knowledge of fine booze. I would disagree. Show me a simple martini, and I'll tell you how competent he is. We ate at drake's on Thursday night whilst there on a brief break from london and started our evening in the bar. We were attended by a waitress who seemed completely unpeturbed by the dirty glasses on our table (left by the previous occupants). She took half of our order and looked very worried when we mentioned a passionfruit martini. She said she'd have to ask the bartender and so disappeared. Ten minutes later she still hadn't returned to finish taking our order but was wandering about in the hall moving chairs around. We called over another member of staff and ordered. When our order finally materialised fifteen minutes later, the passion fruit martini was fine but what was supposed to be a dry martini with a twist was cloudy, almost yellow and sweet. It appeared to be two parts lemon juice, one part vermouth and two drops gin. A gentle question to the waitress as to the unusual presence of lemon juice was met with the proud assertion that the bartender was a professional. However, they did change the drink without any fuss. It's just a shame that the replacement was exactly the same. Given that we can get a perfect martini at Duke's for the same price (admittedly minus the lovely sea view but on a positive note, also minus the rude boy lighting), both the drinks and the service were disappointingly poor.

I wish that the restaurant was listed separately here because that part of our experience was very pleasant and would be deserving of a four star rating. As other reviews have noted, the basement is circular. Ask for a table by the brick arches and away from the loos. Service was prompt, efficient and attentive and the food was well presented. We started with an amuse bouche of salmon with dill and anchovy mayonnaise. We moved onto crab ravioli with bisque served at the table (that is to say, we were given a single ravioli and the waitress then returned with a couple of tablespoons of bisque to pour over the top). The ravioli was somewhat bland but the bisque was superb, piquant and thick. My advice; lose the pasta and serve the bisque alone. This was followed by fillet steak with a braised short rib served with carrots and potato croquettes. The braised meat was perfectly tender and falling apart, it's worth noting that we requested that the fillet be seared and blue. We understand that this dish is usually braised first. However, the fillet was done to perfection. We both chose a subsequent savoury (so few restaurants bother with this so it was quite a nice treat). The port and Stilton was wonderful and Mr Lisbonite enjoyed the cheese board, saying the selection was well chosen, although the portions were somewhat frugal (four tiny slivers of cheese). Pudding for Mr Lisbonite was a delicious gooseberry soufflé with what appeared to be a very good homemade ice cream. I was initially baffled by the absence of pie in what had been described as a trio of Italian lemon puddings. The panna cotta was firm and flavoursome and the sorbet perfectly sharp. But the lemon meringue pie was nowhere to be seen. I eventually realised that it had been "deconstructed" and that the sauce and crumbs smeared across the slate, coupled with the tiny pink meringue drops scattered about were it. Tasty but confusing. We ended the meal with port (good) and a very well chosen Armagnac flight. I felt that the rather unsubtle "right, I'll call you a cab then shall I?" as soon as the waitress had given me my card receipt was somewhat brusque, especially considering that we'd only just been served another glass of port and coffee, both of which we hadn't started. We were admittedly the last people there, but it was only 11 and they had been the ones to suggest we book for 830 instead of 8. 

We felt that it was obviously time to leave and so waddled off out into the night, pausing to look at the sea across the road before making our way back to our hotel. In summary, we enjoyed the food itself but the bar experience lost drake's a star. At the restaurant, everything was well cooked and tasty. A nice option for dinner a deux, but take our advice and have pre-dinner drinks elsewhere.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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