In New York City, home to one of the world’s most creative culinary scenes, plain fish and shellfish are transformed into innovative dishes like shrimp corndogs and a mussels and sausage boil. Those with more traditional palates can find classic seafood pastas and tacos, among other recipes. Here are the best seafood restaurants in New York City.
Restaurant, Seafood, Greek, $$$
Seafood fans from all over New York City make the pilgrimage to this Queens eatery. A restaurant and fish market in one, Astoria Seafood allows patrons to pick their own products (lobster tails, octopus, and whole fish are among the options) and their preferred cooking method, such as grilled or fried. Enjoy create-your-own spreads alongside Greek salad and lemon potatoes plus drinks at this BYOB hotspot.
Based on seasonal availability, the tightly-curated menu at Upstate is constantly changing and always fresh. The East Village eatery known for its happy hour (of both the craft beer and oyster varieties) offers classics, such as the “house favorite” fettuccine with clams, and contemporary plates, including uni with salmon roe and raw egg, alike. The slice of Upstate’s famous whiskey cake delivered with each check is a nice touch.
Boasting several New York locations (the Nolita address is a fan-favorite), Seamore’s is the city’s premier seafood chain. Crowd-pleasing plates of seared and crispy fish tacos on corn tortillas and Maine-style lobster rolls, plus a weekday Oyster Happy Hour, continue to reel in customers.
A New Orleans-style seafood bar on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, The Boil satisfies food cravings and wanderlust. Here, crawfish, King and Snow crab legs, and head-on shrimp are ordered by the pound and seasoned with garlic butter, “O’Bay,” or “Ragin’ Lemon Pepper.” Southern-inspired sides including mac and cheese and Cajun fries make for a game-changing seafood meal.
The most popular restaurant on Astoria’s Taverna Row happens to specialize in seafood. Taverna Kyclades attracts customers from across the five boroughs with its popular (1,900 reviews and counting) plates of grilled octopus, crabmeat-stuffed clams, and whole branzino. Tip: salads aren’t a second thought at this taverna, where a popular Peasant Salad features chunks of tomato, cucumbers, olives, and feta.
For diners hungry for responsibly-sourced seafood, Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. hits the spot. Every catch at this Brooklyn restaurant is sustainable and seasonal, and some are even local. Its crudo made with fresh market fish, fish collar, and lobster roll with handpicked meat taste as good as consuming consciously feels.
As its name implies, Aquagrill is as much for diners as it is for drinkers. The seafood dishes—including 25 daily oyster varieties, spicy tuna tartare, and truffle-crusted cod—pair perfectly with the restaurant’s extensive selection of white and red wines, champagne, sake, and cocktails.
Like its beer-battered fish tacos, escargot-style lobster knuckles, and other contemporary American fare, diners can’t go wrong with The Mermaid Inn. The mini-chain’s three understated branches are great for first dates, family dinners, and work outings alike. Observe all three at the Inn’s popular happy hour, featuring discounted oysters, shrimp and avocado sliders, and shrimp corndogs.
Patrons of Red Hook Lobster Pound come for one thing and one thing only. The namesake catch appears in everything from Maine and Connecticut-style lobster rolls to lobster mac and cheese to New England-style boils. Non-lobster dishes include shrimp, mussels, and sausage boil with corn and potatoes and a creamy old-fashioned New England clam chowder.
In New York City, smoked salmon is considered a seafood staple. Few places make the Jewish dish as well as the 1914-established Russ and Daughters Cafe. The Manhattan appetizing store and café particularly specializes in Nova smoked salmon along with pastrami-cured salmon, herring, caviar, and much more.