About Seafood

Clambakes and crab boils, fish fries and oyster roasts—for a nation of supposed beef fanatics, we sure do make a special occasion of seafood. These 21 best seafood restaurants in America uphold and build on such cherished traditions while making spectacular waves all their own. Some of them skew fancy—you’ll also find them among our list of the best French restaurants in America—while others aim for something more relaxed (think lobster rolls and great craft beer). Some hail from the likely North East, mixing it up with the best restaurants in Boston, while others serve southern specialties in warmer climes. But these seafood restaurants all have at least one thing in common: they deserve your attention. Follow Time Out USA on Facebook;
The same devotion to la dolce vita by which Fabio and Maria Trabocchi ensure that Fiola ranks among the best Italian restaurants in the nation guarantees that sibling Fiola Mare belongs here. Its sophisticated, yet light and airy, subtly nautical look reflects both its picturesque location right on the Potomac River and the vibrant cast of its menu—which bursts with all the crudo, caviar and delicacies like Spanish crawfish and razor clams you could hope for before branching out in the most thoughtful yet sensual of directions. Giant tiger prawns grace bucatini pungent with smoked sea urchin and Calabrian chiles while elusive Norwegian skrei gains punch from chickpea cream, squid ink and a dusting of bottarga. Of course both bar and cellar brim like pirate’s chests with treasures. But the leisurely brunch service lures locals here as much as do the elaborate dinners—and so do the bomboloni come dessert.
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. Guests who find the $205 tasting menu or $140 four-course prix fixe out of reach can still experience the kitchen’s finesse in the lounge area, via stunning bar snacks: raw kanpachi topped with beads of wasabi tobiko ($20), for example, or gorgeous scallop ceviche ($22) resting in a pool of grassy olive oil.
Chef Michael Cimarusti may have inherited Patina’s original home, but he quickly forged his own culinary identity, establishing one of L.A.’s premiere dining spots. The seafood-focused restaurant sports an elegant dining room with wave-like glass panels and top-notch white-tablecloth service for an a la carte or tasting menu experience. The meal begins with house-made breads like bacon brioche and nori focaccia and an edible cocktail—a burst-in-your-mouth, spherified Greyhound that goes beyond the usual aperitif. Then Cimarusti combs the world’s waters to showcase pristine seafood in imaginative ways: Meaty Deer Isle, Maine scallops are accompanied by winter vegetables, La Quercia bacon, hazelnuts and brown butter powder, while wild black bass is dressed with tangerine juice-braised fennel, black olives, sweet Anaheim peppers and Pernod.
A Lower East Side standby since 1914, Jewish appetizing shop Russ & Daughters has been expertly slicing to-go lox, herring and other specialty foods for ages. But worshipers at the altar of cured, smoked fish had to wait 100 years for the storied slinger of seafood to open a sit-down location. In 2014, that dream became a reality when Russ & Daughters Café opened just down the street from the takeout location. Now, lox lovers and caviar cravers can enjoy top-tier delicacies in large-plate format. Among the cafe’s prized menu items is the Hattie, a groaning platter of smoked whitefish, kippered salmon, Gaspe Nova smoked salmon and sable; and the Super Heebster, a loaded bagel that achieved cult status at the Russ & Daughters store and has seamlessly transitioned to the restaurant. Heaped with whitefish and baked salmon salad, wasabi-infused fish roe and horseradish-dill cream cheese, it’s a mutt of a New York dish that perfectly encapsulates Russ & Daughters’ hundred-plus years of catering to the city’s varied tastes.

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