With its stretch of stunning coastline, it’s little surprise that the south west has a close relationship with the sea. From adrenaline-filled water sports to 630 uninterrupted miles of clifftop walking routes, it’s undoubtedly among the region’s best assets. But it’s what lies beneath the waves that offers the south west’s most delectable surprise of all.
Dotted with little harbours and quaint fishing villages, the south west is an absolute seafood haven. If crab, scallops and oysters are totally your thing – or you just prefer the very best fish and chips – you’ve come to the right place. To get your culinary adventures off to a swimming start, here are some of our regional seafood highlights along the South Western Railway network, including popular spots like Poole, Bournemouth, and Weymouth. And don’t forget the incredible Dorset Seafood Festival, the region’s largest celebration of this cuisine.
Best places for fish & chips in the south west
The Fisherman’s Kitchen, Portsmouth
Tucked away just a stone’s throw from Southsea’s waterfront, The Fisherman’s Kitchen is something of a local institution. You’ll immediately feel at home in its blue wood-panelled interior, if the notes of salt and vinegar in the air don’t already put you at ease.
This spot prides itself on a quality approach to a national favourite, with beer-battered fish and locally-sourced potato served up alongside seafood curry, cockle popcorn, and whatever catch of the day adorns the specials board.
The nearest station to The Fisherman’s Kitchen is Portsmouth & Southsea, which is 15 minutes away via the 23 bus.
Fish ‘n’ Fritz, Weymouth
A few minute’s walk from Weymouth Beach will take you to Fish ‘n’ Fritz, a frequent award-winner and favourite haunt of tourists and locals alike. Available for takeaway or table dining, they generally keep to the classics here, with a selection of battered fish options alongside the likes of sausages, pies, and pasties. There’s plenty to please even the fussiest young ones on the kids’ menu, while Fish ‘n’ Fritz can also cater for gluten intolerances and allergies.
If that’s got you convinced, hop on a train to Weymouth station. From there, Fish ‘n’ Fritz is just an 11-minute, gentle stroll through the town.
Lakeside Fish & Chips, Poole
Many eateries claim to offer the freshest fish and crispiest batter, but few can compete with the waterfront location at Lakeside Fish & Chips. You can soak up the spectacular atmosphere from the comfort of the restaurant, but if the sun’s shining, why not take away and find a spot on the water’s edge? Though with food options like griddled fish, homemade fishcakes, and seafood platters – as well as all the classics – we’ll be impressed if you can take your eyes off your food for long.
The good news is that Lakeside Fish & Chips is easy to reach, just a six-minutes’ walk from Poole railway station.
Searching for the best fish and chips in London? Then you’ll be hard pressed to find better fare than Fishcotheque. The menu is a firmly no-frills affair, as you’d expect from any local chippy, but the quality of the grub served up is second to none. Fishcotheque’s central location means you’re only a short stroll from the legendary South Bank, an ideal spot for sitting down to enjoy your order while watching the world go by.
Getting to Fishcotheque couldn’t be easier. It’s less than two minutes’ walk away as you exit London Waterloo.
Smart Fish Bar, Exeter
Exeter is one of the jewels in the South West’s crown. There’s plenty to love about this charming university city, not least its dining scene, where you’ll find something for everyone. But if your heart’s set on a hefty portion of fish and chips, Smart Fish Bar will see you right. Based towards the east of the city over the Exe, locals can’t get enough of their crisp battered cod and extra chunky chips, served alongside everything from pies to bbq chicken.
If you find yourself in this part of the world, Smart Fish Bar should prove easy to reach. It’s a scenic 15-minute stroll from Exeter St David’s station.
Best seafood restaurants in the south west
Porto Grill a Taberna, Portsmouth
Looking for a little piece of Portugal within the heart of Hampshire? Porto Grill a Taberna is tucked away in a residential area at the northern end of Portsea Island, but what awaits inside is far from ordinary. Take your pick from mouth-watering continental dishes like arroz de marisco – a seafood, rice and tomato sauce dish – as well as bacalhau a portugues, a special consisting of salt cod and sauté fries.
If that sounds too good to resist and you’re ready to take a trip, simply catch the train to Portsmouth and Southsea station. From there, it’s just 13 minutes via the number 23 or 700 bus to reach the restaurant.
If you’re in search of the best seafood restaurant in Dorset, Weymouth’s Crustacean is one to keep an eye out for. Right in the middle of town between the harbour and beach, this cosy, contemporary style bistro prides itself on fresh, exciting seafood. Think homemade linguine with scallops, king prawns, calamari and mussels. The whole lobster is not to be missed, but whatever you opt for, you’ll leave with a lasting impression.
Even better, Crustacean is easy to get to. Just use the South Western Railway network to reach Weymouth station, then walk south into town for around 11 minutes.
With an idyllic setting on Poole Quay, Rockfish is comfortably among the best seafood restaurants in the UK. The rustic-yet-contemporary décor is the first surprise you’ll experience upon arrival, but it’s the menu where the magic really happens. Seafood is brought fresh from nearby Brixham market that very morning, so whatever’s on your plate, you’ll always get the best of the day’s catch.
You can comfortably travel by train to reach Rockfish. Simply head for Poole station, then take a 12-minute stroll south through the town’s pretty streets.
The Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen, London
Exquisite, eye-popping creations are the order of the day at The Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen. Just off Covent Garden, the name of this venue is a dead giveaway, with topped oysters being the star of the show once you flick open the menu.
Choose from oysters with spicy buffalo sauce and kosho, champagne aioli and smoked herring caviar, or calamansi and jalapeno. Meanwhile, the mains board is equally as impressive, with fish freshly caught on the South Coast that same day. Whatever you pick, prepare your tastebuds for some of the very best seafood in London.
As with any Central London spot, you’ll find The Oystermen’s well served by public transport. Simply catch the train to London Waterloo – a 19-minute walk away – or use the Northern line to cut that distance to 10 minutes.
On the banks of the pretty River Exe, Rockfish Exeter prides itself on sustainability. Take your seat among the clean, minimalist interior or bustling outdoor terrace before your attention inevitably turns to the menu. All dishes are cooked fresh to order, so take your pick from the likes of Lyme Bay mussels, chargrilled Brixham calamari, and grilled rockfish fillets with lime pickle butter.
If that’s got your tastebuds tingling, you can reach Rockfish by travelling to Exeter Central railway station.
There’s simply so much to explore across the south west, from scrumptious seafood to extraordinary sights and attractions. If you’re looking to start your seafood journey, our South Western Railway network can help you find the most affordable and convenient train tickets for your trip. Simply explore our ticket types and be sure to check whether you could be eligible for railcards and discounts to make an additional saving.