0 Love It

The best seafood restaurants in DC

We round up the best seafood restaurants in DC to feast on super-fresh crabs, local oysters and fish dishes

Photograph: Scott Suchman
Pearl Dive

Desperately seeking seafood restaurants in DC? Peruse our list of the capital’s best restaurants specializing in oysters, crabs and fish. Since cocktails and oysters are a natural match, some of them double as standout bars. And let’s not forget the best spots for sushi.

The best seafood restaurants in DC

Pearl Dive

Critics' pick

Quickly after Pearl Dive Oyster Palace opened in 2011, restaurateurs Jeff and Barbara Black’s fifth restaurant became the Delta prize of Logan Circle. And it’s not hard to see why: Weathered wood floors, busy fans hung from whitewashed ceilings, too many mermaids to count, and a thick, coiled rope chandelier make up just some of the décor. When the weather’s nice, the building’s old garage door by the bar can be flung open, allowing drinks and light fare to be enjoyed curbside. (A little secret: When the garage is open, it’s a nice spot to grab a quick beer and order a bucket of fried chicken to go.) Pearl Dive has a menu that really struts its Gulf Coast roots. The Blacks hail from the South and were some of the first restaurateurs to tap into Washington’s bivalve addiction. Pearl Dive offers a variety of both East and West coast oysters, all of which come expertly shucked (read: you won’t mistakenly find any shell fragments in your mouth) and served with a cilantro-jalapeño “dive sauce.” For a real treat, ask for a list of the premium oysters available. Corn muffins that accompany the complimentary bread basket are perfect for soaking up the belly-warming seafood gumbo, which is loaded with oysters, Louisiana shrimp, local crab, Tasso ham, okra and more. But perhaps Pearl Dive’s most popular dish is its messiest: the C.E.B.L.T. po-boy—a B.L.T. dressed with a lightly battered-and-fried catfish and an ooey-gooey egg served between two slices of toasted French bread. Order it

Read more
Logan Circle

Hank’s Oyster Bar

Critics' pick

Offering a daily rotation of oysters on the half shell, Hank’s has become a serious contender among Washington raw bar destinations. For this reason alone, a visit is worthwhile. But there are lots of other reasons to hit this popular neighborhood spot with a café feel. Here, you can make a meal of small plates (garlic steamed mussels, popcorn shrimp and calamari, peel ’n’ eat shrimp) or dive right into a larger plate of lobster roll with fries. There are also daily "Meat and Two" specials, where the "two" means side dishes (including seasonal veg, macaroni and cheese and buttermilk onion rings). The only thing that’s missing is dessert, the reason for the parting gift of dark chocolate chunks delivered with the bill.

Read more
Dupont Circle

Johnny’s Half Shell

Owned and run by renowned culinary pair Ann Cashion (chef) and John Fulchino, Johnny’s relocated to North Capitol Street a few years ago. The restaurant has stayed the same, though: it’s famous for its super high-grade seafood ingredients, from oysters on the half shell to grilled sea scallops, prepared to simple perfection. Jazz and blues—and strong drinks—create a vibrant atmosphere and the restaurant hums with its own success.

Read more
Northwest

Black Jack

Critics' pick

If Pearl Dive Oyster Palace is the Delta darling of 14th Street, then its upstairs lounge and bar, Black Jack, is where Carnival really comes to life. Murals of mischievous circus monkeys, vintage marquee lights, exposed brick, red velvet curtains, and bartenders wearing tight jeans, black vests, and handlebar mustaches all contribute to the laissez les bons temps rouler vibe. And if you needed more proof that Black Jack is not your average alcohol sponge, there are bocce ball courts in the back. Waiting for a table downstairs at Pearl Dive? Your number will be illuminated on a deli-style, take-a-number system. Impress your friends by ordering a drink by name from the speakeasy cocktail menu. Three drinks are posted monthly on Black Jack’s blog and come in at $10 a pop (as opposed to $12 regular charge), but you have to ask for them by name. If you’re looking to nibble, like downstairs, oysters on the half shell rule here. More substantial fare includes the Blacks’ take on burgers, hotdogs, and fried chicken (chefs here sling some of the best in town). As for pies, order the spicy grilled shrimp pizza, which is loaded with green chilies, pepper jack, and a garlic-anchovy puree.

Read more
Logan Circle

Comments

0 comments