XO Seafood Bar Gills to Tail at St. Pauli

Wednesday, April 26 2023

Opening Times

Tuesday to Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm

Sunday brunch: 10:00am - 3:00pm


XO Seafoodbar
Paul-Roosen-Straße 22
22767 Hamburg-St. Pauli
.How to get there


+49 151 724 230 46

As a port city, Hamburg is naturally a place where people like to eat a lot of fish. So the question of a good fish restaurant is a frequently asked one. From now on, we answer: "Definitely the XO Seafood Bar!". The XO Seafood Bar is indeed a fish restaurant, but the approach is highly modern.

Those who expect the classic pan fish here will be disappointed, however. We are immersed in a subtly pastel and straightforwardly furnished room. Subtle lighting, maritime details here and there and an open kitchen in the back - tiled in blue, of course.

It's not just the delicate water glasses, reminiscent of bubbles rising in the water, but also the water carafes in the shape of fish - a sea theme. The exceptionally friendly service welcomes us with drinks. At the bar, as in the kitchen, they love to work with fermentation to create alternative acids.

This means shrubs, vinegars and pickles, and it not only creates new flavours but also fits in with the sustainable concept of the XO Seafood Bar. And since "lemon doesn't come from here", our signature aperitif ", Pinto 9", gets acidity from apple cider vinegar.

Restaurand XO Seafood Bar Hamburg © Wim Jansen
Restaurand XO Seafood Bar Hamburg © Wim Jansen-7
Restaurand XO Seafood Bar Hamburg © Wim Jansen-4
Restaurand XO Seafood Bar Hamburg © Wim Jansen-10
Restaurand XO Seafood Bar Hamburg © Wim Jansen-9
Restaurand XO Seafood Bar Hamburg © Wim Jansen-2

The sustained acidity concept tastes unusual but also quite delicious; it goes wonderfully with the Pineau des Charentes, which bar manager Florian is quite fond of. So in that respect, in terms of rapture and alternative acids, the cuisine will not disappoint us either.

Before chef Jannik Libuda starts raving about the fresh sea snails - after we were allowed to test them, we join in - he explains the menu and its innovative concept. All dishes are vegan as soon as you leave out the fish. The XO Seafood Bar sources fish as regionally and sustainably as possible. The emphasis is not on the label but on the working methods of the producers and fishermen themselves.

After all, they are responsible for the essentials: the quality of the primary product. So it is unsurprising that the fish is served as puristically and naturally as possible. So the fish is always delivered to the kitchen of the XO Seafood Bar whole. "We try to use everything from the fish".

Gills-to-tail, so to speak. We're not surprised that Jannik Libuda, after completing his apprenticeship at Hamburg's Restaurant Nil, has already been in the kitchens of Nobelhart & Schmutzig and Lode & Stijn. Consequently, the clear menu, which changes weekly according to what's on offer, contains plenty of regional and seasonal treasures.

We eat salad with beetroot and radicchio, an excellent combination. But the char tartare served on chicory is particularly fine. The fish comes from a trout farm on the Heide. The roe was refined into char caviar at the XO Seafood Bar - it doesn't get much fresher than that.

Meanwhile, sommelier Jonas recommends a fascinating white wine. The Langhe with white Nebbiolo grapes from Roagna in Piedmont is worthy of a privateer but no less balanced and tasty with fish. And, by the way, a rather exciting drop.

In the intermediate course, a fish soup with mullet, mussels and Norway lobster, we want and need to use our hands. Here, too, the fermentation in tomato form provides the acidity. So we crack, slurp and suck our soup. Later, of course, the table and napkins show it.

The wonderful Anna from the service team reassures us that this is intentional. "We want to put the product in the centre; you should experience what you eat. And fish doesn't come as a fillet from the sea. So logically, we fillet the cod in the main course - the catch of the day - ourselves.

Half a fish lies before us, cooked in brine, seasoned with dehydrated mustard powder, served with mashed potatoes with buttermilk and fried onions and a mousse-shaped hollandaise with brown butter from the cream siphon. We are blown away. A brilliant course that is also beautifully presented. Modern and simple, at the same time familiar and intimate.

This is precisely the feeling we get again with the dessert, which is simple and all the more convincing on the palate. The pistachio sorbet with fig preserved in verjus is excellent. In particular, the Reineclaude sorbet with espuma, camomile, and hay syrup reminds us of summer in the country and jumping from the hayloft. Apparently, the XO Seafood Bar is not only a great place to eat fish!

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XO Seafood Bar – Gills to Tail at St. Pauli
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