While seafood may not be the most sought-after fare in Washington, D.C., it steals the spotlight when it’s done right. From crabcakes that keep Marylanders on their toes to lobster rolls that outshine New England’s, D.C. holds its own when it comes to seafood. See which restaurants are shelling out some of the best seafood in the District.
Get Great Seafood In These 6 DC Restaurants
1. Blacksalt Fish Market and Restaurant
When in doubt, head for the seafood restaurant that has a fish market right on its doorstep. Or, in Blacksalt’s case, takes up the front part of the restaurant. For an establishment attached to a fish market, the restaurant is surprisingly upscale. Quality and freshness, in terms of both the food and service, elevate the Blacksalt experience to the top. Guests can also request selections from the market, even if they aren’t on the menu, which is an added bonus. But the extensive menu hardly leaves room for creative thinking. Guests can expect a flavor journey around the globe -- think Wood-Grilled Mediterranean Sardines, Thai Mussels, New England Clam Chowder -- where seafood is undeniably the star.
4883 MacArthur Blvd., Washington, District of Columbia 20007
2. Hank’s Oyster Bar
Hank’s Oyster Bar is a seafood spot that graces multiple neighborhoods with several locations around the District. Serving up locally-sourced seafood, Hank’s Oyster Bar is a serious contender among raw bar restaurants in D.C. If raw seafood doesn’t strike your fancy, they offer everything from popcorn shrimp to calamari to fried oysters as “small plates.” Their specials, which change daily, will have your mouth watering, too But the real kicker is that landlubbers who can’t skip on meat have just as many options to choose from. Despite its name, Hank’s isn’t just a quality oyster bar. It serves up a range of signature dishes, from grilled duck breast to beer-brined New York strip steak, on different days of the week.
633 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, D.C. 20003
3. Fiola Mare
Fiola Mare’s on the Georgetown waterfront is the place to “sea” and be seen. Fresh seafood with an Italian flair brings all sorts of comfort to the table. Weekend brunches are particularly popular during warm weather, as the outdoor area is the perfect spot from which to people-watch -- and enjoy the Potomac River view. The prime location and the high-profile guests the restaurant attracts means the price points are on the high side. A 3 course menu, classic brunch cocktail or mocktail, and a basket of warm homemade pastries rounds out to about $45. But considering its upscale atmosphere and high quality, Fiola Mare is a seafood restaurant that’s consistently booked. Take a lovely walk on the Potomac River walkway after your meal.
3050 K St NW, Ste 101, Washington, DC 20007
4. Rappahannock Oyster Bar
If fast and casual is how you enjoy your meals, head for the Union Market in D.C.’s NoMa district. There, you’ll find Rappahannock Oyster Bar serving up seafood-centric dishes with local craft beers and cocktails on the side. Catch happy hour specials at Rappahannock, where you might find oysters ranging from prices half-off to just $1 a pop, depending on the day, in addition to the drinks specials. Rappahannock Oyster Bar is a family-run company recognized for producing the best oysters from the Chesapeake Bay. But they also know how to whip up a hearty meal, based on their lambs and clams being such a crowd favorite.
1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002
5. Old Ebbitt Grill
Raw bar enthusiasts rave about Old Ebbitt’s Oyster Hour which runs Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., as well as the late hours on Sunday. That’s when visitors can get the towering Orca platter, a two-tiered vision of plump lobster, jumbo shrimp, raw oysters, Jonah crab claws and more, for half the price. The interior isn’t what you’d expect of a seafood palace: this iconic spot, located just a block from the White House, is reminiscent of a gentleman’s study. But contrary to first impressions, the atmosphere is cheery, the servers friendly and the seafood always spot on, which is why visitors return time and time again.
675 15th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20005
6. Fish In The Hood
Fresh seafood plus soul food is what this Petworth fish market is all about. Fish in the Hood serves up a menu of broiled and fried dishes, as well as southern entrees such as collard greens, candied yams and macaroni and cheese. The locals know that you can’t go wrong with the broiled salmon or cornmeal crusted fried shrimp. But there’s a lot of room for experimentation, with menu items including crab legs, seafood salad, barbecue chicken wings and more.
3601 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20010
This article was written by Hanna Choi.