In a popular tourist destination not particularly blessed with good pub food venues, the Harbour Inn stands out on the seafront.
There are two entrances to the pub, one from the small lane packed with interesting gift shops (and a fresh fish stall), and the other on the beach itself.
Although the main dining area doesn't offer sea views, the bar does, as does the charming terrace area. The pub also has its own enclosed area on the beach itself, with a handful of benches - perfect for alfresco dining.
Inside, the Harbour Inn has a bustling brasserie-style atmosphere, with young waiting staff rushing between the kitchen and the dining areas. Bold, colourful local artwork adorns the oatmeal walls.
As befits a beachside pub, fish and seafood are in abundance on the wide-ranging menus. Piscine starters include the Harbour Inn fish soup (£5.70) and filo-wrapped tiger prawns
with sweet chilli dipping sauce (£5.50).
Regular main courses include the Harbour Inn fresh fish platter (£15.80) and whole fresh plaice with lemon butter (£12.50). There are plenty of alternatives for meat-eaters and vegetarians but fish is obviously big business at the Harbour and a blackboard of "catch of the day" specials are very popular. Swordfish and prawn brochette with yoghurt and chive dressing (£14.50) and seared scallops with balsamic glaze and bacon lardons on dressed leaves (£13.95) being highlights on this visit.
A starter of smoked salmon and crab parcel with crème fraîche and chive dressing (£6) was disappointing. The dish arrived literally two minutes after ordering it, and it showed. The crab meat had been clumsily wrapped in slices
of salmon and plonked on the plate with chopped red onion and a few undressed leaves.
The main course of mackerel with tomato and chive sauce (£10.95) was better. It arrived as two whole, headless mackerel perched on a bed of rich tomato sauce. The fish was local and very fresh indeed.
Of the homemade desserts, Bailey's crème brûlée (£4) was well made, if a little lacking in that alcoholic Bailey's thwack.
Being at the hub of a busy seaside town, the Harbour Inn attracts a lot of passing tourist trade and is very family-friendly. The bar area is often full of locals and people working in the harbour: it's this mix which makes it a must-visit.
PubChef rating (out of 10)
Ambience 8, Value for money 7
Flavour factor 7, Overall impression 8
BEERS: Otter Ale, Otter Bitter and St Austell Tribute
MAIN COURSES: From £8.50 to £22.50
WINES ON LIST: 20 whites, 23 reds, two rosés and eight sparkling wines and Champagnes. Seven of the reds and seven of the whites are available by the glass.
ANOTHER THING: The Harbour Inn looks out across the Cobb, the jetty made famous by Meryl Streep in the film The French