Around two-thirds of the earth’s surface is covered by water, so just think of all the delicious fish, succulent squid, and juicy shellfish out there. The sea’s bounty has been enjoyed by humans since time immemorial – but inevitably, some places just do it better than others.
Based on Booking.com travellers’ favourite picks, we’ve put together a list of the world’s top seafood destinations, so slap on a bib, pick up that fish knife, brandish those crab scissors and tuck in.
Hakodate's fish market brings the freshest catches straight to your plate
In Hakodate, you’re never far away from tip-top seafood – and that’s not only because the city’s surrounded by water on three sides. This is one of Asia’s finest destinations for the fruits of the sea – especially fresh squid. The place to seek out your lunch is Hakodate Asaichi (the morning market), where you can survey umpteen tanks full of tasty sea creatures, pick out your favourite and have it cooked up for you then and there.
When it comes to places to stay, look no further than La Vista Hakodate Bay, just a few blocks from the morning market. This seafront hotel not only has amazing views over the city and the sea, it also has its own hot springs.
Oyster fans will have a field day in Cancale
To seafood lovers, Cancale means oysters. In fact, even the uninitiated would be hard pressed to name anything else about this little seaside town, which is little more than a short strip of excellent seaside restaurants and oyster stalls. But what oysters they are – freshly caught, tasty, and oh-so-succulent. If you can’t get enough of this juicy mollusc, Cancale’s well worth the pilgrimage.
For the chance to wake up to views over the oyster beds at low tide, Metairie Du Vauhariot Vue Mer has got you covered. And if you fancy an after-lunch snooze in leafy surroundings, check out Le Chatellier – where you’ll find a quiet, nap-friendly garden.
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Grilled tiger prawns are a Kota Kinabalu specialty
Fish is everywhere in Kota Kinabalu. And when it comes to preparing tasty morsels, the locals certainly know what they’re doing. King prawns are a speciality here – in the seas around Kota Kinabalu, they’re especially chunky, buttery, and juicy. It’s hard to choose the best prawns in town, but Welcome Seafood and New Gaya Seafood both serve up some of the tastiest crustaceans around.
For a luxurious stay in Kota Kinabalu, check out Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, a swanky resort complete with swimming pools, modern rooms, and a prime beachfront location.
Alexandria's harbour fills with fishing boats bringing in the day's catch
While falafel and fuul are Egypt’s staple bites, Alexandria’s seafood can more than hold its own. With the Mediterranean right on its doorstep, the city’s perfectly placed for an abundance of fishy treats. For down-to-earth traditional fare, head to the restaurant next to the Abu al-Abbas Mosque – or treat yourself at Fish Market Restaurant, where all fresh seafood comes with a side helping of luscious sea views.
Right on the seafront, the massive Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria At San Stefano is a slice of opulence, with chandeliers in the dining room and a two-storey spa to pamper yourself.
Oban serves up a startling array of seafood, including all kids of shellfish
Nowhere in the UK does seafood quite like Oban. This Scottish town has fish lovers flocking in like ravenous barracuda round a bucket of chum. Many head straight for Oban Seafood Hut, a rough-and-ready shack on the pier, dripping in homespun charm and wafting out all manner of scrumptious smells. The scallops and langoustine are unmissable here. However, if you prefer something a little more upmarket, there are a few outstanding options. Check out The WaterFront Fishouse or Ee-usk, both highly-rated specialists in fresh fish platters.
Oban has plenty of homely little guest houses. MacKays is famed for its friendly staff, free sherry, and scrumptious breakfasts of scrambled eggs and Scottish salmon.
Mui Ne, Vietnam
Mui Ne's beachfront restaurants serve the freshest fish around
Mui Ne’s not a place for swanky finery – its fish eateries keep it real. Known as ‘bo ke’, these no-frills seafood joints serve up delicious treats like enormous king prawns and juicy scallops – usually accompanied by a tangy garnish made from salt, pepper, and lemon juice. However, if you want something a little more refined, Cay Bang’s the place to go. It’s Mui Ne’s longest-running restaurant, and the seafood – which you can hand-pick from their tanks – is to die for.
For the best place to chill out in this seafood haven, take your pick from a clutch of resorts, like Mia Mui Ne Resort or The Cliff Resort & Residences. Both are right on the beachfront, overlooking the sea.
Sapporo is known for its array of delicious crabs
Sapporo is crab town. Everywhere you look, you’ll see these succulent crustaceans, sitting invitingly on ice beds or being snaffled from dinner plates. There are a few main varieties: horsehair crabs, king crabs, snow crabs, and hanasaki crabs – all delicious in their own way. It takes a certain knack to eat them, though – to see how to do it, steal a glance at the way the locals around Nijo Market skilfully wield their crab scissors.
When it comes to places to sleep off your meal, the Century Royal Hotel Sapporo has got you covered, with smart rooms and comfy beds – as well as a top-floor restaurant specialising in seafood.
Barbecued prawns are everywhere in Jimbaran
Seafood dinners are dreamy enough, but what about candlelit seafood dinners right on the beach? That’s what Jimbaran offers in spades. At restaurants like Made Bagus, the freshest of fresh fish dishes are drizzled with a spicy sauce, before being grilled on an open barbecue. Once you get to the beach, just follow your nose.
Jimbaran’s packed with chilled-out places to rest your head, from massive resorts to quiet villas. One of the best is Temple Hill Residence Villa, where each house comes with its own pool.
**These properties were chosen due to their popularity with Booking.com guests who endorsed the destinations for ‘Seafood’.