Best Seafood Restaurants in New York City


Well, hello there, my foodie flock, ready to dive deep into the ocean of flavor?

As a self-proclaimed seafood savant, I've spent my fair share of time embarking on culinary expeditions across the briny deep. Armed with my trusty fork and an appetite as large as a blue whale, I've surfaced from the depths to share my pearls of wisdom about the best seafood eateries in the Big Apple.

Yes, my friends, it's time to talk about New York City — a concrete jungle from Long Island to Brooklyn where dreams are made and, let's be honest, where we often find ourselves fishing for the ultimate seafood dish. (See what I did there? A fish pun already! Trust me, there's plenty more where that came from...)

In a city with more high-quality seafood joints than fish in the sea (well, not quite, but close enough for this metaphor), I know it can be tough to navigate. That's why I've decided to be your mermaid guide, your Spongebob of the dining scene if you will.

Buckle up, foodies; we're going on a gastronomic deep dive to find NYC’s best restaurants.

1. Le Bernardin – Midtown Manhattan

When it comes to fresh seafood in NYC, ignoring Le Bernardin would be like forgetting the “sea” in “seahorse” — an absolute travesty! This Midtown icon, led by Chef Eric Ripert, has long been a lighthouse in the stormy sea of NYC dining.

Though it boasts three Michelin stars, the vibe here is anything but stuffy. While your wallet might feel a pinch (crab joke intended), your tastebuds will be in the equivalent of a marine rapture. From the buttery scallops to the decadently prepared lobster, Le Bernardin is your first port of call in the NYC seafood circuit.

2. The Clam – West Village

Ever feel like the world's your oyster? Well, at The Clam, the world's your clam. Nestled in the heart of the West Village, this cozy joint will make you feel as if you've washed ashore on the comfiest beach ever. Perfect for a casual lunch or a cozy date,

The Clam is where New Yorkers go for perfectly shucked bivalves and an atmosphere as warm and welcoming as a seaside bonfire. Their clam chowder is the stuff of legends, just the right blend of hearty and delicate. If you can resist the urge to drink it straight from the bowl, you're a stronger person than I am!

3. Marea – Central Park South

Now, I’m not saying I’d trade my firstborn for a bowl of Marea's Fusilli with bone marrow and calamari, but I am saying that if a genie granted me three wishes, that divine dish would be wish one, two, and three. Yes, it's that delectably irresistible and nutritious, with nutrients like collagen, glycine, and bone-building minerals.

Chef Michael White’s Central Park South mecca of seafood is renowned for its innovative takes on Italian entrees. Their crudo is a symphony of flavor, a literal sea serenade of caviar in your mouth. A visit to Marea is like a holiday in Amalfi, minus the long-haul flight.

4. Estiatorio Milos – Hudson Yards

Let’s take a quick detour to the Mediterranean, shall we? But wait, you don't need to pack a bag! All you have to do is visit Estiatorio Milos in Hudson Yards. Famous for their fresh fish flown in from Greece, you’ll think Poseidon himself had a hand in their seafood preparation.

The lavraki (sea bass) is so fresh it might as well have swum onto your plate. Pair it with their crisp Greek salad, and you're ready for a meal that Zeus himself would approve.

5. Grand Central Oyster Bar – Midtown Manhattan

Located in the beating heart of NYC, the Grand Central Oyster Bar is as much an institution as the iconic station it's housed in. As you walk down the steps to this seafood haven, you'll feel like you're descending to an ocean floor teeming with treasures.

Offering an array of fresh oysters from both coasts and a lobster bisque that could probably bring about world peace, this is a must-visit for any seafood lover. Their Thursday happy hours are the talk of the town, with draft beers, wines by the glass, calamari, oysters, and clams. Personally, I’m hoping to head to their Holiday Fair and *fingers crossed* be invited to some of the private parties hosted there.

6. Nobu – Downtown & Midtown

Welcome to the sushi standard, darlings. Nobu, with its swanky locations in both Downtown and Midtown (and also Nobu hotels and restaurants around the world), is the granddaddy of contemporary sushi spots.

A list of the best seafood places in NYC without Nobu would be like a crab without its shell — just not right! Whether you’re after their signature black cod with miso, want to venture into their innovative sushi rolls, or want to explore the exquisite wine list, Nobu offers a seafood experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

Nobu is your chance to get dressed up to the nines. The dress code dictates no sportswear, no beachwear, flip-flops, or tracksuits. So don your finest — or buy something even finer — and dine in the epitome of style and sophistication.

7. Lure Fishbar – SoHo

Nautical chic is the name of the game here, but it’s not just the decor that will hook you. Their menu, ranging from a raw bar to sublime sushi to oceanic comfort food (hello, Lobster Mac n' Cheese), will ensure you're reeled in, hook, line, and sinker.

It currently has three locations in the US, but I’m hoping more pop up soon.

8. Balthazar – SoHo

Bringing a slice of Parisian chic to SoHo, Balthazar may be known for its quintessential French fare, but let me tell you, this place knows how to do seafood.

The Plateau de Fruits de Mer is a spectacular spectacle, a towering testament to all things briny, cold, and delicious. Enjoy brunch, lunch, and dinner options of oysters, clams, branzino, shrimp, and lobster. It's a shellfish smorgasbord that you have to sea to believe. Pair it with a crisp white wine and let the sophisticated ambiance of Balthazar’s exquisite dining room transport you to a seaside cafe on the French Riviera.

9. The Lobster Place – Chelsea Market

If you want to mix your food adventures with a bit of shopping, then The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market is the spot for you.

This bustling fish market offers a variety of seafood delights, but as the name suggests, it’s the lobster that's the real star of the show. Whether you have it steamed, in a bisque, as an appetizer, or in a roll, the lobster here is claw-some. Not only is it delicious and versatile, but lobster contains a range of vitamins and minerals!

And the best part? You can enjoy it right there in the market amidst the thrum and buzz of the Big Apple.

10. Cull & Pistol – Chelsea

This gem, located just a stone's throw from The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market, is a seafood lover's dream come true. With a menu that changes daily based on the catch of the day, every visit to Cull & Pistol is a unique experience.

Try their expertly grilled whole fish or the lobster boil, and you'll be singing sea shanties of delight all the way home.

11. The Sea Fire Grill – Midtown East

A trip to The Sea Fire Grill is like a masterclass in maritime dining. Located in Midtown East, this spot is perfect for a post-work bite or a dinner date with that special someone.

Their seafood dishes are elegant without being fussy: They let the quality of the ingredients shine. The Chilean sea bass is particularly showstopping, but don't ignore the raw bar. It's a pearl in this treasure chest of a restaurant.

14. Seamore's – Multiple Locations

The brainchild of restaurateur Michael Chernow, Seamore's is the place to be if you’re after a casual, feel-good seafood joint. With multiple locations across the city, this restaurant has an ethos that's all about sustainability and a menu to match.

The fish tacos and crispy rice are a must-try, and the Reel Deal, a DIY fish dish with seasonal sides, lets you play chef for the night. Don’t forget to swing by during happy hour on weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. for deals on oysters and your favorite cocktails. Seamore’s is all about ensuring that good seafood is for all, and they sea-liver on that promise.

15. Zauo – Chelsea

Okay, seafood lovers, ready for something a little ... different? At Zauo, you don’t just eat your fish; you catch it too! Yep, you read that right. This Japanese chain offers you the chance to fish for your dinner from one of their indoor tanks.

Once you've made your catch, the chefs will prepare it in a style of your choice — sushi, sashimi, grilled, you name it. It’s a dining experience that really puts the “fun” back in “funky” and the “sea” in “see it to believe it.”

Seafood Paradise in NYC

And that, my maritime mates, wraps up this nautical number. But as any good captain knows, there are always more fish in the sea (and in the city). So get out there, drop a line, and see what you can reel in. Catch you on the next wave!

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