Why is Dover sole so expensive?

Why is Dover sole so expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)

Why is Dover sole so expensive? Dover sole originates from the Dover coast in England. The small and fatty fish is often served as a delicacy in high-end restaurants and is usually quite expensive.

As this article will try to show, the price of the fish is not only due to its rarity but also, because of its scarcity in other waters, the elevated cost of procurement, elaborate preparation process, and tasty taste.

The top 10 reasons why Dover sole is so expensive:

1) A “No-Go” Sport Fishing Area

The Dover sole is a fishery in which fishing is strictly prohibited. In England, the species is entirely protected due to the efforts of the Dover Fishing Heritage Trust. The fish has become a symbol of British seafood, and a special license (a permit) is required when fishing for it in the area.

In addition to this, since 2002, fishing in the entire English Channel has been prohibited within 3 nautical miles of the coast due to its sensitive marine environment.

2) Fishing for Dover Sole is Difficult

The fish tend to stick in deep holes in the channel and are difficult to get. To catch these fish, fishermen use a dark lantern to attract them from their hiding places.

3) Limited Distribution Area for the Fish

The sole lives off of the Dover coast and is, therefore, caught and sold only off this area. Fishing in the area is strictly prohibited, as mentioned above.

4) Limited Catch per Year

The sole is quite fragile and is found in limited quantities. Moreover, fishermen are not permitted to fish for them. As a result, the catch per year is merely 10% of that of a cod.

5) High Demand for Dover Sole in Great Britain and Europe

Because the fish needs to be caught at least once in a lifetime by any angler, its demand on the European market is very high. This can be proven by the fact that nearly 60% of all Dover sole landed in Europe comes from France.

Such demand increases the price of the fish significantly, although it is sold at a fairly cheap rate.

6) The Fish is Very Fatty and Tasty

Unlike other species of fish, which are considered mostly as snacks, Dover sole often goes beyond this role. Due to its taste and extremely low amount of calories – only 6 grams per 100 grams of fish – the fish is consumed as a delicacy.

The fish is also used in other delicacies, such as soufflé, pate, and tarts. The fish melts in the mouth and the taste of it is reminiscent of lobster.

7) Extensive Preparation Process

The preparation process for this fish is quite difficult and requires specialized skills. Fishermen must first remove the scales before preparing a fillet out of it. Only after this can the chef prepare any delicacy he wishes to serve his customers.

Moreover, the preparation process requires a lot of time – 4-8 hours – and many hands. To prepare the fillet properly, the chef must first remove all of the bones from it. The fish is then boiled for 15 minutes to remove all of its toxins and make it safe for human consumption.

8) The Fish is Rare in Other Waters

Due to its rarity in other waters, Dover sole is extremely expensive on the international market. You can get it anywhere on the British coast but should be prepared to pay a lot of money for it.

9) Extensively Prepared in Various Languages

The preparation process for this fish is rather difficult and time-consuming. This fact alone will increase its price significantly. Moreover, the fillet of the fish is widely used by chefs and served in various dishes, for example, in soufflé, tarts, pate, fricassée, and casseroles. To serve all of these dishes, the fish is prepared by professional chefs and each of these preparations requires a different level of skill.

10) There are Few Large Specimens

Another reason for its rarity is that very few large specimens have been caught on the English Channel, as detailed in our previous article, “Why Is Dover Sole So Expensive?” The larger specimens are usually reserved for royal families.

Thanks for reading and if you have any comments please leave them below. We hope that this article gives you a good understanding of why Dover sole is so expensive.

Frequently Asked Questions:


What is sole fish?

This piece is a quick definition of sole fish. Sole fish, or sole, is a flatfish that lives on the seafloor and looks like its head is sticking up from the sand. The left side of the sole fish’s body looks much like an elephant’s foot with a small mouth located in the bottom corner. There are hundreds of different types of soles and they live in shallow waters all over the world — including in oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, and estuaries.

Sole fish spawn at night, releasing millions of eggs into the water, which drift until they hit the seafloor and hatch. Then, the sole fish emerges from its egg case and moves to another part of the pond or bay to grow.

Soles feed on small crustaceans and other aquatic invertebrates that are about 1 millimeter long. They have large mouths that can be up to 60 centimeters wide and eight teeth on each side.

The sole fish lives in water that is around 10 degrees Celsius, and it stays in one place. The sole fish is completely blind and its smooth skin allows it to always remain near the bottom of ponds.

Soles are a very interesting species of fish. They can live forever because they don’t have a sense of smell.

They are blind, so they cannot see their tails.

Soles may look like an elephant, but they are a type of fish. Sole fish generally live in shallow waters, such as streams and ponds. They can be found in freshwater all over the world, including in oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, and estuaries. Sole fish spawn at night releasing millions of eggs in the water which drift until they hit the seafloor and hatch.

What is Dover sole?

Dover Sole is a type of fish that can be found on the coast of Europe. The serving size is around 3 ounces and they are usually served in restaurants. Dover sole is best when it’s served with minced shallots or browned butter, lemon juice, peppercorns, and heavy cream. If you want to make Dover Soles for your family at home you should use salt water instead of using freshwater because salt will help with the taste when you cook it, sealing any juices from escaping. Dover sole is also a great substitute for any type of fish that you would like to serve.

What does Dover sole taste like?

Dover sole is one of the most popular fish in the world and it’s often eaten as an entree or appetizer. It tastes like a mild white fish that has a smooth, light flavor with only a slightly salty taste when served with lemon juice.

What does sole taste like?

Sole is not just a synonym for foot, it’s also the name of a single fish.

Sole cooked in lemon juice is one of the most common recipes in France and has been served by some of the country’s finest restaurants. The most important ingredient that makes this dish taste so good? The sole itself should be pristinely fresh if you want to cook it properly and tender.

Sole is a flatfish that lives in European waters, as well as the waters around Australia and South Africa. It has a grayish-white and almost scaleless skin, and there are many species of the sole. The most common one sold in supermarkets is the Dover sole.

The cooking and preparation of soles vary from region to region. In France, the practice is to first remove the scales on both sides of the fish, then wash it well with cold water. The sole is then skinned, and the whole fish should be rinsed and dried thoroughly before being inserted into the oven.

The sole often gets baked in an oven on the stovetop, but it may also be cooked in a big pot or placed in a skillet over medium-high heat, depending on how you like your dishes to turn out. The cooking time varies from 10 minutes to 1 hour for each side of the fish.

The sole is often served plain, or it may have a sauce poured over it. In French cuisine, the sauce usually consists of a simple mixture of oil and lemon juice. Some recipes in Spain ask you to place some parsley on the fish to enhance its flavor.


In France, the sole is sautéed with olive oil and some fried rosemary before being baked. There are also grated potatoes, which are sometimes served with fish to make the meal even more filling.
Place a sole on a plate and place it in the oven for 10 minutes before flipping and cooking the other side for 10 minutes.

In Spain, it is common to place some lemon juice, parsley, and garlic on top of the fish.
Place a sole on your plate, pour some lemon juice and parsley on top of it, and put it in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve with rice or pasta.