Seafood restaurants in London
Why go? With its Michelin-starred food, good looks, and City clientele, this is one big fish in a big pond. But be warned, a meal here comes at an eye-watering price. You should be blown away, though: the sleek, airy dining room on the seventh floor of the South Place Hotel delivers atmospheric views of the City, while the menu offers picture-perfect plates with inspired flavour combinations: think roasted octopus with taramasalata, linzer potatoes and red wine bang cauda, or cod with girolles, new season garlic and line-caught squid.
Signature dish: A gourmet barbecue courtesy of the grill on Angler’s terrace – it’s fired up each summer.
Venue says Join us for our exclusive five-course Taste of Spring Menu for £65 per person designed by Executive Chef, Gary Foulkes.
Why go? This is the third London venue from Goodman Restaurants, and could be seen as the genetically blessed offspring of its predecessors – Goodman’s three steakhouses and Burger & Lobster. It takes the surf ’n’ turf concept to crazy-expensive heights, somehow without jumping the shark. Sit at candlelit banqueting tables and feast on Norwegian king crabs (£120/kg, just so you know) and Maine lobsters, followed by rib-eye, sirloin, chateaubriand or porterhouse steaks, and book-ended with luxury extras. Then go home and worry about your finances.
Signature dish: It’s got to be the two statement dishes: the whole king crab and the chateaubriand.
Why go? Buzzing and bustling on the one hand (the downstairs bar), and restrained and upmarket on the other (upstairs in the old-school restaurant), Bentley’s is an old-school Mayfair institution whose regular client base of expense-accounters is complemented by clued-up West End shoppers and theatregoers. The menu, despite its high prices and luxury ingredients, is fiercely unpretentious, with bold flavours and tried-and-tested classics winning out over fiddly presentation. Don’t miss the oysters – staff shuck around 1,000 a day, more when natives are in season.
Signature dish: The ‘royal’ fish pie with lobster, scallops, prawns and haddock.
Why go? Now presided over by Claude Bosi, the oyster bar on the ground floor of an iconic South Kensington building (originally the HQ of Michelin tyres) is a more affordable alternative to the two-Michelin-starred restaurant upstairs. Down here, it’s bustling and clattery, so you can potter around admiring the sketches and painted tiles that depict Michelin’s history without feeling awkward. A quick lunch for locals usually involves a platter of shellfish and a glass of champagne, but hot dishes including fish soup, chilli crab and lobster linguine, and good old fish and chips are equally delicious.
Signature dish: The classic seafood platter for two.
Why go? This cockle-warming little restaurant on Soho’s Bateman Street (emphasis on ‘little’ – there’s a counter bar in the front, a locker-sized table area out back and that’s about it) is the classy younger brother to a Fitzrovia original, a sea of of marble in place of tatty nauticalia. The compact menu features a host of perfectly formed plates – from crab rarebit and scallops with green tomato, bacon and gin, to Newlyn grey mullet with ’nduja peperonata and vivid bowls of bouillabaisse. Empirical proof that everything’s better down where it’s wetter.
Signature dish: The classic seafood platter for two.
Why go? Peruvian food ain’t nothing new in London, but Martin Morales’ Ceviche can be credited with kickstarting the whole zesty party a few years back. There’s colourful Peruvian artwork on the walls, exotic Latino jazz on the stereo, pisco behind the bar and seafood of all stripes on the menu: from miso-marinated and grilled wang wei octopus to steamed sea bass buns with amarillo mayo. Don’t miss the mini menu of ceviche itself: chock full of pretty-as-a-picture plates of citrus-pickled scallops, prawns, tuna or daily-changing white fish.
Signature dish: The classic Don Ceviche – sustainable sea bass, marinated in amarillo chilli tiger’s milk and served with sweet potato crisps.
Why go? A swoonsome Chelsea sibling to Marylebone’s Pachamama, Chicama’s name isn’t a grim riff on the word ‘chic’. Rather, it’s a coastal town in north Peru – which is appropriate given all the piquant seafood on the menu. The ceviche is killer, but who could resist plates like spicy papaya salad with crab, squid marinated in garlic and ají panca (a Peruvian red pepper) or daily market fish (say, bream or sea bass), grilled over charcoal and served with mango and ají limo sauce? Don’t miss the cheesy tapioca marshmallows either. Fish-free, but astounding all the same.
Signature dish: The sea bass ceviche – with soy tiger’s milk, wakame, spring onion and sesame – is a fragrant triumph.
Why go? Located in the slowly gentrifying but still-industrial neighbourhood of Hackney Wick, Cornerstone is a hip seafood joint from Tom Brown. Before this, he was head chef at Outlaw’s at the Capital, which makes him something of a seagoing sensai in the kitchen. So it proves across a menu of artful small plates, none of which (bread aside) are fish-free: from octopus cassoulet with hogs pudding and cured salmon dotted with lime pickle, through pickled oysters with horseradish and raw bream with brown butter, capers and lemon. Forget the canal: Cornerstone is the Wick’s new go-to water feature.
Signature dish: The glorious potted shrimp crumpet, topped with shredded kohlrabi. An instant classic.
Why go? Wallet-dustingly expensive it might be, but Chelsea’s Dinings SW3 is a sushi lover’s wet dream. The menu here has more razzmatazz (and actual dishes) than the pokey Marylebone original, but the food remains subtly complex and beautifully precise: from sumi-yaki grills of lobster and halibut, to the radiant assortment of sushi and sashimi in various preparations. There’s soy-marinated ‘zuke style’ chu-toro (aka fatty tuna). Blowtorch-seared shrimp with the citrus-umami buzz of yuzu soy. Seared turbot fin with ponzu jelly and scallop with foie gras (and so on). Where’s my credit card?
Signature dish: The double crab roll: a heavenly, greaseless meeting of Cornish spider and soft-shell crustacean.
Why go? Nobody knew what to think when Hawksmoor’s owners took over this challenging site on the edge of Mayfair and announced they would be serving seafood alongside their show-stopping steaks. Tinkering with their perfect formula seemed foolhardy – until, that is, we actually tasted the fish on the menu here. Londoners now face the first-world problem of whether to ditch Hawksmoor’s juicy Tamworth ribs in favour of featherweight roast scallops with white port and garlic, or simple Dover sole meunière .
Signature dish: The ‘Hawksmoor cut’ turbot: a mouth-watering shoulder of turbot grilled over charcoal and served on the bone.
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