From trending dishes to classic fish restaurants, traditional chippies to cutting-edge kitchens, Britain is packed with places mining that briny bounty. From the city to the coast, dive in! After, check out our roundup of the UK’s best gastro pubs with rooms. For a more intimate restaurant experience, discover the best private dining rooms in the UK and if you want to pull out all the stops, find out the UK's best showstopping restaurants to impress.

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The UK's best seafood restaurants

Seafood for sharing: Old Harry Rocks, Bournemouth

The second restaurant at The Nici, Old Harry Rocks’ beachy vibes bring a relaxed, breezy atmosphere to the most glamorous hotel on Bournemouth’s West Cliff. With the eponymous rocks and the Isle of Purbeck in the distance across Poole Bay, the view from the best tables is hard to beat. Local seafood takes centre stage, with a signature platter that takes surf and turf to another level, and the decadent option of local lobster on your burger. Crowd-pleasing favourites suggest long lunches with friends; local fish served whole, delicate crab toast and moreish croquetas. Drinks cater for a party, too, with a wide selection of magnums alongside favourites like frozen margs and an impressive register of house cocktails. oldharryrocks.com

Old Harry Rocks

Finest fruits de mer: Bentley's, London

A historic retreat, all pressed linen and chilled chablis, whose royal shellfish platter is entirely sourced on British and Irish coasts. bentleys.org


Peach by the beach: The Hatch, Latimer’s, near Sunderland

Visit the take-out window at this fishmonger and smokery for fish pasties, chowders and lobster picnic boxes to enjoy on Whitburn Beach. latimers.com


Heads up: Fallow, London, and A Wong, London

Forget mere cod cheeks. The whole cod’s head is where it’s at: aromatically steamed, Hunan-style at A Wong (awong.co.uk) and dramatically slathered in sriracha butter at Fallow. fallowrestaurant.com

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The team at A Wong steam cod for London’s Fallow

Beyond cod and salmon: Fin Boys, Cambridge

This forward-thinking fishmonger and diner pushes fin-to-skin cookery, dry chilled storage (“ice speeds up degeneration”) and underrated, sustainable fish in plates of gurnard ceviche or pollock with chicken gravy, leeks, shimeji mushrooms and tarragon. Large plates from £15; fin-boys.com


Mumbai-to-Goa by sea: Pali Hill, London

India’s coastal cookery resonates in ex-River Café chef Avinash Shashidhara’s dishes, such as banana leaf steamed sea bass or langoustines in wild garlic, ajwain, ginger, chilli and lemon. palihill.co.uk

Langoustines with a wedge of lemon on a white plate

Oyster ahoy: The Oyster Shack, Bigbury, Devon

Colourful Avon Estuary joint where Cornish rock oysters are innovatively garnished in the likes of foraged sandwort and rose vinegar. oystershack.co.uk


Ultimate freshness: Live Seafood, Manchester

You can get the experience of China’s seafood restaurants, where you choose dinner from tanks of live fish, in Manchester, too. “Live Seafood offers a cornucopia of fish and shellfish – intricately sliced, deep-fried sea bass or crabs in garlic and spring onion – at great value market prices,” says fan Thom Hetherington, organiser of the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show. liveseafood.co.uk


Pop-up shrimp feast: Decatur, London

Check Decatur’s socials for dates when you can enjoy its hot, spicy Louisiana-style shrimp boils: garlic-butter-slicked feasts of seafood, corn, potatoes and smoked andouille sausage. decaturlondon.com

Chargrilled oysters from London restaurant Decatur

Much-loved Caribbean flavours: Etta's Seafood Kitchen, London

Rated for Brixton chef Etta Burrell’s ackee and salt fish, seafood curry and sea bass with green banana, sweet potatoes, okra, tomato and pumpkin. ettaskitchen.com


Fantastic fish & chips

Crisp, lip-smacking batter, pearly fish and perfect chips are not easy to find. But we return again and again to these reliably brilliant five: Nottingham’s The Cod’s Scallops; Exeter’s Fish Shed; Whitby’s The Magpie Café; Penrith’s Angel Lane Chippie,
and Colmans of South Shields.


Summer's hottest table: Prawn on the Farm, Padstow

Stellar seafood and Camel Estuary views will make Prawn on the Lawn’s alfresco pop-up one of summer’s hottest tables. Linger over Cornish lobster with lime and coriander butter or wild bass and sole, sold by the kilo and cooked in Chinese, Thai or Euro styles. prawnonthelawn.com

Buttermilk fried monkfish, fermented chilli mayo on a blue plate

Future fish: Ikoyi, London

Chefs are currently all over Japanese dry-ageing techniques for fish, said to intensify flavour and create meatier, creamier textures. At West African restaurant, Ikoyi, chef Jeremy Chan has been serving five-day-aged turbot with preserved beetroot, palm wine, passion berry and ceps, alongside creative piscine plates such as octopus and malt XO with yeasted béarnaise. ikoyilondon.com

Ikoyi’s Jeremy Chan and Iré Hassan- Odukale sat on a sofa

The creative catch: Fish & Forest, York

A creator of tuna bresaola, trout pastrami and the mackerel kiev, chef Stephen Andrews is pushing the piscine boundaries, not least in minimising waste and foregrounding sustainability. Pollock wellington, anyone? fishandforestrestaurant.com


Next-level nautical adventures: Folium, Birmingham

Chef Ben Tesh uses meticulously sourced fish in imaginative ways, such as beef-fat-cooked turbot with potato hollandaise and Arbroath smokie broth. His salt ’n’ vinegar cod’s skin, fried to look exactly like an oyster shell, served with oyster tartare, is a visually striking taste sensation. restaurantfolium.com

Folium’s cod’s skin on a wooden table

Hot seafood spots at the water’s edge

The Company Shed, Mersea Island, Essex

Seafood hub that, September to April, sells prized Colchester native oysters. thecompanyshed.co.uk

Lobster & Môr, Little Haven, Pembrokeshire

Deli and craft store owned by fishermen Danny Curtis, known for takeaway pots of crab meat and lobster brioche rolls. lobsterandmor.co.uk

Riley’s Fish Shack, King Edward’s Bay, Tynemouth

Modish riffs on chargrilled fish, on the beach. rileysfishshack.com

The Crab Shed, Steephill Cove, Isle of Wight

Beach takeaway making sensational crab and mackerel pasties from seafood landed in the cove. steephillcove-isleofwight.co.uk


The Sustainable Restaurant Association’s sustainable seafood checklist:

  • Look for alternatives to the big five: cod, haddock, tuna, salmon and prawns. Try crab or mussels, swap haddock for pollock.
  • Get the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide app for sustainable info on your phone.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask staff where fish is from and how it’s been caught.
  • Avoid any fish rated red by the MCS, including European eel, described as critically endangered.

Five more restaurants with a flair for fish

Creel Caught, Edinburgh

Chef Gary Maclean’s celebration of Scottish seafood at Bonnie & Wild food hall. Think langoustine with lemon, kombu seaweed butter and fennel salad. creelcaught.com

The Sea, the Sea, Hackney, London

Counter dining spin-off from the Chelsea fishmonger and seafood bar, known for day-boat South West fish, dry-ageing and general contemporary seafood wizardry. theseathesea.net

Ugly Butterfly, near St Ives, Cornwall

Adam Handling’s ultra-sustainable restaurant (“There is no such thing as food waste”) relocates to Carbis Bay this month. Seafood ranges from sea urchin snacks to potted Hale Estuary razor clams. uglybutterfly.co.uk

The Double Red Duke, Clanfield

Live-fire cooking is the USP at this Cotswolds pub. Expect spit-roasted turbot with lemon ketchup or wood-roasted scallops and garlic butter. countrycreatures.com

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Temaki, London

Brixton handroll bar whose chef Shaulan Steenson previously worked in Tokyo sushi temples such as Hakkoku. Check its salmon-skin crisps, too. temaki.co.uk

Large plate of fish with lemon wedges, potatoes, salad and a glass of white wine on a grey table

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