Best seafood restaurants

Chicago may be far from the ocean, but there are still plenty of great seafood restaurants for lobster, shrimp, oysters and other items



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  • Photograph: Brendan Lekan

    The tiny fish shack Calumet Fisheries is one of the best seafood restaurants in Chicago.

  • A quirky spin on a classic New England seafood shack, Fish Bar is one of the best seafood restaurants in Chicago.

  • Photograph: Simon Brubaker

    Helmed by Giuseppe Tentori, GT Fish & Oyster is one of the best seafood restaurants in Chicago.

  • With a menu of seafood and steaks, Joe's Crab Shack is one of the best seafood restaurants in Chicago.

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Order the snow crab legs and fresh shucked oysters at the Savoy, one of the best seafood restaurants in Chicago.

  • Photograph: Erica Gannett

    Dig into fresh oysters and lobster dripping with butter at Shaw's Crab House, one of the best seafood restaurants in Chicago.

Photograph: Brendan Lekan

The tiny fish shack Calumet Fisheries is one of the best seafood restaurants in Chicago.

Whether you're looking to get messy with fresh raw oysters and lobster dripping in butter at Shaw's Crab House or prefer a cool absinthe cocktail with pickled oysters at the Savoy, there's a great seafood restaurant in Chicago to fulfill your needs. The lineup also features fresh ceviche at GT Fish & Oyster, smoked fish at the tiny Calumet Fisheries, sweet, herby lobster rolls at Fish Bar and traditional offerings at steakhouses. Here are our favorite seafood restaurants.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best restaurants in Chicago

Calumet Fisheries

  • Price band: 1/4

This smoke shack was born when the steel industry was thriving and the area was populated by hungry day laborers. Set at the base of the famous Blues Brothers bridge, this little white box brings in customers from all around for smoked shrimp, trout and sable, which are always on offer. You’ll see folks sitting in their cars eating their picks out of paper bags, a quintessential part of the experience.

  1. 3259 E 95th St, (between Chicago and Ewing Aves)
More info

Fish Bar

  • Price band: 1/4

There are some “quirky” touches to David Morton and Michael Kornick’s fish shack (witness the cocktail named Mezcal Me Maybe). But the menu is nothing if not straightforward. The fried items all have great flavor (like the fried onions with lemon and jalapeño), but sometimes they arrive soft instead of crisp. Likewise, the sweet and herby lobster roll can get a little chewy in parts. But the cheap beers, pie slices and items from the plancha (grill)? Simple, perfect and seriously good, respectively.

  1. 2956 N Sheffield Ave, (between Oakdale and Wellington Aves)
More info

GT Fish & Oyster

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz—the restaurateurs behind Girl & the Goat—are behind this seafood spot that’s raised the profile of chef Giuseppe Tentori. The food coming out of here would make any cook a star. Sunfish ceviche sparkles with acidity but is never drowned by it, barbecued eel is geniusly paired with a potato-and-octopus salad, and pastas (basil gnocchi; agnolotti with crawfish) are nothing short of masterful. Stop by the bar for oysters and cocktails if nothing else.

  1. 531 N Wells St, (at Grand Ave)
Book online

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

You should feel like a king when you’re paying through the nose for a steakhouse experience, and you will here. Start with the sweet, cool stone crabs, the sugar prawns (Madagascar shrimp) and a delicious chopped salad that could easily feed two. Go straight to the top with the bone-in New York strip, perfect when ordered charred medium-rare, or the Alaskan king crab legs served chilled. Key lime pie is puckeringly sweet for those who like a hit-you-over-the-head finish, and brunch-only fried chicken is the best secret in town.

  1. 60 E Grand Ave, (at Rush St)
Book online

The Savoy

  • Price band: 3/4

There are a lot of nice things about the Savoy: the exemplary service, the chunky crab cakes, the seasonal tart for dessert. But all of that is secondary to the well-sourced oysters. The oysters are accented with smoked tomato cocktail and rhubarb mignonette, plus there's a pickled oyster preparation. The bar turns out remarkable absinthe-based cocktails. In fact, a dedicated lounge in back makes for an ideal spot to start a date, plus you can throw in a dozen oysters for good luck.

  1. 1408 N Milwaukee Ave, (between Wolcott and Evergreen Aves)
Book online

Shaw’s Crab House

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

There’s nothing wrong with splurging on lobster or king crab and wanting to enjoy it in this institution’s formal dining room. We just prefer the freedom of getting down and dirty in the adjacent bar, where we can slurp fresh oysters, crack open crab claws and dunk our lobster tail in copious amounts of butter—all without earning a sideways glance from a stiff in a suit. The quality remains just as high (it’s all coming from the same kitchen), and there’s no pressure to splurge on wine.

  1. 21 E Hubbard St, (between State St and Wabash Ave)
Book online

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