Butley Orford Oysterage, Orford, Suffolk
Run by the Pinney family since the 1960s, Butley Orford Oysterage is a must-visit restaurant for seafoodies exploring the Suffolk heritage coast.
Butley Orford Oysterage is a popular eaterie in Orford with a long history of serving up delicious local seafood
I first ate at Butley Orford Oysterage over 15 years ago. Returning recently was like visiting an old friend and discovering, much to my relief, that it hadn’t changed a bit. It is still as authentic today as it was then. This restaurant is the sort of place that makes trendy joints look like teenagers who are trying too hard to be cool. Lunch here, after a morning exploring this historically significant village, and you’re guaranteed mouthwatering seafood washed down with a delicious bottle of wine. I ordered Angels on Horseback, the 1930s classic, followed by grilled mussels with garlicky breadcrumbs – heaven on a plate.The Foodie Travel Guide
- Enjoy a seafood lunch
- Buy smoked fish from Pinney’s shop
- Visit Orford Castle (English Heritage)
- Take a boat to Orford Ness (National Trust)
- Walk along the Suffolk Heritage Coast
The Pearl in Pinney’s Oyster
It’s thanks to the pioneering spirit of Richard Pinney that visitors to Orford can eat delicious seafood. Leaving London after the war, he bought a derelict cottage just outside the village, next to Butley Creek. Richard saw an opportunity to earn an income from restoring oyster beds that had lain derelict for years. He set about laying down oysters from Portugal which happily grew and fattened well, so his oyster business flourished.
Butley Orford Oysterage is on the Market Square
Butley Oysterage had been serving customers since the 1960s
Butley Orford Oysterage
In the mid-1960s, Richard opened a small restaurant in the village. He wanted visitors to taste the oysters and the fresh fish he smoked using whole oak logs. Today, Butley Orford Oysterage still serves simple honest food, fresh from the sea. The restaurant directly overlooks the market square, its red brick building a complete contrast to the pink painted Pump House Bakery opposite. Inside though, it’s distinctly no frills with cream walls and sparse furnishings. Metal-framed wooden chairs in the restaurant are like those stacked up in your local village hall; there are paper tablecloths, a few pot plants and hanging on the walls, old maps and photos of the Suffolk coastline.
Grilled mussels topped with garlic breadcrumbs
Have an Oyster Fest
The cool interior serves as a neutral backdrop to the warmth and colour that emanates from the chatter of happy dinners enjoying lunch, and to the plates of fresh seafood as they’re brought out from the kitchen. Freshly cooked lobster, seafood platters of smoked fish and oysters from Butley Creek, are all on the menu. For a true oyster fest, start with Angels on Horseback – oysters wrapped in rashers of smoked bacon and grilled, followed perhaps by oyster soup. Mains include classic dishes – skate wing with brown butter and caper sauce, grilled Dover sole and comforting fish pie.
Buy smoked fish from the Pinney’s of Orford Shop
Sailing boats by the River Ore
Visit the Pinney’s of Orford Shop
After lunch, walk up Quay street which leads to the River Ore, and you’ll pass Pinney’s shop on the left. It’s here that you can buy smoked delicacies, including eel and sardines, brought up from their smokehouses down by Butley Creek. Choose fresh fish for supper from the daily catch direct from the fishing boats, or perhaps smoked haddock fillets for that traditional British dish of kedgeree.
- The Suffolk Food Hall at Snape Maltings, just a short drive away, also stocks Pinney’s products
- Visit Pinney’s stand at Aldeburgh Food Festival in September
- Climb the 200 steps at Orford Castle, a Norman keep, for spectacular coastal view (free entrance for members of English Heritage)
- From April-October, catch the ferry to Orford Ness. Run by the National Trust, it was once a secret military test site and is now a flagship reserve for the RSBP
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Where to Stay in Suffolk
This converted watermill offers chic and elegant accommodation in an idyllic 12-acre countryside setting.
Rooms from £115 a night.
Please check with Butley Orford Oysterage and take me for one of the fantastic walks in the area.
How to Find Butley Orford Oysterage
Butley Orford Oysterage, Market Square, Orford, Suffolk, IP122LH
The Foodie Travel Guide
Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.