Top seafood places in NYC have something special to offer their patrons, such as fresh oysters, amazing seafood, and unique dining atmosphere. There are restaurants specializing in seafood Japanese style like Morimoto, French like Le Bernardine, or Greek like Nerai or Milos. There are big, sprawling restaurants or tiny fish shacks, expensive and affordable, new and old, but they all have one thing in common: they serve seriously good fish and seafood.
Unassuming on the outside, Aquagrill is a popular SoHo oyster bar that has been delighting its patrons since 1996 with the freshest oysters, sometimes 15 varieties, and delicious seafood. Warm colors on the wall, crisp white tablecloths, and interesting artwork make the atmosphere inside classy and comfortable. With so many fashionable restaurants in the neighborhood coming and going, Aquagrill has no problem being slightly old-fashioned, and clearly the patrons don't mind either as the place is packed every day. The menu is diverse and filled with interesting dishes, including sea urchins, but the reason everyone flocks to Aquagrill are the oysters, piles and piles of them, fresh and succulent, straight from the sea. Their small but well-chosen wine list offers many wines by the glass, a perfect accompaniment to your meal.
210 Spring St, New York, NY 10012, Phone: 212-274-0505
2.Luke's Lobster, East Village
© Luke's Lobster
If you can't make it to Maine for one of their fabulous lobster rolls, the second-best option is the tiny East Village seafood place called Luke's Lobster. While it has not changed much since its modest beginnings, today Luke's is a national chain, bringing Maine's seafood treats to the rest of the country. Lobster, shrimp, and crab rolls are served Maine-style - no fillers, just a quarter pound of chilled fresh seafood in a buttered, toasted New England bun with a bit of mayo, a dab of lemon butter, and Luke's secret seasoning. With only a few seats in the funky little space, Luke's mostly delivers and offers take-outs.
93 East 7th Street A, New York, NY 10009, Phone: 212-387-8487
Marea is an exquisite high-end Italian restaurant in upscale the Central Park South area serving seafood and fabulous house-made pastas in an elegant, quiet, and classy setting. Renowned chef Michael White offers a huge menu that ranges from the large list of crudo al taglio - sliced raw ¬fish and shellfi¬sh such as Shimaji Pacifi¬c striped mackerel with Meyer lemon, olives, and pistachio - to fantastic house pasta such as strozzapreti with jumbo lump crabs and sea urchin with basil, or simple whole branzino or sole in a sauce of your choice. The wine list is world class, but be prepared to pay for the pleasure. The lunch menu is equally impressive but much more affordable. Seafood does not get much better than at Marea, so enjoy the experience.
240 Central Park S, New York, NY 10019, Phone: 212-582-5100
Bright, elegant, and airy, with high ceilings, long breezy white curtains and crisp white tablecloths, the dining room at Milos is like a breath of fresh air on some distant Mediterranean island. As you enter, you will pass by what they call the "fish market" - iced fish you have probably never heard of, brought from Greece and other Mediterranean countries. If you are adventurous, be prepared to pay for it. You can have your barbouni, maridaki, emperor, gonos, lithrini or scorpina fried, grilled, or sashimi, but to truly enjoy the Greek cuisine, try it as kakavia or achnisto. It can get pricy, but the fixed price lunch menu is just as tempting and much more affordable.
125 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019, Phone: 212-245-7400
© Fish Cheeks
Fish Cheeks NYC is a delicious Thai-style eatery in Manhattan's NoHo neighborhood, owned and operated by brothers and chefs Ohm and Chat Suansilphong. The restaurant draws on the brothers' experience working at their family restaurant in Thailand, serving up delicious Thai family-style dishes at its vibrant cafeteria-esque dining room. Authentic Thai favorites served up throughout the day include vegan green curry and crab fried rice, complemented by unique takes such as coconut crab curry, tiger prawn karee, and fried fish with sour orange curry. Diners can share plates of fried zabb chicken wings or enjoy a choice of chef's selection dining experiences, which are available for up to three guests served family-style. A selection of Thai-influenced cocktails is served up alongside draft beers and fine wines.
55 Bond St, New York, NY 10012, Phone: 212-677-2223
6.Johnny's Famous Reef Restaurant
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People do not come to Johnny's Famous Reef Restaurant for its décor. It will remind you of a cafeteria, with a station for fried food, another for sodas, and so on. But people travel a long way to this legendary 45-year-old City Island eatery at the tip of the island for its fabulous fried lobster or flaky, juicy fish that goes so well with a cold and sweaty mug of beer. Families traditionally stop on their stroll along the boardwalk for a pile of fried clams, lobsters, shrimp, or oysters with an even larger pile of fries. Then they sit outside by the water to enjoy their meal while watching the boats sail along the Long Island Sound on their way to who knows where. You can find burgers and hot dogs on the menu too, as well as frog legs, but don't ask for wine, it is not that kind of place. The Bud, Corona, and Heineken are ice-cold and go well with the fried food.
2 City Island Ave, Bronx, NY 10464, Phone: 718-885-2086
© Le Bernardin
Venerated and highly rated by everyone from Zagat and Michelin to The New York Times, Le Bernardin is a NYC midtown French seafood restaurant in its own class. The luxurious décor is well matched with the artistry and skills of Chef Eric Ripert, who manages to prepare fish and seafood in a deceptively simple way, barely cooked, but with such perfection that it will spoil you for other seafood places forever. Le Bernardin is the place for celebrations and special occasions, with a wine list to match the chef's exquisite menu. To truly understand what Le Bernardin is all about, go for the chef's tasting menu or Le Bernardin's tasting menu with a wine pairing.
155 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019, Phone: 212-554-1515
© London Lennie's
If you want the best clams in New York City, everyone says you have to go to London Lennie's. This Queens family-run seafood restaurant has been around for 50 years, so they must be doing something right. Far bigger than the fish-and-chips joint they used to be, London Lennie's has retained its character, its atmosphere, and the quality of its food. The son of the original London Lennie still goes to the fish market to pick up seafood for the daily menu, which is as diverse as their Queens clients, with many influences and something for everyone, offering fresh-caught fish, sushi, and a fabulous raw bar. The atmosphere has a bit of a London pub vibe: Cozy, loud, unpretentious, and fun. The menu is huge, and you can still find great fish and chips, but you can also find five spice rubbed tuna steak with soba noodle salad and bok choy, soaked in hoisin sauce. The extensive wine list from all over the world also has something for everyone.
63-88 Woodhaven Blvd, Rego Park, NY 11374, Phone: 718-894-8084
9.Mary's Fish Camp
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Mary's Fish Camp is one of those tiny places in West Village where you can judge the food by the line of people waiting to get in. A local fish shack, it has very few tables, but people don't mind pushing past each other and waiting for hours for their New England lobster rolls, shrimp po'boys, or perfect clam chowder. The menu is surprisingly sophisticated for a "fish camp" - try the grilled shrimp pho hai phong with sprouts, bok choy and rice noodles, the spectacular shellfish bouillabaisse or seared sea scallops served with chickpea tagine, harissa, and Greek yogurt. Their wine list is small yet interesting. Things to Do in NYC
64 Charles St, New York, NY 10014, Phone: 646-486-2185
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Morimoto is a massive minimalist space in West Chelsea where "Iron Chef" Masaharu Morimoto creates his magic with fresh fish and seafood delivered fresh from Japan a few times a week. The super modern setting only underlines the beautiful presentation of dishes from the huge menu that has everything from Alaskan king crab leg and carpaccio to yellowfin bowl cooked at your table in a stone bowl and a huge assortment of sushi. Morimoto is the place to bring someone to impress or someone who really appreciates good sushi. The lunch sets and sushi sets are very good deals and come with miso soup, rice, and salad.
Chelsea Market, 88 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011, Phone: 212-989-8883
Imagine walking into Nerai on a gloomy, drizzly winter day: The bright, airy Midtown Manhattan Greek restaurant with its whitewashed walls and touches of sea blue, long banquettes with plush white cushions and delicious aromas of oregano, feta, and seafood is simply dazzling. You will feel transported to a resort on a Greek island like Santorini or Mykonos, where attentive waiters ply you with fantastic Mediterranean delights such as Cretan meatballs in tomato sauce with whipped goat cheese or chargrilled octopus with chickpea salad. Nerai is spread across several levels with dining rooms of different vibe and décor, very elegant and upscale, so celebrity-spotting is likely. It is also very popular with mid-town business types who come to wheel and deal over spanakopita.
55 E 54th St, New York, NY 10022, Phone: 212-759-5554
12.Cull and Pistol
© Cull and Pistol
Rustic and cozy with walls lined with subway tiles and long wooden banks along the wall, and funky Edison bulbs to add to the atmosphere, Cull and Pistol is a wonderful place to satisfy your seafood-craving appetite after strolling through fragrant Chelsea Market. The star of the show is the 1.5-pound majestic North Atlantic lobster, grilled with delicious tarragon butter or steamed and served with drawn butter. With the Lobster Place seafood wholesaler just next door, everything on the menu is guaranteed fresh. Their clam chowder is legendary and if you feel like something more exotic, try the Spanish octopus a la plancha with grilled cactus, fried onions, chayote, squash purée, and cilantro. Cull and Pistol has an excellent selection of wine from around the world as well as craft beers and cocktails.
75 9th Ave, Chelsea Market, New York City, NY 10011-7006 (15th Street), Phone: 646-568-1223
© The Clam
Located on a lovely corner spot in the Quin Hotel in the lively West Village, The Clam is classy and traditional with exposed brick walls and crisp white tablecloths, but there is nothing traditional about their fabulous take on all things clam. Filled with light from the large windows, the dining room is frequently packed with business types, families with kids, and couples on a first date; it is that kind of place. There are clams in all incarnations: Sliders, pasta, chowders, raw clams, and even pizza with clams. What they do with clams is what is what makes them so special: Their pizza is in fact grilled, with white clams, pickled hot peppers, Parmesan, and whipped ricotta. They have all sorts of other seafood and fish as well as meats for those who insist. The wine list is respectable, and there is something for everyone.
420 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014, Phone: 212-242-7420
14.The Lobster Place
© The Lobster Place
It is impossible not to develop an appetite while strolling through the rich, colorful Chelsea Market. As you pass by The Lobster Place, you can see the giant lobsters in the large gurgling aquarium beside the acres of frozen sea dwellers in all shapes, forms, colors, and sizes. For seafood lovers, the fact that The Lobster Place sells cooked food besides their regular frozen sea bounty is a huge bonus. You can get their famous Maine lobster rolls, clam chowders, shucked oysters, and sushi of all kinds and colors. If you can't grab one of the few seats at the long marble counter, take it home or sit on the floor in the hallway along with everyone else. Hopefully, you came prepared and brought a cold microbrew from one of other market tenants.
Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011, Phone: 212-255-5672
© Blue Fin
Overlooking Times Square, Blue Fin is quickly becoming a favorite pre-theater sushi and seafood spot. Magnificent décor and out-of-this-world lighting prepare the set for Executive Chef Juan Carlos Ortega and his artistry with fish and seafood of all kinds. The star of his show is sushi, simple or dressed, beautifully presented and fresh and juicy. There is much more, of course, such as roasted red snapper with Manila clams, the chorizo and piperade, or the white sesame bigeye tuna with sake, bok choy, oakwood shiitakes, black rice, and ponzu emulsion. Blue Fin has a huge wine list, a large choice of aged sake and whiskies, and trendy cocktails that contain more herbs and veggies than some soups.
Times Square, 1567 Broadway, New York, NY 10036, Phone: 212-918-1400
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16.Ed's Lobster Bar
© Ed's Lobster Bar
A tiny neighborhood SoHo fish shack, Ed's Lobster Bar is considered to make the best lobster rolls outside of Maine. They do many other things with lobsters very well, such as lobster ravioli, lobster burger, and even lobster poutine. Not to forget a whole or half steamed lobster, straight off the boat. Check out their raw bar with wonderful fresh oysters and little neck clams. The place is tiny and narrow and it requires a bit of elbow-rubbing at lunch time, but it is definitively worth it, especially with their respectable wine and beer list.
222 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012, Phone: 212-343-3236
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Fish is a West Village neighborhood fish shack that has no pretentions of greatness. It is unassuming, cramped, with a décor that has not changed since the opening, but that is exactly what the neighbors love. That, and the "red, blue, and white" deal - six oysters or clams and a glass of chardonnay or cold beer, all for $8. They serve other things, of course, such as scallop ceviche, lobster bisque, or fried calamari, but that is not why the place is always packed.
280 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014, Phone: 212-727-2879
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With two locations in NYC, Flex Mussels is proving that all a restaurant has to do is make one dish and make it really well and the clients will keep on coming. This Prince Edward Island import serves some of the best mussels in the world in more ways than you would think possible, and all you will want with them is a glass of wine or a cold beer. Their East Side location is charmingly minimalist, with colorful photos on the walls and a large seaside mural. Always packed, it is cheerful and buzzing with conversation, while the guests slurp their succulent mussels from the big steaming pots. You can choose a Southern version, with bourbon, country ham, and roasted corn, the Japanese-style Geisha Girl with pickled ginger and sake, or the Spanish kind, with olives, red wine, and chorizo. The wine and beer lists are extensive and well chosen. If you have any space left, check out their fabulous donuts.
174 E 82nd St, New York, NY 10028, Phone: 212-717-7772
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19.Grand Central Oyster Bar
© Grand Central Oyster Bar
Visiting NYC Grand Central Station is a must for any visitor even if they are not heading anywhere. Built in 1913, this architectural masterpiece is spread across 70 acres and it's easy to spend a day admiring its magnificent vaulted cathedral-like ceiling and the Grand Central Terminal Clock. Stopping by for a meal at the iconic Grand Central Oyster Bar, as old as the station itself, is another must. With the same grandiose architecture and opulent décor, this classy eatery at times serves 50 kinds of fresh oysters, such as Meximotos from Baja, Phantom Creeks from British Columbia, or Moonstones from Rhode Island. Check the big board for the oyster of the day. Oysters are not all that this great restaurant serves. The menu is extensive and if you have a hard time deciding from the large list of fabulous appetizers and the even longer list of "today's catch," go for the seafood platter and try them all. Oyster Bar's Bloody Mary is legendary, but they have just about anything else you might fancy.
Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017, Phone: 212-490-6650
20.Pearl Oyster Bar
© Pearl Oyster Bar
So very New England, Pearl Oyster Bar is a charming, no-nonsense, no-reservations West Village seafood place where quaint seafaring decorative items remind you that the sea is the source of the bounty on your plate. There are two rooms, one for more serious occasions and the other, around the bar, cramped with people pushing at each other's elbows while slurping their fresh oysters. The fans will tell you that the fried oyster sandwich is the thing to order, others will talk about dreamy split bun filled with piles of lobster meat, but you will find that everything on the menu is wonderfully prepared and super fresh. The rest is a matter of taste. And it all goes well with a cold beer or a glass of wine; their lists are very fine indeed.
18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014, Phone: 212-691-8211
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© Redeye Grill
Located just a few blocks from Central Park, Redeye Grill is an enormous restaurant focused on seafood but serving just about anything else New American. You can choose to sit in the bustling main dining room, in the more relaxed back room with a fireplace, or at the bar, guarded by two giant shrimps, where you can snack from a smoked fish platter and swirl interesting cocktails. If you think this place is busy during the day, you should see it in the evening, when the live jazz warms up the atmosphere. Besides the great raw bar, Redeye Grill is famous for their smoked seafood - try their salmon cured in tequila, peppered like pastrami, with jalapeños or with orange. Their sturgeon with truffle oil is delicious too. They smoke trout, chub, sable, and much more, but you can also try it as sushi. Their three-course fixed price dinner is a very good deal at $49.
890 7th Ave, New York, NY 10106, Phone: 212-541-9000
22.The Sea Fire Grill
© The Sea Fire Grill
Not far from Grand Central Terminal, The Sea Fire Grill is a large modern American seafood restaurant, crowded and popular, like a good neighborhood spot where friends and families come for special occasions. The beige tones of its decor, a warm fireplace, nautical details, cool blue lights, and large round bar offering funky cocktails give it a cozy feel in spite of the high energy, buzz of conversation, and frantic waiters passing by with full trays of goodies. The food is inspired: Try the whole Maine lobster stuffed with crabs, or the pan-roasted dayboat scallops with celery root puree and caviar beurre blanc. They have four different kinds of caviar and a fabulous smoked fish plate. The very respectable wine list has something for everyone.
158 E 48th St, New York, NY 10017, Phone: 212-935-3785
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Upstate is a tiny East Village neighborhood oyster and beer bar that is very popular far beyond the neighborhood for its great oysters and rotating craft beers. They specialize in what is local, independent, and small, whether beer, cheese, or pasta. The exposed brick walls and magnificent raw edge wood bar create a wonderful atmosphere. The place is small and can fit less than 20 people, so be prepared to wait, especially during happy hour. Check the board to see what is available while you wait - there are usually more than a dozen kinds of oysters, but also beer-steamed mussels, scallops prepared in several different ways, and a fabulous clam fettuccini.
95 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003, Phone: 917-408-3395
25 Best Seafood Restaurants in NYC
- Aquagrill, Photo: Aquagrill
- Luke's Lobster, East Village, Photo: Luke's Lobster
- Marea, Photo: Marea
- Milos, Photo: Milos
- Fish Cheeks, Photo: Fish Cheeks
- Johnny's Famous Reef Restaurant, Photo: Courtesy of vichie81 - Fotolia.com
- Le Bernardin, Photo: Le Bernardin
- London Lennie's, Photo: London Lennie's
- Mary's Fish Camp, Photo: Courtesy of Jiang - Fotolia.com
- Morimoto, Photo: Courtesy of FPWing - Fotolia.com
- Nerai, Photo: Nerai
- Cull and Pistol, Photo: Cull and Pistol
- The Clam, Photo: The Clam
- The Lobster Place, Photo: The Lobster Place
- Blue Fin, Photo: Blue Fin
- Ed's Lobster Bar, Photo: Ed's Lobster Bar
- Fish, Photo: Courtesy of ekarin - Fotolia.com
- Flex Mussels, Photo: Courtesy of Andrey Starostin - Fotolia.com
- Grand Central Oyster Bar, Photo: Grand Central Oyster Bar
- Pearl Oyster Bar, Photo: Pearl Oyster Bar
- Redeye Grill, Photo: Redeye Grill
- The Sea Fire Grill, Photo: The Sea Fire Grill
- Upstate, Photo: Courtesy of Robin - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Bujia - Fotolia.com
Ocean Prime is one of those places where you go before the theater or bring your business associates and clients - classy, sophisticated, and modern with world-class food and a fantastic wine list. Centrally located, it quickly became a choice for celebrations, or just for when you feel like a really good piece of fish. They are famous for their seafood and steaks - classic and cooked to perfection - but it is their fish that really stands out: Unfussy and simple to let the true flavors ring true, but with sides that raise each dish to a different level. Try the Chilean sea bass, it comes with whipped potatoes and Champagne truffle sauce.
123 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019, Phone: 212-956-1404