Philly is rich with steak, burgers, and barbecue, but what about meals from under the sea? Sure, most neighborhoods have a great sushi joint. Until 2008, the former Walnut Street landmark Striped Bass boosted the city’s fish cred, but for a while there, seafood destinations were few and far between. Fast forward 15 years later, and seafood cuisine is rising in our city. Follow this map to find great Philly fish, seafood towers, and so much more.Read More
The Essential Seafood Restaurants of Philly
The best Philly spots for raw bars, seafood towers, and perfectly cooked fillets
Sid Booker's Shrimp Corner
Up Broad Street, Sid Booker’s keeps it simple with butterflied fried shrimp by the half dozen or dozen, plus a few sides. The casual, long-running spot is popular among the late night crowd looking for satisfying food after a night out. Look for the neon sign and bring cash.
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When Greg Vernick does something, he does it right. Known for his eponymous Rittenhouse destination, the chef — who rose through the ranks in the Jean Georges empire — opened Vernick Fish at the new Comcast Technology Center in 2019. It’s his love letter to the Jersey Shore cuisine he grew up eating, but with elevated ingredients, technique, and presentation. Vernick Fish is a decidedly elegant experience with diners enjoying the likes of scallop crudo, squid ink tagliatelle, and swordfish milanese amid plush seating, mood lighting, and quality beverages. Don’t miss the broiled ‘oysters Philadelphia’ that masquerade as a hoagie with genoa salami, provolone, crunchy brioche, and broccoli rabe.
Cantonese-style seafood takes center stage at Tai Lake. The Chinatown restaurant gets rave reviews for its steamed oysters, shrimp dumplings, lobster with ginger and scallion, fried jumbo shrimp in a creamy mayo sauce, clams with black bean sauce, and salt baked squid with chili. With a huge menu (that also includes meat and vegetarian dishes), picky eaters and the adventurous alike are satisfied here. No wonder it’s been going strong since 1988.
Pearl's Oyster Bar
Who doesn’t like an old fashioned oyster bar? For 40 years, Pearl’s has been a place for locals and tourists to dig into classic seafood dishes like Maryland crab soup and fried flounder. The Reading Terminal Market eatery also offers modern takes like crab mac and cheese and a salmon burger.
There’s no need to travel to Maine for their popular lobster rolls when Luke’s Lobster is right here. This hotspot in Rittenhouse has garnered a reputation for producing fresh seafood that makes the ultimate take-out for lunch or dinner. While their lobster roll is legendary, don’t miss out on their flavorful New England clam chowder and spicy lobster pasta.
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A Center City mainstay since 1947, Oyster House remains at the top of its game. Third-generation owner Sam Mink has kept the space inviting with regular refreshes, while the menu leans classic. This is the spot for shrimp cocktail, clam chowder, seared scallops, and grilled fish — plus a buzzy Tuesday through Friday happy hour. Oyster House also has one of Philly’s best gin selections, for those who like a cold martini with their raw bar.
Pearl & Mary
This latest edition from famed restaurateur Michael Schulson is bringing seafood lovers to midtown with their massive seafood towers, soft shell crab sandwiches, fried calamari, and notable fish and chips. This is a great place to mingle after work for cocktails and oysters or an impromptu date night.
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Devon Seafood Grill
This seafood institution has been serving customers for over a decade in Rittenhouse with their fine dining experience. Surf and turf is king at this restaurant, and with impressive lobster tails, crab cakes, and shrimp cocktails — you can’t go wrong here.
Heard of the seafood joint at 20th and Spruce? It’s been there for 50 years. Seafood Unlimited started out in 1971 as a fresh fish market and transitioned into a restaurant a couple decades ago. Look for the mermaid with a martini sign and head inside for jumbo shrimp cocktail, fish sandwiches, seafood pasta, fried combos, and much more. Oysters go for a buck at happy Hour and there’s a full bar, plus an Isaiah Zagar mosaic.
The Olde Bar
Dollar oysters have become rare, but the tradition lives on during happy hour at celebrity chef Jose Garces’ Olde Bar. His Old City restaurant — in the historic building that once housed Philly icon Bookbinders — is actually all about seafood. Find lobster four ways — including pot pie and corn dog — along with crab and corn chowder, crab claws, tuna frites, halibut, scallop pasta, and more. A couple of other nearby spots with great raw bars include The Wayward in Center City and Old City’s Royal Boucherie — both offer seafood towers.
Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti
Old City’s airy, blue-and-white hued Positano Coast has long been a popular spot for coastal Italian fare. The raw bar features oysters, chilled lobster, and shrimp cocktail, while cooked dishes include grilled octopus, diver scallops, spaghetti and clams, crab cakes, whole fish, and more. A new outdoor sidewalk cafe grew the restaurant’s seats by 160 during the pandemic — it features exotic plants, huge umbrellas, heat lamps, and live jazz on Fridays.
This new edition to Center City has been impressing diners with their generous seafood towers, tasty charbroiled oysters, and well-seasoned fish. The raw bar experience is ideal for a fun happy hour or a late night bite — that you can take advantage of until 2 am.
Little Fish BYOB
Some places just nail it every time and — when it comes to seafood — Little Fish is one of those restaurants. The Queen Village BYO offers just two dozen seats, sometimes making it a tough reservation to get. That’s because Philly’s hospitality community and those in-the-know regularly visit Little Fish for Alex Yoon’s ever-changing, Asian-influenced, carefully sourced menu. Having cooked at Le Bec-Fin, San Francisco’s Michelin-starred Benu, and Mirazur in the French Riviera (considered one of the world’s best restaurants), Yoon knows his way around seafood — from raw to perfectly seared.
Italian Market shoppers may know Anastasi as one of Philly’s best seafood stores, where customers line up to order raw fish from the busy counter. Come night time, though, the fishmonger becomes a casual sit-down restaurant. The menu is a bit of a throwback, offering clams casino, oysters Rockefeller, broiled fish, garlic bread, and fried combos with a little of everything — and sometimes that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Mixed drinks and beer are available too.
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On an unassuming corner in Delaware County, the Original Clam Tavern throws it back with a menu straight out of the 1960s. Find broiled flounder, stuffed shrimp, fried oysters, and crab-topped everything. Baked clams with a dot of ketchup on each middleneck are a favorite at this come-as-you-are spot. A full bar features some sweet specialty cocktails.