The Sardine Factory

The Quay, West Looe, Cornwall, PL13 2BX
The Sardine Factory

Sustainable seafood on the harbour

In the 19th century, Looe’s Sardine Factory did exactly what it says on the tin: when fishermen shouted ‘Hevva!’, it meant shoals of pilchards (known locally as Cornish sardines) had been sighted, and the boats would bring in the catch for processing and canning.

Chef‑owner Ben Palmer had cherished a dream of opening a restaurant in his hometown, and in July 2018 he transformed this historic harbourside building into an 80‑cover restaurant. Ben’s passion in the kitchen has bagged him a number of awards, including a Michelin Bib Gourmand.

He works closely with head chef Charlie Walters, and together they specialise in creating sustainable fish dishes using produce from Looe’s fish market (located directly opposite the restaurant). The dayboats’ bounty is crafted into the likes of spiced stone bass accompanied by kachumber salad, lime yogurt and summer vegetable bhaji, and creamy local lobster risotto with tomatoes and basil. Of course, there are also the titular sardines, which are served simply with seaweed, lemon and garlic butter.

If raw seafood floats your boat, pick the tuna sashimi with mango, yuzu, sesame and puffed wild rice, or Porthilly oysters fresh from north Cornwall, served with Tabasco, jalapeño salsa and shallot vinegar.

Trencherman’s tip: Take the scenic route to The Sardine Factory along the Looe Valley branchline, one of the UK’s most tranquil railway lines, which teems with wildlife – keep your eyes peeled for herons.

Discover more Trencherman’s restaurants in Cornwall here.

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Chef(s): Ben Palmer
3 course dinner from: £25
Seats: 80

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