Best fish + seafood restaurants in London

Sometimes, all you need is a delicious piece of fish in a great restaurant. Take a look at SquareMeal’s handy selection of the best fish + seafood restaurants in London for inspiration, and book yourself a dinner fit for a fisherman. Whether you fancy a stellar oyster bar, a seafood feast or a Michelin-starred fish-filled extravaganza, London’s best restaurants for fish are all here in one neat shoal. With Billingsgate Market on their doorstep, offering the freshest and most fantastic range of seafood in the land, London chefs are spoilt for choice – it’s no surprise that the capital is a veritable paradise for great fish restaurants. Whether you prefer traditional fish recipes or exciting and innovative fish dishes, there is certain to be something to suit your taste for marine life in SquareMeal’s list of the best fish + seafood restaurants in London.

Updated on 10 December 2018

You don’t have to dine by the coast to experience a fabulous fish meal; London boasts some of the best fish restaurants in the country. Take a look through Squaremeal’s excellent guide to the best fish restaurants in London and discover a fine selection. With Billingsgate Market on their doorstep, offering the freshest and most fantastic range of fish possible, London chefs are spoilt for choice. It therefore comes as no surprise that the capital is a veritable paradise for great fish restaurants.

Squaremeal offers a wide choice of the very top fish restaurants in London, some of them the most well-loved and highly respected restaurants in the capital. Whether its traditional fish recipes or exciting and innovative fish dishes you prefer, there is certain to be something to suit all tastes in Squaremeal’s list of the best fish restaurants in London.

Every one of the fish restaurants featured in Squaremeal’s list of London’s top fish restaurants have been tried and tested by food critics and our own customers so check out the reviews and book a table online with Squaremeal today. As well as the restaurants on this page, we have listings for fish restaurants in the West End, fish restaurants in the City and fish restaurants in Central London including Chelsea and Knightsbridge along with fish restaurants in many other areas of London. Each Squaremeal listing features an independent review, as well as reviews from diners, together with unique special offers such as free drinks and discounts.

Kaspar

Kaspar's at The Savoy

The Savoy, The Strand, Covent Garden, London, WC2R 0EU

The Savoy’s star-studded history includes stories of Fred Astaire dancing on the rooftop and the entire courtyard being flooded to resemble a Venetian canal for a particularly fabulous party in 1905. It also features Kaspar the Cat, a three-foot-high sculpture created in 1926 to occupy the extra seat at unlucky tables of 13. Winston Churchill always reserved a spot for Kaspar whenever he ate here, and the sleek feline fits right in amid the glamorous art-deco surrounds of its riverside restaurant – all polished marble, silver leaf and Murano glass.

Seafood is the kitchen’s speciality (Kaspar would surely approve), with lots of luxury ingredients on offer and decadent fruits de mer platters available from the handsome seafood bar, which also serves up intricate sushi and sashimi. We love the reliable fixtures too: seafood pie and Dover sole with glossy brown butter, for example.

Carnivores will find steaks and grills among the fishy fare, while desserts are mostly modern takes on the classics – although our deconstructed peach Melba (a Savoy classic created here by legendary chef Escoffier) failed to hit our sweet spot. Wines perfectly complement the food and service is “excellent” – as you'd expect at The Savoy.

£50 - £79
Fish
Outlaw

Outlaw's at The Capital

The Capital Hotel, 22-24 Basil Street, Knightsbridge, London, SW3 1AT

NATHAN OUTLAW WITH LEAVE OUTLAW'S AT THE CAPITAL IN MARCH 2019 TO OPEN A NEW RESTAURANT AT THE GORING

Widely accepted as the modern master of British seafood, Nathan Outlaw stepped away from his Cornish home turf to launch in London in 2012. Five years on, this venue still feels like a well-kept secret. Perhaps the menu lends itself more to the coast than a conservatively attired hotel dining room, or perhaps Londoners want more culinary fireworks, but one thing’s for sure: you won’t find better or fresher seafood in the capital. Our octopus starter paired magnificently with almonds and a sharp sherry vinegar bread sauce, while a glorious thick slab of sea bass came with breadcrumbed oysters, sweet baby leeks and a generous dollop of lime hollandaise. No fireworks, no fripperies: just clean flavours and exemplary technique. After that, elderflower cream with strawberries and verjus maintains the seasonal theme. Service is five-star slick and, to drink, we’d recommend something from founder David Levin’s biodynamic vineyard – perhaps Mr L, a barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc.

£50 - £79
Vegetarian
British
Fish
Pescatori Fitzrovia

Pescatori Fitzrovia

57 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 4PD

A restaurant with a long and illustrious history, this Charlotte Street fish veteran is still packing in the crowds, who come to take advantage of its carefully rendered Italian seafood cookery, alfresco seating and colourful interiors – think black and orange leather banquettes, polished wood floors and prints on charcoal-grey walls. Prices are on the steep side, but there’s much to enjoy from the upmarket menu – perhaps fritto misto with garlic mayonnaise, ‘nduja-crusted scallops with cauliflower and truffle cream or baked whole sea bream with rosemary and Amalfi lemon. Lobster is a speciality: try it in a salad with mango, as a burger, cooked thermidor style or with a helping of linguine. To finish, desserts run the gamut from semifreddo and pannacotta to tiramisu and affogato. Wines and digestifs are equally inviting – just try to avoid footing the bill.

£30 - £49
Italian
Fish
Siren

Siren

The Goring, London, SW1W 0JW

With two Michelin stars under his belt for Cornwall’s Restaurant Nathan Outlaw and a London fanbase from his days at The Capital hotel, Nathan Outlaw is firmly established as one of the country’s most skilled practitioners of native fish.

Over £80
British
Fish
Bucket

Bucket

107 Westbourne Grove, London, London, W2 4UW

Located on the fringes of Notting Hill, Bucket has a simple proposition: sustainably sourced seafood served largely out of (you’ve guessed it) a bucket. With white-washed walls and tastefully designed banquettes (containing lots of cushions and a dash of greenery), the team has tried to recreate the feel of a beach club. We loved the approach – and locals seem to agree, given how full the place was on a weekday night. We also rated the genuinely friendly staff, but found the food more hit-and-miss.

A simple yet effective cockles and chorizo appetiser brought to the table while we contemplated the menu set our hopes high. Navigating through the choice of food proved more difficult, with diners forced to mix-and-match a combination of plates, obligatory buckets and boards. Presentation throughout was superlative and portion sizes generous, though a grilled squid and lemon purée dish was let down by its unpleasantly chewy texture, while the four sauces that came with our whitebait bucket lacked depth of flavour. More plaudits, however, for the whole sea bass: a supremely tender fish with a lovely charred smoky sensation. But arguably the culinary highlight was our dessert, a pineapple carpaccio with pink peppercorns that scored highly both for composition and taste. While Bucket isn’t without leaks, they should be fixable – and pricing both for food and drink is reasonable.

£30 - £49
Fish
Roe

Roe

Unit s38 Pop Brixton, 89 Brixton Station Rd, London, SW9 8PQ

Irish chef Simon Whiteside proved his seafood credentials at Hook in Camden, after Bia Mara, his wildly popular seafood stall in Dublin, spawned two restaurants in Brussels and Antwerp. Roe is his first solo effort – and it’s a resounding hit.

Located in one of Pop Brixton’s shipping containers, there’s space for just 32 diners at the communal tables inside, plus an outside terrace for walk-ins. The menu is equally bijou: a changing one-page list of small and large plates. Despite its size, Roe has a big heart; its flavour-packed dishes are prepared with commendable skill and attention to detail.

Highlights include crisp and creamy cuttlefish and ink arancini served with a punchy pecorino foam, pan-fried ray wing paired with rich autumnal flavours of Jerusalem artichoke, wild mushrooms and a red wine jus, and spiced pollock on a textured bed of fermented lentils, roast onion, squash and baby red chard. Even the bread – black slices of ink and Guinness soda bread with addictive seaweed butter and whipped smoked cod roe – is knock-out.

A sustainable ethos extends from the well-sourced ingredients to the drinks list, which features organic wines, craft beers and Karma Cola softs, plus hard liquor from the Sustainable Spirits Co – including potent shots of Ban Poitin (Irish moonshine).      

Under £30
British
Bentley

Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill

11-15 Swallow Street, London, London, W1B 4DG

More than a century down the line, Bentley’s still offers “the freshest oysters in London” with all the conviviality you’d expect of a restaurant owned by Richard Corrigan. Downstairs, shuckers get through Carlingford, Jersey and West Mersea bivalves like they’re going out of fashion, with support from celebratory seashore platters, fish and chips and even a sushi salad bowl. Things are noticeably less hectic in the upstairs grill, where punters have time to anticipate and savour sea bass carpaccio with langoustine and lime, ‘royal’ fish pie or grilled sirloin of Irish Hereford beef with salted bone marrow and black pepper onions. Dessert could be a seasonal trifle or a tropical arrangement of pineapple, mango, chilli, ginger and coconut, while the wine list matches these fulsome flavours with plenty by the glass and a global outlook among the bottles. When it comes to the bill, “Corrigan knows how to charge, but can be excused given the overall quality,” says one regular.

£50 - £79
Fish
Le Pont de la Tour Bar & Grill

Le Pont de la Tour Bar & Grill

36d Shad Thames, Bermondsey, London, SE1 2YE

The newly refurbished bar at this iconic restaurant is darker and more atmospheric in its new attire. Green art deco furniture gives way to a seductive, heated terrace outside, where – in accordance with the Franglais accent of the whole place – cocktails celebrate the very best of England and France. To eat, there’s a menu of nibbles and sharing plates – if a Nicoise Pan Bagnat with warm goats’ cheese and vegetables doesn’t please, perhaps roast quail with spring onion, chilli and lime will suffice. Come the weekend, expect live music with civilized acoustic sets of classic tunes and jazzy contemporary tracks. This is one for the sophisticats.

Under £30
Modern European
Claw Carnaby

Claw Carnaby

21 Kingly Street, London, W1B 5QA

We’re always happy to see a good street food vendor graduate to a restaurant proper, so were delighted to hear that Claw had bagged itself a permanent site, an intimate two-floor space in Soho with smaller tables on the ground floor and long communal ones in the basement. Crab is the star of the show, with provenance taken seriously: all of the crab is sourced from Salcombe and ingredients are kept British wherever possible. Highlights include crab beignets (delicate crab meat mixed in with choux pastry and dipped in a peppy crab mayo) and a truly indulgent crab-flecked mac ‘n’ cheese that is best shared between two. If you don’t want to overdose on claws, we were also impressed by sticky barbecue-glazed chicken wings and smoky octopus dressed with fennel and tomato. There are only two desserts on offer, but both play with the palate – rhubarb crumble is less tart than expected and arrives dusted with photo-friendly glitter, while a toasted milk parfait graduates from the ordinary via shards of gingersnap and a sour toffee sauce that makes the mouth pucker. To drink, there’s a choice of in-house cocktails, beers and wines, and prices are decent considering the location. We’d recommend snapping this one up.  

Under £30
International
Fish
Chamberlain

Chamberlain's

23-25 Leadenhall Market, London, London, EC3V 1LR

An atmospheric labyrinth across four levels of Leadenhall Market, "welcoming" Chamberlain's has a setting for most occasions, from intimate dining à deux on the mezzanine to power lunches upstairs and people-watching through the huge windows fronting the market. The kitchen delivers stylish food that aims to please, with impeccable fish as the star – thanks to links with Billingsgate wholesaler Chamberlain & Thelwell. Graze on tangy herring roes before melt-in-the-mouth foie gras with sweet spiced bread and pineapple chutney or Orkney scallops paired with Mangalitsa brawn, lardo and a rather overpowering onion purée. Elsewhere, truffles are generously shaved over sautéed turbot, and prices reflect the luxurious theme – so seek out the set menu if the company isn't paying. Desserts are inventive ideas including an upcycled take on jelly and ice cream with yuzu and rose. "This restaurant has it spot-on", says a fan.

£50 - £79
Fish
£50 - £79
Wright Brothers Borough Market

Wright Brothers Borough Market

11 Stoney Street, Southwark, London, SE1 9AD

Wright Brothers now have outlets across the capital, but this is where it all began for London's uncrowned oyster kings. Everyone loves the relaxed vibe and service is just right – "attentive when needed, but otherwise leaving everyone to their own devices". Bag a seat at the counter or at one of the high tables before eyeing the blackboards. "Wonderful" briny oysters are a must, but the daily menu takes in various other seafood wonders too, from smoked mackerel pâté and potted shrimps to "sublime" turbot or brill with cavolo nero, turnips and horseradish sauce. The fish soup "merits much discussion" (in a good way), while big spenders splash out on indulgent fruits de mer. Value for money can be a "bit on the high side", but this is still a top spot: "I'm never disappointed here", says a fan who "grew up by the sea".

£30 - £49
Fish
Sweetings

Sweetings

39 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4N 4SA

The world turns on, but Sweetings refuses to turn with it – and that’s why it’s still the centre of the restaurant universe for a certain breed of customer. One of the City’s clutch of fabulous old-timers, this veteran has been around for more than a century, offering shellfish, seafood and savouries in two basic but likeable dining rooms. There are some things the owners couldn’t change even if they wanted to, and the time-warp factor accounts for a few missteps – although it also yields a sense of clandestine luxury that persists from days gone by. To start, West Mersea oysters or dressed crab are the safe options, ahead of simple but generous plates of fish (either grilled, poached or fried). Puddings are straight out of the mythical nursery, while cheese or savouries beg to be ordered from a menu headed ‘bill of fare’. The wine list is suitably French.

£50 - £79
Fish
Trishna

Trishna

15-17 Blandford Street, London, London, W1U 3DG

Trishna’s “modern take on Indian cuisine” is where the Sethi family’s restaurant story started. Their clutch of new openings may be markedly young ’n’ funky compared to the original, but that’s how Trishna’s fans like it – and there are plenty of them, including Michelin.

The food is beautifully presented to fit a restrained dining room with doors that open onto the street in summer. Although the prevailing breeze might not be coastal, much of the cooking has a noticeable briny tang: order pink prawns with chilli, garlic and smoked tomato chutney or quail pepper fry with Keralan spices to start, followed by the now-famous tandoori hariyali bream in a vivid green chilli-herb jacket.

Biriyanis are inventive, as in a wild mushroom and berry version with pink peppercorn raita, while venison and duck come with superior keema naans. Oenophile Sunaina Sethi has devised some “exceptional” wine pairings to match the complexity of the food: you are in safe hands.

£30 - £49
Indian
Fish
One michelin star
Westerns Laundry

Westerns Laundry

34 Drayton Park, London, N5 1PB

Despite a “rather lonely” location in suburban Drayton Park, this sibling of Stoke Newington big hitter, Primeur, is already proving its worth as a local destination that’s “something a bit different from the rest”. Occupying the ground floor of a 1950s industrial building, Westerns Laundry’s fashionably stark interior is brightened up with jugs of flowers, blue velvet banquettes and vivid paintings, while floor-to-ceiling glazed doors open onto a wide terrace. The daily blackboard menu focuses on small plates of seasonal food (chiefly fish) and the results are “absolutely delightful”: oysters are perked up with finely chopped shallot and lemon; home-salted sardine fillets are elegantly dressed with white balsamic vinegar; wild sea bass is accompanied by ribbons of sweet onions, artichoke hearts and succulent olives. Also, don’t miss Westerns Laundry’s version of fideuà, a traditional Andalusian one-pot dish of short pasta baked with seafood. If fish isn’t your bag, there are other beautifully composed dishes including creamy gnudi served with colourful courgettes and chopped hazelnuts. Wines are on point, with the emphasis on low intervention and small-scale producers. 

£30 - £49
British
Fish
Ormer Mayfair at Flemings Mayfair

Ormer Mayfair at Flemings Mayfair

Flemings Mayfair Hotel, Half Moon Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 7BH

Mayfair was a sound choice to open a second site for Jersey chef Shaun Rankin’s restaurant Ormer (the original has since closed). A glance around the luxuriously appointed basement dining room within Flemings Hotel reveals diners who are doubtless as familiar with Jersey’s exclusive restaurant scene as they are with London’s. Yorkshire-born Rankin, with his wealth of experience (Longueville Manor, Bohemia, Charlie Trotter’s), knows how to cook for this crowd and has a network of Jersey suppliers providing stellar produce: oysters, lobster, crab, fashionable sea vegetables and, of course, Jersey royals.

Ormer explores such ingredients in a repertoire that includes £29.50 lunch, £75 tasting menu, à la carte, and both vegetarian and vegan menus. Rankin’s ‘signature’ plates are the best place to start, whether a classy dish of poached oysters with caviar and saffron linguine, or assertively flavoured lobster ravioli with an Asian-style shallot salad. Newer plates such as ibérico pork ‘secreto’ with squid and Asian pear are just as beautifully executed. The rather pedestrian treacle tart, a winner for Rankin on BBC’s Great British Menu, feels incongruous in such company. Flemings has backed a thoroughbred in Ormer, but whether this plushest quarter of W1 has space for another top-rankin’ restaurant is another matter.

£50 - £79
British
Angler

Angler

South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, Moorgate, London, EC2M 2AF

From the moment you arrive for drinks on the gorgeous roof terrace, it’s clear that Michelin-starred Angler knows how to host its diners. Given that it’s located on the seventh floor of the South Place Hotel, superb views come as standard – thanks to a giant sloping window that looks out onto the busy street below. “Great seafood in a calming atmosphere” sums it up, with comfy striped chairs, light colours and an impressive foliage-motif mirror running along on wall of the opulent dining room. The kitchen matches the sophisticated vibe with a menu of precision-tuned contemporary dishes ranging from roast octopus with taramasalata, chipirones and spicy salsa verde to light-textured John Dory accompanied by coco beans, bacon and sardines. Meat eaters might go for smoked chicken wings with chanterelles followed by a tasting of Iberian pork, while dessert could bring a rich, warm chocolate cake with banana-milk ice cream and crunchy peanut butter. Service is impeccable, and a devoted sommelier is on hand to pair each course with wines from the varied list. Pricey, but highly recommended.

£50 - £79
Fish
One michelin star
Cornerstone

Cornerstone

3 Prince Edward Road, London, E9 5LX

When a chef with a background in Michelin-starred kitchens chooses a location for a solo debut, Hackney Wick is unlikely to top the list – but it has for Tom Brown. The former head chef at Outlaw’s at The Capital has sited Cornerstone, his thrilling new small-plates venture, just a few minutes’ walk from the railway station among a little group of recently developed retail spaces.

Don’t be disheartened by the locality: there’s ample space for diners, and the vibe in the restaurant is cool, with black tabletops, retro wicker chairs and black walls (complete with requisite scribbles). Mercifully, the place avoids crossing over into hipster-satire territory thanks to the friendly young team at the helm. Guests are greeted by the central dining counter, behind which you’re likely to find Brown beavering away. Unsurprisingly, given the chef’s pedigree, his regularly changing menu champions seafood. The run of small plates we sampled, served in terracotta tapas dishes, were exceptional.

Our bubbly waitress recommended eight plates between two and the meal kicked off with a pair of sensational oysters, pickled for two hours in gherkin vinegar and served with a subtle horseradish cream. Next up, a mound of juicy potted shrimps arrived piled high on a warm crumpet, soaked with shrimp butter that melted into the holes. A perfectly cooked strip of succulent bream followed, elevated to luxury by hidden chunks of lobster and saffron. Desserts, too, are a force to be reckoned with. A light, fluffy pistachio cake with vanilla cream and a sticky mess of raspberries preceded a heavenly peach crumble well worth the 20-minute wait time: its crispy top layer breaking to reveal tangy cubes of fresh peach, completed by a dollop of cream and hints of lemon.

The drinks list provides admirable back-up, informed by on-trend cocktails and classy European wines, but prices as a whole can add up (£10 desserts are rare in Hackney Wick), and some diners might consider Cornerstone rather out of the way. Nevertheless, this is an accomplished, exciting debut from one of the capital’s most promising chefs – we can’t wait to see what Brown does next.

£50 - £79
Fish
Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack Fitzrovia

Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack Fitzrovia

21A Foley Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 6DS

On a warm summer’s day, few things beat cracking into a whole Selsey cock crab and a bottle of chilled Picpoul at one of Bonnie Gull’s sanded wooden benches on the villagey corner of Foley Street. Not that there’s any downside to venturing into the “cosy but bright” dining room with its maritime blue-stained wood, checked tablecloths and nautical bric-a-brac for a steaming bowl of bass and clam-laden bouillabaisse or bubbling crab lasagne with lobster béchamel. The kitchen isn’t built on high-spec shellfish platters or Champagne-flamed langoustines, either – humbler dishes such as plaice almondine or hake with squid bolognese moussaka show real skill, and no hint of Bonnie’s roots as a pop-up. Service is chirpy, prices are refreshingly tight for such “fantastic fish”, and the white-dominated wine list is built for seafood (top pick: spritzy Basque Txacoli). We prefer skipping pud for a second round of oysters.

£30 - £49
Fish
Hook Camden

Hook Camden

65 Parkway Road, London, NW1 7PP

Since its inception back in 2011, Hook has been a byword for super-fresh seafood and sustainability, its fish coming straight to the restaurant from the boats every day. A recent refit of the Camden dining room has also seen a shift in the menu focus. There’s still the fish and chips the place is famous for – catch of the day (cod and seabream on our visit) in a variety of flavoured tempura batters or seasoned panko options – but there’s also a more varied menu for both starters and mains, with inspirations from all over the world. The vegetable tempura, drizzled in honey and served with a ginger dipping sauce, is not to be missed, but aside from the odd meat option, it’s fish all the way. And where there isn’t fish, there’s seaweed, infused into the cream for the mashed (not mushy) peas, flavouring the house-made pickles, and sprinkled over the chips, which are really more like wedges, but hey, your traditional Friday night fish supper this most definitely isn’t.

Under £30
Fish and Chips
Parsons

Parsons

39 Endell Street, London, London, WC2H 9BA

This seafood joint comes courtesy of the team behind The Ten Cases wine bar. Parsons is a jolly little spot, with green-and-white fishmonger-style tiles, tiny tables along one wall and a couple of eating counters poking out of the other – the sort of place that’s cosy in winter and breezy in summer, thanks to big windows that open on to Endell Street. It’s an appealingly individual set-up that, combined with friendly staff, decent prices and a brilliant location for pre- and post-theatre, have made it impossible to reserve a table for a couple of months ahead; try your luck with a walk-in instead.

But some hit-and-miss cooking took the edge off the good times for us. We loved Belgian-style potted shrimp croquettes filled with a creamy shellfish goo, salt-cod fritters encased in crisp, light batter, and a whopper of an octopus tentacle cooked to melting sweetness and accompanied by fabulously flavoured pork-fat potatoes. But chargrilled treviso with pomegranate and Pecorino was overwhelmingly bitter, sea trout tartare was ill-served by an assertive bloody Mary jelly, and brown crab pissaladière tasted acrid, as if the onions had caught in the pan – although like all of the dishes, it looked absolutely lovely. Larger plates of fish are available whole (plaice, sea bass) and by the fillet (turbot, gurnard), while around a dozen wines from the off-piste list are available by the glass and carafe.

£30 - £49
Fish
Randall & Aubin

Randall & Aubin

16 Brewer Street, London, London, W1F 0SQ

Established in 1996, Brewer Street’s seafood mainstay is classic Soho: cool, relaxed, a tad cramped and buzzing with life. A disco ball and party music add some fun to the otherwise “quirky” mix of white marble counters, black-leather stools and gleaming tiled walls, while tight counter seats mean style wins over comfort. Seafood fans will appreciate the overflowing displays of shellfish on ice, while the partially open kitchen spins out a varied choice, from “amazing-value” fruits de mer and prawn cocktails to beef carpaccio and veal schnitzel. There’s also a dedicated oyster menu, supported by Randall & Aubin Champagne by the glass. Prices seem slightly inflated and we recommend avoiding the deep-fried options, but quality and presentation are impressive – as are the luscious desserts. Service is swift and slick, but don’t miss the effusive notes on the well-chosen wine list. With Randall & Aubin Manchester now up and running, this outfit’s future looks bright.

£30 - £49
Fish
J Sheekey

J Sheekey

28-32 St Martin's Court, London, London, WC2N 4AL

“Old school dining at its best” says a devoted admirer of J Sheekey – a fondly admired veteran of the theatreland scene that is not only chic and fashionable but also democratic. With its cheerful buzz, fish “of the highest quality” and “some of the best service ever”, it invites diners to enjoy all the pleasures in a cosseting setting of leather banquettes and antique mirrors, with surrealist paintings and photos of legendary actors on the wood-panelled walls. Trawl through the menu for classics ranging from dressed crab and potted shrimps to magnificent fruits de mer and an inimitable fish pie, plus grilled halibut on the bone, fine Dover sole and lobster thermidor, but also be prepared for some daring detours – perhaps sardines marinated with harissa and pistachio dukkah or charred octopus with exotic green peppers. Fabulous puddings include crème brûlée and banoffee cheesecake, but we head straight for the Bramley apple pie and interesting tarts such as black fig with mascarpone and honey ice cream. To drink, fish-friendly wines include many Coravin selections – in short, J Sheekey is “an absolute must”. 

£50 - £79
Fish
The Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen

The Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen

32 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8NA

This 26-cover seafood restaurant has grown out of owners Rob Hampton and Matt Lovell hosting oyster stands at markets and festivals, and the tiny dining room still has something of the pop-up to it. But the small dimensions don’t mean any reduction in quality, flavour or creativity. Oysters come straight up or with sympathetic accompaniments: a richly rounded sauce of caramelised lardo with parsley, garlic and black pepper, say, or, even better, in a tempura batter with Champagne aioli and caviar. Seafoody snacks are just as good – very smoky cod’s roe with crisp sesame lavash bread or fabulous anchovies on toast with confit garlic balancing out the salt – while starters proper include a substantial plate of octopus carpaccio in a colourful jumble of blood orange, hazelnut, chilli and basil.

Fish takes over for mains in the likes of a gentle curry full of monkfish tail, or a sensitively cooked lemon sole with samphire-like monk’s beard and an umami-rich dulse butter. Crème brûlée and a trio of British cheeses make up the pair of sweet and savoury puddings, the French-leaning, white-leading wine list has been put together with an eye for the unusual, while afternoon oyster happy hours give half a dozen rocks and a glass of crémant de Bourgogne for £10. Hampton and Lovell are charming hosts and we wouldn’t be surprised to see The Oystermen expand – snatch this Covent Garden pearl as it’s starting out.

£30 - £49
Fish
Black Roe Poke Bar & Grill

Black Roe Poke Bar & Grill

4 Mill Street, London, London, W1S 2AX

Kurt Zdesar, founder of the Ping Pong dim sum chain as well as Soho’s Chotto Matte, first opened this site as the short-lived Bouillabaisse but has retreated to his comfort zone to produce this dark and glossy proposition touting 2016’s hottest dish: poke, a sort of Hawaiian tartare set to take fashion-conscious, low-carb London by storm. Eight kinds of poke are served, from classic ahi (tuna) to various fish and seafood spins, along with beef and vegetable versions. It’s prettily presented with edible flowers and lotus roots on a bed of rice, with most of the flavour coming from the insistent presence of sesame rather than the fresh chunks of protein; if you love sushi, you’ll like this. The rest of the Pacific Rim menu is similarly on-trend: lobster and crab potsticker dumplings, prawn tempura, smoky lamb rack and a highly Instagrammable whole lobster mac 'n' cheese – all nice enough, but very much priced for the Mayfair postcode, even if the vibe (low lighting, racy neon slogans, a raw bar) is more Soho. Still, there’s no shortage of takers: lunchtime is a hit with the local investment bankers and hedgies, while evenings see a young international clientele nodding along to the moody beats. A £23.50 set lunch offers a gentle way in.    

£30 - £49
International
Estiatorio Milos

Estiatorio Milos

1 Regent Street St James's, London, SW1Y 4NR

Part of an international chain that attracts a matching clientele, restaurateur Costas Spiliadis’s London outpost shows off a spanking-fresh ‘market’ of Mediterranean fish, with around 20 species waiting for diners to make their selection. It’s a justly confident way to sell a menu of sharing dishes, though it’s the only action in a rather plain and pale dining room. From the raw bar, you might choose oysters and clams, tuna sashimi or a Greek ceviche with wild Mediterranean herbs, beans and feta, while the list of classics features enough octopus, calamari and cuttlefish to eat with eight arms. Balance comes from veggie items including a dish of steamed wild and rarely seen greens. Unless you count the fried potatoes served with a small selection of steaks, your doctor is unlikely to disapprove of anything on the menu. Sadly, we can’t say the same about your bank manager.

£50 - £79
Greek
Wiltons

Wiltons

55 Jermyn Street, St. James's, London, SW1Y 6LX

Archaic, determinedly old school and one of the few restaurants where that outmoded jacket-and-tie policy still seems wholly appropriate, this impeccably groomed restaurant looks right at home among the streets of St James’s. Wiltons is a handsome fellow indeed, “a restaurant with purpose and life” – so switch off your electronic devices and tap into the velvety richness of it all. As fish sellers of yore, with a family tradition dating back to Georgian times, Wiltons still majors on the finest British seafood – some of the best oysters in town, dressed crab, Dover sole meunière, lobster Newburg et al. Meanwhile, those with other palates and preferences might prefer a bowl of beef consommé or a twice-baked Stilton soufflé ahead of a trencherman mixed grill or fallow deer with roast shallots, fennel and cherries. Lunchtime trolleys are weighed down with gargantuan roasts and other pleasurable repasts, while desserts mine a rich vein of nostalgic comfort – apple crumble with custard, bread-and-butter pudding, etc. Service is deferential to a fault, and the upper-crust wine list is generously endowed with vintage clarets and Burgundies from the great years – although its “astronomical” prices are unlikely to trouble the old brigade in their Savile Row suits. 

British
Fish
Scott

Scott's

20 Mount Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 2HE

Under the awning or amid polished oak panels, glamorous Scott’s is a top choice if you want to take clients out for some “sublime” seafood and a thorough spoiling, backed by service that’s “second to none”. Staff “really care”, so rest assured that the “best fish in town” will be delivered with seamless care and attention. The sight of glistening crustacea displayed at an ice-heaped bar serves as a reminder that it’s sometimes best to leave well alone. In that spirit, purists also enjoy potted shrimps, lobster mayonnaise and dressed crab, while more elaborate starters might bring tempura langoustine tails, char-grilled squid with ‘nduja or “delicious” sautéed monkfish cheeks with snails and bordelaise sauce. ‘Turf’ is always an option (try the chicken, mustard, bacon and quails’ egg pie), but many customers return to the sea for halibut with dashi broth and shrimp gyoza, battered haddock or fish for two on the bone. Despite the obvious luxury, Scott’s is widely judged to be “great value for money” – something to bear in mind when leafing through the wine list. In short, a “unique experience”.

£50 - £79
Fish
Chicama

Chicama

383 King's Road, London, SW10 0LP

The team behind Marylebone’s hit South American joint, Pachamama, have headed to Chelsea to open this seafood-led take on their popular Peruvian-style cooking. Chicama is a modern space – copper-pipe and rough-wood clad, and boosted by pulsating energy from the frenetic open kitchen. The South American-inspired wines and cocktails match perfectly with the neighbourhood’s Sloaney drinking culture, and we loved our rhubarb-flavoured Pisco and Champagne Spritz brushed in cinnamon spices. The meat-free menu is based on the daily catch from Cornish day-boats, souped-up by coastal Peruvian flavours. Sharing plates arrive when ready, loaded with South American spice and zing: witness a decent salmon ceviche, drenched in a zesty coconut milk, with mango and red quinoa. Other hits include thin slivers of tuna on a creamy jalapeño and avocado sauce, topped with crunchy fried leeks, and the star of the show – soft, gooey cubes of crispy-coated tapioca marshmallow. As at Pachamama, the charcoal-fired Josper grill forms a big part of the appeal. Barbecue fans should bag a ringside seat to watch the never-ending roster of fish hit the coals. We chose a John Dory, which came expertly grilled, filleted and full of flame-licked flavour, alongside a smoky ají panca salsa. For dessert, the sweet-potato tart might sound like a strange choice, but think of it as a particularly sweet pumpkin pie and you won’t be far off. Blessed with a gorgeous terrace off the King’s Road, and proficient South American service, Chicama is already attracting Sloaney locals in numbers – and rightly so.

£50 - £79
Peruvian
Beast

Beast

3 Chapel Place, Oxford Circus, London, W1G 0BG

A basement revellers’ hall with gleaming candelabra and endless wooden tables channelling medieval feasting (especially during bonus season for City boys), Beast is Goodman’s tribute to high-rolling surf ’n’ turf. It was all change in 2016, though, with the fixed-price option of nibbles, king crab and steak jettisoned in favour of a steakhouse-style, all-day menu that’s priced no less ruinously. Still, you get what you pay for; witness the free glass of vintage fizz on arrival, the blue-tinged tanks of gargantuan, prehistoric-looking king crabs and an aging room of long-shrivelled Nebraskan beef. It’s all top-end stuff, but unimpressed visitors (ourselves included) feel the place is “nothing special” and “overpriced for what it is”, with ancillary items such as Wagyu tataki, shrimp tempura, and crab and foie gras gyozas eliciting little praise. Wines (from £40 a bottle) are no less punishing, while service strikes us as directionless.

Over £80
Steak
International
Fish