The best seafood restaurants in NYC

Whether you're craving a simple lobster or an ornate tower of oysters, these are the best seafood restaurants in NYC
John Dory Oyster Bar
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
By Christina Izzo and Time Out New York contributors |
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Thanks to the city’s proximity to open waters, seafood has always been an important part of the New York diet. In the early days of settlement, street vendors hawked fresh oysters for just cents apiece; today, a happy hour oyster goes for a buck. (To us, that’s still cheap eats.) Gotham’s obsession with seafood hasn’t died down, and no matter where you are in the city—whether you’re near the source at one of these waterfront restaurants or far from any shore at one of many Midtown restaurants—you can score a great plate of fish. These are the best seafood restaurants in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Seafood restaurants in NYC

Scallop Ceviche
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Restaurants, French

Le Bernardin

icon-location-pin Midtown West

New York dining mores have experienced a seismic paradigm shift in the past decade, toppling Old World restaurant titans and making conquering heroes of chefs that champion accessible food served in casual environments. But Le Bernardin—the city’s original temple of haute French seafood—survived the shake-up unscathed.

Restaurants, Italian

Marea

icon-location-pin Midtown West

Michael White's extravagant, spectacular shrine to the Italian coastline is a worthy indulgence. Spend you shall, and with great rewards: start with crostini topped with velvety sea urchin and petals of translucent lardo, then move on to seafood-focused pastas, like fusilli spiraled around chunks of octopus in a bone marrow–enriched sauce, or strozzapreti nestling hunks of jumbo lump crab, sea urchin and basil.

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RUSS & DAUGHTERS CAFE schmaltz and a shot vodka
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Shopping, Specialist food and drink

Russ & Daughters

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

Russ & Daughters has been serving lox, herring and other specialty foods since 1914. But one of our favorite delicacies here is a more modern invention: the Super Heeb sandwich, slathered with horseradish cream cheese, wasabi-flavored roe and sublime whitefish salad.

SHUKO mochi pistachio starter
Paul Wagtouicz
Restaurants, Seafood

Shuko

icon-location-pin Greenwich Village

From behind a minimalist ebony counter at Neta, rock-star chefs Jimmy Lau and a beanie-capped Nick Kim—longtime disciples of sushi demigod Masa Takayama—brazenly served peanut-butter ice cream and uni-rich risotto alongside their gleaming, à la carte tiles of nigiri. That populist streak softly colors this 20-seat follow-up but where a pricey omakase was an option at Neta, here it’s mandatory. 

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Bars, Cocktail bars

Maison Premiere

icon-location-pin Williamsburg

Scuffed into submission by owner Joshua Boissy and the designers behind nearby Moto, this gorgeous salon—its green walls fogged with a faux patina that suggests decades of Gauloises smoke—is devoted to the twin pleasures of oysters and absinthe: two French Quarter staples with plenty of appeal in Brooklyn.

Restaurants, Seafood

The John Dory Oyster Bar

icon-location-pin Flatiron

This Ace Hotel endeavor is an understated knockout. Tall stools face a raw bar stocked with a rotating mix of East and West Coast oysters, all expertly handled and impeccably sourced. True to form, the rest of Bloomfield’s tapas-style seafood dishes are all intensely flavored.

Venue says Join us for Happy Hour Monday-Friday 5-7pm!

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Oysters at Grand Central Oyster Bar
Photograph: Zach Dilgard
Bars, Wine bars

Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant

icon-location-pin Downtown

Some commuter bars are built for killing time, but this historic spot could entice you to miss your train on purpose. The O-Bar dates back to 1913, and its vaulted ceilings and desultory service suggest its institution status. Stick to platters of iced, just-shucked oysters spanning dozens of varieties, from Baja to Plymouth Rock.

Lobster corn dog
Photograph: Courtesy Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.
Restaurants, Seafood

Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.

icon-location-pin Greenpoint

This fish shops focuses on sourcing only seasonal and sustainable—and sometimes local—catch like wild Alaskan salmon and Arctic char at a retail counter. They put the fresh goods to use in dishes like lobster rolls, kelp-noodle pad Thai and Baja-style fish tacos dressed with citrus-cabbage slaw and chipotle-lime mayo, doled out in a tiled space outfitted with marble counters and high-top tables. 

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Ed's Lobster Bar
Photograph: Michael Kirby
Restaurants, Seafood

Ed's Lobster Bar

icon-location-pin Nolita

Chef Ed McFarland's New England–style fish shack is a Soho staple. If you secure a place at the 25-seat marble bar or at one of the few tables, expect superlative raw shellfish, delicately fried Ipswich clams and lobster served every which way: steamed, grilled, broiled, chilled, stuffed into a pot pie and—the crowd favorite—in the lobster roll. Here, it’s a buttered bun full of premium chunks of meat with just a light coating of mayo.

Pearl Oyster Bar
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Restaurants, Seafood

Pearl Oyster Bar

icon-location-pin West Village

This convivial, New England–style joint was a forerunner of the city’s fish-shack trend. The outstanding lobster roll—sweet, lemony meat laced with mayonnaise on a butter-enriched bun—is Pearl’s raison d'être, but more sophisticated dishes fare equally well: A bouillabaisse features briny lobster broth packed with mussels, cod, scallops and clams, with an aioli-smothered crouton balanced on top.

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