Britain’s best seafood

The shortlist has been announced for the 2016 Seafood Restaurant of the Year, a national award to showcase excellence in cooking, serving and knowledge of seafood.

Seafood at One-O-One, London

Seafood Restaurant of the Year was created by Seafish and the Caterer magazine in 2015 to find restaurants demonstrating both excellent examples of the cooking and serving of fish and shellfish, as well as evidence of fish and shellfish knowledge among its staff both front and back of house.

The competition’s judging panel have reduced the entries to a shortlist of 11 restaurants which will next be visited by a mystery judge, before a final judging panel select a final top five in July, with the winner to be revealed at a presentation in London on 7th September.

The top 11 shortlisted restaurants (in alphabetical order) are:

· Crab House, Dorset
· Fishworks, London
· Kaspar’s, London
· Ondine, Edinburgh
· One-O-One, London
· Rockfish, Brixham
· The Jetty, Christchurch
· The Old Fishmarket by Sankey’s, Tunbridge Wells
· The Salt Room, Brighton
· The Staith House, North Shields
· The White Horse, Norfolk

Clams at the Salt Room, Brighton

In addition, the judges have selected 12 restaurants which they would like to Highly Commend (in alphabetical order): Catch, Cornwall; Cod’s Scallops, Nottingham; Dylan’s, North Wales; English’s of Brighton; Hawksmoor Air Street, London; Naked Fish, Bridlington; Idle Rocks, Cornwall; Papas, Hull; The Assheton Arms, Lancashire; The Griffen Inn, South Wales; The Scallop Shell, Bath; The Wensleydale Heifer, Yorkshire.

The 2016 winning restaurant (three members of the team) will be invited on an all-expenses paid study trip to Brixham, Devon, later in the year, to further hone their knowledge regarding the catching, processing and supply of seafood and to meet key industry players and experience some of the world’s freshest and tastiest seafood.

Alex Aitken, chef patron of the Jetty, Christchurch, choosing fish in Brixham

The winner will receive a bespoke trophy for their restaurant and an individually designed seafood masterclass at Billingsgate Seafood Training School with a guest chef. There will also be a range of other prizes including vouchers to be redeemed against cookery equipment and signed copies of cookery books.

“The Seafood Restaurant of the Year competition provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the wide range of restaurants, pubs and cafés that are excelling in providing customers with top quality fish and shellfish dining experiences,” says Andy Gray, trade marketing manager for Seafish.

Derek Marshall, chef-owner of Gamba in Glasgow and the winner of the inaugural Restaurant of the Year competition, said 2015 was the restaurant’s best ever year.

“It was fantastic to win because it was the inaugural year of the competition and we knew that we could tick all the judges’ boxes,” he says. “Sustainability was also very much to the fore and that’s something I’m particularly passionate about – it was one of the reasons I decided to enter.

Dived scallops at Kaspar’s, London

“Another thing is that it keeps you on your toes because you’re wondering when the judges will come in. I still don’t know who came to judge us or when. I’m looking forward to being a judge myself this year.”

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