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Home | Recommendations and Tips | Insider: Mitch Tonks of The Seahorse & Rockfish

We are very lucky here in Dartmouth to welcome a number of celebrities to our little town. Our beautiful scenery, fantastic location and wonderful lifestyle here on the beautiful south Devon coast attracts many well known personalities to the area. One of our most celebrated local personalities is of course Mitch Tonks, the award-winning food writer, restaurateur and fishmonger who owns three restaurants in Dartmouth.

The Seahorse is a multi-award winning restaurant that serves some of the best fish and shellfish in the world, much of which is cooked over an open charcoal fire. Rockfish Seafood & Chips, which was recently recognised as Best Independent UK Fish & Chips Restaurant 2013, is a family restaurant and take away in Dartmouth serving fried & grilled fish, local fried squid, whitebait, prawn cocktails and plenty more. Mitch has also opened a new Rockfish restaurant in Plymouth at the National Marine Aquarium.

Mitch also plays a very important role in the community here in Devon. He recently opened a Seafood Academy at South Devon College passing on his extensive knowledge to local college students and apprentices. He is an advocate for the Dartmouth Food Festival and also champions the annual South Devon Crab Festival.

We’re sure you wanted to hear more about why Mitch Tonks loves life here in the Dart Valley so we decided to find out for you and while we were at it we asked him for his tops tips for things to do, places to go and where to eat out.

Can you tell us about a favourite day out of yours in the area?

My absolute favourite would be a trip out with my family in my little boat round the coast probably to somewhere like Beesands, pop in and buy some crab from Nick and Anita, sit on the beach whatever the weather! I think a new favourite this year will be a long early morning walk on Dartmoor followed by lunch at the Anchor Inn at Ugborough, which has just had a really amazing refurbishment and is going to be a really cool place to eat seafood & meat cooked on the wood burning fire. Can’t wait.

Where are your favourite places to eat out or go for a drink?

Alf Rescos for breakfast; Smith Street Deli for coffee and lunch; The Castle for a beer, that’s where you hear everything that is going on! I love taking a little trip up the river to Dittisham and enjoying some great seafood at the Anchorstone. I could go on, there are so many places here. Tweet me with more suggestions! @mitchtonks

What is your favourite time of year in Dartmouth and why?

More a favourite time of day really, I like to get up early and I suppose it is the springtime when the light in the morning rises fast just as you are crossing the river and you feel the sun start to warm your back and glint and shimmer on the water. It is stunning.

What is your favourite event that takes place in the town?

So hard to choose but I think I’d have to say the crab festival in August which I championed 2 years ago and is now an institution already. It celebrates this great local sustainable seafood. The South Embankment is covered in tables all beautifully decorated with 400 people sitting outside by the water’s edge eating crab, it is a great friendly family atmosphere, relaxed and fun. Other events and crab fun activities take place too. But I’d say book your tickets early!

Why should people make time to come and dine in your restaurants while in town?

Dartmouth is packed with good food options so you won’t be stuck for choice, come to us if you want a fabulous seafood experience, the food, the atmosphere, the wines, the best eating, sociable experience you can have.

What is your top tip for tourists visiting the town this year?

Make sure you take a trip on the Dartmouth Steam Railway, a great day out, a lovely way to see the countryside. And more importantly a serious tip, book your accommodation now for Dartmouth Food Festival in October- the best in the country in my opinion, not to be missed.

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