Step through Joe’s Bar, named after one of The Seahorse’s first guests and friend of owner Mitch Tonks, and you’ll enter the bright and convivial dining room that has been a welcome staple of Dartmouth’s eating out scene since 2008.
The Seahorse is the embodiment of Tonks, a man whose love of food and hospitality knows no bounds. A keen fisherman, passionate food lover (as well as the brandy) and impeccable host, Tonks and the restaurant's co-founder Matt Prowse has established a place that is beloved of people in the West Country and beyond.
In 2022 the founding duo passed on the restaurant to a new, younger team, comprising Tonks’ son Ben, who is head chef, Ben’s girlfriend Bronte Story, who is general manager, and Jake Bridgwood, who has been with the restaurant from day one and is now chef director. The trio have maintained the cordiality of the restaurant, where you’ll typically find groups of people tucking into a second or even third bottle of wine as the infectious ambience of the room takes over.
The restaurant’s menu continues to be underpinned by a love of Italian food but also of fresh fish, of which the restaurant takes two deliveries each day from nearby Brixham fish market, and a passion for grilling over flame. Dishes are often simply prepared to let the freshness of the ingredients shine through, with waiters proudly showing off the day’s catch to diners to help them with their choice.
At The Seahorse a service begins with the staff toasting each other with the day’s aperitivo – a tradition that shows that hospitality starts at home and with the staff. It’s an approach that has kept the quayside restaurant on the top of its game for almost a decade and a half. We’ll drink to that.