The 15 Best Seafood Restaurants In London
15 places to have some of the best seafood the city has to offer.
Lobster rolls, buttermilk fried prawn subs, and a dover sole that will alter your brain chemistry—London is home to some seriously exciting seafood, you just need to know where to look. From old classics that have been around since 1742, to newcomers that have changed the London food scene, here are the 15 best restaurants to eat seafood.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
Contrary to what its name might suggest, The Cow is a pub and dining room near Notting Hill that specialises in seafood. One of the go-to orders here is oysters and Guinness, and you’ll also find an £89 seafood platter, fresh crab tagliolini, and The Cow’s fish stew on the menu. This namesake stew is a volcanic orange colour with mussels, prawns, and white fish bobbing about—and comes with a giant crouton with a big dollop of rouille on top. Alternatively, if you’re more of a traditionalist, look no further than the pint of prawns and a bowl of whelks.
Everything at this Ecuadorian restaurant on Essex Road is worth checking out, but the ceviche menu is particularly outstanding. Fresh prawns, sea bass, and scallops are paired with a choice of leche de tigre (a mix of lime, chilli, onion, and fish) marinades. There’s tamarillo, rocoto, or yellow chilli—depending if you’re looking for something more fiery, fruity, or fresh—but whatever you choose is sure to brighten your day.
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photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch
Brat could easily have started with a Venn diagram made up of three circles containing the words: Shoreditch, simplicity, oak panels. Despite the feeling of contrived cool that comes with most restaurants in Shoreditch, there’s nothing showy-offy here and the mantra of ‘stick it on the grill’, especially when it comes to seafood, provides smoky revelations. There’s grilled, bubbly bread with anchovies draped on top and smoking langoustines, but the standout dishes are the whole fish which are cooked to tender perfection. The turbot in particular is lauded for good reason—it’s flaky, a little smoky, and sitting in its own vinegary juices and marinade.
photo credit: Daisy Meager
Oyster Shack & Seafood Bar
OK, technically Oyster Shack is in Essex, deep in Epping Forest, but it’s within the M25. The setup is basic, with a terrace seating area surrounding the hut-cum-kitchen, and caff-like in atmosphere. Groups of bikers drop in, families crowd round tables outside, and those who’ve travelled from central London fuel up on seafood feasts after a walk in their too-clean wellies. There are platters of fat Carlingford oysters, sweet and meaty curried prawns, juicy lobster tails, and polystyrene cups of whelks. If you order one thing, make it the scallop and bacon butty—it hits the sweet, salty spot, and the thickly buttered roll soaks up the juices from the surf and turf.
Like that friend who reads your long rambling drafted texts in the midst of a break-up or every golden retriever ever, Wright Brothers is a restaurant that will always be there for you. It’s a mini-chain of reliable seafood spots, and while we love their Borough Market restaurant for its classic London charm, you can’t beat the riverside views at their Battersea spot. Book a table on the terrace, get a round of oysters in, then take a deep breath and order the whole Devon lobster with new potatoes and mayonnaise. If you’re about that Big Seafood Energy, you can also opt for their huge £60 grilled shellfish platter which includes oysters, tiger prawns, mussels, scallops, and importantly, that whole Devon lobster.
photo credit: Johnny Stephens
On a sunny day, a table at this Richmond spot overlooking the water is the best way to spend an afternoon in London, which makes it a tad bit better than the original Mayfair seafood spot. Huge pillars divide the space and arched windows with heavy curtains are drawn back to show what everyone’s taken the afternoon off for: the view of the river. The menu is a love letter to the big blue sea. You’ll find oysters, caviar served with blinis and crème fraîche, and a whole dover sole that’ll make you consider turning pescatarian. Not because you no longer want to eat meat, but because you want to make things exclusive with this buttery piece of fish.
photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
Seabird is the restaurant that convinced us we like oysters. Actually, Seabird is the restaurant that convinced us we love oysters, especially when combined with panoramic views of London and an atmosphere that enables endless alfresco cocktail sipping, day or night. Grab the love of your life and head here for a truly memorable champagne-infused dinner, or book a table for a group of out-of-towners who want to get all doe-eyed about eating in the shadow of the Shard. Or just bring yourself here for a romantic moment with a mollusc, soundtracked by the internal monologue of ‘I am living my very best life’. Because at Seabird, you are.
photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
London Shell Co
Sure, you could eat next to water. Or, you could eat on it. Not off a plate on a lilo, but on a canal boat. The Prince Regent is a floating restaurant from the London Shell Co and it’s like meals on wheels, but with no wheels and a lot more oysters. This canal boat serves a set seafood cruising menu (if you want to be on the move) or à la carte (if you prefer to be stationary). Though it reads slightly novelty, this is a genuinely lovely experience. Particularly in the evening, where it feels like a romantic and very British mixture of Titanic and The Talented Mr Ripley. Only with far fewer fatalities. Touch wood.
photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch
Sweetings is a seafood, lunch-only restaurant, because that’s the way it’s always been. It’s in the heart of the City, and it’s been serving business types whitebait, potted shrimp, pie, and crumble for much of its 100-year-plus tenure. There’s a very British atmosphere about the place. One that’s almost farcical. You’ve got someone shovelling the excellent fish pie beside you. Waistcoated waiters slapping down glass bowls of prawn cocktail left right and centre. The suggestion of lobster mash everywhere. This is a place full of walking, talking, sentient signet rings, and the sound of the same anecdote, from different generations, about that moustached dinner lady in the school canteen.
photo credit: Alex Maguire
Wiltons is a class act. This place has been open since 1742 and it’s one of those classic London establishments where you feel like all recent Prime Ministers have conducted saucy meetings in their velvet green back booths, and that at least 20 notable affairs have started or ended at the glossy bar. It’s home to one of the best oyster experiences in London and the steak tartare is also entirely fabulous, but when a restaurant chooses their mascot to be a fancy little lobster dressed in a top hat, then you know you need to get involved in some lobster action. You can opt for grilled, newburg style, or a classic thermidor, but be warned that the prices are sky high. Of course, eyeing up their paintings, suited-and-booted servers, and the feeling of gobbling up a slice of London dining history is all very much included in that price.
Sometimes you need somewhere small and straightforward to escape to, and that’s where Parsons comes in. It’s a seafood restaurant on Endell Street that’s very much blink and you’ll miss it. Once you do find it, you’ll discover a corridor of a restaurant where fresh catches are written up on the walls, and people are happily tucking into oysters, chips, and other nice things. It’s a restaurant that really suits two people but can stretch to four—we’d recommend you book ahead if going for the latter. The seafood is lovely and simple, and the fish pie in particular is something you’ll regret agreeing to share.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
A meal at Saltie Girl will undoubtedly involve two things: lobster and industrial amounts of butter. Or at least it will if you’re doing it right. This slick, under-the-sea themed seafood spot in Mayfair, with mermaids coming out of the walls and shell-shaped lamp shades, is lively, not-too-serious, and has given crustacean chic a whole new meaning. The main event is the meaty, buttery New England lobster roll. So come with a group, make sure the roll is on your table, and save stomach space for dessert because the freshly baked milk chocolate cookie might just be one of the best desserts in London.
Sometimes you just need to get down and dirty with a couple of lobster tails. Trap Kitchen understands this. That’s why their seafood bucket comes with a pair of throwaway gloves. Home to a no-nonsense menu of New Orleans-inspired classics, the star of the show is their XXL lobster tails that are so meaty and so perfectly juicy that we think about them at least four times a day, every single day. Plus, with their bucket prices starting at £20, it’s one of the best spots for an affordable yet deeply satisfying seafood fix. Although locations in Balham and Walworth are temporarily closed, there’s also an outpost in Camden.
photo credit: Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill
Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill
Referring to your oyster boys as ‘more chilled than a dozen of Loch Ryan’s finest’ could raise eyebrows in some circles. But as people who refer to themselves as ‘athletes’ every time they manage more than 80 steps per day, we salute Bentley’s description of its oyster shuckers. A classic West End seafood restaurant with a big heated terrace, it’s a great place to sip champagne over a dozen oysters. Some of the mains can be a little hit or miss, but the rockefeller dressed oysters are always a good call.
Nothing we say can prepare you for how filling the seafood sharing platter is at Poor Boys, a New Orleans-inspired spot in Kingston. You’ll question whether it’s enough for the three of you. Then 10 minutes, countless bayou-blackened prawns, fried calamari, and half a soft shell crab later, you’ll realise you’ve hardly made a dent in it. The tray comes filled with three different types of shrimp, a fried crab, chewy calamari, and garlicky grilled oysters—it’s comfort food at its finest. If you’re not in the sharing mood, you can always get their buttermilk fried shrimp sub which is a beast of a sandwich that we’d cross London for.