While we may be some ways from the seafood capitals of Portland, New Orleans and Boston, it doesn’t mean we can’t find places that come close to their coastal flavors. Seafood can be served in many different ways, and we’ve curated a list of some of the best seafood NYC has to offer and taste all the flavors of the ocean. Grab your bib, loosen your belt, and get ready to go all out at these amazing seafood restaurants in NYC.
Clam Chowder at Lobster Place
Surprisingly, an amazing bowl of clam chowder lies within the Chelsea Market. While their long aisles of fresh seafood will put you in awe, we recommend the Lobster Place as a spot that also offers amazing chowder (or, as New Englanders say, “Boston Clam Chowda”). While not quite a sit-down and serve spot (unlike their next door sit-down neighbor), if you’re looking for a quick cup, they’ll serve you a creamy chowder that comes with succulently tender pieces of clam.
Many think that their chowder is almost as good as a bowl right from Boston itself. If you want to be more lavish with your meal, they’ll steam-up a whole lobster for you to enjoy right along with your soup.
Photo Credit: @fishguysnyc
Lobster Rolls at Pearl Oyster Bar
Lobster rolls have become a popular seafood item, taking all the good stuff about lobster and making it simple to enjoy. While Luke’s Lobster is typically the go-to spot in NYC, we’ve got a close competitor that has mastered making some of the best lobster rolls you’ll ever have. One of the masters of lobster rolls is Pearl Oyster Bar, which is a cozy seafood bar that shouldn’t be underestimated simply by the size of the restaurant. This restaurant has paid careful attention to all the details in every bite. Their lobster roll comes in generous creamy portions on a buttered and toasted bun with a heaping side of shoestring fries. If you aren’t full yet, the restaurant is also famous for their blueberry pies.
Photo Credit: Pearl Oyster Bar
Mussels at Flex Mussels
If your heart calls for seashells galore, particularly mussels, we suggest eating at Flex Mussels. The specialty at this restaurant is hand-picked tasty and plump PEI mussels, particularly served as a mussel pot in all different flavors. Whether you like a white wine, tomato or creamy base, or even unique flavors, such as a lobster bisque or curry broth, you can enjoy a pot of mussels your way with a side of fries. Once you’re all done, you can finish off the night with their famous Flex Donuts.
Photo Credit: Flex Mussels
If you have a car handy, it’s also worthwhile to travel out to Garden City in Long Island and take a taste of mussel pots at Waterzooi Belgian Bistro.
Seafood Boils at the Boil
Often compared to the West Coast spot, The Boiling Crab, many Californians here find that their seafood cravings are satisfied at the Boil. When you walk into the restaurant, the staff takes your order of crab legs, shrimp, clams or crawfish with your choice of sauce and spiciness. You get a bib and a pair of gloves and you dig right into a warm bag of saucy and savory seafood seventh heaven. To complete your boil, the Boil sauce will enhance your bites with the right flavor. Some tips that are good to know before you head there: it’s a cash-only spot and there’s a 20% gratuity added for parties larger than four.
Fish at Sea Fire Grille
Get dressed up and get ready for a fancy night out. From the creators of Benjamin Steakhouse, Sea Fire Grille has graduated their culinary creations to further offer amazing seafood, especially mastering the fish entree. While the menu offers everything from raw oysters to crab legs, the one that satisfies the palate best is the Roasted Mediterranean Branzino.
Their branzino is prepared with a pleasantly buttery flavor and cooked to tender perfection. Another huge hit is their very memorable and creamy lobster mac and cheese. For those that want to stray a bit from seafood, but not too far, the Surf and Turf entree brings their best steak game to the table, alongside a delicious steamed lobster.
Photo Credit: Sea Fire Grille
Louisiana-Style Seafood at Claw Daddy’s
Eat like the boys by the bayou in Louisiana, where you get down and dirty to a saucy seafood fest sprawled out in front of you on top of newspapers. Claw Daddy’s serves a claw feast on Wednesdays and weekends, where eating is done family-style in a wondrous mixture of crab legs, shrimp, clams and crawfish. However, if you rather take the route of “to each their own,” everyone can get their own bag of Louisiana boiled seafood with their own flavor and spiciness. And if you want to get in touch with your inner child as an adult, a big hit is the Capri Sun of cocktails. You can get your own extra large sippy bag of alcohol to enjoy with your meal.
However, if you rather take the route of “to each their own,” everyone can get their own bag of Louisiana boiled seafood with their own flavor and spiciness. And if you want to get in touch with your inner child as an adult, a big hit is the Capri Sun of cocktails. You can get your own extra large sippy bag of alcohol to enjoy with your meal.
Photo Credit: @clawdaddysnyc
Raw Bar and Oysters at Upstate and Cull and Pistol
Well-worth the wait at this intimate East Village spot, Upstate is a local gem that really knows its oysters and, by chance, a well-curated craft beer menu. While many other places serve happy hour specials for oysters with just one choice, Upstate knows that the more (options) the merrier. Their happy hour includes a beer, six fresh oysters and up to three choices of oysters. And since the specialty here is the raw bar, your server will explain to you exactly what’s on your plate and the flavor profiles. While the menu is small, each dish is a delight. Once all is said and done with your satisfying meal, a bonus to the evening is a complimentary whiskey pound cake.
Photo Credit: @cullandpistol
If you happen to be at the Lobster Place, the restaurant alongside also is another great option for some of the freshest oysters in the city. Contrary to the Lobster Place’s on-the-go experience, Cull and Pistol is a full sit-down dining experience. The sleek and modern ambiance of the marketplace doesn’t stop there, but Cull and Pistol has the same with polished wooden walls and furniture with a backdrop of subway tiled walls.
The happy hour special comes at $1 an oyster, which are cleaned well to enjoy without any grittiness, as well as deliciously fresh. A great side to order is the Chowder Disco Fries, because french fries are amazing but can be even more heavenly when topped with clam chowder and bacon.
A Little Bit of Everything, Caribbean-Style, at LoLo’s Seafood Shack
We’re putting away the Old Bay for a minute and taking out the jerk seasoning instead. What’s amazing about LoLo’s Seafood Shack is that they have amazing flavors in all kinds of seafood. And while calamari is the traditional favorite of seafood appetizer, they’ve got an island favorite that will satisfy the crunchy cravings: conch fritters. Whether you want a crispy fried “shark” sandwich (made with a sustainable dogfish alternative), a coconut shrimp basket or a saucy boil of peel and eat shrimp, everything comes with a touch of West Indian flavors. The Caribbean touches don’t stop there, as the decor of the spot is right in tune with its tropical colored seating and outdoor heated patio, making you feel like you’re taking a lunch break at the islands.
Photo Credit: LoLo’s Seafood Shack