From Lobster Bibs to White Tablecloths, D.C.'s Seafood Spots Run the Gamut

Holly Smith

By , Local Expert, Washington
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As with its politicians, monuments and museums, Washington, D.C., has too many excellent seafood places to count. There are lots of glittery, upscale eateries — places like BlackSalt, DC Coast and The Oceanaire Seafood Room -- offering high-end dishes in a setting to match. There's the seafood-focused bistro fare at casual (but not too casual) places like Pesce. And (mercifully for anyone on a budget or with little kids) there are several of the delightfully low-key, relaxed-atmosphere places that would inspire Jimmy Buffet to wax poetic. Think Hank's Oyster Bar, Tackle Box and the rollicking Chasin' Tails (whose "dump it out...  Read more »

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    What are treated as afterthoughts at many seafood places -- raw oysters, calamari, etc. -- are elevated to the sublime at BlackSalt.

    Local Expert Tip: "Need a ride to the theater, your hotel or just back home after dinner? Take advantage of BlackSalt's in-house car service."

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    DC Coast

    Approaching the two-decade mark, Chef Jeff Tunks' signature establishment continues its commitment to serving the ocean's freshest offerings.

    Local Expert Tip: "The tasting menu at DC Coast changes monthly, so if your favorite dish isn't available right now, it likely will be soon."

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    Tackle Box

    Committed to sustainability, Tackle Box adapts its menu to reflect what its suppliers can ethically catch....  Read more »

    Local Expert Tip: "The first oyster shot (hot cherry-pepper vodka, bloody Mary mix and an oyster) may seem like a bad idea, but the second one won't."

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    Maine Avenue Fish Market

    Launched in 1805, the Maine Avenue Fish Market is the country's oldest such market. Its secret to a long life? Good, fresh seafood at fair prices.

    Local Expert Tip: "The Maine Avenue Fish Market offers fresh seafood every day, but you'll find the widest selection on Friday, Saturday and Sunday."

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    Oceanaire Seafood Room

    A two-time winner of a Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award, Oceanaire offers its diners the...  Read more »

    Local Expert Tip: "At just a few bucks a pop, go ahead and order several nibbles off the weekday happy-hour menu."

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    Hank's Oyster Bar

    Nominated in 2012 as "Best Casual Restaurant" by the Restaurant Association of Washington, Hank's has long...  Read more »

    Local Expert Tip: "Specials can change so quickly that it's wise to call ahead -- rather than look online -- to find out what's available on a particular day."

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    Johnny's Half Shell

    Helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Ann Cashion, Johnny's Half Shell understands that fine dining doesn't need to be stuffy.

    Local Expert Tip: "After 5 p.m., if you leave your car in the nearby Hall of States lot, Johnny's will validate your parking."

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    Pesce offers a relaxed bistro vibe and stellar seafood. Sip a Bordeaux at the bar and you'll feel positively Parisian.

    Local Expert Tip: "For dessert, order a slice of pecan pie with cappuccino ice cream. Repeat as needed."

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    Chasin' Tails

    Messy, affordable and delicious, Chasin' Tails takes its seafood -- but not itself -- seriously.

    Local Expert Tip: "Neat freaks, beware: This is an eat-with-your-hands kind of place. So if you'd like a fork, bring one."

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    PassionFish - Reston

    PassionFish proves that "fresh, high-quality seafood in the suburbs" doesn't have to be an oxymoron.

    Local Expert Tip: "PassionFish offers a special children's menu designed to get kids excited about seafood, so be sure to bring them along."



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