When it comes to the delectable delights of the sea, Europe has a long and delicious culinary history.
If you are a fan of treats from the ocean prepared in creative, unique and mouthwatering ways, travelling around Europe will be a pleasure. There are several superb seafood restaurants that will absolutely rock your world. Here are some of the very best places for seafood lovers to dine in Europe:
The Sportsman, Seasalter, Kent, UK
Seafood lovers from all over the world travel to this restaurant, as chef Stephen Harris is considered one of the best seafood chefs in all of Europe. Try the native Whitstable Oysters or the Slip Sole grilled in seaweed butter or the Braised Brill Fillet with a Mussel and Bacon Tartare.
This Michelin-starred gastropub sources its seafood from the surrounding area – the Thames estuary provides oysters and the fish come from the North Sea. Some of the ingredients are grown right at the restaurant itself. For British seafood at its finest, this is the place to truly savour the flavours of the ocean.
La Caleta Bar and Restaurant, Madrid, Spain
Madrid has a surprisingly amazing seafood scene for a country that is so far away from the coast. There are several superb seafood restaurants here, but one of the best is La Caleta. This restaurant will make you feel like you have been transported to the seaside region of Andalusia and you are snacking on delectable fried fish by the sea.
Make sure that you try the cazon al adobo, which is dogfish that has been soaked in a marinade and then fried. It explodes with flavour and melts in your mouth – the perfect accompaniment to a cold beer. If you are dining with friends you could even try the pescado frito platter – a mix of delicious fried fish and seafood.
Chez Jacky, Riec-sur-Belon, France
Raising oysters can actually be beneficial to the oceans if done correctly, as these bivalves eat the phytoplankton that can cause harmful blooms of algae. The wonderful flat Belon oysters of Brittany that are served at this restaurant are superb.
Chez Jacky is located on the oceanfront on the southern shore of Brittany and at this lovely spot you can savour the Belons. Their flavour is reminiscent of hazelnut with a slightly metallic taste, served on a bed of seaweed over a pichet of muscadet. You can share them with a friend while you watch the boats along the Belon River.
Kodbyens Fiskebar, Copenhagen, Denmark
Next on the list of Europe’s best seafood destinations is something a little further north. This edgy fish restaurant in the former meatpacking district offers superb quality oceanic dishes prepared expertly. You can feast on raw razor clams and fennel or trout tartare, or try some poached ling with celery, dill and leek puree. Bring your friends and have a seafood feast at a reasonable price.
Les Fables de la Fontaine, Paris, France
When you are looking for fresh and simple fish dishes, this Parisian restaurant really does deliver. The menu changes daily depending on the freshest catch. The chef is Anthony David, who once worked at the Benoit and the Plaza Athenee. His cooking masters the art of magnifying the flavours of high quality, fresh ingredients – such as the crusty langoustine with basil sauce and the jellied oyster with algae tartare and caviar. The restaurant is also known for its superb attentive service and it’s impressive wine list.
Chez Leon, Brussels, Belgium
Dine on the best mussels in Brussels at this famous restaurant, located in the heart of the vibrant and historic city. While seated at the simple and welcoming tables you will be served a heaping kilogram of mouth-watering fresh mussels steaming in a casserole. They are complemented with chips and you can wash them down with delicious Belgian beer. Try the mussels Poulette style, served with white wine, cream and mushrooms.
Hodgson’s Chippy, Lancaster, UK
Not all of the best seafood shops in Europe have to be fancy gourmet dining establishments. The classic simple meal of fish and chips is a British icon and it should be served in a rolled up newspaper from a friendly and welcoming chippy. Hodgson’s in Lancaster won the best chippy in Britain award a few years ago by Seafish and when you dine there it’s easy to see why.
The owner, Nigel Hodgson, only serves sustainably fished Icelandic haddock. He cooks the fish in a wonderful tempura batter and serves it with thick chips, a shot of malt vinegar and homemade mushy peas.
Balıkçı Sabahattin, Istanbul, Turkey
This restaurant is one of the best for seafood in Istanbul, offering a limited yet excellent menu of meze and fish. You can choose your fish from the display near the restaurant entrance – so you know it’s fresh. You will enjoy your food in a lovely leafy garden and the waiters will bring free desserts at the end of the meal.
Sa.Qua.Na, Honfleur, France
Although this restaurant is located in one of the most popular tourist cities in France, it is not as well known as it deserves to be. It serves some of the most delicate and lovely seafood dishes in Northern Europe. The chef is Alexandre Bourdas, who previously served as the sous chef of Michel Bras. He is known for the quality of the ingredient he uses and the precision with which the fish is cooked. The creations served here are very simple, yet mind-blowing in their flavour.
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw
With four Michelin stars to his name, Nathan Outlaw is Britain’s most decorated seafood chef. His culinary story beginning aged 8, buttering toast for his dad during busy breakfast services, his ascent since then has been rapid. Stints with Gary Rhodes, Eric Chavot and Rick Stein culminated in opening his first restaurant at 24.
Head to either Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, the UK’s only two star seafood restaurant, in the Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac, or the newer one star London outpost at the five-star Capital Hotel to experience Britain’s best seafood restaurant.