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The Best Seafood Restaurants in London

Seafood snobs will tell you that the best seafood restaurants are right by the sea.

But while London’s seafood restaurants might not be on the coast… they’re definitely not coasting.

The capital’s home to a large number of creative, ambitious and all-round delicious seafood restaurants, who call on direct relationships with the fishermen themselves to bring in the best of the day’s catches – before serving them up with visionary flair and the kind of innovative flavour combos that will stay with you for months after.

Sure, you could take a trip to the Cornish coast. Or you could find something just as tasty without having to leave Zone Two [Oyster card joke pending]. We’ll let you decide.

The Sea, The Sea | Chelsea & Haggerston

the sea, the sea seafood bar

Everyone knows a dry-aged steak just tastes better. More tender, more flavourful. And over the last few years, there’s been a quietly growing movement for dry-ageing fish, too. There’s a reason that top-shelf omakase spot Maru uses it, and it’s also why you’ll spy a load of fish hanging up in glass cabinets when you come into The Sea, The Sea.

Fishmonger by day, suave seafood restaurant & Champagne bar by night, The Sea, The Sea’s menu showcases the best of what was caught in day-boats around the UK over the previous 24 hours, alongside standouts from their in-house ageing and pickling projects. That could include anything from smoked langoustines, through to less familiar hauls like gooseneck barnacles. And if you really want to push the boat out, their sophomore branch – a dramatic railway arch in Haggerston – is home to an intimate, 12-seater chef’s table experience, where the city’s finest up-and-coming chefs serve up envelope-pushing seafood tasting menus as part of limited edition takeovers.

Details: 174 Pavilion Rd, London SW1X 0AW 337 Acton Mews, E8 4EA | Book here

Lyon’s | Crouch End

lyon's seafood restaurant london

With its chipped vintage tiling, Lyon’s old-school decor might look modest – but it’s actually an elaborate ploy to reel diners in with low expectations, and then wow them with Penang fish collars and jerk sea bream. Lyon’s is big on colour and flavour spiked with an international edge. Bonus points: it’s also got an extensive, well-travelled wine list (from London’s urban wineries all the way to Oz), as well as bracing cocktails and apéritifs perfectly designed to pair with seafood.

Details: 1 Park Rd, London N8 8TE | Book here

J. Sheekey | Leicester Square

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J. Sheekey is a stone’s throw from the West End, which explains the signed headshots hanging on every spare inch of wall. It’s a genuine institution; a beloved post-show haunt for oyster-necking actors – and as you might expect from a seafood restaurant in Covent Garden, things here are… fancy. Iconic red doors, marbled floors and expensive-looking wine glasses in every direction are only the beginning. And to answer the next question that’s undoubtedly on your lips, yes there is a “central crustacean bar”.

Dishes are classic and comforting: huge golden crusted chunks of white fish, perfectly tender squid brushed with aromatic oil, soft bites of tuna tartare and a famously good fish pie. And, in case you forgot you’re in one of London’s most glitzy neighbourhoods, you’ll find thick tartan monogrammed blankets over the edge of each outdoor seat.

Details: 28-32 St Martin’s Court, London WC2N 4AL | Book here

Seabird | Blackfriars

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Seabird sets the bar ludicrously high for other seafood restaurants in London. The 14th floor, specifically.  And then they throw in a wrap-around rooftop terrace with panoramic skyline views; a marble-fronted raw bar heaving with fresh shellfish; frozen cocktails; and London’s longest oyster list (if the Canadian ones are on, order at least two – they taste weirdly, and deliciously, like raspberries).

There’s nothing stopping you from visiting Seabird for just a quick drink on the terrace, amongst the fairy lights and greenery. But when you glance over at the next table’s charcoal-grilled lobster and paella-esque prawn rice, you’ll reconsider.

Details: 14th Floor, The Hoxton Southwark, 40 Blackfriars Rd, London SE1 8NY | Book here

The Seafood Bar | Soho

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Amsterdam offshoot The Seafood Bar is a haven for pescatarians – and a challenge to anyone who fancies themselves as having a big appetite. It’s almost a given that you’d order the mixed seafood platter here, complete with scarlet lobster, gently glimmering oysters and pastel-toned crab. It’s an experience of a dish, served with a variety of dipping sauces designed with a sort of “make your own adventure” appeal. Visit on an empty stomach, and maybe do a few laps of Soho beforehand for best results.

Details: 77 Dean St, London W1D 3SH | Book here

The Oystermen | Covent Garden

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Take a seat at The Oystermen’s ship-shape dining bar (crafted by an actual shipbuilder) and watch as er, the oystermen and women behind it shuck shells before your eyes. It’s a theatrical performance that’s right at home in Covent Garden, but this time the show comes complete with bare brick walls and an eclectic wine list.

As you’d expect, the menu’s rife with both raw and cooked oysters, sourced from Essex through to Ireland and plenty of spots in between. Then there’s the hefty mains of squid ink risotto; octopus ragout or giant shellfish-loaded platters. The Oystermen almost doesn’t look like it fits in Theatreland: its prices a little too reasonable and its portions a little too large for what you’d traditionally expect when someone requests your presence at a seafood restaurant in Covent Garden. Ask no questions: just enjoy it.

Details: 32 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8NA | Book here

Wright Brothers | Borough Market, Battersea, South Kensington

best seafood restaurants london

Wright Bros Battersea/Sonya Metzler

You’ll the Wright Brothers’ seafood restaurants dotted across London, which means you’re never too far from a shellfish blowout or a steaming hunk of seafood pie. Each restaurant has a little something extra up its sleeve, too, from Battersea’s festoon-lit riverside verandah, to South Ken’s moody basement cocktail bar.

Wright Brothers picks and chooses its select menu based on supply and season, so one day you’ll be feasting upon lemon sole with potted shrimp butter, and another, on fresh lobster and firm mussels. There are, however, a few consistencies: the Full Platter is a winning lottery ticket of a dish, one that should be ordered with a pint of the house WB Oyster Stout, and enjoyed with full attention.

Details: Borough Market, Stoney St, London SE1 9AD | 26 Circus West Village, Battersea Power Station, SW8 4NN | 56 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3DY | Book here

Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill | Mayfair

Bentley's oyster bar

When you’re craving oysters, Bentley’s gonna sort you out. This surprisingly warm and relaxed seafood bar in Mayfair shucks over 1,000 of the shelly blighters a day. Take a seat up at the marble-topped bar and you’ll get to see the white-jacketed pros in action, preparing platters ready to hand over directly. And there’s plenty else besides: buttery Dover sole; scallop ceviche; even fish & chips. And on Saturdays you can join their oyster masterclass, where you’ll learn to shuck like the best of them (while drinking Champagne, which we can only assume helps).

Details: 11-15 Swallow Street, London W1B 4DG Book here

Prawn on the Lawn | Highbury

casual seafood restaurant London

Going to a seafood restaurant can often involve expensive platters, silver cutlery and strange implements you have no idea what to do with. Prawn on the Lawn counters all that with a daily changing menu; a casual, bustling space and impressive prices to match. That ever-changing menu is wonderful – except on those occasions when you’re dreamily thinking back to the tuna tartare you dribbled your way through last Wednesday and arrive to see it’s nothing but a distant memory.

But variety is the spice of life and that’s what you’ll love best about Prawn on the Lawn. A range of tapas-style dishes and larger plates ensure you’re free to deliberate between an entire planet’s worth of flavours. Dishes come accented with everything from ‘nduja butter or Szechuan spice to Thai marinades and kimchi. And funnily enough, they all seem to pair very well with a Cornish Negroni…

Details: 292-294 St Paul’s Rd, London N1 2LH | Book here

London Shell Co. | Paddington

london shell co

London Shell Co floats. More of an experience than just a simple meal, London Shell Co serves up smoked salmon, dressed Carlingford Loch oysters and crab cocktails as close to the water as is physically possible without getting your toes wet. Paired with candlelight and English sparkling wines, it’s easily the most romantic seafood spot in London.

As you sail along Regent’s Canal, you’ll be lavished with an exquisite five-course menu that changes every month or so – but those prone to seasickness might want to opt for their stationary sibling, The Grand Duchess instead. The chips here are considered some of the best chip shop chips in London. High praise, absolutely justified.

Details: Moored at Sheldon Square, London W2 6DL | Book here

London Shell Co Swain’s Lane | Highgate

London shell co swains lane

Over on dry land, meanwhile, just a stone’s throw from Hampstead Heath, is London Shell Co’s fishmonger-slash-restaurant. The day’s catch, displayed beautifully on a bed of chipped ice, isn’t hauled from the ponds but their network of quality suppliers, and gets whipped into all manner of delicious small plates. Their weekday happy hours (4-6pm) offer £2 oysters and £2 off glasses of wine and cocktails – which, the mathematically minded of you will no doubt have realised, essentially equates to free oysters.

Details: Unit 4, Sonny Heights, Swain’s Lane, London, N6 6AGBook here

Sharkbait & Swim | Deptford

bloody mary at sharkbait & swim seafood restaurant

A tiny seafood spot spilling out of the railway arches of Deptford Market Yard, where chef-owner Steve McClarty (who’s honed his craft all over Europe) puts together unique and very special seafood dishes. They range from dressed oysters to barbecue mackerel skewers in a pool of spiced tomato butter, and a whole crispy sea bream served with a Bangkok shallot sauce. Come here for brunch and you’ll find that the oyster-garnished Bloody Mary goes down swimmingly…

Details: Arch 11, 4 Deptford Market Yard, London SE8 4BX | Book here

Scott’s | Richmond

scotts seafood restaurant Richmond

Johnny Stephens Photography

When occasion calls, nowhere is better equipped for bombastic seafood greatness than Scott’s in Mayfair. Except, that is, Scott’s Richmond. Where the original is old-school with dark woods and crisp tablecloths, Scott’s Richmond drinks deep from the cup of life (assuming it’s filled with a Champagne cocktail). The decor is fantastically splashy; all glittering pillars and enormous Venetian glass chandeliers. There’s a riverside balcony that’s up there with the finest al fresco terraces in London. And the food is absolutely stellar, from baked spiced crab with garlic toast to the chilli-roasted lobster and monkfish masala.

Details: 4 Whittaker AvenueLondonTW9 1EH | Book here

Randall & Aubin | Soho

Randall & Aubin reopened

Soho’s classic seafood restaurant of 25+ years serves up hearty portions of rich, garlic-glazed prawns, chargrilled Cornish squid and grilled scallops with a French-styled backdrop. Fusing together traditional pub fare with a seafood-infused touch, it keeps things classic with crunchy golden chips (or pommes frites, if you’re French-styled too) and London’s finest mayonnaise.

Five different types of oysters, a caviar menu and some staple side dishes ensure Randall & Aubin works just as well for a fancy dinner with your parents as it does for a weekend seafood craving with your friends. Check out the specials menu for daily surprises.

Details: 14-16 Brewer St, London W1F 0SG | Book here

Parsons | Covent Garden

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Fish arrives at Parsons twice a day, taking the phrase “fresh from the boat” to a whole new level and utilising under-appreciated kinds of seafood at the same time. And while it may describe itself as an “unassuming little fish restaurant”, one glance at its perfectly-crispy whole fish and you’ll never describe it as “unassuming” ever again.

But that’s all part of the charm: paired with the hand-written wine list and ever-so-friendly service, you’ll feel more like you’re eating at a family restaurant than a typical Covent Garden spot. Come for a quick glass of wine and a few oysters in an afternoon, or settle yourself down for a whole evening’s worth of plates verging on hedonistic.

Details: 39 Endell St, London WC2H 9BA | Book here

Wilton’s | St James’s

Wiltons seafood restaurant

To step into Wilton’s is to escape the modern world for an evening. It’s a cosseted bubble of old-school comforts; of warmly familiar service and intimate dining tables shielded by frosted glass screens and cabaret table lamps. Over the past 280 years (yes, really) they’ve refined things to a tee; carving trolleys are wheeled about and martinis delivered with balletic efficiency. With all this gentle luxury comes the price tag you’d expect, but the prix fixe seasonal menu is more accessible.

Details: 55 Jermyn Street, SW1Y 6LX Book here

Claude Bosi at Bibendum | Fulham

Claude Bosi at Bibendum seafood bar

Shrouded in brilliantly eccentric decor thanks to its past life as a tyre-fitting bay for passing drivers, the ground floor of Fulham’s Michelin House is the more casual wing to Claude Bosi’s Michelin-starred restaurant above. You can pop in here for freshly shucked oysters, platters of shellfish and a crisp, chilled white on the patio, and all will feel right with the world.

Details: 81 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6RD Book here

Orasay | Notting Hill

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Chef Jackson Boxer spent every childhood summer in the Outer Hebrides, where he’d skim rocks, paddle in the sea, and (presumably) rustle up the odd wood-grilled skate wing with girolles and a leek & potato vichyssoise. Orasay is his love letter to those far-flung isles and the rich pickings in its waters: you’ll find everything from delicate raw prawn blinis to the signature fried cod bun, all served alongside an interest-piquing wine list. And if you have something to celebrate, the private dining room downstairs gives the feel of dining in a candlelit Bedouin tent. Just like a camping holiday in the Hebrides.

Details: 31 Kensington Park Road, W11 2EU | Book here

Manzi’s | Soho

manzi's seafood restaurant

Manzi’s comes to you from the Wolseley Hospitality Group. So a good way to describe it is The Wolseley of seafood restaurants: fun, luxurious-feeling, and surprisingly affordable. That said, the decor is less ‘monochrome marble’, and more ‘outrageously gaudy nautical explosion’, with a relatively restrained ground floor dining room & counter reminiscent of an art deco cruise ship, and a first floor that looks like a cabaret bar from 20 leagues under the sea, with tentacled artwork; a maitre d’ podium disguised as an enormous clam; and a cocktail bar propped up by four life-sized mermaids.

Details: 1 Bateman’s Buildings, Soho, W1D 3EN Book here

maresco | Soho

maresco seafood bar

When the rain’s thundering down and the working day’s been a drag, book yourself a little holiday at maresco. It’s the Central London sibling to Stokey’s escocesa, which shares a fondness for both lower case lettering and excellent seafood. It’s a surprising fact that most of the haul from Scottish waters is exported to the Iberian coast, so chef-owner Stephen Lironi has flipped the script and brought them down to this buzzy counter spot, where he dresses the best catch in Spanish flavours. Expect Basque sausage crafted from monkfish; langoustine fideuà; and Scottish oysters with green gazpacho. In fact, it’s easier to expect the unexpected.

Details: 45 Berwick St, London W1F 8SF Book here

Faber | Hammersmith

faber seafood restaurant

Faber is so eager to transport you to the sea, the restaurant itself is scented with salty sea spray. But frankly, the food does a good enough job of that by itself – tuck into grilled cod cheek skewers with tartar sauce; butterflied mackerel and pastis BBQ’d scallop, and you’d never guess you’re sat feet away from Hammersmith Broadway.

NUDGE MEMBER PERK: Enjoy 50% off your food bill until the end of June when dining from their new Sunday Roast from the Coast menu. Find out more here.

Details: Welbeck Mansions, 206 – 208 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7DH Book here

 


Love fresh fish? Check out our pick of London’s top sushi restaurants while you’re at it.