Whether you’re a resident, hibernator, or in town on a family vacation, deciding which restaurants to visit for the freshest catch in Florida can be a challenge.
From crab legs and oysters to lobster and shrimp, seafood lovers can find an array of delicacies to choose from at these Sunshine State restaurants.
On the northeast coast, people flock to O’Steen’s Restaurant in St. Augustine for the St. Augustine Fried Shrimp and Minorcan clam chowder – family recipes from the original owners. Drive an hour south to Flagler Fish Company in Flagler Beach to find long lines and over 20 varieties of fresh fish and seafood daily, such as Wanda’s Clam Dip.
Both eateries have recently been named the “15 Best Seafood Restaurants in Florida” by means of Travel to discover. Other hot spots on the list include Safe Harbor Seafood Market & Restaurant in Atlantic Beach and Owen’s Fish Camp in Sarasota.
Here they are in no particular order.
Star Fish Company
Star Fish Company is a combination of a fish market restaurant.
Dishes include wild Alaskan salmon, Mahi Mahi Sandwich, Gulf Shrimp, and Stone Crab Claws. Choose from sides of coleslaw, cheese grits, or French fries as you take in the views of the Gulf Coast.
Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer
A casual, family-friendly, locally owned and operated seafood restaurant on the Port of Destin, Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer is popular for its hook and cook cuisine.
It specializes in fresh, locally sourced seafood, steamed and boiled shellfish dishes integrated into a “rustic, yet sophisticated southern fish house,” offered in a laid-back dining room on the water. Snow crab, lobster and clams are also available.
Dixie Crossroads has been serving “wild ocean-caught seafood” and their famous corn fritters since 1983.
The menu features the very best local Port Canaveral shrimp and fish, as well as the Dixie Spectacular, which comes with Maine lobster, rock shrimp, scallops, and crab legs. Not a fan of seafood? They also serve grilled steaks and prime rib.
Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House
You’ll find locally sourced Southern-style seafood served in a casual setting overlooking the ocean at Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House. Located on the Destin Harbor, the spot showcases “Gulf to Table Southern Cuisine” on its four decks that reach down to the water and offer panoramic views of the harbor. They also have live music.
In addition to fresh oysters, they also offer Southern favorites such as corn and crab soup and lobster mac & cheese and smoked tuna dip.
Flagler Fish Company
Flagler Beach, Florida
Just off the Atlantic Ocean, directly adjacent to the local farmers market, Flagler Fish Company is “one-of-a-kind” in this cozy seaside town and has both indoor and outdoor dining.
Whether you want tuna, salmon, Chilean sea bass or lobster, they offer over 20 varieties of fresh fish and seafood daily. “Food to beat your flops,” the eatery claims.
DJs Clam Shack
Key West, Florida
Overstuffed lobster rolls, conch fritters and steamed clams are just a few items on the menu at DJs Clam Shack.
Food is served informally at a lively counter where you will experience “one of the best traditional fishing experiences in the country.”
Hunt’s Oyster Bar & Seafood Restaurant
Panama City, Florida
Hunt’s Oyster Bar serves fresh seafood and oysters from Tarpon Dock Seafood Market daily.
“A legendary dive with a friendly atmosphere,” this place has been serving Apalachicola oysters for over 50 years. It also offers grouper sandwiches, grilled crab cakes, and the famous three Cajun fried oysters with cheese.
Walt’s Fish Market
Walt’s Fish Market is the only market and restaurant in Sarasota, popular for its fresh cuisine. Order the conch fritters, mussels and oysters. But be sure to taste their famous smoked mullet spread. I repeat, Do. Not. To skip.
With outdoor seating and live music in the tiki bar, it’s a great spot after a day at the beach.
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St. Augustine, Florida
The restaurant is a favorite for locals and visitors alike and long lines are a constant. In the rankings, Trips to Discover said this fishing spot is “known for its fried shrimp, while Minorcan clam chowder and a side of hush puppies also rank well.”
Owen’s fishing camp
Owen’s fishing camp is “an ode to old Florida life… bringing in the local fish from the bay every day.”
With roadside boiled peanuts and even a tire swinging back, you’ll find Southern hospitality as you select seafood menu items including fried softshell crab and low country cook for two. The grouper here is also on point.
Up the Creek Raw Bar
you will find Up the Creek Raw Bar along the Scipio Creek Canal. Sit outside and order oysters on the covered open-air decks overlooking the water.
A quiet restaurant with a laid-back atmosphere, they “are not just your father’s oyster bar.” Get them raw or let them steam. Or change it up and spice it up with chopped shallot and habanero pepper on a few.
Stewby’s Seafood Shanty
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Stewby’s Seafood Shanty is a small takeaway and dinner restaurant serving fish dishes from the region.
Delights include Sam’s gumbo and signature sandwiches with coleslaw and tater sauce on a sesame seed bun. Don’t miss their Apalachicola oysters and Choctawhatchee Bay shrimp.
Pensacola Fish House
For luxury dining on the quayside, the Pensacola Fish House is your place.
Their “inventive menu” includes fresh, daily seafood selections, home smoked steaks, sushi.
Be sure to order their world-famous Grits á Ya Ya: a Southern specialty of smoked Gouda cheese grits smothered with a sauce of fresh cream, sautéed Gulf shrimp, spinach, portobello mushrooms, apple wood-smoked bacon, garlic and shallots.
Safe Harbor Fish Market & Restaurant
Atlantic Beach, Florida
Safe Harbor Fish Market & Restauranta family run business in Mayport Village, offers a sea-to-table experience.
“Come and watch the boats freshly caught seafood straight into our kitchen and then unload it onto your plate,” the website reads.
Enjoy crab, scallops, or mahi-mahi and let it cook to your taste for a meal overlooking the water.
Dry Dock Waterfront Grill
Longboat Key, Florida
Located in Longboat Key, Dry Dock Waterfront Grillan award-winning Al Fresco restaurant, is known for having some of the best grouper sandwiches on Florida’s west coast.
Seriously. Get the grouper here. (I like the blackened best).
If that’s not your thing, order the seared seared tuna or linguine and take a seat on the dockside patio of this ‘polished casual’ restaurant overlooking Sarasota Bay.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ’15 Best Seafood Restaurants in Florida’, According to Trips to Discover