Activists from Animal Rising flocked to Blue Jasmine to protest against their “meat-heavy” menu.
The menu includes wine for up to £460 per bottle as well as rib-eye beef, foie gras, a duck dish for £42 and a bluefin tuna dish for £68.
They were pictured occupying tables reserved for customers and holding placards showing alleged conditions inside UK farms alongside alternative imagined futures of a world free-from animal farming.
But a spokesperson for Blue Jasmine hit out at the group saying they “forced entry” and one activist filmed staff without consent, “disrupting the service”.
Stay up to date with our daily Morning Briefing email newsletter
Police were called, the restaurant said, after staff members’ pleas to leave fell on deaf ears.
The spokesperson added: “We at Blue Jasmine support the right to peaceful protest. However, we must also protect the rights of our guests who come to us to enjoy their evenings undisturbed.
“We are a private business, with the right to refuse entry. Any protest on public grounds would be respected; however, when the protestors infringe on the business’s and our guests’ rights, we must take a stand.
“We thank our guests and staff for their patience and understanding as we attempted to peacefully resolve the situation while waiting for the police.
“Thank you as well to our staff, who remained calm and peaceful during this period, and who continued to provide excellent service to our customers.”
This Southampton action on Saturday mirrors similar high-end restaurant sit-ins yesterday in multiple cities across the UK, including Glasgow and London.
Ciara McLauchlin, a 21-year-old physics student, said: “(On Saturday) I sat with hundreds of calves in a dairy farm in Dorset where they had little to no space to move around.
“They were suckling on metal bars, longing for the mother they were separated from shortly after birth.
“This is a striking example of how fractured our relationship with animals and nature is.
“The same can be said about these high-end restaurants that serve animal products at extortionate prices, whilst we increasingly suffer the consequences of our cost of living and environmental crises.
“Animal farming is a leading cause of climate change and biodiversity loss worldwide, affecting all life.
“The restaurant we are in today serves Foie Gras, which involves an infamously cruel process where birds are not given room to exercise and have food pumped down their throat using tubes.
“None of this reflects the caring, animal-loving society that we want or deserve.”
The spokesperson for Blue Jasmine said its produce is “ethically and majority locally sourced”.
They added: “The foie gras used in our Nanyang Foie Royale Scallops with Oscietra Caviar – the dish the protestors took issue with – is naturally fed and ethically sourced, as stated in our menu.”