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John Dory Oyster Bar
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

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

By Christina Izzo and Time Out New York contributors

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

A seafood restaurant we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market

Fish Cheeks

Restaurants Thai Noho

Fish Cheeks is a leader among New York's Asian restaurants offering cuisine inspired by the regions of Thailand, so, naturally, we invited it to hold court at Time Out Market New York. 

Seafood restaurants in NYC

Pearl Oyster Bar
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

11. Pearl Oyster Bar

Restaurants Seafood 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.

12. Esca

Restaurants Italian Hell's Kitchen

Esca's menu takes a whirl through Southern Italian seaside cooking. Start with the signature raw antipasti, called crudo, then move on to excellent, shareable pastas such as succulent square-cut maccheroni alla chitarra with sea urchin and crab.


13. Littleneck

Restaurants Seafood Gowanus

Nodding to nearby Gowanus Canal, this New England–style seafood joint (funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign) sports a nautical look, featuring a salvaged ship portal and an eight-foot piece of driftwood draped with thick ropes. The short menu highlights Northeast clam-shack grub, including an Ipswich clam roll and a Maine-style lobster roll, plus raw-bar plates. Eight tap lines dispense seasonal brews at the zinc-topped bar.

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