Frequently Asked Questions

Booking FAQs

How do I make a booking?

The easiest way to make a booking is by using the booking form on the website.

You'll need to know in advance whether to also book a water taxi at the same time, or whether you're going to use your own boat (Lucky you!). If you do need a water taxi, it's as straight-forward as choosing that option during the booking process.

You can also make a booking over the phone during our daytime office hours, or in-person at our booking office and shop on Exmouth Marina. Our most up-to-date contact details can be found on our 'contact us' page.

The date I want is not available online. What should I do?

If the time and date you want isn't available, then hit the 'see alternatives' button, this will show you all the availability for that table size until the end of the season. Also try changing the size of your table (tables of 2 are our most popular table size) why not bring some friends? You may have more luck changing the table to a 3, 4, 5 or 6! If you continue to struggle, the best thing to do is call or email us, you can find all the ways to get in touch with us on our 'contact us' page.

How can I find out about late table availability through cancellations?

Check the the booking system online the day before you want to come, the later in the day the better. We ask all guests to confirm their reservations 24 hours in advance so this is when we start to see spaces opening up and tables becoming available. We don't hold a formal waiting list, so if you want to call us on the day, 10am is the best time, we can then offer your any cancellations for that day. We do publish late table availability on our social media pages as well, so please follow us on Facebook and Instagram. These tables can then be booked via the website.

When is the latest I can book?

Tables can be booked online on the day you wish to visit until 8am, please call the office after this time.

I have a booking and need to change it, how do I do that?

You can amend your own booking or ask us to via your booking confirmation email. Once you've found the email message, scroll to the bottom and follow the link. You can also call us on 07761116103, our office hour are Tuesday to Sunday 10am-3pm

What is your cancellation policy?

Our cancellation policy is 24 hours. You can cancel your table at any point before this and receive a refund of any deposit paid, minus a administration fee of £2 per person on the booking. The guest numbers for your reservation will be taken as confirmed at 24 hours, so make sure we have correct numbers at this point. If fewer guests arrive than confirmed, £5 per guest will be retained. If you let us know your group numbers are less than booked with more than 24 hours notice, your full deposit will be deducted from the bill. Please read our booking and reservation Terms & Conditions.

How do I cancel a booking?

When you book online, your email confirmation has a link towards the bottom of the email that allows you to cancel your reservation. Click this link and follow the instructions.

You can also cancel your booking by emailing or calling us (Our most up-to-date contact details can be found on our 'contact us' page).

Refunds will be processed for all deposits paid (minus a £2 per person administration fee) as long as the cancellation is received with more than 24 hours notice of the booking. 

I have a gift voucher to use, do I need to pay a deposit?

Yes, all reservations require a deposit at the time of booking in order to secure them, regardless if you have a gift vouchers to use. Gift vouchers cannot be used toward deposits or water taxi fares. For more information on gift vouchers please see out Gift Vouchers Terms and Conditions.

One of my party is a baby, do I need to pay a deposit for them even though they won't be eating?

We ask for total guest numbers to be entered at the point of booking, this is to ensure the water taxis do not go over their licensed capacity. As the restaurant runs to strict numbers we have to include children and babies in this count, for this reason a £5 per person is taken at the point of booking.

General Restaurant FAQs

When do you open and close?

As a seasonal restaurant, we are only open between the 1st April - 30th September each year.

During the season, we open Tuesday to Sunday, but we do open on bank holiday Mondays. When there's a bank holiday Monday, we then close the following Tuesday.

Are you family friendly?

Yes, please include all children and babies at the point of booking. If you require a high chair please let us know, you can add this into the special request box at the point of booking. Please note the new Upper Deck is over 14‘s only. We ask children to be supervised on the restaurant at all times.

Are dogs welcome?

Well behaved dogs on leads are welcome,  we wouldn't want them to miss out on all the smells! We just ask they have had a good walk before hand.

What should I wear?

Please come dressed for the forecast of the day. The weather can be changeable, it can also be a little windy on the water. We don't have a dress code, just wear what you feel comfortable in. We wouldn't recommend stilettos - they can get stuck in the decking!

Do you serve anything other than fish?

Yes we serve meat, vegan and vegetarian dishes. We also cater for dairy free and gluten free diets.

Can I reserve the new Upper Deck area?

The new Upper Deck is offered to guests with a restaurant reservation on a first come first served basis. It offers 360 degree unspoilt views of the River Exe and a totally unique dining experience. It is open to the elements so only offered on days with suitable weather conditions. There is a flat fee of £50 per table for your 2 hour reservation. This area is for over 14s only. We have 3 tables available each sitting up to 5 guests. You can express an interest in sitting upstairs in the 'special request' box when making a reservation.

Do you have a toilet?

Yes, we have 2 single access toilets and a urinal

Do you take both cash and card payments?

Yes

Is there a covered area?

Yes, all of our tables are booked inside so you will be covered.

Can I request a certain table?

Yes, The front of house team will do all they can to fulfil any table requests but it may not always be possible.

Do you feel the cafe moving?

Only a little, we are fixed to a mooring at either end of the cafe so we are pretty stable. We can rock a little when boats pass by or the wind is strong.

I have a food allergy / dietary requirement. What should I do?

Please indicate this at the point of booking AND at the point of ordering. Our menu is available to view on the website and allergen information is available on request. The team will help assist you in making an appropriate menu choice. The chefs may be able to adapt dishes if we have prior notice so please email or phone us to discuss adapting dishes prior to making a reservation.

Water Taxi FAQs

What time is my Water Taxi?

The Puffin Water Taxi Service departs from Exmouth Marina promptly on the hour. Your booking time is your water taxi departure time, this is the time you selected when making your reservation. You will either have a Lunch or Dinner reservation at the restaurant. You can find your booking time on the confirmation email we sent to you after you booked, it will always be on the hour.  

Lunch departure times are: 12pm, 1pm, 2pm or 3pm (Tuesday-Saturday)

Dinner departure times are: 5pm, 6pm, 7pm or 8pm (Tuesday-Saturday)

On Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays, the departure times are:  12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm or 6pm 

(If you are coming on a Sunday over a bank holiday, the departure times will be the same the lunch/dinner times shown first) 

We ask guests to arrive 10 minutes before departure, this allows the skippers time to allocate groups onto each boat and give a safety briefing before leaving the marina.

Can I get an earlier/later taxi on the day?

Each Taxi runs to strict numbers, to ensure the correct guests are at the restaurant at a given time. You cannot choose to get an earlier taxi to arrive before your table time. If you wish to change your booking time/taxi time this needs to be arranged via the booking office. Please contact us via your confirmation email if you wish to change the time of your booking.

Where do we get the Water Taxi from?

The Puffin Water Taxis depart from Exmouth Marina from the Visitors Pontoon just outside The Point Bar & Grill, EX8 1XA. Several companies use this location for their pick up point. Please queue in the correct lane as per the lane markings. Please look out for the River Exe Cafe departure point flag, where the friendly Puffin Crew can assist you.

How much is the return fare?

A return fare to the restaurant is £7 per guest (of 14 years of age and over) travelers under 14 are free of charge.

Your fare is paid to the skipper on the day and they accept cash or card payments.

I will be traveling to Exmouth by Car, where can I park?
  • Pier Head Car Park - EX8 1ER - 1 minute walk
  • Camperdown Terrace Car Park - EX8 1EJ - 5 minute walk
  • Imperial Road Car Park - EX8 1BY - 15 minute walk

We suggest you put at least 3.5 hours time on your car park ticket.

Exmouth in the summer months can get very busy so please check for live traffic updates before starting your journey to us, leaving plenty of time for holiday traffic and road works etc. 

What other transport links are there to Exmouth and around Exmouth?

Exmouth Train Station is a 15 minute walk from Taxi departure point.

The 95 Bus runs from Sandy Bay to Exmouth Town Centre via Exmouth seafront (The stop you require is the Imperial hotel) 10 minutes walk from taxi departure point.

Exmouth Land Train, arrives at 25 past the hour at Stuart Line Office (1 minute walk away from Taxi departure point)

AJ’s Taxis Exmouth - 01395 222655 

Starcross Ferry - arrives at Exmouth Visitors Pontoon where Taxis also leave from.

You are running late for your water Taxi, what should you do?

Please call 07761 116103 if you are running late, depending on the tide the taxis may be able to wait a few minutes. Failure to make your booking will result in a no-show charge.

How long is the journey?

The river cruise to the restaurant is approximately 25 minutes each way, this is dependent on tidal conditions.

I am traveling with a baby, can I bring a pram?

Yes, however space is limited so car seats are preferable if possible. Life jackets are also provided onboard for babies in the event of an emergency. 

I get sea sick, what are the conditions like onboard?

As the restaurant is floating in the Exe Estuary, the journey is up and back on a river which is sheltered on both sides by land.  Most days the conditions make for a lovely calm trip however the wind strength and direction on the day will dictate conditions, so please come dressed appropriately. If you suffer badly with seasickness and the conditions look unfavorable on the day, please take any medication before visiting us, as we cannot provide this. The cafe has ginger beer onboard for those feeling any effects and the puffin crew have sea sick wrist bands.

Are the water taxis covered?

Yes, both the Puffin Water Taxis are covered and enclosed with a canvas covering, the doorways remain open so there is plenty of ventilation. 

Does the Water Taxi have life jackets onboard?

Absolutely, life jackets are available in an emergency for all travellers, including babies. Life rings are also carried onboard. A full safety briefing will be given to you before departure.

I have mobility issues. Can I use the Puffin water taxi service?

With regards to access, there are two potential areas to highlight. Firstly, there is a grid style, decked ramp down to the pontoon which can be quite steep depending on the tide. At high tide it can be flat with a slight gradient down to the pontoon. At low tide this angle can be very steep (almost 45°). For guests with walkers this can be quite awkward. There is a handrail on each side and space for two people to walk side by side. Secondly, there are two steps down onto the taxi and up again at the Cafe. They are quite deep (approximately 30cm) but the taxi drivers are very friendly and happy to help guests on and off, there is also a metal handrail to help guests on and off the boats. Given the step access, the Puffin Water Taxi service is unsuitable for guests who are wheelchair bound.  The taxis have space to accommodate a wheelchair as long as the guest is able to manage the steps.  Please see our website for photos and videos which will give you a better idea of the pontoon and Puffin access. 

Can I get the water taxi from Starcross? 

Unfortunately, the pontoon at Starcross is private, so our taxis cannot land here. Our water taxi service only leaves from Exmouth Marina. You can catch the Starcross passenger Ferry to Exmouth Marina and then join the Water Taxi to The River Exe Café there, however please be aware that the ferry is not associated with the River Exe Café so you will have to check the timings to suit your booking time. The Starcross Ferry also does not operate after 5pm so you will need to factor this into your return times etc.

Private Craft FAQs

What is the restaurant's precise location?

The restaurant's position is 50°37'30"N 3°26'20"W or 50.625, -3.4389

I have a problem with my boat and now need to come by water taxi, can I do this?

It depends on the day, please call us as soon as you know you won't be able to make it on your own boat and we will try to sort a taxi replacement for you.

I have made a large group reservation but don't have room on my boat for all the guests, can some come on the water taxi?

As long as we know with prior notice this shouldn't be an issue. Please call the office with over 24 hours notice to arrange this.

We are running late for the reservation, can we have extra time at the restaurant if we arrive late?

As the restaurant runs to strict timings, all guests are allocated two hours. Given we usually run at full capacity, extending your time won't always be an option. We will try our best but cannot guarantee this.

Can I arrive earlier than my reservation for drinks?

Yes, there is an outside uncovered ‘Boaters’ area where you can have a drink before your table reservation, please let the Front of house manager know you have arrived.

I don't have a reservation, can I still come to the cafe for food and drink?

Yes, if you have your own transport whenever you see the flags flying on the pontoon that means we are open for business. (Usually 12pm-late).

We have a designated ‘boaters’ area just off the visitors pontoon where you can enjoy drinks and our ‘Boaters menu’ Food is served 12:30-9pm Tuesday to Saturday (The Kitchen take a break between 4:30-5:30pm) and 12:30-7pm on Sundays. A table in the boaters area is required to place a food order. The Kitchen does become busy so service times may be paused from those listed above.

Can I use the upper deck without a restaurant reservation?

Our new upper deck is offered to guests booked into the restaurant with a table reservation on a first come first served basis. If the area is not in use please ask the Restaurant Manager if you wish to book it. The fee is £50 per table for 2 hour drinks only slot, any food served is from the 'boater menu' and is a the sole discretion of the Head Chef and is not guaranteed.

What's the largest size yacht you can accommodate on your visitors pontoon?

We can accommodate any vessel up to 70ft , if you are over 40ft please give us prior warning so we know you are coming!

What is the depth of the water on the visitors pontoon?

1.6 metres on a spring tide, 2.5 metres on a neap

Can I stay on the visitors pontoon overnight?

If you wish to berth overnight please email us in advance. Our contact details can be found here.