Orlando- the city of Minnie, Mickey, rollercoasters, and, as it turns out, world-class dining. In recent years, Orlando’s reputation as a first-rate culinary destination has grown exponentially, with visitors now just as likely to spend hours queuing for a restaurant as they are for a ride. As you’d expect of somewhere so close to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, seafood is one of Orlando’s specialties. Whether you’re in the mood for a juicy Lobster Roll, a spicy Oyster Po’ Boy, or some fresh caught seabass, you’ll find plenty to tempt your taste buds in our rundown of the 20 best seafood restaurants in Orlando.
20. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
With its combination of good, old fashioned service, charming, homely dishes, and relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. Its dishes may not be the most elegant, but in terms of flavor, affordability, and freshness, they’re hard to fault.
Sunsets and scampi… what could be a better combination? Hemingway's stunning location on the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress affords guests some of the best views in town, while its modern take on seafood classics like Chilled Jumbo Shrimp and Tuna Crudo is a delight. For those looking to really push the boat out, Hemingway’s Grand Plateau (a $125 platter of 6 Langoustines, 18 Oysters, 6 Jumbo Shrimp, Crab Claws, Saffron Mussels, Tuna Crudo, Cocktail Sauce, Lemon, Tabasco, Horseradish, andRed Wine Mignonette) is a winner.
18. Johnnie's Hideaway
Florida Black Grouper "Lobster Alfredo", Blackened Red Snapper, Twin Applewood-smoked Bone-in Petite Filets, Pan Roast of Jumbo Dayboat Scallops, Chilean Sea Bass "Seafood Fondue", Seared Tuna Sashimi, Char-Broiled Garlic Mussels, Crispy Blue Fingers, Cedar Plank Roasted North Atlantic Salmon, Long Bone Veal Margherita, Jumbo Lump Crab Cocktail.. with a menu this good, it’s easy to understand why the sublime Johnnie's Hideaway is considered one of Orlando’s best-kept secrets.
17. Ocean Prime
The award-winning Ocean Prime might not be the cheapest option around, but few will regret the expense after spending just a few minutes soaking up the rich, warm atmosphere, or sampling one of their divine dishes. The menu may be surf “n” turf in its essence, but this is surf “n’ turf of a very different variety than the kind you’ll find at your average steakhouse. Expect well-hung, superbly primed steaks, and some of the freshest, most delicate seafood dishes you’ll find this side of the Mediterranean.
16. Red Lobster
For the kind of outstanding seafood feast that dreams are made of, you’ll struggle to beat Red Lobster. The menu is wide, the portions are generous (some may go so far as to say huge), and the prices are more than decent. The quantity of dishes to choose from can seem daunting, but for those who can’t quite make up their mind, the clever ‘create your own combination’ option gives you the chance to sample two dishes for $18.99 or three dishes for $23.99.
15. Big Fin Seafood Kitchen
Big Fin Seafood Kitchen has been serving its excellent take on seafood classics for over ten years, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down on either its output or its quality any time soon. Its list of accolades are almost as long as its line of loyal fans, with some of the most prestigious including the titles of Expedia Local Expert’s Orlando Restaurant of the Year (2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016), Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards Critic’s & People’s Choice for Best Seafood Restaurant in Orlando 2014, Zagat Excellence Rating (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017), and CFHLA (Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association) Bacchus Bash annual charity event 1st place Best Menu Item & 1st place Most Money Generated Food Item (2010).
14. Deep Blu Seafood Grille
Deep Blu Seafood Grille combines an upmarket, elegant dining experience with world-class service and a menu that’s as classically refined as the décor. Much of its produce comes from local farmers, while all its seafood comes from Clean Fish, an organization that works directly with sustainable fisheries in the area. If you like your restaurants to come with a conscience (as well as superb food), Deep Blu Seafood Grille may be just the ticket.
“Come for the fish, stay for the Key Lime pie” seems to be the general consensus of visitors to the sublime FishBones, a restaurant serving up a menu that’s as strong on the sweets as it is on the savories. The fish is so fresh it's practically still flapping, while the slow-roasted prime rib is to die for. The wine list is as charming as the staff, who’ll go out of their way to help you select the most complimentary wine for your meal.
To understand the appeal of MoonFish, a quick look at some of the comments on Trip Advisor may help. “Dinner was amazing! The food was delicious, the service was beyond amazing, and the atmosphere was charming. My guest and I felt very taken care of by the staff. I will definitely recommend dining at Moonfish,” says one happy diner, while another enthuses “I had dinner at Moonfish restaurant yesterday with my friend, the staff were so welcoming and super friendly, we start with the appetizer and it never took much time to get our salmon dinner it was so delicious, our server Kevin was amazing and attentive. I definitely recommend this restaurant to families, for romantic dinners or even casual, you will get the best service and the price is so affordable.”
11. Eddie V's Prime Seafood
Eddie V's Prime Seafood may be a chain restaurant, but it’s not like any chain you’ve come across before. With its artful combination of attentive service, classic dishes, and intimate ambiance, it feels more like the kind of restaurant you’d choose for a special occasion than the kind that comes with a drive-thru. The menu is crammed with excellent dishes, but if you have to choose (which, unfortunately, you do, this being a restaurant an’ all) the Oyster Rockefeller and South African Lobster Pot won’t disappoint.
10. Urban Tide
One of the latest restaurants to hit Orlando is Urban Tide, an elegant little eatery set in Hyatt Regency on International Drive. While hotel restaurants can sometimes be, shall we say, “lacking”, Urban Tide is the exception. As well as offering a fine line in seafood in a classically stylish environment, the restaurant does a fine line in cocktails- try the Cucumber Blackberry Rekker (Rekker Rum, cucumber water, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, muddled mint, garnished with cucumber) or Rose Gimlet Ketel (One Botanical Grapefruit & Rose, belleruche rose, lime juice, simple syrup, grapefruit juice, mint leaves, and a pinch of salt) for a taste experience you’re unlikely to forget in a hurry.
9. The Boathouse
The first time you visit the Boat House can be a disorientating experience. Part restaurant, part nautical museum, and part cruise line port, you’re never quite sure whether you’re about to eat or about to set sail. Once you’ve got to grips with the concept, you’ll find a delightful restaurant with gorgeous views, superlative service, and a menu bursting with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Cheap? No. Worth it? Most definitely.
8. Hot N Juicy Crawfish
If you want hot, if you want juicy, and most crucially, if you want crawfish, you’re going to want to visit Hot N Juicy Crawfish. Despite being one of the newest seafood restaurants to hit Orlando, it's already fast on its way to becoming a local institution, thanks in no small part to its quirky “pick your own” approach to seasoning, spice level, and seafood. Once you’ve chosen your preference in each category, your server will deliver your order in a bag inside a galvanized bucket that comes straight from the steamers. This is no fancy-schmancy restaurant, but for good, honest food in a fun, casual environment, it’s a winner.
7. Lee & Rick’s Oyster Bar
Lee & Rick’s Oyster Bar has been serving up some of the best seafood in Orlando for almost 70 years, and age has clearly not withered its appeal one iota. The restaurant has an informal, casual atmosphere that centers around the iconic 80-foot-long concrete shucking bar – the perfect place to kick back with a cold beer, some good oysters, and some friendly company. Although the restaurant can sometimes feel slightly overrun by tourists, it still makes for one of the best local eateries in town regardless.
6. Todd English's Blue Zoo
Even if the menu at Todd English's Blue Zoo wasn’t quite as good as it is (although have no concerns on that score), the décor alone (a stunning combination of glass and clever lightening that works to give an underwater feel) would be enough to justify a visit. If you can tear your eyes away from the decor for long enough to take in the menu, you’ll be in for an even bigger treat. Other than the stunning raw bar, standouts include the New England style clam chowder (described as “light and brothy with salt-cured bacon, and house-made oyster crackers’), and “this evening’s dancing fish” – a dish that’s as much a visual treat as it is an edible one.
5. Boston Fish House
With a menu featuring delights such as Ipswich Whole Belly clams, New England Steamer Clams steamed in fresh clam broth and served with drawn butter and clam broth, New England Flounder Sandwich Roll, Southern Catfish Sandwich, Canadian Sea Scallops, and Teriyaki Atlantic Salmon Kabobs, it's understandable why, 30 years after opening its doors for the first time, the Boston Fish House is still drawing the crowds.
4. Two Chefs Seafood Oyster Bar (No Longer Open)
For Oyster Po Boy, there used to be only one place to go: Two Chefs Seafood Oyster Bar. The chefs used real New Orleans French bread to get that perfect balance of soft and crusty, while the tender oysters and spicy Remoulade Sauce are to-die-for. The rest of the menu is simple, straightforward, and never short of delicious. R.I.P Two Chefs.
3. The Oceanaire Seafood Room
For special occasions, the Oceanaire Seafood Room is hard to beat. The fancy décor is perfectly complemented by a menu that’s a veritable smorgasbord of deliciousness: try the Tater Tots À La Oceanaire with Spicy Ketchup and Creamy Mustard Sauce if you’re in the mood for a “small bite”, or the Shrimp & Grits (a clever combination of jumbo shrimp and creamy white cheddar grits) if you’re in the mood for something with a bit more heft. The wine list is as exemplary as the food menu, and while it’s unlikely to win any prizes for being the cheapest of Orlando’s seafood eateries, you’re unlikely to regret the splurge.
2. Lombardi’s Seafood
Combining casual dining and shop under the one roof, Lombardi’s Seafood has become something of an Orlando institution since it first opened its doors over 50 years ago. The casual, informal atmosphere makes a refreshing change to some of the stuffier fine dining experiences Orlando has to offer, but the superb service and first-class menu are as fine as you’ll find anywhere. The fish of the day is usually a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, but with a menu this good, it’s hard to go wrong.
1. Winter Park Fish Company
With its fast service, casual ambiance, and divine food, Winter Park Fish Company has quickly risen up the ranks to become Orlando’s premier seafood restaurant. The cute “n” quirky décor and fun, informal atmosphere belies a serious commitment to delivering the highest quality, freshest food you’ll likely experience anywhere in the state. The Lobster Roll is full of huge chunks of deliciously tender, delicately moist lobster meat, while it's pairing with Israeli couscous is positively inspired. Seating is offered on a first come first served basis, so get there early if you don’t want to queue.
Written by Garrett Parker
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