RestaurantsLondonCovent GardenWC2

survey result

Summary

£93
 ££££
3
Good
3
Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

Black & white pictures of actors past and present line the “iconic panelled dining rooms” of this “absolute classic” in Theatreland (est. 1896) – “still the benchmark for fish and seafood” in London; and still the capital’s No.1 most-mentioned entry in our annual diners’ poll; and still “always packed”. Located in an unpromising back alley off St Martin’s Lane, you navigate past the uniformed doorman and opaque windows to the “very classy” and “old school” interior, which is “divided into smaller rooms, lending a degree of privacy and keeping the noise down” (not always successfully). A superb variety of fresh dishes is “impeccably” (if “unadventurously”) realised, with Dover Sole (“cooked on the bone then prepared by the waiter”) and Fish Pie most often featuring in reports. This year, there’s a feeling that “though very good, it’s now relatively expensive for quality versus its peers”: a particular gripe is the “rather overpriced” wine.

Summary

£88
 ££££
3
Good
3
Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Tucked away in a side alley in the centre of Theatreland”, this “old school” veteran (est. 1896) regained its No. 1 slot in this year’ poll, both as London’s most-mentioned destination; and also for providing the capital’s best fish and seafood. “All the classics are perfectly prepared” (“the freshest shellfish, unforgettable dressed crab, oysters and huge portions of Dover sole, washed down with a chilled bottle of Chablis… perfection”). And, they are served in a “quirky and atmospheric” series of picture-lined rooms, whose nooks and “intimate booths” further buoy its traditional appeal. Post-Covid, meals here did not always seem as sure-footed as in the past, with staffing often diagnosed as a problem. But recovering ratings this year suggest more of a return to the “classy” form that’s typically the norm here. “It’s pricey, but Sheekey’s still keeps its spot as one of the capital’s greats!”

Summary

£88
 ££££
3
Good
3
Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Still a favourite over many years”, this heart-of-Theatreland veteran (est. 1896) yet again topped our poll for serving London’s best fish and seafood: “amazing seafood platters”, “the freshest fish, simply served, and a wondrous fish pie”. Tucked-away down a quirky alley, just off St Martin’s Lane, it occupies a “club-like” series of old-fashioned parlours, enhanced – from June 2021 – by a major refurb, with a new all-year-round terrace (fully enclosed, with a retractable roof), plus a new central crustacean bar. That said, its ratings were not at their usual heights this year. Was it the pandemic closure of theatres (for which it is treasured for pre- and post-show meals)? Was it teething troubles with the new set-up? Whatever the reason, it lost the slot it’s occupied for many years as London’s most-mentioned venue. It also inspired some mixed reports from both before and after its revamp. As a result, both ratings for both food and service slipped a notch (“What’s happened here?! I know we’re being generous to relatively newly re-opened restaurants, but they’ve hired a lot of people who don’t know what they’re doing, and the food was good, but nothing special, especially given the prices.”)

Summary

£81
 ££££
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Unfailing, first class, and in the heart of Theatreland” – Richard Caring’s “wonderfully old-school” icon (est. 1896) has long been the survey’s No. 1 most talked-about destination as well as its top choice for fish and seafood. Tucked away, down an alley just off St Martin’s Lane, you navigate your way in past a uniformed doorman. The tantalisingly-translucent frontage only gives hints of the “classic” interior beyond with its “feeling of bygone glamour”: a series of “compact” panelled rooms , which “feature wood, brass, glass, and vintage photos of stage stars”, all presided over by “very professional” staff. The effect is “intimate” (“albeit a bit cramped”) and the atmosphere is “always buzzing” (if, occasionally, “to the wrong side of hectic”). The “traditional”, “comfort-fish” cuisine is “not inventive nor innovative”, “but always of the highest quality”. “New ingredients like harissa enliven an otherwise static menu, but if the formula works, why change it?” “The fish pie and and seafood platter remain classics”, while “Dover sole is served in umpteen different ways with on/off bone options”. Despite expansion (with the addition of the neighbouring Atlantic Bar), “it has maintained remarkable standards for years and years”.

For 33 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).

Have you eaten at J Sheekey?

28-34 St Martin’s Ct, London, WC2N 4AL

Restaurant details

Yes
Highchair,Portions
Yes
No dress code
110
Yes

J Sheekey Restaurant Diner Reviews

Reviews of J Sheekey Restaurant in WC2, London by users of Hardens.com. Also see the editors review of J Sheekey restaurant.
Craig H
It's not cutting edge, but there is just so...
Reviewed 11 days ago

"It's not cutting edge, but there is just something about this place. Lovely service and you feel like you could be dining at any time in the last century."

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Steven B
Its been a long time since we were here and...
Reviewed 7 months, 24 days ago

"Its been a long time since we were here and we only regretted not coming back sooner! The whole experience is well above average and although larger than ever the restaurant feels intimate and friendly. Avoid the bar stools and perhaps the outside spaces. Smiley staff from beginning to end are also very well trained - every plate arrived warm and was carefully turned so the logo was at the top. Split dishes were given a two plates without asking. And the food was pretty good - just avoid the fried courgettes despite their popularity. Outstanding tasty tender octopus; excellent Spanish stew and Indian fish etc. "

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Victoria J
I thought this place would be full of touri...
Reviewed 7 months, 24 days ago

"I thought this place would be full of tourists so the standard of food was pleasantly surprising, traditional and quite expensive but very good. "

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Jill C
Lovely set lunch in a beautiful setting. Se...
Reviewed 8 months, 15 days ago

"Lovely set lunch in a beautiful setting. Service was excellent and not rushed at all. The lunch felt good value."

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Wendy F
Post-theatre Friday visit, busy, lively, fr...
Reviewed 10 months, 1 day ago

"Post-theatre Friday visit, busy, lively, friendly, excellent food and wine. London as it should be lived."

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John H
Still a classic ...
Reviewed 10 months, 2 days ago

"Still a classic "

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What the Newspaper Critics are saying

The Times

After an unpleasant reaction to eating scallops a while back, Charlotte Ivers decided she was allergic to seafood and gave up attempting to eat it. But a recent self-testing regime revealed that she was “OK with crustaceans — the cheerful pink guys with legs and no backbone, such as prawns and crabs — but not with molluscs, the largely grumpy-grey slug-like beasts in a hinged shell”.

A celebration was called for and there was “only one place for it: J Sheekey. A seafood restaurant. The seafood restaurant. A civilised old place with red fronting that has been shucking oysters since 1896″.

The restaurant separated a “majestic” platter of “whelks, cockles, mussels, fat oysters, dressed crab and prawns that look big enough to have your hand off if you bothered them” into two – crustaceans for Charlotte and molluscs for her boyfriend – and she tucked happily into the “huge, plump, fresh Atlantic prawns cracking in my enthusiastic grip” and a “sweet, nutty, meaty half lobster”. “God, I’ve missed this.”

Charlotte Ivers - 2024-06-23

Prices

Availability 2 courses 3 courses coffee included service included
Brunch £33.00 £39.00

Traditional European menu

Starter Main Pudding
£16.50 £36.30 £10.75
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £45.00
Filter Coffee £0.00
Extras  
Bread £0.00
Service 13.50%
28-34 St Martin’s Ct, London, WC2N 4AL
Opening hours
Monday12 pm‑11 pm
Tuesday12 pm‑11 pm
Wednesday12 pm‑11 pm
Thursday12 pm‑11 pm
Friday12 pm‑11 pm
Saturday12 pm‑11 pm
Sunday12 pm‑10 pm

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