hen it comes to seriously good fish and seafood restaurants, Londoners are spoiled for choice. From the City to Notting Hill and Covent Garden to Mayfair, we’ve got the best oyster bars, sushi rolls, prawn cocktails and grilled soles covered. From the capital’s well-known classics to some secret foodie gems, read on to discover the best Chinese, Indian, Greek, Mexican and British restaurants in London serving up the most talked about fish dishes in town. You had us at halibut…
A leading member of the Old Guard, and one of the capital’s longest standing restaurants, Mayfair’s Scott’s still reigns supreme when it comes to the best fish and seafood in London. The perfect place to meet the parents, or butter up an important client, nowhere screams inherent elegance quite like it. Famed for its oysters, choose Jersey Rocks if you’re feeling patriotic, or go the whole hake with the plateau de fruits de mer for two. It’s a quintessential taste of the sea. The sautéed monkfish cheeks and snails, served with bacon and Bordelaise sauce, should also get a look in, followed by Dover sole on the bone or a nostalgic lobster thermidor. Dust off that dinner jacket to really feel the part.
Burger & Lobster, across London
Now a big fish among the capital’s best seafood restaurants, with outposts from the West End to the City and Knightsbridge to Soho, Burger & Lobster started off with just three signature dishes – burger, lobster or lobster brioche roll – but has since expanded its catchment to cover a number of crustaceous delicacies. The lobster cocktail roll is chilled to perfection in a retro Marie Rose sauce with iceberg lettuce, avocado, cucumber, tarragon, and a crushed prawn cocktail crisp garnish, while the fish and chip lobster roll comes with tartare sauce, lime pickled onions, pea and mint purée and finely diced gherkins, topped with crushed salt and vinegar crisps. Unapologetically British, we do wish menu calorie counts weren’t mandatory.
Sumi, Westbourne Grove
While the capital is awash with top, all-guns-blazing sushi restaurants (we love Roka, Zuma, SushiSamba and Nobu if you want to be seen with your sashimi), the newly opened Sumi offers a more authentic taste of Japan, served in a refined but low-key setting. ‘Less is more’ is the message here so forget truffle foams and gratings of unicorn dust. We recommend a selection of nigiri – akami (lean red tuna), otoro (fatty unctuous tuna), ikura (salmon fish roe) and suzuki (sea bass) – to start while you peruse the extensive menu. Those in the know request their fish to be cooked aburi’ style: using a naked flame on the fish before serving, the richly grilled surface and creamy centre work together to perfection. Hotate or hamachi are our go-to hand rolls (diced scallop with shiso flowers or chopped yellowtail, topped with mioga-shiso, white sesame and soy) followed by the robata fish of the day in all its ponzu-y glory.
Known for its unique Aegean hospitality, there’s a lot more to Soho’s Hovarda than a really good taramasalata (although there is that too). Handpicked crab with smoked foie gras, crème fraiche, leeks and avocado is our standout cold mezze dish, while the hot small plates of baked ribbon fish with citrus herb crumbs, pickled red onions and lemon and kataifi prawns in hot sauce are also irresistible. Choose octopus stifado – an octopus stew with shallots, apple, raisins, red wine sauce, and pita – for a main course to remember, or whole butterflied sea bream with samphire, wakame and seaweed butter for a real taste of the ocean. Hovarda is taking things a step further this spring with its House of Hovarda series, joining forces with influential and up-and-coming chefs from around the world every Tuesday night, including Jackson Bristow, Paul Foster, the Hot Asians and Ana Da Costa. There are no fish out of water here.
This opulent restaurant in Mayfair is one of the best Indian restaurants in London, and nothing like your local curry house (which occupies an entirely different place in hearts and bellies). Having just earned a Michelin star under culinary director Surender Mohan, the menu showcases his love of dishes from both the royal kitchens of northern India and the coastal cuisine of the southern states, exploring pan-Indian flavours and authentic cooking techniques to mouth-on-fire perfection. We love the bhatti ka octopus with black pepper, coriander seeds, Kashmiri red chilli, and southern corn salad and Leela’s lobster neeruli, with southern spiced coconut milk, pearly onions and kale dosa. You also won’t want to miss the iconic Tellicherry pepper and garlic soft shell crab with plum chutney, garlic chips and homemade garlic pickle. There’s naan fishy about that.
MiMi Mei Fair, Mayfair
It’s not often that you walk into a restaurant and genuinely picture yourself living there. MiMi Mei Fair, however, promises to transport you to old-world China within an unassuming Georgian townhouse, which has been transformed into the ‘secret London residence of Empress MiMi’. The menu leans on traditional techniques to create contemporary Chinese dishes including Canadian scallop dumplings with bamboo shoots, prawn and asparagus; braised five head Australian abalone with pak choi and oyster sauce, and wasabi prawns with crispy seaweed. Also don’t miss the chef special of live native lobster, served either steamed with homemade pickled chilli, braised with noodles, or wok-fried with ginger and spring onion. MiMi Mei Fair isn’t just one of the best Chinese restaurants in London, but a truly magical experience, perfect for a first date - or just a bit of roe-mance…
Mazi, Notting Hill
Jars of cod roe mousse, sea bass tartare and crispy calamari instantly transport you to summer holidays in Greece at this refined Hellenic haunt. Sit on the terrace and soak up the spring sunshine but be sure to bring a friend or two – the signature dishes won’t eat themselves. Don’t miss grilled octopus with fava purée, fennel and onion relish, the exquisitely seared monkfish with Conwy mussels, marrows and kaffir lime oil or the lobster with orzo pasta, wild garlic and Metaxa bisque. Celebrating ten years in London’s Notting Hill, it remains one of the capital’s hidden foodie gems for innovative, tasty and refined Greek cuisine.
Los Mochis, Notting Hill
The more-ish Los Mochis is all about pan-Pacific pairings, combining Mexican spirit and bold flavours with Japanese elegance and techniques. Order the guacamole with either grilled shrimp or snow crab, followed by the crispy California tostaditos (crab, avocado, cucumber and spicy aioli in a sweet potato shell) or tuna poke (a fresh yellowfin tuna crudo with yuzu-shiso truffle, avocado, jalapeño, sesame and spring onion) for a taste combination to remember. Grilled tiger prawns, Alaskan king crab and grilled octopus all headline their very own tacos, dripping with a mixture of Japanese and Mexican condiments. For every meal you purchase, Los Mochis provides one for the homeless and less fortunate, plus all dishes are gluten-free, and none contain any tree nuts: the most woke taco of your life.
J Sheekey, Covent Garden
Caprice Holdings happens to be the lucky owner of not one, but two, of the capital’s best seafood restaurants: J Sheekey and Sexy Fish. We’ll come to the latter in a moment but first, head over to Covent Garden and be wowed by the central crustacean raw bar at J Sheekey as soon as you enter the red-fronted doors. Caviar, oysters, and ceviche are all top-notch (and top dollar), while fillets of hake, trout, cod, sole and monkfish are all cooked to perfection. Pair with lashings of champagne for the full experience.
Sexy Fish, Mayfair
Feeling prawny? Sexy Fish won’t disappoint. The menu here is Asian-inspired, so you can expect sushi and sashimi on tap. Caramelised black cod, house-smoked king salmon, grilled halibut and gold fish with crispy caviar particularly float our boat. Also renowned for its Martin Brudnizki Design Studio interiors and Damien Hirst, Frank Gehry and Michael Roberts artworks, it’s also home to a chic cocktail bar that makes for the most impressive of dates.
Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill, St James’s
The grand dame of Swallow Street for more than 100 years, iconic fish and seafood restaurant Bentley’s shucks more than 1,000 oyster shells a day. Rock, native, dressed rocks, hot rocks – it’s true oyster heaven (duh) – but the caviar and raw bar also draw the crowds. The English shellfish cocktail is a refined twist on the classic: a tantalising combination of lobster, crab, prawn and brown shrimp. While lobster bisque, crab and mussel soup and smoked salmon will all hit the spot when it comes to first course. As for mains? Your Insta followers will never forgive you for not ordering the signature fish pie and sharing online.