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Rockfish Restaurants

In just six years, acclaimed chef and cookery writer Mitch Tonks has established a chain of family seafood restaurants across the Devon seascape. He’s scooped numerous awards so what’s the secret to his rapid success?

Simply seafood

This hugely successful chain of family seafood restaurants is now an intrinsic part of the Devon seascape, with outlets in Brixham, Dartmouth, Exmouth, Plymouth and Torquay.  

Developed by award-winning chef and seafood expert Mitch Tonks who has a simple premise - to serve affordable, sustainable, high-quality fish, chips and seafood dishes in cheerful, family-friendly restaurants overlooking the seafront.

“We treat every day of business as though it is our first,” he says. “We are acutely aware that we are only as good as the weather and the food we can responsibly source; that we must rely on our kitchen team to treat fresh ingredients with care and respect, and that we must trust our front-of-house team to welcome each new customer into our restaurants with the warmth afforded to an old friend.”

Mitch Tonks at Rockfish Restaurants Mitch Tonks at Rockfish Restaurants
Mitch Tonks at Rockfish Restaurants

Being beside the seaside

In choosing a Rockfish site, Mitch believes it’s important to consider the whole area. “Our core idea is to dish up great seafood in lovely locations, within sight of the sea it comes from, and I absolutely believe we have the best seafood in the world along this coastline,” he says.

“We call Devon Britain’s Seafood coast, as the fast flowing waters of the channel, the nutrients in the water and the way seafood is harvested produces world-class fish. Now that ‘Seafood Coast’ idea has caught on with journalists and other local businesses, we have the kind of recognition that ultimately promotes the seafood here, so it’s a virtuous circle.”

Alhough he’s travelled all over the world, Mitch says his home will always be on England’s south west coast.  “And the concept of `home’ underpins every aspect of my restaurant business,” he says. “I want people to walk into one of my restaurants and feel like they belong there, that they’re ‘at home’ and welcomed.”