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Bonnie Gull Seafood Bar

The best seafood restaurants in London

Whether you fancy a fishy bite or like to savour your seafood, we've got a place for you

Edited by
Alice Saville
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Sometimes, trawling London, it can feel like there aren’t that many fish in the sea. Good seafood is hard to come by – but when it’s done well, it’s probably the most delicious thing you can put in your mouth. We did the decent thing, spread the net wide and ate absolutely everything, so we could whittle down the very best. From fish and chips and Michelin-starred must-visits to sushi – with this list, London is your oyster. Go fish.

RECOMMENDED: Eight London day-trips for seafood obsessives

Seafood restaurants in London

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Belgravia
  • price 3 of 4

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.

  • Restaurants
  • Peruvian
  • Soho
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Covent Garden
  • price 2 of 4

Why go? This tiny, tiled gem of a restaurant – with a space saving, ceiling-mounted coat carousel, naturally –  is fresh in every sense of the word. It’s unassuming, unpretentious and unrelenting in dishing up fabulous fish. Daily specials, fresh off the boat, are scrawled on the wipe-down walls and cooked quickly and unadorned, but the starters and snacks are where things get really interesting (and gutsy): think potted shrimp croquettes, brown crab pissaladière and enormous dollops of cod’s roe with craters of good oil and crackers for slathering. Close your eyes and you can almost smell the sea air.

Signature dish: The thick-sliced, tangerine-bright trout tartare with tart bloody mary jelly is a sweet-sharp sensation.

Cornerstone
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Hackney Wick
  • price 3 of 4

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.

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  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Regent Street
  • price 3 of 4

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.

J Sheekey Atlantic Bar
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Covent Garden
  • price 3 of 4

Why go? This grand dame of the Theatreland dining scene needs no introduction – critics love it, celebs flock to it, and the rest of us try frantically to get a table. Happily, both somebodies and nobodies get an equally warm welcome here, and the fish is spectacular – from half-pints of firm, juicy Atlantic prawns to pan-fried, market-fresh slip sole and lobster thermidor. The main restaurant is a more grown-up affair than the neighbouring oyster bar, though both are really good fun.

Signature dish: The fish pie – it is to Sheekey’s what the shepherd’s pie is to The Ivy.

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Angler
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Moorgate
  • price 4 of 4

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.

Sea Garden & Grill
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Tooting
  • price 2 of 4

Why go? Yet another fine addition to Tooting’s formerly dingy Broadway Market, Sea Garden & Grill specialises in small-portioned plates of seafood (plus a few salads and meaty bits) that look as lovely as they taste. The style? Pimped classics. There are bowls of Cornish mussels, doused in cider cream sauce with knobbly lardons for a salty hit. Crab risotto with a mix of white and brown meats, drizzled with parmesan cream. An upgraded surf’n’turf with barbecue prawns and Madeira-glazed short rib. Counter or communal table, grab any seat you can – and make sure you take cash. 

Signature dish: Menus change frequently, but get the dripping-fried hake goujons – strewn with samphire and frilly chervil – if they’re on.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Mayfair

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.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Borough
  • price 3 of 4

Why go? Everyone loves this lively Kingly Street oyster house – and its siblings in Borough, Spitalfields and South Kensington. They’re smart-looking but laid-back destinations in which to sink a few bivalves, a swift stout if you’re feeling traditional, and some fish-friendly wine if not. Build your own shellfish platter from the gleaming selection of prawns, oysters, clams, mussels, crabs and lobsters, order melt-in-the-mouth sashimi from the raw bar, or go à la carte with creative small plates or larger dishes such as butterflied sea bass with grilled artichoke and sea veg.

Signature dish: Oysters, obviously – the best news is that they’re £1 a pop during ‘happy hour’ – 3pm–6pm every weekday, and 9am-11.45am at weekends.

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