From Hawaiian poke bowls, Bay Area crab, and cioppino to New England oysters and lobster, the U.S. is blessed with an overwhelming plethora of delicious, fresh seafood down the East Coast and around to the Gulf. Narrowing down the best seafood restaurants in the country is quite a challenge, which is why TravelAwaits enlisted the help of our readers. Below, you’ll find the results of our Best of Travel Awards for Best Seafood Restaurant in the U.S.
1. Hudson’s Seafood House On The Docks (Winner)
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Our 2022 Best of Travel Award winner for Best Seafood Restaurant in the U.S., Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks, can be found at the edge of Port Royal Sound on beautiful Hilton Head Island. A Hilton Head tradition for more than half a century, Hudson’s started as an oyster factory in 1912. Now in addition to briny bivalves, the Lowcountry seafood spot serves up freshly caught shrimp and crab straight from the dock for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
For other seasonal catches, the renowned restaurant works with fishermen based in Charleston, Georgia, and northern Florida to source fresh black sea bass, grouper, mahi-mahi, swordfish, tilefish, triggerfish, vermilion snapper, and more that are brought in whole and filleted in-house.
Hudson’s offers one of the best sunset views on the island. Keep an eye out for dolphins swimming past. Don’t sleep on the habit-forming hushpuppies and save some room for the amazing Mud Pie. Significantly better than the name implies, the popular dessert is made with cappuccino ice cream and chocolate fudge on an Oreo cookie crumb crust.
What To Order Hudson’s Seafood House On The Docks:
- She Crab Soup
- Oysters On The Half-Shell, Shucked To Order
- Mud Pie
2. The Lobster Trap
Located near Cape Cod on the Back River in Bourne, The Lobster Trap is a classic New England seafood shack. Come to this rustic riverfront building for a mean lobster roll and some of the best clam chowder you’ve ever had.
Founded in 1969 as a neighborhood fish market, the old-school seafood standby still sells high-quality, locally caught and processed cod, haddock, grey sole, flounder, sea scallops, and shellfish.
What To Order At The Lobster Trap:
- Lobster Roll
- Clam Chowder
3. White Pillars
The Mississippi Gulf Coast is no stranger to succulent seafood, and White Pillars in Biloxi offers local seafood, plus steak and handmade pasta. It is owned by Chef Austin Sumrall and his wife Tresse, who also acts as the office manager and event coordinator. The pair grew up in Mississippi and bring that Southern hospitality to their elegant farm-to-table restaurant. Last year, Chef Sumrall competed against amazing chefs from all over the country in the Great American Seafood Cook-off and was crowned the King of American Seafood.
White Pillar’s menu changes daily based on ingredients sourced from local farms, but you can always count on delicious fresh Gulf seafood dishes. Seasonal favorites include Eggplant Josephine, the Gulf seafood tower, and Korean barbecue pork belly.
Fresh, local ingredients carry over to the beautiful bar area, The WP Lounge, where professionally trained bartenders craft libations using house-made syrups and juices. In addition to hand-crafted specialty cocktails, there is also a selection of bourbon as well as an extensive wine list. Belly up to the oldest known bar in Biloxi, a chic walnut fixture that once adorned the Chicago Blackstone Hotel.
What To Order At White Pillars:
- Oysters 3-Way
- Shrimp & Grits (brunch)
4. Da Poke Shack
Da Poke Shack in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii is known for what else but its poke bowls. For the unfamiliar, poke (pronounced poh-keh) is the Hawaiian word for cut, cubed, or sliced. Fresh, raw yellowfin tuna, or, as it’s referred to there, ahi, is the star of these tasty bowls seasoned with Hawaiian salt and dressed up with other ingredients such as limu kohu (seaweed), sesame oil and seeds, and aiolis.
Da Poke Shack, a tiny unassuming Hawaiian shack in a condo complex, serves always fresh, never frozen poke in bowls such as Pele’s Kiss, which is tossed in a spicy Hawaiian chili pepper aioli. The spicy garlic poke features spicy Hawaiian chili pepper, garlic, and sesame seeds and is gluten-free.
Get there early for the best selection. Order takeout and head to a nearby beach or to the back of the condo building and try to score a spot at one of the picnic tables in the little garden area. Keep an eye out for surfers and turtles!
What To Order At Da Poke Shack:
- Pele’s Kiss Poke
- Spicy Garlic Sesame Poke
5. G & M Restaurant
Linthicum Heights, Maryland
Directly north of BWI-Marshall Airport, G & M Restaurant can be found in charming Anne Arundel County in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. Known for its lump crab cakes, this casual eatery also serves other seafood, as well as steak and pasta. But you don’t have to travel all the way up to Baltimore to experience the best crab cakes in Maryland. G & M ships them overnight to all 50 states so you can satisfy your crab craving anytime. We know what we’re doing on our next BWI layover!
What To Order At G & M Restaurant:
6. Scoma’s Restaurant
San Francisco, California
We would argue with the Rice-A-Roni folks that seafood is the San Francisco treat. Scoma’s Restaurant serves up some of the best in the Bay. Located on Pier 47 in Fisherman’s Wharf, this spacious waterfront restaurant specializes in pier-to-plate cuisine freshly caught by the fishing boat that morning.
Amazing cioppino, showstopping garlic roasted whole Dungeness crab, and excellent warm sourdough bread are a few of the dishes the restaurant is known for. If you decide to drive, take advantage of complimentary valet parking!
What To Order At Scoma’s Restaurant:
- Lazy Man’s Cioppino
- Whole West Coast Dungeness Crab, Whole Roasted
7. Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant
Sarasota restaurants are one of the reasons TravelAwaits writer Jeanine Consoli says it’s the perfect place to retire. Longtime seafood spot Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant claims it is the only market and restaurant in Sarasota and one of only a few in Florida to sell fish that is caught the day you buy it. The fish market carries a large selection of whole fish, fillets, shellfish, and crustaceans.
Sip on local craft brews or cocktails at the tiki bar outside as you wait for a table. In lieu of bread and butter, Walt’s serves its famous smoked white fish spread, a combo of mullet and tartar sauce, with crackers. If you happen to come during stone crab season, or if triple tail is the catch of the day, you are in for a treat! Whatever Chef Rigo is cooking up as the daily dinner specials feature the freshest seafood to come in that day. Choose whichever fish you want from the market and have it prepared whichever way you like: flame-broiled, blackened, chargrilled, fried, or panko fried.
What To Order At Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant:
- Daily Dinner Special
- Seasonal Stone Crab
8. 167 Raw Oyster Bar
Charleston, South Carolina
167 Raw Oyster Bar is a cute and contemporary New England-style oyster bar on King Street in the heart of historic downtown Charleston. The menu changes often, but you can always find oysters, lobster rolls, and fish tacos at this cozy eatery that focuses on east coast seafood. The raw bar has oysters listed by region, size, and salinity. There are no reservations, so the wait can be quite long during peak times.
What To Order At 167 Raw Oyster Bar:
- Oysters (duh!)
- Lobster Roll
9. The Grand Marlin
Pensacola Beach, Florida
The Grand Marlin can be found in Pensacola Beach, a resort community outside of Pensacola on Florida’s Gulf Coast barrier island of Santa Rosa. Fresh Gulf seafood is the star of award-winning Chef Gregg McCarthy’s ever-changing menu of mouthwatering dishes that are made from scratch daily using the highest quality ingredients.
Guests love the seafood-influenced Sunday brunch. You could make a meal just from delish appetizers here, including the fried lobster fingers with honey mustard, oysters Rockefeller, and the nacho-style house chips with Statesboro blue cheese sauce. For your main, try the parmesan-crusted grouper piccata, unless the seared red snapper happens to be on the menu. Finish it all off with the TGM Signature Praline Basket — vanilla bean ice cream in a crispy pecan praline basket topped with seasonal berries and caramel and chocolate sauces — yum!
On top of the food, The Grand Marlin offers island cocktails and beautiful views overlooking the Santa Rosa Sound, plus sunsets over Pensacola Bay. A second location was opened in Panama City Beach in 2016.
What To Order At The Grand Marlin:
- Oysters Rockefeller
- Lobster Fingers
- Blue Angel Chips
- Grouper Piccata
- Seared Red Snapper (Special)
- TGM Signature Praline Basket
- My 8 Favorite Seafood Restaurants To Experience In New Orleans
- 10 Best BBQ Restaurants In The U.S.
- Our 14 All-Time Favorite Splurge-Worthy Restaurants
It’s imperative to feel comfortable and safe while traveling. Medjet provides premier air medical transport, travel security, and crisis response memberships, providing peace of mind for an affordable price.