The best seafood restaurants in Plymouth, Devon

by Grace Oliver

A significant fishing hub, Plymouth is home to the annual Seafood and Harbour Festival and ranks fifth in the United Kingdom in terms of the total catch (at over 6%). When tempted, Rupert Parker gives in.

It’s been nearly 30 years since we visited Plymouth, and in that time we silently wrote it off as a naval town with shoddy post-war architecture. With the sailors gone, the town has regained its former air of confidence, and new construction is popping up overnight.

The best part is that you can walk the grassy peninsula of Plymouth Hoe and look out at the busy ports full of boats. To this day, trawlers bring in their catch while a statue of Francis Drake watches from the shore.

Even though Plymouth bills itself as “Britain’s Ocean City,” it’s difficult to locate good seafood restaurants in the area.

Many restaurants claim to serve fish, but a closer inspection of their menus reveals that they serve nothing more exotic than battered fish and chips or, at best, farmed sea bass. Historically, the English have had a tense relationship with seafood, preferring instead to consume land-based animals.

In an effort to revive the floundering fishing sector, King Edward VI mandated that all citizens consume fish on Fridays in the early 17th century. Plymouth’s residents, thankfully, spend the month of September advertising their seafood during the annual Seafood and Harbour Festival. Also, there are a few restaurants that are proudly displaying their support.

Just over the footbridge from Sutton Harbour is the National Marine Aquarium, where you can get a taste of the variety on display. The Atlantic reef tank displays the abundance of marine life that can be found in neighboring waters, including sharks, enormous rays, and vividly colored fish.

The Catch

The Catch, the undisputed success story of 2022, can be found just across the street from the aquarium on Southside Street. It’s a modest shop/restaurant/cooking class hybrid that sells and prepares only the freshest fish. Lee Holland, the head chef, and manager is a huge seafood fan and a student of Rick Stein’s.

Oysters from Lindisfarne are the best in the UK, so he teaches us how to shuck them. We just cannot argue; they are very succulent and flavorful. Then he teaches us how to make ceviche using scallops caught by the restaurant’s own boats. We then slice them very thinly with a filleting knife and season them with lime zest and juice and sliced fresh chili.

He shows us how to make his crab bombs as we wait for them to cure. Poppadum spheres the size of golf balls are filled with a regal mixture of white and brown crab flesh, mango, and coriander. The end result is a burst of energizing flavor in every mouthful. At long last, we get to sample his ceviche, and it does not disappoint. In terms of flavor, it’s hard to beat the crispness and sourness.

Ocean View at The Dome

The Dome, a bubble-shaped building with an art deco interior, sits on the Hoe’s edge. Seafood is best enjoyed in a setting where one can take in both the sight and scent of the ocean, and this location fits the bill well. It’s a nice place to relax, and we’ve been told that fresh plaice is today’s catch.

To begin, we prepare local mussels in a creamy sauce that isn’t quite marinière and serve them with sourdough for dunking. just the right size and flavor to satisfy our hunger pangs. Plaice fillets are served above a bed of new potatoes, with a ratatouille of sweet and sour peppers and an abundance of watercress on the side. Very tasty, although the Plaice is a little too delicate for the Jalfrezi sauce. We set aside the sauce and instead just used a little bit of lemon juice.

The Box Kitchen and Bar

The Box Museum and art gallery, located in the heart of town, are served by the all-day café restaurant run by chef Matt Dell. a bright and airy room, and we’re told by Matt that he has a strong interest in displaying the region’s finest products. He wants us to taste his Plymouth Gin-cured chalk stream trout with house pickles, lemon, and dill, even though fish and chips are also available. The meal has a very Scandinavian flavor, which is delicious.

His homemade falafel, stuffed with mint and yogurt and topped with crispy chickpeas, is our favorite of the small dishes served here, and we adore them all. A piece of his pork and apple sausage roll topped with brown sauce is unforgettable. The slightly charred cauliflower in his roasted cauliflower tacos stands out against the creamy avocado spread, sour cream, and crunchy pickled vegetables. The price of £15 for three serving dishes is a great deal.

The Hub Box

A bakehouse, a cooperage, and even a slaughterhouse can be found among the structures of Royal William & Mary Victualling Yard. From the early 19th century until the 1990s, they serviced Royal Navy ships from this location, which has now been converted into apartments, art galleries, and nightlife venues. The Hub is one such place, and its retro decor and tasty burger selection make it stand out among its peers.

“Big Fish” is a chunk of halibut that has been breaded in panko, but we like the Mack Daddy. On a sourdough bun, there is grilled mackerel topped with horseradish mayo, beetroot chutney, pickled beets, and rocket. Fries and a Hub salad topped with croutons, roasted pepper, capers, and garlic form a tasty duo.


Direct service between London and Plymouth is available on Great Western Railway.

The New Continental Hotel, which has undergone renovations in recent years, is conveniently located near the Hoe.

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