The Absolute Best Seafood in Atlanta
Look no further for the best lobster, crab, salmon, octopus, and more in Atlanta.
Atlanta may not be located on the coast or have the brand recognition of seafood cities like Maine, Charleston, New Orleans, or San Diego, but make no mistake—the local seafood scene is actually pretty incredible. From Kimball House to Wahoo! Grill, many of the city’s seafood restaurants pride themselves on securing the best and freshest ingredients possible, whether that means bringing in fish from the Gulf Coast or the Blue Ridge Mountains. Furthermore, while there are some more affordable and cozy fish markets and neighborhood eateries that will undoubtedly blow you away, many of Atlanta’s most renowned restaurants serving seafood are more elevated and upscale, which means that in addition to getting some great fish, you’ll also be getting a great experience. From luxurious fine dining restaurants that offer the best fruits de mer to no-frills neighborhood joints with mouthwatering fish platters, here are 15 restaurants where you can get the best seafood in Atlanta.
One of the best new restaurants—seafood or all things considered, really—is BOHO115. The unassuming eatery is located in Downtown Decatur right next to The Iberian Pig, and if you’ve unknowingly walked past it since its opening earlier this year, don’t be too hard on yourself. Although it's almost criminally low-key, BOHO115—which describes itself as a fish camp and bar—is far from a hole in the wall. The two-level restaurant transports you to the coast, and its cold bar and amazing cocktail menu—go with the fresh Flordita, the boozy Fish Camp Punch, or the decadent Cinteotl—will definitely make you feel like you’re on vacation. Plus, with “main hauls” like the Spicy Tuna Steak, the Diablo Prawns, the Grilled Octopus, and the Catch of the Day, you’ll be even more impressed with the elevated, yet casual new spot.
The Greek restaurant has been a mainstay of Piedmont Road since 2001. The oak-grilled octopus is beloved, but Karatassos and his team put a light touch on all of their seafood dishes from the fried lobster morsels to the sautéed scallops. The renovated lounge and outdoor garden seating area is dubbed the Ouzo Bar and Dining Room, and the space hearkens to Santorini’s beachside taverns. You can order pours of traditional Greek ouzo (an anise-flavored spirit) to pair with mezze (shareable appetizers) like stuffed grape leaves, lamb pie, and stone crab. The star of the show here is the whole “lavraki” fish, which is baked in salt and served with Tuscan kale, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon.
The Optimist sits on congested Howell Mill, but once you approach the patio and lawn (complete with a putting area) you feel removed from all of that. The restaurant has strong coastal vibes, especially the bar, which is sunny and features an oyster bar. Start with one of the crudos (like the cobia with strawberry gazpacho, orange gremolata, and almonds), some crispy oysters, and a lobster roll. The hushpuppies are a must.
The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill
The interior of this Buckhead restaurant is coastal, but the real draw is the covered patio. If you're looking to do some patio dining while chowing down on crab dip and peeling shrimp, this is the place. On Wednesdays, they make a limited number of orders of their lobster egg rolls, so plan accordingly.
C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar
Located in an unassuming shopping center in the Vinings area, C&S is an upscale hidden gem. The restaurant’s interior is luxe with plush seating and wood accents, and has an impressive selection of seafood on display. If you're feeling fancy—and if you're dining here, you probably are—order one of the plateaux de fruits de mer. The "le petite” includes six oysters, six clams, four shrimp cocktails, a one-pound lobster, tuna tartar, and—funny enough—a colossal crab. The “le grand” takes things up a notch even more with 12 oysters, 12 clams, eight shrimp cocktails, a two-pound lobster, tuna tartar, and a colossal crab. They also make a killer Old Fashioned with Michter's rye, 18.21's Prohibition Bitters, demerara syrup, filthy cherry juice, and burnt orange peel.
Ray's on the River
Of the three Ray's locations—the others being in Downtown (i.e. Ray’s in the City) and in Alpharetta (i.e. Ray's at Killer Creek)—Ray’s on the River offers the best ambiance. There are plenty of views of the Chattahoochee from inside the restaurant, there’s plenty of outdoor seating, too. Must-order dishes on the menu include the jumbo lump crab cake, the steakhouse wedge, and the honey-glazed salmon. If you're feeling carnivorous there are also plenty of cuts of steak to choose from, too.
Found in a former train station, the stylish Kimball House has been lauded nationally for everything from its design to its oyster menu and (especially) its cocktail program. The oyster selection is one of the best in the city with bivalves hailing from Maine to the Gulf Coast to Washington. The cocktail list includes classics like the French 75 (made with cognac, lemon, and carbonated picpoul) and innovative creations like Guava Batida (a concoction of mezcal, white guava, lime, and falernum).
Lapeer Seafood Market
Part of the gorgeous Alpharetta City Center in Downtown Alpharetta, Lapeer is a shiny jewel box of a restaurant. The bright and airy restaurant feels like it would be just as at home in a Hamptons beach town as it does in Alpharetta. Look for bold flavors on the menu like the George’s Bank Scallops (with spring risotto, asparagus, sweet peas, herbs, agrumato, and 15-year balsamic vinegar) and the Scottish Salmon (with jumbo asparagus, crispy potato, string beans, spring onion, and garlic oil).
Bon Ton is a fun, intimate restaurant with a strong New Orleans vibe (that tin ceiling!) and plenty of beloved seafood offerings. The starter menu alone will make you realize you’re in a seafood restaurant like no other, as you can order tasty appetizers like charbroiled crab claws and boiling peanuts. When it comes to deciding what you’re going to order for your main, however, things get a bit more difficult. The loaded menu offers seafood by the pound (including cajun crawfish, snow crab, and jumbo shrimp), single and double fried fish platters, and delicious sandwiches like the Bon Ton Banh mi with a choice of fried shrimp, blackened catfish, or cauliflower falafel as a protein.
Cajun Seafood Market
What Cajun Seafood Market lacks in frills, they make up for ample portions of flavorful seafood. You can order a variety of seafood by the pound, like snow crab, catfish, and scallops, and have it steamed to order. But, their fried seafood platters are also worth a try.
Found in a standalone building in front of sister restaurant Two Urban Licks, Bully Boy is a hotspot in its own right. They specialize in shareable seafood dishes like the duck spring roll, housemade seaweed salad, grilled octopus, seared snapper, and plenty of must-try sushi rolls. Bonus points for being on the BeltLine.
This cozy neighborhood eatery sits on the edge of downtown Decatur, and both its dining room and covered patio are full of charm. Here, locality is key. The restaurant tries to source ingredients as locally as possible like Blue Ridge Mountain trout (served with sugared pecans, pesto butter, and lemon-garlic broccolini) and the peaches used in the peach salad.
Six Feet Under
Oysters with a view of the city? Yes please! Six Feet Under has two locations, but the one in Grant Park offers a treehouse-like setting with a stunning view of Oakland Cemetery and the Downtown skyline. Belly up to the counter, order a couple of rounds of oysters and beers, and enjoy some of the best unpretentious seafood in Atlanta.
You can dine in the dining room of this upscale Midtown spot, but the covered, semi-enclosed patio is the place to be (even in the summer). It's a sure way to channel a seaside mood in the heart of Atlanta, and the tasty menu options don’t hurt. In addition to the amazing cold water oysters, there are charbroiled oysters prepared exactly how you like them, whether that be with the Dynamite Sauce (with tobiko, kewpie mayo, and sriracha), the Rockefeller Style (with spinach, lemon, and parmesan), or some other combination altogether. For an entree, you can’t go wrong with the Pan Seared Gulf Sea Bass (with heirloom squash, watercress, shellfish emulsion, and basil oil), and whatever you do, indulge in one of Lure’s communal punch bowl cocktails.
Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar
You have to head out to suburban East Cobb to dine at Drift, but it’s worth it. The restaurant is the creation of Doug Turbush, who also owns Seed right down the street, and specializes in wood-fired seafood. Sit at the bar and catch a glimpse of the fiery oven, or sit in one of their dining room's comfy booths. The Rhode Island calamari (with thai chile, braised onion, sesame, coriander) makes for a great appetizer, and the Bourbon Cured Salmon (with benne seed cracker, jalapeño, apple, radish) is a delight. From 11 am to 3 pm on Saturdays in the summer, Drift offers a New England-style patio pop-up dubbed Pop’s Lobster Shack, during which guests can enjoy fresh lobster rolls, live music, oysters on the half-shell, ice cold beer, and more.