Arlington, Virginia, is awash with restaurants offering everything from down-home comfort food to fine dining classics. Those who prefer their food on the fishy side are almost spoilt for choice, with a wide selection of tasty seafood restaurants to choose from. The only challenge seafood lovers may face is picking which one to try first. To help out, we’ve compiled a list of the very finest seafood restaurants Arlington has to offer. With no further ado, here, in ascending order, they are.
10. Poke Bar
Where: 1735 N Lynn St, Suite 112, Arlington, VA
For casual dining, great food, fast service, and a warm, informal atmosphere, Poke Bar makes a great option. Yes, it’s a chain, but as chains go, it’s one of the best, delivering consistently excellent food at even better prices. The option to create your own lunch from its almost endless range of bases, toppings, seafood, mix-ins, sauces, and sides makes for a fun concept – even if it does mean you’ve only got yourself to blame if you’re disappointed with the results.
9. Bonefish Grill
Where: 1101 S Joyce St Suite B26, Arlington, VA
With its unpretentious menu, welcoming vibe, and great value for money, the Bonefish Grill is fast on its way to becoming one of Arlington's most popular restaurants. Service is quick, attentive, and friendly, while the menu of classic seafood dishes like Bang Bang Shrimp and Maryland Crab cakes never fails to deliver.
8. Mussel Bar & Grille
Where: 800 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA
If shellfish is your thing, you won’t be disappointed with Mussel Bar & Grille. Since beginning life as a Belgian style roadhouse serving ‘Bière, Moules & Frites’, it’s expanded its menu to include good ol’ Southern dishes like Maine Lobster Cocktail, Blue Crab Dip, and Chilled Snow Crab Cluster. The classics haven’t gone though, and it's still one of the best places in town to grab a cold beer and enjoy some seriously good mollusks.
7. The Portofino Restaurant
Where: 526 23rd St, Arlington, VA
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a special occasion, look no further than The Portofino Restaurant. Since 1970, the establishment has been serving up a fine line in first-rate Italian cuisine, becoming a firm local favorite in the process. Tucked away in a menu of pasta, soups, and salads are some seriously fine seafood dishes, including an exemplary Frutti di Mare (shrimp, scallops, calamari, and mussels marinated in olive oil and lemon over greens) and the house signature of Omaggi di Nettuno (lobster tail, shrimp, scallops, and fresh mushrooms in brandy cream sauce served over Fettucine). It might not be cheap, but it’s certainly worth it.
Where: 1723 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA
For great value seafood served with a Mediterranean flair, you’ll find few better places than Mele. The unpretentious menu is simple, authentic, and full of fresh, local ingredients. The service is just as good as the food, while the warm, inviting atmosphere makes it the perfect place to unwind with friends.
5. Chasin’ Tails
Where: 2200 N Westmoreland St, Arlington, VA
If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, head to Chasin’ Tails for some finger-licking good seafood. The menu of Cajun-inspired dishes is big and varied enough to please everyone, and while the Creole Jambalaya and Lobster Garlic Noodles are worth the write up alone, the real star attraction is the Bayou N’ A Bag. Pick the seafood of your choice (options include crawfish, clams, oyster, King Crab legs, shrimp, mussels, Snow Crab legs, and lobster), choose your desired spice level (Mild, Medium, Hot, or N'awlins Hot), then prepare for a mind-blowing taste experience.
4. Hot N Juicy Crawfish
Where: 116 W Broad St, Arlington, VA
Small, vibrant, and almost always bustling, Hot N Juicy Crawfish may not be the place to take your grandmother for a quiet night of elegant dining, but for succulent, spicy, great value seafood, it’s hard to beat. You may have to queue for a table, but once you get stuck into some “Hot N Juicy” creole inspired seafood, you’ll be glad you waited.
Where: 1200 Fort Myer Dr, Arlington, VA
If you’re looking for somewhere to catch up with friends over some great wine and food, Quarterdeck is an outstanding choice. Its laid-back atmosphere and friendly service puts you at ease from the get-go, while the seasonal menu of seafood classics is guaranteed to impress. Highlights include Chesapeake Crab Soup, Steamed Blue Crabs, Peel and Eat Shrimp, and Crab Hush Puppies. The Lobster Mac and Cheese, meanwhile, is the kind of sumptuous, comforting dish lazy Sunday afternoons were made for.
2. McCormick & Schmick's Seafood - Crystal City
Where: 2010-B Crystal Drive Arlington, VA
With generous portions of finely prepared seafood, a welcoming, vibrant atmosphere, and a level of service that never disappoints, McCormick & Schmick's Seafood - Crystal City misses out on the top spot by a hair’s breadth. Despite the quality of food on offer, prices are more than reasonable, making it as equally attractive for mid-week lunches as it for special occasions. While you can’t really go wrong with whatever you choose from the menu, the Shrimp and Andouille “Mac & Cheese” and Chesapeake Buttermilk Fried Shrimp are both worth the visit alone.
1. Legal Sea Foods
Where: 320 23rd Street South Arlington, VA
For the best seafood Arlington has to offer, head to Legal Sea Foods. Its relaxed, informal atmosphere is a joy (and no doubt part of the reason it was voted #1 Best Seafood Restaurant by USA Today in 2013), while the classic menu of 40 fish and shellfish varieties is classic, simple, and never short of delicious. Prices may seem on the high side, but considering the quality and freshness of ingredients on offer, you’re unlikely to hear any complaints from the hordes of satisfied diners.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker