Rockfish Review: Best Fish Restaurant in Exeter Quay

Nowhere does seafood quite like South West England.

A fantastic destination for seafood lovers, the incredible coastline means that it’s very possible to source sustainable seafood, and restaurants have popped up all over Devon, Dorset and Cornwall boasting fresh and delicious fish. 

One of these is Rockfish.

They’re a local seafood restaurant with branches across Devon (including in Exmouth!) and Dorset, and they offer a relaxed dining experience with a daily catch of fish.

As part of a press trip with Visit Exeter, I visited Rockfish’s Exeter quay restaurant. Here’s my full review! 

Please note: while the meal was comped, all opinions remain my own.

About Rockfish

Rockfish restaurants are local seafood restaurants that have a strong focus on sustainability.

Every morning, they select their catch of the day from Brixham Harbour, which is one of the UK’s busiest fishing ports.

With the motto “tomorrow’s fish is still in the sea”, you can be sure that you’re enjoying the freshest, least-travelled fish possible when dining at Rockfish Exeter or any of their other restaurants. 

Can vegetarians eat at Rockfish? 

If you don’t eat fish, don’t worry! 

I don’t either (aside from the occasional plate of calamari, which I had at Rockfish), and there will be at least one option. 

For starters, vegetarians could enjoy a plate of fried halloumi, and for mains, I had the delicious Bombay-style veggie burger. 

Obviously, if you are dining solo or just with a vegetarian group, there may be other places to eat than a seafood restaurant, but if you’re dining as part of a mixed group and Rockfish is the chosen restaurant, there are options! 

The Bombay-style veggie burger is plant-based, but the vegan starter and other main options are limited for vegans.

You can, of course, always enjoy their fresh-cut chips and delicious salad though! 

Are there any meat options at Rockfish?

If you don’t eat fish but aren’t vegetarian, Rockfish also make a chicken burger.

This option could change seasonally and depend on the restaurant, but there’s usually at least one meat option on the menu!

About Rockfish Exeter quay

With huge wall-to-ceiling windows, the Rockfish restaurant is awash with natural light.

We stepped into the restaurant and were immediately greeted with the scent of fresh fish, reminding us that we were less than 10 miles from the seaside.

The dining tables span the length of the restaurant, and although it’s an extremely popular place, it never feels too crowded. 

We entered Rockfish and were quickly shown to our seats, where we were offered the menu.

The friendly server detailed all of the fresh seafood daily specials (it’s seriously impressive how the servers memorise this every day!) and invited us to order our starters.

Food at Rockfish

Rockfish pride themselves on boat-to-plate Brixham fish and award-winning chips. However, there are plenty of fishy starters and salads to enjoy as well!

For starters, I opted for the calamari – definitely my favourite fish (it’s the only type of fish I ever eat).

Battered to perfection, the calamari was crisp on the outside and chewy and soft on the inside. My friend opted for the prawns, which were again succulent and juicy.

We concluded that, when it comes to seafood, Rockfish certainly know what they’re doing! 

As I don’t eat any other fish other than calamari, I ordered the veggie burger for mains.

“Don’t tell anyone, but that’s actually my favourite dish!” the waitress whispered as she brought it over.

I could see why – the crisp coating gave way to a taste sensation – it was like an entire curry had been wrapped up in the burger. 

My friends opted for various fish dishes, including ray wing and cod, relishing the different tastes and the way that they were cooked.

Mains are served with either salad or bottomless chips. That’s right – if you finish your portion of chips, you can just ask your server for another one! 

Aside from the obscene amounts of chocolate I eat, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. So I didn’t go for a dessert, but my friends had sticky toffee pudding and a creme brulee.

Or, you could sample their fisherman’s coffee with amaretto and double cream, or try out their delicious Devonshire ice cream!

Drinks at Rockfish 

Rockfish’s USP is certainly its sumptuous seafood, but Rockfish restaurants boast an extensive wine list, delicious fruity prosecco or a locally-made Plymouth gin and tonic.

Alternatively, try Rockfish pilsner, IPA or cider! 

Service at Rockfish

From being seated to the detailed run-through of all the catches of the day, to the prompt service, to the friendly farewell from the manager, there was nothing that I could fault with the Rockfish service.

Despite it being a very busy Sunday (we were there during Pride weekend and on the day of Exeter’s half marathon!), the staff made time to ensure that everything was going well with our meal, even having a little chat or joke with us when they could. 

If you want to dine somewhere where people really know their stuff about seafood, Rockfish is your place!

Rockfish Exeter quay location 

Rockfish is located on Exeter’s quayside, on the opposite side to Saddles & Paddles.

It’s about a mile from Exeter Central station, or around a 15 minute walk from Exeter Cathedral. 

Its prime position means that you could work up a sweat by cycling or canoeing around the quay first or head to the Exeter Quayside Distillery for some gin cocktails after!

How to book Rockfish Exeter

You can either click here to book on their website or call 01392 491664.

The best seafood restaurant in Exeter?

If you want to enjoy the freshest seafood in a relaxed atmosphere, head to Rockfish Exeter quay or any of the other Rockfish restaurants in Devon and Dorset.

As well as the bounty of seafood on offer, you’re guaranteed a wonderful dining experience and a slice of the South West’s distinct culture. 

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