Washington DC is a fantastic place for dining out as this city has a vibrant and diverse culinary scene. Regardless of whether you intend to enjoy a casual meal with friends, or you are celebrating a special occasion worthy of booking a fine dining establishment, you will find an eatery to meet your needs. There are also examples of cuisine from across the globe along with traditional American fare. If you are a fan of fish and seafood, you will find some outstanding seafood restaurants in this city. To give you some ideas of some places to try, here are the 20 best seafood restaurants in Washington DC.
20. Salt Line
The influence of the menu at Salt Line is the cuisine of New England. Some of the highlights of the menu include monkfish saltimbocca, crispy rockfish, and oysters served in various ways. If you visit in warmer weather, sit outside on the patio so that you can enjoy the outdoor bar that serves summery drinks. Chef Kyle Bailey is at the helm of this restaurant in Navy Yard, and it had earned an excellent reputation thanks to Bailey’s cookery skills. This restaurant gets particularly busy when there are games on at the nearby Nationals Park and huge crowds head to Salt Line to enjoy a meal after the game.
You will find Whaley’s along the waterfront in the Navy Yard district of Washington DC. In warmer weather, most diners opt to sit outside on the patio area so that they can enjoy the water views while they dine. The rose garden adds to the appeal of the outdoor eating area. The menu consists of seafood classics, such as crudos, seasonal preparations of scallops and cod, and seafood towers.
18. Horace & Dickie’s Seafood
Horace & Dickie’s Seafood has a high-energy, casual ambiance, says Vacation Idea. This atmosphere is predominantly thanks to the staff, who are friendly and enjoy banter with the guests. Open for more than three decades, the food at Horace & Dickie’s Seafood is home-style dishes that feature fish and seafood, many of which are fried. There are also some meat and vegetarian options. This restaurant is also noted for its mouthwatering puddings. This restaurant, which is located on 12th Street North East, opens late and offers a carryout service.
Siren is one of the newest additions to the Washington DC culinary scene, but it has already made its mark. This restaurant belongs to the award-winning restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier, who is known for his other restaurants that include Marcel’s and Brasserie Beck. An unusual element of this fine dining establishment is the full caviar menu. Diners can also choose dishes from a menu of raw, slightly cooked, and cooked meals. Not only are the finest ingredients used in the preparation of the dishes, but they are also beautifully presented.
16. Rappahannock Oyster Bar
Time Out describes Rappahannock Oyster Bar as a sophisticated, family-run food stall within the Union Market. The family farms their own oysters, so you are guaranteed the freshest oysters available. Although the highlight of the menu is the oysters, there are plenty of other heartier options, including some meat dishes.
15. Ivy City Smokehouse
Profish is a local smokehouse that extended its facilities to include the Ivy City Smokehouse, says Eater Washington DC. As the name suggests, the majority of the menu features fish and seafood that has been smoked in the smokehouse. All the ingredients served are fresh, and many are locally sourced. The best dish on the menu is probably the smoked fish platter, which highlights some of the best ingredients served in this restaurant. The crab feasts are another popular option.
14. Johnny’s Half Shell
Originally, Johnny’s Half Shell was located on Capitol Hill, but it has now moved to Adams Morgan. At the helm of this restaurant is award-winning chef Ann Cashion, who prepares refined dishes that highlight the stunning flavors of seafood. Each of the dishes is beautifully presented, so you begin eating with your eyes before your mouth. This sophisticated establishment is ideal for celebrating a special occasion.
13. Pop’s Seabar
Diners do not always want a fine dining experience in a sophisticated setting. Sometimes, they simply want to savor delicious flavors in a relaxed environment. If this is your preference, then Pop’s Seabar is a good option. Expect to find no-frills food, such as oysters, crab cakes, and peel and eat shrimp. There are also some non-seafood items on the menu, so you can take along your meat-loving friends for an enjoyable lunch. Diners have said that they have received excellent customer service at Pop’s Seabar. You will find this casual eatery on Columbia Road.
This family-run establishment has been open for more than 70 years. The interior of the restaurant has an old-world charm that takes you back in time as soon as you step through the door. Despite the old-fashioned appearance of the restaurant, it has withstood the test of time and can easily rival the modern competition in terms of the quality of the food. Just some of the options on this traditional menu include fried softshell crab sandwiches, tangy shrimp salad, and raw oysters, although there are many other selections on the large menu. If you prefer a little spice in your meals, the servers will bring you some hot sauce to accompany your meal. Diners say that they enjoy the warm, friendly, and homely feel of this eatery.
Fishnet is located on Berwyn Road in College Park and it is run by chef Ferhat Yalcin. This restaurant has a casual atmosphere and it serves simplistic food that celebrates the natural flavors of the seafood and fish. Some examples of dishes from which you can choose on this menu include fish and chips, fish tacos, and daily catch specials. Diners love the ambiance of this restaurant, and it is a great place for hanging out with friends.
10. Luke’s Lobster
A Maine-style menu is served at Luke’s Lobster. So, you can expect to see dishes such as lobster rolls, crab, shrimp, bisque, and chowder on the menu. There are three locations of this restaurant in the Metro region of Washington DC; Bethesda, Georgetown, and Penn Quarter. The menus are different at each of the restaurants. You cannot reserve tables at these restaurants as they seat diners on a first-come, first-served basis.
9. Chasin’ Tails
For fun and informal dining experience, a good choice is Chasin’ Tails, which is a venue where it is fine to eat with your fingers and get a little messy. One of the most popular options on the menu is the Bayou N’ A Bag. If you opt for this meal, you choose your catch, the cooking style, and the heat level. There is a section of the menu called ‘Off the Bayou’, which features dishes such as crawfish mac n’ cheese, seafood gumbo, and Creole jambalaya. This restaurant offers a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, so if you are not happy with your meal, they will replace it or not charge you for the meal.
If farm-to-table freshness is an important element of your dining experience, then Brine is a restaurant to consider visiting. This Mosaic District restaurant only serves regional seafood. The proprietor of the restaurant, Travis Coxton, also co-owns several local oyster farms, the produce of which are served in the restaurant. A visit to the raw bar is one of the highlights of dining in this restaurant, although the hot entrees are also outstanding. All the food is freshly prepared to order, so it can sometimes take a while for you to receive your meal. However, diners report that it is worth the wait.
7. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
Located in Logan’s Circle, Pearl Drive Oyster Palace is one of the top spots to dine on oysters, says 10Best. They serve a selection of east and west coast oysters prepared in a variety of ways. The dinner menu consists of wood-grilled fish, fried seafood, and tasty crowd-pleasers such as seafood stews and Creole gumbo.
Open for more than a quarter of a century, this is a well-established venue on the Washington DC culinary scene. It is a Parisian-style bistro in the Dupont neighborhood that has been open for more than 20 years. The contemporary menu changes daily and is written on a chalkboard rather than on a printed menu. A great night to visit is a Tuesday, as this is when the restaurant hosts a lobster night. For family dining, visiting on a Wednesday is the best option as the food is served family-style on this night.
5. Hank’s Oyster Bar
There are three locations of Hank’s Oyster Bar in Washington DC; Capitol Hill, Alexandria, and Dupont Circle. This restaurant company was established in 2005, and all their restaurants are loved by locals. As the name suggests, oysters are the highlight of the menu, although there are many other fish and seafood options. Time Out there are both small plates for when you want a light meal, and larger plates for those with a big appetite. These restaurants are known for hosting live bands and movie screenings, so you can combine a delicious meal with an evening of entertainment.
4. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone Crab
Although it is one of the newer additions to the culinary scene in Washington DC this restaurant has already established an excellent reputation. As it serves both steak and seafood, this is a venue that will please everyone in your party, regardless of whether they eat seafood or not. Make sure that you order sides to go with your main course selection, as it is these that will make your meal. They host cocktail hours every afternoon. Located on 15th Street North West, this restaurant is ideally positioned to enjoy a little people-watching while you dine. This restaurant also serves gluten-free and vegetarian options as they strive to meet all dietary needs.
3. Oceanaire Seafood Room
Oceanaire Seafood Room is one of 13 locations across the United States. This small chain prides itself on having only the freshest seafood flown into the restaurants from around the world. There is a sophisticated atmosphere in the dining room, which is the perfect ambiance for celebrating a special occasion. It is worth noting that this restaurant has an impressive wine list.
2. Fiola Mare
The two things that make this restaurant stand out from its competitors is the views of the Potomac River from the Georgetown waterfront and the fact that it has its own fish market where you can buy the same fresh ingredients that are used to create the dishes on the menu. Another feature of this restaurant is that the menu changes daily to reflect the availability of fresh fish and seafood. Many of the dishes are Mediterranean inspired, and diners love the grilled selection. Another reason to visit this restaurant is the fun cocktails they serve. This restaurant was opened in 2014 by chef Fabio Traboccchi.
According to 10Best, the best seafood restaurant in Washington DC is BlackSalt. The chef at this restaurant is Jeff Gaetjen. There are both hot and cold appetizers available, including oysters, blue shell mussels, and caviar by the ounce. Some examples of entrees include Atlantic bigeye tuna, Skuna Bay salmon, and wood-grilled swordfish. A great time to visit this restaurant is at lunch when you can enjoy three or four courses for a set price. This restaurant also has happy hours. An unusual feature of this restaurant is that it has a seafood market, so diners can choose fresh seafood to buy and prepare at home.