“Since 1742” Wiltons proudly displays under its name, a fact that gives it fair claim at London’s oldest restaurant. It’s a bit of a fudge however – it’s only been in its current location since 1984, first beginning as an oyster cart before setting up in several locations not too far from where it is now on Jermyn Street. Impressive history aside, the food at Wiltons is still top notch. It’s a classic menu so the only way to start is with a plate of fresh oysters and a glass of champagne. From there, we can highly recommend the salmon from Londons’ Secret Smokehouse, as well as the smoked eel. Dover Sole with garlic and parsely sauce is an excellent pick from the fish mains. There are perhaps few surpises on the menu, and it’s not cheap, but if you’re looking for the finest seafood (and beef wellington!) in London, look no further.
Having started small in Covent Garden, Oystermen is now thankfully a bit bigger thanks to them getting the next door premises and knocking the wall down. Here you can get oysters and pretty impeccable seafood in smart but relaxed unpretentious surroundings without emptying your wallet either. They’ve got more than oysters of course, with dishes like anchovy toast with confit garlic and lemon; Portland crab thermidor; Newlyn hake with Cornish mussels, devilled mussel veloute and lovage oil; and braised cuttlefish orzo with braised onions, aioli and red butterfly sorrel.
Seabird, the 14th floor rooftop restaurant and bar at The Hoxton Southwark has an incredible outdoor terrace with epic London views plus a beautiful indoor dining room and bar – it’s a pretty special spot. Joshua Boissy and Krystof Zizka (the team behind NYC’s Maison Premiere) have created London’s largest oyster menu alongside a menu of dishes with Spanish and Portuguese influences. As well as a super selection of shellfish, the tuna tartare, octopus roll with aioli, creamy crab croquettes and the whole lobster rice also must-orders.
After learning his trade under Nathan Outlaw, both in Cornwall and in London, Tom Brown launched his first solo spot, Cornerstone, in 2018. It’s seafood-focused, with sharing dishes like trout pastrami; hake kiev; raw mackerel with lime pickle, coconut yogurt and crispy garlic; marinated squid with black pudding, blood orange and a brown butter dressing; and ox tongue served with salt cod, tomatoes and gremolata. There are strong links with Cornwall both through the sourcing of the fish and a partnership with Cornish distillery The Wrecking Coast who created a bespoke gin exclusively for the restaurant.
Parsons is a super cute fish shop from the team behind the very popular wine bar Ten Cases, which is just over the road. It resembles an old chop house and note that super cute also means tiny, although there’s some clever use of space like the coat rack attached to the ceiling and the central table that doubles as a wine chiller and till. The menu of super fresh seafood includes simple grilled prawns; sea trout tartare with Bloody Mary jelly; and octopus with duck fat potatoes. All bloody brilliant
- Monday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
- Tuesday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
- Wednesday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
- Thursday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
- Friday: 12:00 – 10:30 PM
- Saturday: 12:00 – 10:30 PM
- Sunday: 12:00 – 9:30 PM
Scott’s was originally opened as an oyster warehouse in 1851 by a young fishmonger by the name of John Scott and rapidly evolved into the now famous seafood restaurant and oyster bar. The menu reflects its impressive heritage, serving traditional fish and shellfish dishes alongside a variety of meat and seasonal game dishes in very posh Mayfair surrounds. Oysters, served at the elegant oyster and Champagne bar, are a house speciality. The outdoor terrace is a famous hangout for celebs too so you might even spot a few stars.
PRAWN ON THE LAWN
Fishmonger by day, seafood restarant by night, Prawn on the Lawn is one of our favourite places in London. Now moved to bigger premises just around the corner from its original location, it can now offer a bigger range of dishes due to the fact that it actually has a kitchen this time around.
You can get whole fish from the fishmonger counter, great for bigger groups, plus a whole host of fishy small plates. Highlights include lightly seared tuna served with an Asian-inspired dip of soy, mirin, spring onion and chilli, and the brightly-coloured sea trout sashimi with tomato and red onion. Hot dishes are excellent too: try the whole prawns cooked in a spicy Szechuan seasoning, and the fillet of pollock, with salsa verde and capers.
Although we loved the charm of the original Prawn on the Lawn, even with all its limitations, the new incarnation is the restaurant it was meant to be. And we’re still big fans.