36/37 St Clements, Oxford, OX4 1AB
- Recommended for:
- Backpackers / Students, Families with teenagers, Families with younger children, Foodies, Travellers with pets, No fuss, Relaxation
Expert review of Fishers Restaurant
With its unusual choice of Royal National Lifeboat Institution livery colours, Fishers is a distinctive sight on St Clements. Opened in 1995 this easy-going, slightly down at heel restaurant not only supports the RNLI but also sustainable fishing around the UK coasts. Fishers prides itself on the freshness of its produce, which is ordered first thing when the Cornish fishing boats land their catches; it arrives on lorries in time for the restaurant to open at 6pm.
Not surprisingly, Fishers was recommended by Michelin in 2008 and 2010 and Harden’s in 2009 and 2010 and The Times put it in its list of top ten UK fish restaurants. Popular with students who are pushing the boat out (no pun intended), Fishers is at its best when it serves up the catch of the day in an unpretentious manner.
I love the starters - Irish rock oysters, calamari, tiger prawns, Newlyn Bay king scallops, River Fowey mussels. The cold shellfish platter for one is good value at £22 if you share it.
Mains include Canadian lobster (very good), seabass and a surf ’n’ turf that marries sirloin steak with tiger prawns. The house white wine is Spanish and £13.95 a bottle; there are three kinds of beer and five kinds of lager.
If you like this kind of dining this is very much the kind of dining you will like.
I ate here again recently and discovered the superb Picpoul de Pinet 2008. This is a Languedoc that Fishers recommends with oysters and mussels. As soon as I took a sip my mouth started thinking "oysters!"; when they came the two complemented each other perfectly. At £22.95 a bottle it's not cheap but certainly has my vote! The smoked haddock chowder (£5.25) is as good as chowder I've had in Boston.
Basic decor – rather like being on-board ship in fact. Paper table settings recall the days when Fishers was pretty much a fish and chippie. It can be noisy, but the tables to the right of the main door are isolated and tend to be quieter.
Staff are friendly but busy.
St Clements lies off a traffic roundabout that’s immediately south of Magdalen Bridge (scene of the annual student injuries festival that accompanies May Day morning as drunk undergraduates forget how shallow the Cherwell River is). At the roundabout three roads split off and head south: St Clements, Cowley Road and Iffley Road. Here is where south Oxford begins in a series of cheaper and often more colourful restaurants. North of the river it’s tempting to think that Oxford students live in historic luxury. Not so down the Cowley Road and St Clements.
Fisher’s immediate neighbours include Moya, the only Slovak restaurant in the UK, a shop for model aircraft makers, the Cous Cous Café and a charity shop. Travel writers call this kind of area “vibrant”.
The two-course set lunch is good value for £8.50 as is the early dining option (main course for £6 when ordering 6-6.45pm and leaving by 7.30pm).There’s even a two-course light lunch for only £5, which probably can’t be bettered in Oxford.
Fishers - like Mama Mia and The Mission - has developed its own mini-chain. There is now a second Fishers in Clifton, Bristol.
More information on Fishers Restaurant:
- Price guide:
- British, Seafood
- 36/37 St Clements, Oxford, OX4 1AB
- 01865 243003
- Lunch, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Mon-Sat noon-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm; Sun 12.30pm-3pm, 6-10pm.
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Essential at peak times