Fish & Seafood Restaurants in Covent Garden
1. J Sheekey Fish & seafood restaurant in Covent Garden 28-34 St Martin’s Ct - WC2
“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”.
2. J Sheekey Atlantic Bar Fish & seafood restaurant in Covent Garden 28-34 St Martin’s Ct - WC2
“So cool eating at the bar” – this “enjoyably bustling” spin-off from the neighbouring Theatreland classic has “very good, 1930s-style decor” (even though it was only created about 10 years ago). Compared with the main restaurant it’s “perhaps a bit more about the ambience versus the food” here, and – “with the menu opting for the small-plates approach – costs can mount up”. But, results are “predictably good”, and the operation’s “slick” style and “flexible” format suits it to many different occasions: it’s particularly “great for lunch sitting at the bar, or an early pre-theatre dinner at one of the tables”.
3. The Oystermen Seafood Kitchen & Bar Fish & seafood restaurant in Covent Garden 32 Henrietta St - WC2E
“You’ll expect to look out the window at the beach and waves… yet it’s Covent Garden out there!”. This “fun and casual” two-year-old perhaps “feels different since they grew” (into the next door premises) in the autumn of 2018. “But you still eat cheek-by-jowl with neighbouring tables” in a “hustling-and-bustling” setting, and most reports still feel it’s “just as good in its expanded space”. Amongst the selection of “cracking” fish and seafood, “the oysters are a joy”, “the crab’s a wow”; and it’s all “amazing value”. “Likeable staff”, too.
4. Parsons Fish & seafood restaurant in Covent Garden 39 Endell Street - WC2H
“It’s the fresh fish that brings you” to this “tiny, tiny space” in Covent Garden (sibling to 10 Cases, just across the road) – a “crowded, congested and stripped-down room” that’s almost “more of a seafood bar than a restaurant as you perch on stools”. “There’s a small menu, with a few specials painted on the walls showing the catch of the day”, “all cooked to perfection behind the counter and served as soon as it’s ready”. “Ideal for pre-theatre, but it doesn’t encourage lingering”.
5. Smith & Wollensky Steaks & grills restaurant in Covent Garden The Adelphi Building, 1-11 John Adam St - WC2
NYC’s famous, steakhouse chain opened this über-swanky offshoot three years ago at the foot of the Adelphi Building, just off The Strand, but it’s never made waves this side of ‘The Pond’, written off from day one by the cognoscenti due to its “outrageous prices”: a complaint that persists in a significant number of reports to this day. But its “amazing steaks” – the best USDA dry-aged cuts, and prime meat from the British Isles too – also help win it good-to-outstanding ratings in practically all feedback; and, especially if you have company plastic to burn, it can cater well for a business occasion in particular.
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