Many of us love the ocean and rivers to frolic in during boiling hot summer days yet while we splash around, others see what lurks beneath – a smorgasbord of seafood that would look divine on a meal plate.
Poseidon, if you are reading this, you may want to stop now because Washington, D.C. chefs have turned your water inhabitants into savory, mouth watering dishes sprinkled with spices and splashed with lemon butter among other fresh ingredients.
If you are looking for an upscale experience, head to Fiola Mare which features gorgeous views of the Potomac River along with a menu that changes daily. Brought to the district by renowned Chef Fabio Trabocchi, this restaurant features a raw bar with gourmet selection of market seafood. Sea Catch is located right beside the C & O Canal and aims to pair fresh seafood with complimentary flavors.
Casual yet fun venues include Luke's Lobster which brings a Maine-style menu south of the Mason Dixon line and Chasin' Tails that allows diners to determine how their meals are cooked with their Bayou N A Bag menu selection.
The district has a number of savory seafood destinations to make you happy so drop your anchor at one of these top locations.
While some seafood restaurants strive for a formal setting, Chasin' Tails aims for a fun, family style experience where it is totally OK to get your hands messy. You can't come here without trying the Bayou N' A Bag where you make all the choices when it comes to the meal. Pick the catch, style and heat level then wait for it to be delivered to you in a steaming bag to bring out the flavors. Louisiana natives may want to head directly to the Off The Bayou section of the menu which features creole jambalaya, seafood and sausage gumbo and crawfish mac n' cheese. (703-538-2565)
Sea Catch Restaurant & Raw Bar
Housed inside a building originally used as a shipping warehouse for barge traffic on the C & O Canal in the mid-1800s, this Georgetown restaurant has been a popular destination for seafood fans for over 25 years. The venue aims to pair fresh seafood and shellfish with complimentary flavors and serve up the finest oysters, clams, mussels and shrimp at their raw bar. Their jumbo crab cakes are a must try so make sure someone in your group orders them. Try to get a table near one of two stone fireplaces during the winter months or on the back deck that over looks the canal when the sun is out. (202-337-8855)
Can't make it to Maine to indulge in lobster, crab and shrimp rolls, bisque and chowder? Then head to this eatery which is one of the best place south of the Mason Dixon line for a Maine-style menu. Check out the three locations in the Metro region: Penn Quarter, Georgetown and Bethesda. Each location's menu varies so check before you go if you are craving a certain dish. Each roll is served with chilled seafood on top of a buttered, toasted New England-style split top bun with just a swipe of mayonnaise, a splash of lemon butter and some sprinkles of secret spices. (202-347-3355)
For nearly a quarter century, Pesce has been reeling in customers thanks to its fresh seafood and enticing bistro entrees. A really unique part of this district destination is how you see the daily menu. Instead of getting a printed paper menu, each guest gets to peruse one that is hand-written on a chalk board. Tuesdays are lobster night so get ready for a three-course meal featuring the delicious crustacean. Families should make sure to come on Wednesday nights. A seafood family-style menu is available for those who want big taste and portions. Metro: Dupont Circle. (202-466-3474)
Tony and Joe's Seafood Place
What better place in the district to enjoy seafood than a restaurant with gorgeous views of the Potomac River? This Georgetown waterfront dining option serves lunch and dinner to those in need of a seafood fix. Some of the lunch offerings include blackened mahi mahi, broiled Atlantic salmon and crispy fried clam basket. Dinner selections like grilled swordfish, broiled red trout and whole Maine lobster will have you wishing for a bigger stomach. You may also want to try the raw bar which features freshly shucked oysters, an iced seafood tower and chilled seafood platter. (202-944-4545)
Hank's Oyster Bar
Serving up coastal favorites and New England beach fare classics since 2005, Hank's Oyster Bar is a favorite among locals. There are three locations, Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle and Alexandria, Va., but each offers different menu items daily. Dinner menu includes ice bar, small and large plate selections, meats and side orders. Pair your selection with a drink off the wine and beer menu which includes custom and seasonal cocktails.
Check the happenings section of their website to see when fun events are coming up including movie screenings and live bands. (202-462-4265)
Johnny's Half Shell
With the U.S. Capitol as a backdrop, this restaurant presents fresh, classic American seafood dishes in a fun, non-formal atmosphere. When looking at the menu, you will notice Chesapeake and Gulf Coast seafood are it's main focus. Classic Maryland crab cakes, New Orleans file gumbo and oysters shucked at the raw bar are not to be missed. Leave work early to attend their Three Happy Hours from 4:30 to 7:30 pm. Monday through Friday for specials on bar bites, seafood and strong drinks. When it is warm, grab a seat on the outdoor terrace. Kids and pre-theatre menus are available upon request. Metro: Union Station. (202-737-0400)
Oceanaire Seafood Room
Forget the venues that have lobster bibs and newspaper on the table. For those who crave a sleek and sophisticated atmosphere when dining on the freshest seafood flown in from around the world, make your reservations for this D.C. venue. One of 13 locations across the country, the menu changes daily to reflect market availability and seasonal ingredients. Don't leave without trying a selection off the extensive yet very impressive wine menu. A reserve list is available upon request in case you are looking for a certain selection. Metro: Metro Center or Gallery Place-Chinatown. (202-347-2277)
Looking for a restaurant that puts the focus on the seafood? Blackfish is the place for you. Dinner starters include both cold and hot items, caviar by the ounce, blue shell mussels and oysters. Save room for can't-miss entrees like wood grilled swordfish, skuna bay salmon and Atlantic big eye tuna. Midday diners should take advantage of their lunch break menu featuring a choice of three or four courses. Be sure to come to Happy Hour, held seven days a week in the bar and café, to catch deals on menu items and drink specials. (202-342-9101)
With gorgeous views of the Potomac River and a seafood market counter to evoke a Mediterranean feel, this restaurant will make you want to get out of bed to catch it's top-notch brunch menu. Using the finest, freshest ingredients, the menu changes daily so be sure to check their website before you go. A recent summer offering included a choice of bottomless cocktail, mocktail or coffee service along with brunch favorites like lemon ricotta pancakes, pane bello French toast and Uova in camicia. Opening in early 2014, this is the third restaurant Chef Fabio Trabocchi has opened in the district and continues to be must-go destination for foodies. (202-628-0065)
About Gina Gallucci White
Gina Gallucci White is an award winning freelance writer with articles appearing in such regional publications as Frederick Magazine, The Daily Record, Montgomery Magazine and The Gazette. She writes about a wide variety of subjects and holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from West Virginia University. Gina has two kids, can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi in a blind taste test and admits to knowing all the songs from Frozen.
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