Summer brings beach vacations, lakeside camping, and family BBQs; it also ushers in the right weather for feasting on seafood. Ice cold oyster shooters, lobster rolls, and clam bakes can make you feel like you’re on vacation no matter where you are. Luckily, you don’t need to go to the ocean to enjoy fresh seafood, as there’s bound to be an appealing local option. (Prefer cooking at home? Here are 30 easy ideas for shrimp.)
To determine the best seafood restaurant in every state, 24/7 Tempo consulted lists, ratings, and reviews from websites including Guide Michelin, Eat This Not That, Food Network, Gayot, Eater, and Time Out, as well as numerous local and regional sites. Sushi bars and informal seafood shacks will be the subject of future stories, so were omitted from the final results, though some of the restaurants listed may include sushi on their menu.
The best seafood restaurants range from casual eateries to dress-code establishments. A number of them have perfected their fry game and offer the best fish and chips or popcorn shrimp around. Some are new American restaurants that combine world flavors with fresh, sustainably sourced fish, while others might bring Chinese, Mexican, or Portuguese flavors to the table.
Many cultures eat some form of raw fish, be it poke, ceviche, crudo, or sashimi, and most of the restaurants listed serve raw fish or shellfish as a starter. Some oyster bars even offer oysters raised on site in their own shellfish ponds. It doesn’t get any fresher than that.
Regional American seafood is heavily represented across the country, whether it be Cajun-style boiled crawfish, New England clam chowder, Gulf Coast crab claws, or Chesapeake Bay crab cakes. Fish tacos are now ubiquitous fare at American seafood restaurants, and po’boys are no longer solely reserved for New Orleans. (Here are the 35 best restaurants in the South.)
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