Special Report

Best Seafood Restaurant in Every State

Courtesy of Current Fish & Oyster via Yelp

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.

Click here to see the best seafood restaurant in every state

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.)

Alabama: Doc’s Seafood
> Location: Orange Beach

Nestled on the sound side of Orange Beach on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, this friendly, no-frills seafood shack and oyster bar serves up heaping platters of fish, shrimp, and crabs (fried, grilled, or baked) along with Southern-style sides including hush puppies and green beans. Customers rave about the fried shrimp, the fried crab claws – a Gulf Coast tradition – and the seafood gumbo.

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Alaska: Bridge Seafood Restaurant
> Location: Anchorage

Housed in a covered-bridge-like building over Ship Creek, this restaurant serves only fresh Alaskan seafood, including tanner crabs, halibut, Alaskan oysters, tiger prawns, salmon, and of course king crab legs. Watch salmon swim up river while enjoying the all-you-can-eat salad bar and generous entrees.

Arizona: The Salt Cellar Restaurant
> Location: Scottsdale

This subterranean Scottsdale outpost flies in fresh seafood and has an extensive New-England style menu complete with a happy hour (4 to 7 p.m.) and a reverse happy hour (10 p.m. to closing). Customers love the halibut ceviche, shrimp toast, and escargots to start, as well as the halibut cheeks, Baja shrimp, and baked stuffed lobster entrees.

Arkansas: Eat My Catfish
> Locations: Little Rock, North Little Rock, and five other Arkansas locations

What started as a roadside seafood trailer has become a local chain in central and northwestern Arkansas, serving fresh fried catfish, boiled crawfish, shrimp (blackened, boiled, or fried), and po’boys, with sides like fried okra and hush puppies. Parties and families can take advantage of the boiling bucket deals, complete with crawfish, shrimp, crab legs, potatoes, and corn on the cob.

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California: Providence
> Location: Los Angeles

This upscale, chef-owned Hollywood establishment with two Michelin stars serves sustainably wild-caught seafood that comes mostly from American waters. The chef’s tasting menu includes six courses plus dessert and features delicately plated dishes such as uni egg with warm yolk and champagne beurre blanc and Norwegian king crab with sweet pea, sea urchin, and aged ham broth. Visit with a heavy wallet, and you will not be disappointed.

Colorado: Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
> Location: Denver

This upscale Colorado-based chain serves sustainable seafood in six locations including LoDo (Lower Downtown Denver). Their raw bar features a proprietary oyster – the buttery and low-salinity Emersum – bred in partnership with Virginia’s Rappahannock Oyster Co.. Customers comment on the strong drinks and superior service, and love the tuna poke, crawfish gumbo, seared scallops, and of course the oysters.

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Connecticut: The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood
> Location: Rowayton (Norwalk)

This harborside seafood market and restaurant, open year-round, has limited boat slip parking for nautical guests. The bustling atmosphere is welcoming to tourists and locals alike, and the large menu has something for everyone including huge raw bar platters, salmon and tuna tartare, chowders and bisques, steamers, crab cakes, popcorn shrimp, smoked fish dips, steamed lobsters, and other decadent entrees.

Delaware: Feby’s Fishery
> Location: Wilmington

With an attached seafood market and popular all-you-can-eat Dungeness crab nights, this local favorite has a large daily selection of fish (served any way you like it), as well as fried and steamed platters, seafood pastas, lobster tails, lump meat crab cakes, and raw bar appetizers. Customers love the crab imperial and the turtle soup.

Florida: Joe’s Stone Crab
> Location: Miami

Open October through May, when stone crabs are in season, this cavernous South Beach restaurant began serving its eponymous crustaceans – which have rock-hard shells and were previously considered inedible – in 1921, launching what is now a Florida tradition. In addition to massive stone crab claws and crab bisque, the full menu features conch fritters, coconut shrimp, fried grouper, seafood platters, and lobster rolls.

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Georgia: Steamhouse Lounge
> Location: Atlanta

A casual bar and restaurant in Midtown, the Steamhouse Lounge is known for its award-winning lobster bisque, raw oysters, stuffed grouper, and generous lobster rolls. Expect classic Southern staples like fried catfish, grits, and po’boys, and don’t miss the yearly Oysterfest weekend that features roasted and chargrilled oysters along with a full bar and live music.

Hawaii: Mama’s Fish House
> Location: Paia (Maui)

This family-owned restaurant is so popular it is often booked as much as six months in advance. The rotating menu features locally caught fish bought directly from fishermen (whose names are proudly printed on the menu) and prepared with Polynesian flare. Starters include oysters with mango-lilikoi mignonette and macadamia nut crab cakes, while entrees include uku (blue-green snapper) baked with coconut, sweet potato, and charred pineapple.

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Idaho: Fresh Off the Hook
> Location: Boise

A local favorite, this bustling eatery is known for its large portions and great prices. The menu boasts tons of classics like halibut fish and chips, shrimp scampi, and clam chowder, alongside house specialties like warm teriyaki shrimp salad, salmon BLTs, butter pecan trout, and crab muffins (English muffins topped with lobster and crab salad and baked until crispy).

Illinois: Shaw’s Crab House
> Locations: Chicago and Schaumburg

Shaw’s Crab House works directly with farmers and fishermen to curate a menu that highlights fresh ingredients and lets their flavor shine. With a formal dining room and a 1940s-style diner section, guests can feast casually or fancifully on classics like oysters Rockefeller, Alaskan king crab, and parmesan-crusted haddock, or dine on a wide selection of maki rolls, sashimi, and poke bowls.

Indiana: Paula’s on Main
> Location: Fort Wayne

A high-end establishment with a warm, rustic vibe and an attached seafood market, Paula’s on Main boasts a huge selection of fish entrees including a famous almond-crusted walleye with jalapeño tartar sauce and a blackened swordfish with horseradish, crispy shallots, and chive mashed potatoes. Customers rave about the crab cakes, Chilean sea bass, and Key lime pie.

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Iowa: Waterfront Seafood Market
> Locations: West Des Moines and Ankeny

With two locations in the Des Moines metro area, this fresh seafood market and restaurant sources its catch directly from fishermen and will serve any market filet in the restaurant, cooked however you like it. The large menu features sushi, raw bar appetizers, fried baskets, pastas, po’boys, and house favorites like halibut royale and Maryland-style crab cakes.

Kansas: Mad Jack’s Fresh Fish
> Location: Kansas City (KS)

This down-home takeout counter and market specializes in fried fish by the pound while also selling fresh fish filets, shrimp, lobster, scallops, and even alligator meat. Fried catfish and basa are popular menu items, as are the frog legs and red snapper. All fish by the pound is served with hot sauce and bread, and add-ons include hushpuppies, fried okra, collard greens, and mac and cheese.

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Kentucky: River House Restaurant & Raw Bar
> Location: Louisville

A sprawling new American eatery with a riverside patio and great views, River House serves “regional cuisine with a Southern flair.” The excellent bourbon selection and complimentary cornbread set the mood, but the Monday night all-you-can-eat crab legs special steals the show. Try the blackened ahi tuna with tomato ginger chutney over a crispy parmesan grit cake, or the crispy grouper cheeks over crab and chive risotto with bok choy and smoked shrimp vinaigrette.

Louisiana: Pêche Seafood Grill
> Location: New Orleans

This James Beard award-winning restaurant in the Warehouse District specializes in open-fire cooking inspired by the cuisines of South America, Spain, and of course the Gulf Coast. Guests love the steak tartare with oyster aïoli from the raw bar and the baked drum with mushroom broth and calas (rice fritters). Groups can order a selection of small plates, like spicy ground shrimp with noodles and catfish with pickled greens and chili broth, then dig into a whole grilled fish.

Maine: Eventide Oyster Co.
> Location: Portland

A true New England-style oyster bar, Eventide offers a rotating selection of local Maine oysters, crab claws and clams on ice with all the fixings, and such fare as lobster stew, clam chowder, New England clam bake, and a famous brown-butter lobster roll. Some Asian-fusion items including steamed bao buns and tuna tartare with nuoc cham round out the menu.

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Maryland: The Oceanaire Seafood Restaurant
> Location: Baltimore

This high-end chain serves ten U.S. locations including Baltimore’s Harbor East. A selection of East and West Coast oysters starts the menu, while the raw bar includes Maine lobster cocktail and sturgeon caviar. The crab cake appetizer is a customer favorite, and if the extensive chef specials and buttery seafood entrees don’t cut it, there’s also a steak menu.

Massachusetts: Neptune Oyster
> Location: Boston

This intimate high-end oyster bar in Boston’s North End may draw long lines, but the wait is worth it. Start with a raw bar platter or perhaps a scallop crudo or johnnycake topped with honey butter, smoked bluefish, and sturgeon caviar. For an entree, choose between such offerings as spicy cioppino with shellfish saffron rice, whole mackerel with Basque pepper stew and fennel, or sea scallops with fava beans, pancetta, and kelp butter.

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Michigan: Joe Muer Seafood
> Locations: Detroit and Bloomfield Hills

A fine-dining dress-code establishment on the Detroit River, Joe Muer in Detroit boasts some of the best seafood in the Midwest. The menu features sparkling cocktails, happy hour specials, and sophisticated takes on classic flavors, with appetizers like deviled crab balls and lobster corn dogs, as well as enticing entrees like tiger shrimp with shaved garlic, roasted fennel, fingerling potatoes, duck confit, and sambal oelek butter. Don’t miss the coconut cake for dessert. A second location in Bloomfield Hills opened in 2017.

Minnesota: Smack Shack
> Location: Minneapolis, Bloomington, and Roseville

A smack is a lobster boat, but this mini-chain of Minnesota seafood restaurants celebrates sustainable fish and shellfish of all kinds. Boiled dinners – with prawns, shrimp, Alaskan king crab legs, or, yes, whole Maine lobster, served with potatoes, Polish sausage, and corn on the cob – are a specialty, but the menu also offers everything from red snapper ceviche to sesame ahi tuna to fish & chips.

 

Mississippi: Caet Seafood / Oysterette
> Location: Ridgeland

A vibrant restaurant with patio, dining room, and oyster bar seating, Caet offers a variety of tapas-style plates and raw-bar fare as well as a huge wine selection and a steak menu. Seafood entrees include the popular shrimp and grits with tasso, corn, and mushrooms and jumbo scallops with white truffle risotto, green tomato pico, and tomato parmesan broth.

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Missouri: 801 Fish
> Location: Clayton

This chic upscale St. Louis restaurant is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion (think wedding anniversary or promotion), with Russian osetra and American hackleback caviar on the raw bar menu and $50 entrees. Expect everything to be impeccably on point, from the cocktails to the perfectly seared tuna and scallops to the creamy and decadent lobster tail risotto.

Montana: Feast Raw Bar & Bistro
> Location: Bozeman

Known for its intimate atmosphere, stellar service, and great wine list, this new American eatery in Bozeman utilizes mostly sustainably grown and caught seafood. Customers come for the oysters on the half shell and the daily ceviche special, and rave about the crab cakes, bison carpaccio, and halibut with jasmine sticky rice, mango salsa, and coconut sauce.

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Nebraska: Plank Seafood Provisions
> Location: Omaha

Plank – which also has an outpost in Austin – is a bustling oyster bar and restaurant with a popular happy hour, offering a huge selection of shareable starters, seafood entrees, and even family sized meals that can feed four. Guests can’t get enough of the oysters Rockefeller, crispy alligator, blackened catfish with dirty rice and creole beurre blanc, and walleye puttanesca.

Nevada: Lakeside
> Location: Las Vegas

With views of Wynn’s Lake of Dreams, this stylish Vegas restaurant offers sustainably wild-harvested fish and seafood from around the world, including Hawaiian mahi mahi, Ligurian octopus, and Mediterranean pink rock lobsters. Bring a date and enjoy a lake light show and other live entertainment alongside the best seafood in Vegas.

New Hampshire: Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café
> Location: Portsmouth

With an atmosphere of casual sophistication and a menu featuring both locally caught and exotic seafood, Jumpin’ Jay’s is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. The house cocktails and superb wine list perfectly accent the diverse menu of raw bar fare, crispy appetizers, seafood pastas, and pan-seared daily catches. Customers love the scallops with lobster risotto and broccolini, haddock piccata, and New England clam chowder.

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New Jersey: Sol-Mar Restaurant
> Location: Newark

This Portuguese restaurant has a high end, formal dining room as well as a casual bar dining room. In addition to a wide selection of turf fare (veal, lamb, steaks, pork, and chicken), Sol-Mar specializes in seafood dishes like paella, clams in garlic sauce, octopus salad, and bacalhau à Brás (salt cod with matchstick potatoes, scrambled eggs, and black olives).

New Mexico: El Zarandeado
> Location: Albuquerque

An authentic Mexican seafood restaurant, El Zarandeado specializes in whole fried mojarra, molcajetes (dishes served in a volcanic stone mortar), ceviche and other cold seafood appetizers, shrimp combination plates, and caldo de siete mares (fish stew). Customers love the large portions, great prices, and the house salsa.

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New York: Le Bernardin
> Location: New York City

With more James Beard Awards than any other New York City restaurant as well as three Michelin stars, Le Bernardin has upheld a tradition of excellence for over 20 years. Combining French culinary techniques with global influences (think thin-sliced yellowfin tuna layered with foie gras or baked striped bass with baby leek mousseline), the kitchen offers multiple seafood-based tasting menus.

North Carolina: Captain Tom’s Seafood Grill & Bar
> Location: Kernersville

Serving down-home cuisine including fried platters with hush puppies and cole slaw, Captain Tom’s is a classic seafood joint with a casual, neighborhood vibe. The flounder filets and popcorn shrimp are breaded to perfection, the portions are large, and the she crab soup is the best around.

North Dakota: Beer & Fish Co.
> Location: Fargo

At a place called Beer and Fish Co., you’d better believe the beers are cold and the fish and chips are perfect every time (the chips are fresh cut and the fish options include walleye, halibut, and cod). The menu also features tacos, fish sandwiches, and fresh grilled steaks and seafood. Customers rave about the oysters, lobster rolls, and bang bang shrimp.

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Ohio: Frank’s Fish & Seafood Market
> Location: Columbus

This seafood market has a fry cook and both indoor and patio seating. Pick up some fresh, frozen, or smoked seafood to take home, and stay for a fried platter, po’boy, or gumbo. The lobster bisque, salmon salad, and clam chowder are always fresh, and the menu often includes gator sandwiches and frog legs.

Oklahoma: Brent’s Cajun Seafood & Oyster Bar
> Location: Edmond

A New Orleans-themed restaurant with a patio and weekend brunch specials, Brent’s boasts a huge menu featuring all the Cajun staples including boudin, crawfish, shrimp etouffee, seafood jambalaya, gumbo, and po’boys. Guests love the fried alligator, Gulf shrimp, perfectly breaded catfish filets, and of course the red beans and rice.

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Oregon: Jake’s Famous Crawfish
> Location: Portland

A landmark restaurant for well over a century, Jake’s Famous Crawfish features fresh seafood flown in daily, a bustling happy hour, and a classic fish house menu that includes some Cajun-style dishes. Customers love the crawfish étouffée, parmesan-crusted steelhead, seafood fettuccine, and crab-and-shrimp-stuffed salmon.

Pennsylvania: Vernick Fish
> Location: Philadelphia

Located in Logan Square at the Four Seasons Hotel, this high-end oyster bar by James Beard Award-winning chef Greg Vernick serves ingredient-driven fare with a focus on seasonal vegetables, global flavors, and of course the freshest seafood from around the world. Craft cocktails accompany a selection of raw bar offerings, inventive small plates, and fish-centric entrees like mushroom-crusted fluke with morels, peas, and spring onion butter.

Rhode Island: Matunuck Oyster Bar
> Location: South Kingstown

This waterfront farm-to-table restaurant features a huge open-air patio and raw bar fare sourced partially from an on-site shellfish pond. Traditional New England-style seafood is served alongside jambalaya and po’boys, and some novel twists like passion fruit oysters with cucumber and salmon roe – and the customer favorite, lobster pizza on naan bread with mascarpone, arugula, and prosciutto.

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South Carolina: 167 Raw
> Location: Charleston

A bustling modern eatery with a patio and a cozy bar – complete with happy hour – 167 Raw serves crudo and raw-bar fare along with tacos, po’boys, and a selection of favorites including lobster rolls, tuna burgers, and swordfish pastrami. It’s a great place to celebrate or splurge on wine and shared plates with friends.

South Dakota: Jambonz Deux
> Location: Rapid City

A casual Cajun soul food restaurant with jazz decor and fast service, Jambonz Deux is known for its po’boys and gumbo as well as its tender hushpuppies and red beans and rice. The crawfish étouffée is not to be missed, and there are oysters served fried, roasted, on the half shell, or shooter-style in a shot glass with cocktail, lemon, and spices.

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Tennessee: Henrietta Red
> Location: Nashville

A popular spot for cocktails and brunch, Henrietta Red offers tapas-style small plates and an unpretentious vibe for gatherings with friends. The raw bar menu features a large oyster selection and crudo, while the small plates range from smoked whitefish hand pies to poached scallops with horseradish mousse to red shrimp with charred onions, wilted greens, boiled peanuts, and orange butter.

Texas: Hai Cang Harbor Seafood Restaurant
> Location: Houston

A casual but elegant Chinese restaurant that offers a huge selection of seafood, Hai Cang is set up to serve large parties, with numerous special, family-style menu spreads good for eight to 10 guests. Customers come back the ginger scallion lobster, soft-shell crab with butter, spotted prawns with tamarind sauce, and razor clams with basil leaves.

Utah: Current Fish & Oyster
> Location: Salt Lake City

Serving sustainable seafood in an industrial-chic setting, Current Fish & Oyster boasts an outstanding beverage menu, crudo and sashimi appetizers, and inventive small and large plates that blend comfort and extravagance. Try the char-grilled sea bass with chili buttermilk whey, yu choy greens, and roast tomato, or the famous fish stew loaded, with scallops, prawns, mussels, and fish, accented with peanuts and serrano pistou in a coconut lemongrass broth.

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Vermont: Anchor Seafood Restaurant
> Location: Wilmington

This New England-style seafood house in historic Wilmington offers classics like fish and chips, lobster rolls, chowder, and fried clams, as well as seared ahi tuna, crab and shrimp rangoons, and a selection of steaks, ribs, and burgers. Customers love the house tartar sauce and the baked stuffed haddock.

Virginia: Merroir
> Location: Topping

A rural, riverside restaurant near the mouth of the Rappahannock River – and owned by the esteemed Rappahannock Oyster Co. – this oyster tasting house has plenty of outdoor seating and cold beers. Known for its locally raised oysters and Chesapeake Bay crabs, Merroir serves only raw and outdoor-grilled seafood – small-plate style and perfect for sharing.

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Washington: The Walrus and the Carpenter
> Location: Seattle

With a wide selection of local oysters and house cocktails, this fishing-pub-meets-new-American restaurant is a popular spot in Ballard for post-work meet-ups. Customer favorites include fried oysters with cilantro aïoli and grilled sardines. No reservations means that it can be hard to get a table, so show up on the early side or be ready to wait.

West Virginia: Just in Time Seafood
> Location: Martinsburg

Fried platters and Southern sides fill the tables at this casual seafood market and restaurant, where guests can choose from fresh grouper, snapper, cod, salmon, and more. The soft shell crab, fried catfish, and hushpuppies are always on point, and customers rave about the grilled fish and shrimp tacos. Raw oysters, bisques, and po’boys fill out the menu.

Wisconsin: St. Paul Fish Company
> Location: Milwaukee

A bustling restaurant and oyster bar in the Milwaukee Public Market, St. Paul Fish Co. offers generous lobster rolls, Baja fish tacos, all manner of seafood sandwiches, fried and grilled fish, and raw oyster platters. The fried walleye is a hit, as are the bloody Marys – which come garnished with a lobster claw, lobster tail, or salmon jerky.

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Wyoming: Rocky Mountain Seafood
> Location: Afton

This small gem in western Wyoming’s Star Valley offers a succinct menu of crowd pleasers, cooked to perfection. Fried baskets include fries, slaw, and a choice between clams, shrimp, oysters, calamari, or one of four fish options. The specials include halibut tacos and salmon parmesan, and customers rave about the clam chowder.

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