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A meal with a view

PUBLISHED: 22:11 28 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:56 03 March 2010

A RESTAURANT with a view - now that's something of a rarity.

Many of our finest eateries in Suffolk are renowned for their excellent service, top-quality menus, superb food, their lovely welcome, their intimate and relaxed ambience, all essentials for that special meal for two.

A RESTAURANT with a view – now that's something of a rarity.

Many of our finest eateries in Suffolk are renowned for their excellent service, top-quality menus, superb food, their lovely welcome, their intimate and relaxed ambience, all essentials for that special meal for two.

But what about the view from the window?

I know it's not essential to have a view, especially if you are tucked away in that candle-lit corner about to pop a special question, but looking out into a busy street – even worse to have passers-by staring back at you! – or a dark night, is not exactly a conversation starter during starters.

Surely, a lovely view of rolling green countryside, a river awash with bobbing boats, or an aerial view over a sprawling metropolis is what we want to look at as we enjoy those delicacies the chefs slave over a hot stove to provide.

Now I know one place you can get a great view to admire while you eat – my favourite resort of Felixstowe.

What better than to look out to sea, any time of the year?

It was disappointing to hear that the plans for a new restaurant on a revamp of the pier had sunk beneath the waves because that would have been something.

Imagine sitting in the world's biggest revolving restaurant, taking an hour to complete one circle, high above the waves of the North Sea, with a panoramic view of nature's most powerful force.

People would have come from miles to enjoy the experience.

Relaxing with the family with plenty to see – from the seafront down to the port, the enormous container ships coming in and out of the harbour and rolling by, the tiny yachts, the high-speed ferry, Sealand's twin towers perched on the horizon – and the view changing minute by minute, mouthful by mouthful, course by course.

Sadly, it's not to be.

But there are still plenty of other places on Felixstowe seafront where you can grab a bite to eat, a cup of coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner, and look out onto that marvellous view.

Take The Alex, which has been given a brilliant makeover by new owner, Tim Yeo.

The upstairs restaurant has one of the best seaviews on the whole of the Suffolk coast and I always envy those lucky enough to get the window tables!

With its excellent food and relaxed surroundings, it's the perfect place to watch the shipping in autumn, the waves crashing onto the beach in winter, the gardens bursting to life again in spring, and the shore packed with sunseekers in summer.

By night, there's a different view altogether as the Felixstowe illuminations come alive.

No, not just the sparkling array of light fountains, lanterns and strings on the prom and pier, but the array of container ferries and night-time fishermen whose lights twinkle out at sea, suddenly visible through the gloom.

And just down the road, there's another place to eat – the Spa Pavilion Lounge restaurant, just a prom's width from the sand and shingle.

Then there's the Cliff Café, perched in the cliffs on Bath Hill, and a bit further down, Mrs Simpson's tea rooms and the Fludyers pub, and down at Felixstowe Ferry, The Victoria, all with great views of the sea and a changing scene to enjoy all year round.

These must be some of Felixstowe's greatest assets and yet are hidden pleasures, except for those who have already made the discovery.

Is a sea view the missing ingredient from your meal out?

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