Longing for delicious coastal crab or a fresh-from-the-ocean fillet of fish? Look no further than these seafood restaurants in Devon which put the finest locally sourced catch front and centre of their menus
Sustainability champion and Rockfish founder Mitch Tonks is a trailblazer in the South West seafood industry. His mission (in which he is so far succeeding) is to educate people on the prized seafood available on the south coast and to get them enjoying it at one of his Devon and Dorset Rockfish restaurants.
Rather than your staple battered cod, Rockfish encourages diners to indulge in species that are in season and caught on native shores, such as john dory, hake and plaice; much of which is caught and landed in Brixham by the company’s fishing boat Rockfisher.
There are eight family-friendly Rockfish restaurants across Devon – Brixham, Dartmouth, Exeter, Exmouth, Plymouth and Torquay – all of which are located on a river or by the sea.
This year, a summer visit to Plymouth’s new Sardine Bar is a must for locally dressed crab and mayo, scallops and Mount’s Bay sardines with sourdough, accompanied by beers from Salcombe Brewery.
The Salutation Inn, Topsham
The port town of Topsham is home to this reimagined 17th century coaching inn which specialises in fine dining experiences and overnight stays in bright and airy interiors. Enjoy a decadent lunch or dinner at this salubrious venue located on Topsham’s Fore Street and just a few hundred yards from the River Exe.
While owner Tom Williams-Hawkes takes delivery of the locally landed fish (and oversees SALT – the inn’s new deli specialising in seafood to cook at home), head chef Luke Heaver puts the briny finds to delicious use in the kitchen. On the à la carte dinner menu you can expect to find local oysters and scallops, Exmoor caviar and smoked River Teign mussels, as well as the freshest local catch. Or if you’re stopping for lunch, tuck into a hot or cold fish platter with native lobster (when available).
Top tip: book a table at The Salutation Inn on Friday or Saturday night and enjoy your seafood under the stars in the GlassHouse.
River Exe Cafe, Exmouth
If you’re after a dining experience with a difference the River Exe Cafe is a unique destination. Situated on a floating barge in the middle of the Exe Estuary, among the bobbing boats and passing paddleboarders, it’s a one-of-a-kind venue for a sunny lunch or a sunset supper.
Seafood lovers will salivate at the sharing platters prepped by head chef Jack Sharland, featuring the likes of roasted whole catch of the day, lobster, scallops and sashimi. Fans of classic seafood dishes will adore the bowls of succulent mussels marinière, while those with more experimental palates might like theirs enveloped in Thai red coconut curry with pineapple salsa. All the seafood is sourced locally (some of which is landed straight from the boat to the restaurant for maximum freshness) and the menu changes daily to reflect the day’s catch.
Booking is essential at this much-coveted dining spot where guests arrive by water taxi from Exmouth or by private transfer.
The Cricket Inn, Beesands
A visit to the picturesque village of Beesands, between Kingsbridge and Dartmouth, is like stepping back in time. The mile-long shingle beach, idyllic fishermen’s cottages and boats pootling on the water make for a dreamy Devon day out.
Those in the know make for The Cricket Inn on the waterfront, which is respected for its roster of seafood specials, including its famous seafood pancake featuring cod, prawns and queen scallops cooked in a creamy sauce with white crab meat and parmesan cheese. The monkfish and king prawn massaman curry is another staple. Those looking for a lighter bite will savour the tempura of soft-shell crab served with ginger and ponzu, wasabi mayo, pink grapefruit and sesame.
Crab Shack on the Beach, Teignmouth
If you’re looking to chow down on sustainable crab and lobster a visit to The Crab Shack on the Beach in Teignmouth should be at the top of your to-do list. The catch is landed exclusively by the Shack’s three boats: La Vagabond De Mer, Helen Claire and Royal Escape.
This beloved eatery on Back Beach has bright and breezy coastal interiors and an ever-changing specials board celebrating the day’s catch. The Teignmouth crab and lobster bisque is a house favourite. Wolf down on fresh and sea-salty-good crab, lobster, crevettes and langoustines while sipping on cocktails and enjoying lively harbour views.
Like 5 of the best seafood restaurants in Devon? Check out our roundup of seafood restaurants in Cornwall.
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