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“Better than a chippie.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of West Mersea Oyster Bar

West Mersea Oyster Bar
Coast Road, Mersea Island CO5 8LT, England
01206-381600
Website
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $15 - $23
Cuisines: Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Dining on a budget, Local cuisine, Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Delivery, Late Night, Reservations, Takeout
Suffolk,UK.
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Better than a chippie.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

If you are hungry and you love all sorts of seafood then you could not do better than head for the West Mersea Oyster Bar. In spite of its rather remote location it is a very popular restaurant.
From the road the West Mersea Oyster Bar looks much like any reasonable beachside chippie anywhere in England. Step inside however and any perceptions of ordinariness quickly fall away. I was immediately impressed by the fact that at 1.30pm on a cold, midweek, winter afternoon most of the tables were taken and that more customers piling in the door behind me. The next thing I noticed was the menu. It not only listed seven or eight fish and shellfish items, plus a whitebait starter, on a 'specials' board but also described a further ten or so delicious options, such as scallops, on the conventional, 'table top' card. Finally, the third thing I noticed was the food. Happy customers were tucking into crispy battered fish and chips, lovely red lobsters, fat prawns, homemade scampi and, of course, fresh oysters. Some of the portions served were enormous. A table of four beside me were stunned into silence when their plates of cod, chips and peas arrived. ( I think they were wondering whether they would be able to tackle perhaps half of the superb looking food they were receiving when they saw the huge fillets of golden battered fish on their plates.)
My wife and I loved everything we ate. I tried the smaller, local, 'Colchester' oysters as a starter. They were juicy and had that tang of the sea which only raw oysters have. I found the shallot pickle with which they were served a little overpowering, and opted not to bother with it, but I may be fussy. The main thing is, the oysters were really fresh. I then went on to the prawns for my main course whilst my wife had the scampi and chips. Her scampi were good but her chips were perfect.(I pinched most of them!) Double, or triple, cooked, they had crunchy, crispy outsides hiding soft, comforting interiors. At first I couldn't eat my prawns as they were smothered in really hot and beautifully caramelised butter so I left them to cool down a bit and tackled the accompanying salad. The salad was simple but fresh. When I got to the prawns they tasted meaty and flavoursome. I presume they came from the cold waters of The North Sea rather that the overheated coasts of Asia; seven thousand air-miles away. For pudding I risked the curiously spelt "lemon cello". I often ignore things sweet but this was a pudding to die for. It was light, (like a cross between a sorbet and an ice-cream) and very, very lemony. Scrummy. I wish I had had the courage to insist the chef tell me how to make it.
Both of us left The West Mersea Oyster Bar feeling well fed. When we return we will bring a table cloth, a candle and a couple of cushions so this brilliant restaurant feels less like a chippie.
Wine was available.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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374 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Pierre, South Dakota, United States
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Excellent food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

Went for lunch today, how lovely. This is our 6th visit and always consistent. Warm welcome when you arrive, on a very cold day. Ordered coffee, I had crab linguine and my husband had cod and chips. It was delicious. Fresh, hot and very quick. We live 90 mins away, but its well worth it. Would recommend it to anyone. We went to a hotel for dinner last weekend and spent a fortune, it was much nicer today for less than £30, what a bargain.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colchester, United Kingdom
1 review
“Simply the best!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

My husband and I have just eaten the best fish, chips and mushy peas that we have ever eaten and every and that is no exaggeration. What is more the food is always consistently good. We are given a warm welcome by the staff and made to feel at home. We highly recommend this restaurant.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
174 reviews 174 reviews
123 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
121 helpful votes 121 helpful votes
“Great Food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

A firm favorite - great oysters (whether rocks or, in season, natives) and a great selection of fresh fish, beautifully cooked. A reasonably priced and imaginative wine list that provides lots of food pairing options.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colchester
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Great lunch”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

After a bracing walk along the beach, wonderful lunch of fresh fish, cooked just right, good value, the place can be very busy but you can book now.

Visited December 2012
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