I have given up on Lymington a bit for eating out. There are goodish places but nowhere that is exactly excellent. The Fisherman’s Rest is a pleasant foody pub, but remember it is still a pub. Near Lymington are: the East End Arms, East End; Gordleton Mill, Hordle; the Crown Inn, Everton.
Gordleton Mill is consistently pleasant and has a wonderful waterside garden – almost Monet. I have a few pictures of the garden which will get posted. http://www.themillatgordleton.co.uk/restaurant.htm
My favourite restaurant is sadly not so near, it is Oxfords in Oxford Street, Southampton. This is stylish, cosmopolitan feeling and consistently on target. http://www.oxfordsrestaurant.com/
My friend swears by Pebble Beach in Barton. This has always been good when I have been but I don’t like the ambience so much. http://www.pebblebeach-uk.com/
If you have the money go to Les Mirabelles at Nomansland. Claude the patron runs a real French restaurant which is excellent. Be careful you don’t go wild on the wine list, it will cost you. http://www.lesmirabelles.co.uk/
Some people rave about Chewton Glen. It has a superb reputation, is very good, but I never feel comfortable there. Too many flunkies make me nervous.
That’s today’s food rant over. For drinking Lymington is quite a bit better. My preferred pub is the Kings Arms in St Thomas Street at the top of town. Why? – because it is still a boozer despite doing great Sunday lunches and having music at the weekends. http://www.kingsarmslymington.co.uk
The Kings Head on Quay Hill can be quite buzzy at night. The Bosun’s Chair on Station Street is a good sports pub with a great garden.
The East Arms’ public bar is still a country pub bar despite the old lounge bar now being a restaurant. A great place to go to after a muddy walk with dogs.
Chequers in Woodside is a good pub to walk to with or without dogs. A big garden, smoker friendly and cosy in the winter. http://chequersinnlymington.com/Chequers_Inn_Contact.htm
Not in Lymington, but near enough, is the White Horse in Milford-on-Sea . This is a completely traditional pub even though it serves shedloads of food. In the last ten years I have been frequenting it it has not changed. One of the bar staff has been with the landlady for over 18 years, the chef started his career there as a lad. If you don’t like change go to the White Horse.
That’s my pub rant. Oh! don’t try New Milton for pubs, they are awful.