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Prawn on the Lawn
Prawn on the Lawn

The best seafood restaurants in London right now

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

Leonie Cooper
Edited by
Leonie Cooper
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Trawling London for excellent seafood restaurants is a joy – it turns out that there are plenty of fish in the sea when it comes to where eat a fine coastal supper in the capital. To help you make your choice we've done the decent thing and spread the net wide across the city to bring you the very best in bivales, crustaceans, molluscs and more. From fish and chips and Michelin-starred must-visits to sushi – with this list, London is your oyster. Go fish.

RECOMMENDED: The best bargain oysters in London.

Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

Top seafood restaurants in London

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

Why go? This tiny, tiled gem of a restaurant 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: You can't go wrong with a bowl of mussels and cider. 

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Soho
  • price 1 of 4

Why go? Randall & Aubin marches to the beat of its own drum: it’s a fish restaurant that has retained the features and fittings of the former butcher’s shop in which it’s located, and added a few of its own; marble-topped tables, arty black-and-white photos and a revolving glitterball (this is Soho, after all). The menu covers everything from classics like moules marinière, prawn cocktail and dressed crab to trendy lobster po’ boys, plus a few well-executed meat dishes. 

Signature dish: The seafood platter for two or more – it’s laden with nine types of seafood (if you add the half-lobster option – and you know you want to…).

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

Why go? Located in the gentrifying but still-industrial neighbourhood of Hackney Wick, Cornerstone is a hip seafood joint from Tom Brown. His menu of artful small plates offers such delights as 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 go-to water feature.

Signature dish: The glorious potted shrimp crumpet, topped with shredded kohlrabi. An instant classic.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Covent Garden

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. 

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

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Highbury
  • price 2 of 4

Why go? This bright, open-fronted seafood bar and fishmonger is thrillingly informal, with high counters and barrels to lean at, a blackboard menu and only one hot dish per day. Depending on the tides and the season, there are oysters, mackerel with ’nduja and fennel, and Thai marinated scallops, plus humbler but no less delicious offerings such as a whole crispy Red Mullet with olive oil and lemon. A local gem with a London-wide following.

Signature dish: We'll take a whole crab or lobster, thank you.

  • 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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Belgravia

Why go? This neighbourhood fishmonger morphs into a seafood bar come eveningtime. There's a heated terrace on this quaint mews street, so you can dine al fresco with getting as cold as a pint of prawns. 

Signature dish: Whatever's fresh that day would be our choice, and why not add a dozen oysters into the mix?

Bibendum Oyster Bar
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • South Kensington
  • price 3 of 4

Why go? 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.

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Scott's
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Mayfair

Why go? Glamorous Scott’s is a stonking great jewel in Mayfair’s bling-studded crown. The beauty of this buzzy destination is that the fantastically fresh fish and seafood aren’t even the half of it – in fact, it’s probably better known as an atmospheric A-lister haunt than as a fish specialist. Nevertheless, the food is spectacular: unfussy but spot-on fish dishes, from simply roasted cod with cauliflower puree and chorizo dressing, to perfectly seared sea bass with a rich herb butter, mingle with starrier options such as top-notch caviar.

Signature dish: A dozen oysters from the dazzling crustacea display, or something simple yet decadent like the grilled Dover sole.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Borough
  • price 3 of 4

Why go? Everyone loves this lively oyster house – and its siblings in South Kensington and Battersea. 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. Snack from small plates such as tuna tartare, pickled herring or crab fries, or more majestic mains like lobster and fries, prawn linguini and whole Brixham Dover sole meunière.

Signature dish: Oysters, obviously – the best news is that they’re £1 a pop during ‘happy hour’ – 3pm–6pm every Monday to Thursday.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Mayfair
  • price 4 of 4

Why go? High-end seafood spot in the middle of Mayfair. A place to see and be seen (eating lobster). Following the original New England location – and with a recent opening in Los Angeles, too – this Audley Street spot is swisher than swish. Saltie Girl's menu talks of ‘pristine’ fish, which naturally means a high price tag, but also equals some seriously top drawer fruits de la mer. Their staggeringly long ‘tin list’ might sound like a gimmick, but it’s done with such dedication it’s hard to not be impressed. They’re mostly from Spain and Portugal, and there are almost 100 different kinds available, from razor clams in brine to spiced squid in ragout.

Signature dish Lobster roll, which comes cold or warm and consists of perfectly toasted and healthily buttered brioche under a fat layer of extremely large lobster chunks.

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 rooftop terrace – it’s fired up each summer.

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  • 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. Chef/owner Masaki Sugisaki is also big when it comes to sustainability, with the provenance of each fish listed on the menu. The food is 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 handpicked crab and caviar roll. Heavenly. 

  • 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: A whole native lobster with garlic butter seems the natural choice.

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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? Jazzed-up 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. 

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

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Barnes
  • price 3 of 4

Why go? Sleepy Barnes might seem a random place for fish-focused globetrotter Rick Stein to have opened a London eatery. But, actually, SW14 is a lot like the man himself: relaxed and mostly by the water. Likewise the restaurant, with a well-travelled menu that shifts from the classic (salt and pepper prawns, griddled mackerel and fish soup) to slightly more exotic plates, though all recognisably Stein-ian. Baked scallops in chorizo sauce? Tandoori monkfish with raita? All here, and all good.

Signature dish: Indonesian seafood curry is delicious in all the right places.

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Chicama
  • Restaurants
  • Peruvian
  • King’s Road

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.

Wiltons
  • Restaurants
  • British
  • St James’s

Why go? Established 177 or 277 years ago, depending on whether you count its time as an oyster stall, Wiltons is deeply old-school. If you’re a sucker for life’s gustatory pleasures, the menu’s references to caviar, lobster, smoked salmon and truffle will get you salivating. As for fish, tradition reigns: think potted shrimp, lobster cocktail and smoked salmon for a loyal, slightly fusty clientèle.

Signature dish: Dover sole – either grilled, meunière or in goujon form for (gulp!) £65.

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Beast
  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Marylebone
  • price 3 of 4

Why go? It takes the surf ’n’ turf concept to crazy-expensive heights, somehow without jumping the shark. Sit at candlelit banqueting tables and feast on whole Norwegian king crabs (£190/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.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Soho
  • price 3 of 4

Why go? For the super kitsch interiors as much as the seafood. This Soho spot is camp in the extreme; all giant fish, massive mermen and coiled rope at every turn. It's setting in a shady Soho alleyway is less enticing, but if you're a fan of sparkly West End magic, then Manzi's is for you.

Signature dish The shrimp burger will set you back less than £20, which is a pretty good deal for such a pricey joint. 

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