Fish & Seafood Restaurants in Covent Garden
1. The Oystermen Seafood Kitchen & Bar Fish & seafood restaurant in Covent Garden 32 Henrietta St - WC2E
“Superb oysters” are the star attraction at this “casual and relaxed” venue just a few steps from bustling Covent Garden – but there’s “plenty of superb fresh seafood to choose from, if oysters aren’t your thing”. Ceviche and crab are highly recommended, while “the staff are absolutely lovely and very accommodating”.
2. Fishworks Fish & seafood restaurant in Covent Garden 2-4 Catherine Street - WC2B
“Thoroughly reliable, good fresh fish at sensible prices for London” justifies a trip to this trio of seafood bistros in some of the capital’s most expensive areas – Covent Garden, Marylebone and Swallow Street (just a step from Piccadilly Circus). The cooking may not be hugely exciting, but “they do pretty standard fish dishes very well” – “including excellent cod and chips”. Each branch has an in-store fishmonger, so you can pick up something extra to cook at home.
3. The River Restaurant, The Savoy Fish & seafood restaurant in Covent Garden The Savoy, 91 The Strand - WC2
It’s ‘Back to the Future’ at this fine chamber, whose window seats have majestic views over the River Thames. It has traded since 2013 as Kaspar’s Seafood Bar & Grill (RIP), but is now going back to its original (1890–2013) identity as ‘The River Room’. Gordon Ramsay Holdings – who already run The Savoy Grill – will relaunch it in autumn 2021.
4. Parsons Fish & seafood restaurant in Covent Garden 39 Endell Street - WC2H
“A tiny, buzzing space which serves delicious fish and other seafood delights in a friendly and efficient manner”, this tiled Covent Garden four-year-old has been a welcome addition to the new wave of fish specialists in the West End. “The interesting wine list comes from 10 Cases over the road”, which is under the same ownership. “We hardly ever go beyond the starters/small plates here – smoked cod’s roe, potted shrimp croquettes, brown crab pissaladière, tartare of sea trout with spicy bloody Mary jelly – all hit the spot”.
5. J Sheekey Atlantic Bar Fish & seafood restaurant in Covent Garden 28-32 St Martin’s Ct - WC2
“There’s something about eating sweet, delicious oysters from the half shell and listening to jazz….such a relaxing experience after a hard day” – Sheekey’s adjacent seafood bar is more chilled (you eat at the bar) than in the neighbouring dining rooms, but “lovely”, and higher rated than the rest of the operation this year.
6. J Sheekey Fish & seafood restaurant in Covent Garden 28-34 St Martin’s Ct - WC2
“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.”)
7. Smith & Wollensky Steaks & grills restaurant in Covent Garden The Adelphi Building, 1-11 John Adam St - WC2
The first international branch of a famous New York steakhouse brand (there’s now also a second, in Taipei), this grandiose dining room off The Strand is notably “pricey” and some reporters “have never quite gotten over the expense of the trip”. Fans of its USDA dry-aged steaks and high-end cuts from the British Isles say it’s “worth every penny” – they insist “the hanging tomahawk steak (to share for two people) is unbelievable”. But there are also significant gripes, which do not relate to cost. “Grotesque US-style portions” is one (although, admittedly, some might see that as praise). Others are that the food – other than steak – is just “standard fayre and nothing special” and that “NY is much better”.
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