The Best Seafood Restaurants In The U.S.

Americans' consumption of fish and seafood doesn't come close to the 274 pounds of meat eaten per person annually (via Sentient Media). But according to The New York Times, fish retail sales skyrocketed during the pandemic as more people discovered the joys of cooking fish at home. From coast to coast, north to south, and everyplace else in between, seafood restaurants are enticing customers' rediscovered appetites for fresh seafood with creative spins on regional favorites. If the only seafood restaurants you know are Red Lobster and Long John Silver's, you're missing out on what seafood is supposed to taste like. 

At hundreds of seafood restaurants across the U.S. — from the humble clam shack to the hipster oyster bar to the glitzy Manhattan eatery — you'll find the freshest seafood, even in land-locked states. According to Seafood Source, shrimp reigns as the most popular seafood, which you can get pretty much at any restaurant. But more and more chefs are now sourcing sustainable fish and seafood that isn't farmed and mass-produced, and you may not have heard of what they serve, but trust us, it will be delicious. We've researched seafood restaurants across America and have compiled a list of what we think are the best seafood restaurants in the U.S. today.


Los Angeles is home to many fine restaurants, and since opening in 2005, Providence is known as one of the great seafood restaurants in the U.S. As the Los Angeles Times restaurant critic wrote "...Providence is one of the last bastions of fine dining left in a restaurant scene obsessed with bistros, trattorias, food trucks, and pop-up restaurants." Providence has earned two coveted Michelin stars (per Bon Appetit), and in 2019, chef Michael Cimarusti won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: West (via Chicago Tribune). 

The restaurant has a classy but whimsical under-the-sea motif with elegant sculptures of barnacles and fishing nets. According to Providence's website, Cimarusti sources sustainable wild-caught seafood, and his menu reflects his commitment. The restaurant offers a few starters — oysters, caviar, Santa Barbara spot prawns — but you go to Providence for Cimarusti's ever-changing tasting menu. The tasting menu usually has nine courses, and for the fish-phobic, you can substitute the salmon for duck or Wagyu beef (for an extra charge). Currently, it's a $250 per person tab for this sumptuous meal, so save Providence for splurging on special occasions.

Le Bernardin

Eric Ripert and restauranteur Maguy Le Coze teamed up in 1991, and since then their restaurant Le Bernardin has consistently won four-star ratings from The New York Times and three Michelin stars. According to Bon Appetit, its longevity is due to Le Bernardin's impeccable waitstaff, superb wine list, and Ripert's ongoing love affair with all creatures nautical. Le Bernardin had a gorgeous facelift in 2012, and in the expanded lounge, you can sip a delightful glass of wine while nibbling on Ripert's justifiably famous salmon rillettes. Restaurant critics still swoon over Le Bernardin's elegant seafood, and if you're into food porn, scroll through Le Bernardin's stunning website

Ripert's chef's tasting menu is a hefty $290 ($440 with wine pairing), or you can opt for the $190 prix fixe that offers up an orgiastic variety of fish and seafood. There's also a pricey vegetarian tasting menu that looks luxurious. But honestly, you go to Ripert's Temple of Seafood for the fish and the overall pleasure of experiencing one of the finest seafood restaurants anywhere.

Neptune Oyster

Almost all reviews of Neptune Oyster, the tiny restaurant in Boston's North End, mention — and warn about — the seemingly interminable wait to get a table. Bon Appetit puts the wait at no less than an hour; The Infatuation claims it's closer to two. At first, you might think that Neptune Oyster is just another tourist trap. But, nope, locals endure the wait as well because Neptune Oyster is one of the top foodie destinations in Boston. Oysters are the order of the day, but there is so much more to try. Practically every seafood shack in New England serves a lobster roll, but according to Eater, Neptune's is the best lobster roll in Boston. 

Other dishes that get raves (per The Boston Globe) are the Spanish octopus with Marcona almond romesco, cioppino with grilled seafood, and the whole Rockport mackerel. The fish is so fresh that it's delivered directly from the boats all day long. Make sure to ask what's the latest fish delivered, and you'll savor what fresh fish should really taste like. And don't pass up on the johnnycake, a cornmeal pancake that's slathered with honey and piled with Boston smoked bluefish and sturgeon caviar.

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Seattle isn't just for coffee addicts. If you're a local, you also slurp down the briniest, most ocean-tasting oysters in the Pacific Northwest with a glass or two of champagne. There's no place better to get your fill of bivalves and bubbly than at The Walrus and the Carpenter. Named for a poem in Lewis Carroll's "Alice Through The Looking Glass," this embellished oyster bar, as The New York Times called it, combines a French brasserie and farmhouse chic with its rounded zinc bar and huge sea coral chandelier. 

There are usually six or seven different types of oysters — all harvested from local Washington waters — and several crudo dishes creatively plated (via Conde Nast Traveler) under the watchful eye of chef Renee Erikson, a James Beard Award winner. If raw oysters aren't your thing, Seattle Magazine also recommends the delicious fried oysters with cilantro aioli. The Walrus and the Carpenter also offers several vegetable-forward dishes (French onion soup with anchovy croutons, anyone?) and a few meaty plates, like chicken liver mousse and steak tartare, all intended to be consumed with a crisp white wine or more champagne. 

Mama's Fish House

When in Maui, head up to the northern coast to Paia, the home of the legendary Mama's Fish House. This Hawaiian staple has racked up a number of awards over the years (via The Maui News and Open Table) as the best restaurant in Hawaii but also one of the top ten restaurants in the U.S. It's situated on a jaw-dropping stretch of Maui beach and surrounded by coconut palm trees. Despite what some might consider a kitschy movie set from "South Pacific," according to Conde Nast Traveler, Mama's is actually quite upscale and classy. 

Lonely Planet raves about the impeccable service and fabulous fish that's so fresh off the boat, the name of the fisherman who caught it is on the menu. There are a couple of obligatory meat dishes on Mama's menu, but fish and seafood reign supreme. In particular, the Hawaiian kampachi (also known as amberjack) stuffed with lobster and crab is not to be missed. Mama's Fish House isn't a cheap local fish shack; be prepared to be shocked by the prices. Patrons don't seem bothered though because Mama's is booked three to six months in advance.

Pêche Seafood Grill

In 2014, Pêche Seafood Grill won the prestigious James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant, and its co-owner and chef Ryan Prewitt tied for Best New Chef: South (via According to Culture Trip, New Orleans and seafood are synonymous, and Pêche has made its mark for its unique preparation of the local denizens of the deep. Andrew Zimmern calls it a "rustic-meets-modern seafood restaurant," where fish and meats are grilled over hot coals. 

Pêche has a smallish menu, but the must-try dish is the entire grilled fish that's meant for sharing. As Conde Nast Traveler wrote: "Pêche celebrates the visceral approach to eating fish and seafood," which probably doesn't mean you and your BFFs rip off chunks of fish flesh with your fingers. (There's also a 22-ounce ribeye for the table.) The type of fish and its preparation changes day-to-day (per Bon Appetit) depending on what's just been caught in the Mississippi. Other recommended small plates are the smoked tuna dip, ground shrimp over noodles, and, according to Inspired Citizen, Pêche's truly fabulous desserts. 


Michelin-starred Marea made a huge splash when it opened in 2009 for chef Michael White's original take on seafood with an Italian spin. The New York Times waxed poetic in its review over Marea's sumptuous decor of rosewood and silver seashells and White's eye-opening fusion of exquisite seafood and freshly made pasta. New York Magazine enjoyed a handful of the fanciful dishes but overall griped that Marea was excessive and over-the-top. Sure, Marea is opulent, but Time Out still acknowledged it was no seafood restaurant like any other. 

White's mercurial approach, however, was recently jettisoned as he left the Altamarea group of restaurants, and a new executive chef, Molly Nickerson, was brought in. She's streamlined White's menu, retaining his less-ostentatious dishes, like fusilli with wine-braised octopus and Nova Scotia lobster with burrata and basil. Prices are also less wallet-gouging and are what you'd expect from a high-end restaurant in Manhattan. (Well, as long as you steer clear of the caviar!) 


GQ gave a shoutout in 2019 to Angler as one of the new best restaurants in the U.S. Located in San Francisco, Angler is the brainchild of Josh Skenes, whose previous endeavor, Saison, won three Michelin stars. In GQ's review, the critic notes that the food is extraordinary but also "a little unhinged." San Francisco Weekly also spotlights Angler's marked eccentricity, but it's keeping in line with Skenes' philosophy that a seafood restaurant should only serve sustainable fish. "I asked fishermen to bring me anything alive, anything sustainable, as long as the quality was really high," he told The New York Times. So that could mean that a sea cucumber, purple sea urchin, or jellyfish find their way to your table. 

According to Food & Wine, Skenes also keeps crustaceans that eat each other in a big tank, so they taste more like the ocean when they're cooked. Angler is seafood-focused, but Skenes also has a New York strip steak and a whole oven-roasted chicken on the menu. One of the non-fish items that gets raves is the whole raw radicchio that's drenched in an impossibly delicious XO sauce. Apparently, it's so bursting with the sauce, it requires a bib. 

Bob's Clam Hut

New Englanders are combative about their seafood, particularly when it comes to fried clams. According to New England Today, the fried whole belly clams at Bob's Clam Hut in Kittery, Maine, can't be beat. USA Today reports that the reason is the frying oil is changed on average five times a day in 11 different fryers, so the oil is always pristine, and the clams' coating is light and crisp. But Bob's Clam Hut doesn't just get fried clams right; according to WUSA9, Bob's also has the best lobster roll in New England. Seems like fighting words. But at Bob's, a heavily buttered bun is stuffed to the gills with claw and knuckle meat that's barely bound together with a whisper of mayonnaise. 

Almost everything on the menu is fish or seafood, but there are also burgers, dogs, and chicken strips for the less adventurous. Bob's has an outdoor patio for the summertime, but what's unique about this clam shack, is that it's open year-round. So whether you're vacationing Down East or dropping in on relatives over the holidays, Bob's Clam Hut is a don't-miss destination, even for Martha Stewart (via Seacoastonline).

Fiola Mare

According to 17-degrees Cork by Northwest, the lobster-stuffed ravioli adorned with chunks of lobster that's served at Fiola Mare " quite enough to make the most botoxed face crack with a smile of pleasure." This Adriatic-themed seafood restaurant opened in Georgetown (Washington, D.C.) in 2019, and reviewers sighed with relief that such an exquisite restaurant now graces the waterfront (per The Washington Post). The sophisticated decor might remind you of sailing on a billionaire's yacht with all of its rich-toned wood, marble, and white leather. Chef Fabio Trabocci was raised near the Adriatic Sea, and he calls upon his Italian upbringing in creating dishes with a "La Dolce Vita" grandeur and flair. 

Fiola Mare is known for its seafood tower brimming with fish and seafood you don't usually see (via Conde Nast Traveller), like sea bream, langoustine, and big-eye tuna. Another reviewer from The Washington Post noted that a specialty of the house is sea robin (prepared three ways), which you can select from the "carrello del pesce," a rolling cart with fresh fish of the day. All of this elegance comes with a huge price tag; however, a popular alternative is the $95 brunch that includes bottomless prosecco, pastries, three courses with a bottomless menu option per guest. 

Hogfish Bar & Grill

If you're en route to the Florida Keys, stop by Hogfish Bar & Grill, located on Stock Island. Situated on a picturesque pier, it's a place to go to unwind and enjoy a seafood meal without the pretension of the nearby fancy restaurants (via Roadfood). Hogfish's website boasts that they offer the former charm of Key West before the "carnival atmosphere took over." According to Travel + Leisure, Hogfish Bar & Grill is a longtime local favorite and dive bar, where the music is hot and the fish is always fresh. There's lots to choose from on their reasonably priced menu that Conde Nast Traveler recommends washing down with an icy beer. 

The specialty of the house is, naturally, hogfish, a gargantuan local fish that has a broad head and snout resembling, yes, a hog. It's prized for its sweet, almost scallop-y, flavor, and Hogfish Bar & Grill makes a "killer" (as they call it) hogfish sandwich. Piled high with Swiss cheese, onions, and mushrooms on freshly baked Cuban bread, it's no wonder that Hogfish Bar & Grill draws in hungry crowds.

Safe Harbor Seafood

Safe Harbor Seafood in Mayport, Florida, started out as a fish market in the late 1980s before opening a restaurant in 2013. Food Network praised Safe Harbor for its "fresh-from-the-water" seafood, but it was hardly a secret to the Jacksonville beach communities. The market had been a local favorite for years, and with its second location recently opening, the new dockside restaurant has proven just as popular as the original. You know you're in the South when a reviewer from Jacksonville Restaurant Reviews crowed about Safe Harbor's fried gator tail as the best she's ever had. 

Although alligator is a favorite "seafood" below the Mason-Dixon line, fear not, there's plenty more to choose from at Safe Harbor that really is seafood. According to, the restaurant is known for its generously portioned baskets of fish of your choice prepared how you like it. Also on the menu is a taco feast, again featuring your selected fish with all of the fixins for making your own tacos. Another popular item is "Captain Waller's Combo," which gives you the option to choose two or three fish or seafood, all for a ridiculously cheap price.

Shaw's Crab House

Shaw's Crab House in downtown Chicago started out as a small oyster bar in 1984 (via Voyage Chicago). The following year, a 360-seat restaurant was added on, and Shaw's remains one of the most respected seafood restaurants in the city. Shaw's managing partner claims that Shaw's popularity stems from their vast variety of fish and seafood that's also of the highest quality. According to The Infatuation, Shaw's appeal also has to do with the venue itself — "the seafood version of a steakhouse" — where you can belly up to the bar and slurp down oysters or slide into a red leather booth and dine more formally. 

If you peruse Shaw's menu, it does indeed resemble a steakhouse but in reverse. You'll see familiar sides like creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, wedge salad, but steak appears only fleetingly, as the primary focus is huge plates of fish and crustaceans of every kind. Not surprisingly, according to both Eater Chicago and Time Out, Shaw's also has one of the best lobster rolls in town.

The Ordinary

In the elegant city of Charleston, South Carolina, an oyster hall is ensconced in a former bank. From all accounts, there's absolutely nothing ordinary about The Ordinary. According to The New York Times, award-winning chef Mike Lata is clearly obsessed with oysters. "You can poach them, broil them, smoke them, pickle them," Lata told the Times. Lata hails from Massachusetts, but he's endeared himself to Charlestonians with his passionate support of local fishermen (per Charleston Food & Wine), who provide him with the seafood he needs to create his eclectic menu. 

Lata avoids cliched Southern food — not a speck of pork on the menu — and instead uses similar preparations but with fresh herbs and spices not usually associated with seafood (per Charleston City Paper). There's a single meat item — steak tartare — and everything else is raw or cold and hot plates. The menu changes daily, but you'll always find a large sampling of local oysters, which Lata also piles on — along with a fisherman's-net-full of clams, shrimp, and smoked-fish pate — his well-priced seafood towers. Crispy oyster sliders are a big hit, and look for the skate wing that's roasted on the bone and slides off in delicate white slivers.


One of the oddities in Los Angeles is that often the most unprepossessing of buildings can house an extraordinary restaurant. Such is the case with Coni'Seafood, where, as Los Angeles Magazine wrote, "the best pescado zerandeado lives." Chef Chente Cossio's version of this popular Mexican fish dish is with snook — a fish caught off the Gulf of California — that's been split open and grilled, of which former Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold proclaimed "you certainly can't leave without an order" (via LA Weekly). 

If you're a shrimp lover, this is the place for you. The menu is chockful with shrimp prepared in many different ways in the style of Nayarit (it's a coastline state of Mexico). The Daily Breeze gives a shoutout to the tostaditas stuffed with marlin pate ("kind of like fish made into butter") that's topped with shrimp and octopus ceviche. Some dishes are spicy; others are prepared simply, breaded or sautéed with butter and lemon. There are two Coni'Seafood locations, both a short Uber ride from Los Angeles International Airport. So if you have a few hours layover, skip the overpriced terminal joints, and head over to the best Mexican seafood restaurant in L.A.

Lobster Pot

It's impossible not to notice Lobster Pot in downtown Provincetown on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. By day, it's a cheery bright white and cherry red. Then at night, like all of P-Town in the summer, its gaudy neon sign announces it's party time. You might think that it's just another tourist trap. You'd be wrong. Lobster Pot shows up as top-rated on many travel sites (via The Travel). Food & Wine recommends Lobster Pot as "...the best Cape Cod-style seafood" in Provincetown, and Travel + Leisure basically commands you to "order the lobster as God intended it: steamed, with drawn butter on the side." 

According to Mass Live, Anthony Bourdain got his start as a dishwasher in a nearby (now closed) restaurant, but Lobster Pot — which he featured on "Parts Unknown" — held a special place in his heart. The menu is Portuguese-inspired fused with New England traditional seafood. Chowders, stews, and clams cooked every way imaginable are just a fraction of the starters. But of course, you're there for the fresh lobsters that you can select up to a huge three-pounder and choose to have your spiny critter pan-roasted, baked, or boiled.

The Optimist

In 2013, Esquire awarded Best New Restaurant of the Year to The Optimist in Atlanta, Georgia. Bon Appetit also praised The Optimist as one of the best new restaurants in America. The Optimist is housed in a huge warehouse that's been transformed into a nautical dreamland. The Optimist is the brainchild of restauranteur and chef Ford Fry, whose team, Atlanta Magazine wrote, "at last deliver culinary oomph." The Executive Chef on Fry's team was Adam Evans who previously worked at Tom Colicchio's New York restaurant, Craft, and as Bon Appetit gushed "Chef Adam Evans has a knack for rich, deeply flavored dishes that will convert the most ardent steak lover." Evans moved on in 2019 and opened his own successful seafood restaurant in Birmingham (per Automatic Seafood).

The wait for a table can be quite long, but you can while away the time at the adjacent intimate oyster bar. Starters are both imaginative and familiar to Atlanta diners, like she-crab soup, peel-and-eat shrimp, gumbo, and chowder. Entrees feature wood-hearth-roasted fish with standouts such as the Duck Fat Poached Swordfish and the chunky lobster roll, which wins raves across the board. In 2020, Fry opened another The Optimist in Nashville with a new menu and an emphasis on oysters, and as positively reviewed by Edible Nashville, he's scored another hit.


A roundup of the best seafood restaurants would be incomplete without Casamento's in New Orleans, which Eater New Orleans calls an essential New Orleans restaurant. This great-grandad of oyster houses has been around since 1919, and its longevity can be attributed to tradition and great food. Despite its age, Casamento's still racks up raves. In 2021, Time Out listed Casamento's along with other old-timers Gallatoire's, Brennan's, and Arnaud's as one of the best in Nola, and in 2019, Food & Wine named it one of the best oyster bars in the U.S. 

With its while and green retro tiles, Casamento's feels like a throwback to speakeasies of the Prohibition Era. It has two small dining rooms that can only seat 33 people, and those fortunate few gulp down bivalves constantly shucked by Casamento's oyster-shucking pros. Oysters are served simply with horseradish, Tabasco, and lemon, but Casamento's laurels also rest on their famous oyster loaf, a mammoth sandwich of thick buttered toast crammed to overflow with plump, deep-fried oysters. If you're planning a trip to New Orleans, be forewarned that Casamento's is closed in the summer when oysters aren't available.

Matunuck Oyster Bar

Hugging the southeastern coast of Rhode Island is Matunuck Oyster Bar in South Kingstown. And before you think "not another oyster bar!," Matunuck is so much more. Food & Wine certainly includes Matunuck in its list of best oyster bars in the U.S., and Food Network also gives Matunuck a shoutout as one of the top places to eat. What separates Matunuck from other oyster bars is the restaurant actually harvests its oysters from its adjacent oyster farm, where you can rent a pair of waders and tour. According to the Matunuck website, owner Perry Raso started farming oysters in 2002, and in 2009 he renovated a restaurant attached to the dock, which now provides access to local fishermen who can deliver fish to Matunuck. 

Enterprising Raso didn't stop there because he also soon created an organic vegetable farm for the restaurant (per Times Union). The menu selection is vast, and the baked-broiled-grilled oyster items outnumber the raw. Raso apparently toured the state with his chef to perfect Matunuck's version of Rhode Island's beloved clams casino. In addition to the lobster pizza and lobster roll, there are a dozen of seafood entrees, including the restaurant's famous lobster stuffed with shrimp and scallops.

O Ya

Crowned by The Travel as one of the best sushi restaurants in the world is O Ya in Boston, this theater of omakase is known for its incredible fish and gorgeous plating artistry. According to Gayot, chef Tim Cushman trained with Nobu Matsuhisa, and Cushman's wife Ann — and co-owner — is a renowned sake sommelier. If you're wondering what O Ya means, Ann explained to the Boston Globe reviewer (via that it roughly translates from Japanese as "gee, whiz." If you read the ecstatic reviews, you'll get a sense that maybe that's an understatement. 

The food critic for The Infatuation claimed that O Ya is so darn good it might be "worthy of an attempted felony." Which might be the case when you see your tab. Almost all the rapturous press comments that O Ya is shockingly expensive. O Ya's website currently offers a 20-course chef's-choice menu for $250. But for sushi fanatics, like the British tourist in The Boston Globe's review, the price is worth it for the swoon-worthy foie gras nigiri adorned with cocoa. Time Out calls the experience "a marvel of both flavor and presentation, with every morsel ... a delectable work of art."