Where to Find the Best Seafood in Dallas-Fort Worth
You don’t have to travel to France to experience life-changing Sole Meunière.
Being land-locked no longer means bad seafood. In fact, the once-detrimental geographical situation forever changed once Dallas restaurants started flying in their fish and shellfish. It’s so common now that just last weekend we were stuck in the middle seat on Southwest Airlines between an emotional support octopus and a crate of lobsters getting rowdy on in-flight ranch waters. You can buddy up to equally fresh seafood at our city’s best sushi spots, but you’ll find a boatload of superb seafood at places ranging from casual fish shacks and charming bistros to elegant steakhouses and fine-dining establishments all across North Texas. So, next time your food cravings lean toward the deep blue depths, head to one of these 16 spots with bounties that would make Poseidon jealous.
If a vacation to the breathtaking La Côte d'Azur region along the Mediterranean coast isn’t in the cards this summer, experience the next-best thing at this gorgeous Victory Park restaurant that skillfully captures the French Riviera vibe. Start with dishes such as Apple Crab Louis, Crispy Smoked Salmon, and Seared Octopus before moving on to elegant preparations ranging from Dover Sole Meunière to a Whole Branzino prepared tableside.
The dinner vibe completely changes to a party atmosphere the moment your server unleashes a big messy mound of seasoned crab, shrimp, or crawfish with corn and potatoes onto a platter. Shell Shack’s signature seafood boils come with your choice of seafood and spice level (try Diablo if you’re daring) and even though this is a really casual joint, you can go “Uptown” and have all the crustaceans de-shelled for you.
Though they do indeed offer a vast selection of high-quality steaks at this edge-of-Deep-Ellum hotspot, the seafood options are equally impressive and bountiful (pan seared diver scallops with citrus beurre blanc shouldn’t be missed). Bring a group and indulge in the gorgeous seafood tower loaded with black tiger shrimp, salmon sashimi, king crab, snow crab claws, oysters, P.E.I. mussels, clams, crab dip, and tuna tartare. Best of all, if you show up on Seafood Sundays, you can get this menu item for half-price.
Seafood doesn’t have to be an expensive meal out—or a stuffy experience. Walk up to the counter at one of several locations of this fast-casual eatery for fried seafood baskets with less-common proteins such as alligator and frog legs. You can practically create your own favorite po’boys, jambalaya, gumbo, and grilled options aplenty from the large selection of seafood. (Pro tip: Show up on Wednesdays for all-you-can-eat catfish or Sundays for dollar oysters and you can really get bang on a budget.)
How to book: Stop in for first come, first served seating.
Fresh, never frozen Florida stone crab claws at this small chain of upscale seafood restaurants have always been the big draw. You can feel better about dining here, too, because they always follow Ocean Conservancy guidelines. So, you’ll never be eating overfished species while enjoying the freshest catches possible. And when you’re ready to think outside the crab trap, they serve up a delectable Miso Glazed Sea Bass, Mediterranean Branzino with olives and capers, and Blackened Texas Red Fish topped with blue crab and New Orleans-style BBQ sauce.
Half Shells Oyster Bar & Grill
Depending on which city you’re in, the name of the restaurant could be Half Shells or Fish City Grill, but they all offer the same quality seafood and friendly vibes no matter what you call them. For more than 25 years, the husband-and-wife team of Bill and Lovett Bayne have been serving scratch-made dishes, including shrimp and crab stuffed flounder, beer battered cod, and lump crab cakes in a casual, full-service setting. (Another pro tip: Click on the “daily specials” tab for any location and view the live webcam footage of the chalkboard and that neighborhood’s chef-created features.)
Inspired by the picturesque locales of Nantucket and Boston, Urban Seafood brings the New England vibe to both its muted blue interiors and onto every plate. On the menu, find specialties ranging from lobster rolls to wood-grilled fish and housemade pastas. The fresh oyster bar is one of the best around with East Coast and other varieties shucked bar-side to enjoy with a craft cocktail or tall glass of sparkling wine.
How to book: Stop by for first come first served seating or join the online waitlist.
Tj's Fresh Seafood Market
For more than three decades, TJ’s Seafood Market has been a family-owned business with a reputation for sourcing the freshest seafood in town, whether you’re dining in, taking food to-go, or selecting seafood from the market to prepare at home. Service is fast and friendly, but it’s also an easy place to linger with a bottle of wine and a multi-course spread filled with Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, Hot Connecticut Lobster Rolls, and TJ’s Fish Tacos (try the coconut-fried version).
Even if this high-end seafood chain weren’t located in Uptown, you’d be assured a truly “uptown” experience complete with white tablecloths and an intuitive waitstaff. The lobster bisque absolutely can’t be missed (it features a huge amount of expertly cooked crustacean). For main courses, divert your attention toward either the Ahi Tuna with mango, cashews, avocado and spicy sesame-soy glaze or the Crab Cakes, which come with Brussels sprouts, corn, tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, and a mustard cream sauce worth ordering extra.
When you make the trek to the long-awaited first-in-the-metroplex location of beloved Texas grocery chain H-E-B, fuel up for your butter tortilla shopping excursion at Sea Breeze, three minutes down the street. Famous for their lobster rolls (both Maine and Connecticut style) and New England clam chowder, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu because it’s all so fresh. You’ll also want to bring an ice chest to shop at Sea Breeze’s full-service fish market. You know, for something to put in those H-E-B tortillas.
The gold standard of poke in the city, this charming bistro utilizes a high-tech face-recognition ordering system, so if you’re a regular you can get your favorite bowls created almost immediately upon arrival. All fish is sashimi-grade, sauces are made from scratch, and fruits, herbs, and veggies are sourced from local farms as much as possible. You can’t go wrong with the classic tuna or other chef-created selections, but feel free to go wild and create your own while sipping on a frosé.
Located on Main Street in historic downtown Grapevine, Winewood Grill makes the most of its winery-town setting with perfect pairings to go with any dish. In addition to the best-quality steaks and chops, the culinary team also turns out some truly delightful seafood options, including Texas Redfish Pontchartrain that’s crowned with crawfish tails, shrimp, and crab in a creamy Cajun lobster sauce. Jalapeño-onion crusted Chilean Sea Bass is also a memorable selection served with saffron risotto for some Mexican-meets-Italian action on your palate.
Chef/owner Victor Villarreal’s River East District restaurant in Fort Worth focuses on dry-aged seafood and live-fire cooking over hot mesquite coals in a custom Santa Maria grill. Signature dishes include ceviches with both South American and Mexican spins, as well as a Shark-cuterie Board with a special selection of jarred smoked fish in olive oil, pickles, housemade chile rojo gravlax, smoked fish dip, and caviar.
How to book: Stop in for first come, first served seating.
Dive Coastal Cuisine
Snider Plaza’s home for exquisite seasonal seafood and dishes prepared with organic ingredients, DIVE Coastal Cuisine infuses flavors of the ocean into everything from salads to sandwiches. For something lighter for summer, look to the Cajun Curry Shrimp Salad, Seared Ahi Tuna Wrap, the Crab BLT, or the Del Mar Taco Trio with choices that include crispy cod, spicy shrimp, grilled mahi, or blackened salmon.
Perry's Steakhouse & Grille
Keeping the tradition alive of steakhouses that have equally mastered seafood, Perry’s Steakhouse locations excel in a variety of foods from the depths of the world’s oceans. Pan Seared Sea Bass, Crispy Skin Wild Red Snapper, and Cedar Plank-Fired Redfish are among the specialities, but even if you’re craving steak for a main, you should definitely kick off the meal with a build-your-own seafood tower ensuring that you’re treated to all your favorites.
Local dining institution Al Biernat’s is a case study in elegance and sophisticated service, so in addition to beefy options you’ll find some impeccable seafood. The Osetra Caviar service is among the best in the city (add a shot of chilled vodka for the true experience) and a cooked-seafood appetizer platter that rivals its chilled seafood tower. For the best of everything, try the Air, Land, & Sea entrée featuring Texas quail, buffalo filet, tiger prawns, and diver scallops.