Fresh, locally sourced seafood is enjoying the spotlight among NYC foodies these days. In a city surrounded by water, famous for its upscale palate and celebrity chefs, the standards are high. The following restaurants consistently impress locals and tourists alike with their fresh flavors and sophisticated presentation.
1. Taverna Kyclades
This Greek restaurant is a uniquely NYC establishment, where regulars tolerate long lines (due to the no-reservations policy) and a noisy environment to enjoy super-fresh seafood in a casual setting. Taverna Kyclades’s Astoria site has a loyal following of customers who’ve been coming for years and has recently opened an East Village location. Come early in the evening if you want to enjoy the signature grilled octopus, because when it’s gone, it’s gone.
2. Pearl Oyster Bar
Another informal, no-reservations seafood joint that local seafood lovers have deemed worthy of waiting for is Pearl Oyster Bar, a lively West Village clam shack that’s recently been expanded and revamped. Go early, stand in line, and enjoy a New England style menu of rich clam chowder, mussels, bouillabaisse, grilled lobster, and fried oysters. Regulars rave about the lunchtime lobster rolls in particular. Tip: Save room for a traditional hot fudge sundae.
3. Cull & Pistol
The Lobster Place is a wholesaler that provides the best seafood in NYC to local restaurants every day. Retail customers and home chefs can select their own sampling of the sea’s abundance at The Lobster Place’s bustling Chelsea Market storefront. Even better, you can have a seat in the seafood specialists’ full-service Cull & Pistol restaurant and have a fresh lobster or platter of oysters prepared to absolute perfection, presented to you with a craft beer or cocktail.
For upscale dining with an Italian accent, Marea on Central Park South is an exquisite option. At Marea, the city’s beautiful people linger over plates of crudos and oysters, or whole fish like sea bream or turbot. Service is elegant and gracious. As expensive as this dining experience is, it is sure to be equally memorable. The menu changes seasonally, but at Marea all dishes are equally brilliant. You can let your server guide your selection, or you simply close your eyes and point.
5. Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant
For the ultimate New York experience, dive into the underbelly of Grand Central Station for dinner at the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant. Like Central Station itself, the ambiance is at once impossibly grand and ridiculously rude, like a noisy cafeteria with tiled arched ceilings and the most divine clam chowder you’ll ever taste. The menu is daunting, but you can’t go wrong with the chowder or a platter of giant succulent oysters. Save your energy for the task of choosing the perfect beer from the Station’s impressive list.
Whether you choose to dress up and go glam at Marea or elbow your way through Chelsea Market to the Cull & Pistol, you will find freshness and flavor at every turn in the NYC seafood scene.