Our rating system and what it means

The fish2fork.com rating system is designed to inform customers whether a restaurant is doing all it can to serve sustainable seafood and reduce its impact on our oceans at a time when overfishing is perhaps the greatest threat to marine life on 70 per cent of the planet's surface.

It also functions as a regular restaurant review website where diners can share their culinary experiences with others.

Restaurants are scored for the sustainability of the fish on their menu and their sourcing policies by filling in our questionnaire. Restaurants are invited to fill in these questionnaires, as are their customers.

When rating restaurants, we look to see whether any of the seafood they are serving is listed as an endangered species on the IUCN Red List; we also look at whether any of the seafood they serve appears as a "fish to avoid" - because fish stocks are not well managed - on the guides published online by Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch in the USA or on the similar Good Fish Guide compiled by the Marine Conservation Society in the UK.

We also score and review restaurants according to whether they provide full information about which species of fish or shellfish they serve on the menu, whether they say if it is farmed, and whether they state how it is caught. If the fish is farmed, we look at whether trouble was taken to avoid depleting overfished fish stocks of small fish used in fish food. We look at whether the restaurant has a policy on sustainable seafood sourcing where fish is caught by the most selective and least damaging methods, such as the Seafood Watch pledge, and whether fish are traceable from "boat to plate".

Where restaurants have declined, or otherwise been unable, to complete a questionnaire, fish2fork.com has awarded ratings on information available on their websites during the initial survey period. We believe it is entirely valid to rate restaurants principally by their online offering as this is often the principal means that concerned customers can decide whether to visit a restaurant in the first place. We believe that it is in a restaurant's interests to provide us with information on its sourcing policies, however, as there is a limit to the information that can be carried on the menu.

We have gone to some trouble to check all the information on this website, but if we have got any entry wrong for any reason, please let us know and we will quickly correct it.

Scores are converted into a rating: the best restaurants for sustainability receiving up to 5 Blue Fish and the worst, up to 5 Red Fish. Our reviews will tell you why we have awarded the ratings we have, but we will always welcome your views and findings.

5 blue fish
5 Blue Fish Best in class! This restaurant really cares about sustainability and does absolutely everything to ensure it sources and serves seafood from well managed and certified fisheries and provides good information on what it is doing. Eat in this restaurant with a totally clear conscience.
4 blue fish
4 Blue Fish An excellent restaurant which does its best to follow all the rules on sustainability. Eat here and enjoy without worrying about damaging fish stocks.
3 blue fish
3 Blue Fish A very good restaurant that tries hard to source sustainably but needs to polish up a few areas of its sourcing or the information it provides. A good place to eat fish.
2 blue fish
2 Blue Fish This restaurant tries hard in some areas of its fish and seafood sourcing but has a few blind spots. Eat fish here but ask the management about anything you think is unsustainable.
1 blue fish
1 Blue Fish Still on the positive side of the thin blue line. but only just. They might be doing a lot right but still have big gaps in their policies and the information they provide on sustainability. Eat fish at this restaurant but try to persuade the management to up their game.
1 red fish
1 Red Fish This restaurant is not trying hard enough and, as far as we can see from the information it provides, it is not sourcing its fish sustainably. Eat here with caution and if you do, tell us what you find.
2 red fish
2 Red Fish this restaurant looks from the information it provides to be serving fish which should be avoided. Read the review and ask yourself whether you really want to go there.
3 red fish
3 Red Fish Proceed with caution. This establishment apparently is not paying enough attention to sustainability and you are likely to find fish on the menu which in the view of the authorities we cite shouldn't be caught at all. We would not eat there but the individual diner must make up their own mind.
4 red fish
4 Red Fish there may be horror stories here. Very little thought about the ocean environment. Menu may include fish which are on the IUCN Red List of endangered species without any indication that they are from sustainably managed sources.
5 red fish
5 Red Fish Any restaurant rated 5 Red Fish will appear to be serving one or more endangered species without any indication that they are from sustainably managed sources. This is totally unacceptable when there are so many good alternatives available and shows a complete disregard for our planet and its fish stocks. Even if this place has handfuls of Michelin stars you wouldnt find us going there but of course, diners must make their own decision.

Find a restaurant

Twitter: @fish2fork

If you find a restaurant that serves over-exploited fish or want to recommend a place that sells sustainable seafood, tell us about it on Twitter @fish2fork

Follow us on twitter @fish2fork

Do you run a restaurant?

Get your restaurant reviewed by fish2fork.

Complete our Questionnaire »