one of the best – the spiny lobster, bristol

prêt à manger logoBristol takes food and hospitality very seriously and every year they have Bristol Good Awards. All the times I have to visit Bristol in business through the years I have always had fantastic dinners – and wow evenings. Only Harvey’s Restaurant (Bristol Cream) that didn’t really deliver … closed today and reopened as a Tapas and Sherry Lounge, called Harvey’s Cellars.

So when we decided to go to Bristol instead of London, my friend Paula and I .. I had to look for great restaurants for us, because we both like wine and dining.  So I turned to Bristol Good Food Awards website to look for what was best in town.

The top restaurant of 2015 I have heard that it’s very up and down it’s performance, so I went for 2014 best Seafood restaurant and the runner-up for this year. No regrets over this sign

The Spiny Lobster
128-130 Whiteladies Rd,
Bristol, Avon BS8 2RS,
United Kingdom
Phone; +44 117 973 7384

Seafood Grill; £££ – ££££
Head chef; James Davidson

This little intimate restaurant is owned by Mitch Tonks. Mitch has become one of the most respected and knowledgeable seafood people in the country and an acclaimed restaurateur, chef and author in the process. His Seahorse restaurant has won the Observer’s ‘Best UK Restaurant’ gong; his “Rockfish” takeaway restaurant chain has twice claimed ‘Best Independent Restaurant’ at the National Fish & Chip Awards. Of his books, one of them – Fresh – scooped ‘Best Fish Book’ at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. (text:

Today he has 6 restaurants along England’s south coast from Brixham to Plymouth. His “Rockfish” concept is very casual and family friend, while “The Spiny Lobster” is all about casual fine dinning; seafood with a Mediterranean influence.

The Spiny Lobster is  also a fishmonger – that claim they have the freshest fish in town and I believe them.

For our last evening had I booked this little gem to a restaurant. The restaurant is located in Clifton, witch I call Bristol’s Notting Hill. There is all the small trendy  cafes, restaurants and shops. A lovely hilly area of Bristol with lovely Victorian house and it’s THE PLACE to live in Bristol, a every colourful part of Bristol.

Nearly every table  was taken when we arrived … and soon after all tables were full.

A very warm welcoming and we got our table directly – got our pre-dinner drinks and our lovely waitress, Emma, gave us plenty time to look through the menu, that is change daily. She also let us finish our drinks before she served our starters. Well done, Emma!!!!

My menu for the the evening became;
Wild gambas roasted over charcoal with chilli jam
Brill steak with chanterelles & sherry
Local strawberries with meringue & creamgambas

For my wines I went French, not really like me … Pouilly Fume with starter and Sancerre for main, both was perfectly chilled. Far too many restaurants served white wines far too chilled, so they don’t taste anything for the first 10 minutes.

The gambas were SoOooO good, just perfectly grilled to get that charcoal flavour going through the shell into the flesh … and that chilli jam fantastic combination and not too hot.

Couldn’t for my life remember the Swedish name for Brill and neither could Paula, looked it up today .. and of course, I knew. It’s called “Slätvar”, a relative to the Turbot. Paula went for 4 fresh British oysters as a starter followed by Dover brill

Dover Sole is something that is very hard to find on the menu here in Sweden, there isn’t any left in our waters and if you find it on a menu they cost. Last time I had Dover Sole on a restaurant in Sweden, about 15 years ago .. it costed around 325SEK/$38/£24/€34. So Paula treated herself and she was very pleased with her choice.

After I ordered my Brill I got nervous because there was sherry involved and that is something I can’t stand, either taste or smell. But my dish was heavenly and the sherry I didn’t notice at  all, but I think it made the flavours of the chanterelles more intense. It was a fantastic dish. Me coming from one of best countries when it comes fresh fish and seafood, I was more than WOWED. Best seafood I had for a long time.

My dessert wasn’t as I had expected – so I joked with the waitress and told her that it looked like my breakfast yoghurt dessert

A version of one of our national desserts that we call, Marängsviss, witch has been a classic dessert in Sweden for over 100 years. But I think it comes originally from France, where they served meringues, fruit and cream already in 17oo’s century. In England, I know it as Eton Mess.

The dessert was delicious … fresh and not too sweet. I could have had a second bowl.

In overall I can only say that we had a fantastic evening with delicate flavours, delicious seafood, crispy wines, pleasant relaxed ambience and a fantastic service.

I really recommend this little restaurant and I will be back for more. See you in the spring.

“I am on a seafood diet.
I see food, and I eat it.”

restaurant details 1

15 thoughts on “one of the best – the spiny lobster, bristol

  1. Hi Viveka,

    Thank you so much for your lovely email. We have read your blog and would like to thank you for all the wonderful things you said, it really means a lot to us when our customers have such a lovely time.

    We are really pleased you enjoyed your evening and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

    Many thanks

    Charlotte. Spiny Lobster

  2. Wivi, it sounds wonderful! Your Gambas sounds right up my street, and I adore Dover Sole….it was always a celebratory meal in our house….

    • Yes, it was a great evening in a nice package. Gambas is something I haven’t seen on the menu for years … not on it’s own. I eat Dover Sole, but I rather have a more meaty fish: turbot, halibut or my favorite Atlantic cod.

      • Interesting! I consider Dovers to be meaty, as long as you get a good sized one! Cod doesn’t do it for me, but I do like a good Halibut steak…. Ah, I can see you and I need to meet at a good fish restaurant, Wivi! 😊

      • You have a date!!!! Flat fish … isn’t what I call an meaty fish, but that’s only me maybe. I want chunks of nice white flesh *smile

  3. You’ve been busy, hon! 🙂 This place sounds wonderful. I may have walked past it because I was in Whiteladies Rd a couple of times. Finishing off with Eton Mess sounds good to me too. 🙂 Where next- I’ve forgotten? I saw you fixing a date with Sylvia in Key West. That house beside a lighthouse so he could find his way home made me chuckle. I love Hemingway. 🙂

    • Yes, a date if I ever make it over …. hotels are so expensive. Don’t know what has happen to hotels in USA – the hotel we stayed in last year in Chicago has double it’s price. Even if the dollar has gone up, but not with 50%. Not worth it for sleeping. Need money for food and a bit of fun too.
      So Florida has to wait … Nice road that … lots of nice shops and cafes. I love Eton Mes, no calories. *laughing
      I think he was often drunk .. when he was out and about … so he needed some guidance. Paula and I when we was in San Diego many years ago … we used the sign for Sea World to find our way home. Haven’t read that much of him … but what a story teller. He must had an amazing life.

      • The Seaworld sign doesn’t have quite the same ring to it 🙂 🙂 But useful!
        Quite some man! Would have been too much of a handful for either of us (or even both 🙂 )

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