Where to Eat Seafood in Atlanta Right Now
By Kelly Skinner
Atlanta Local Expert
Looking for tasty, perfectly prepared seafood? Atlanta's got the hook up! Thanks to our conveniently located city (close to multiple coasts!) and our esteemed roster of fabulous seafood-cookin' chefs, finding a great seafood restaurant in Atlanta is easy breezy. From seared ahi tuna and grilled octopus to fish and chips, you can snag your go-to dish at one of these fantastic catches.
Buckhead Life Restaurant Group's longstanding staples, Chops Lobster Bar, Kyma and Atlanta Fish Market, take pride in serving elegantly prepared fish dishes among high-end environs. Make it a special evening and order the whole grilled fish for two along with a cool bottle of wine and a sampling of small plates at the Mediterranean-inspired Kyma. A little bit further north in Sandy Springs, Ray's on the River delights with its riverside views and fresh-caught specialties. Enjoy the handsome setting while nibbling on the featured fish of the day and an herb-infused cocktail.
Oyster fanatics will find an impressive selection of bivalves and creatively concocted seafood dishes at both the nationally renowned Chef Ford Fry-owned restaurant, The Optimist, and at Vinings' charming C&S Seafood.
Meanwhile, casual meets delicious at Grant Park's Six Feet Under and Decatur's Harbour House Pub, where you'll find unfussy food served grilled, fried and sandwiched.
10 Harbour House Pub
Decatur's in-town seafood shack has become a popular go-to for folks in the neighborhood to grab a basket of seafood, a game of outdoor bocce and a cold mug of beer. Nestled beside Twain's just off of the downtown drag, the place has a big patio out front that's popular during fairer weather. Choose from the day's fresh fish and get it prepared Asian curry, Piccata or Low Country. Additional options include a fried shrimp platter, fish and chips, shrimp and grits, oysters and a pail of hush puppies. Burgers and sandwiches (pulled pork, grouper, etc.) round out the menu. (404-371-0088)
9 Six Feet Under
Grant Park's reining rooftop restaurant is a casual spot for snagging non-fuss seafood with a cold brew. The menu is separated into baskets (fish and chips), sandwiches (catfish po'boy), platters (shrimp and scallops), steamed shellfish (peel and eat shrimp), appetizers (fried alligator), soups, salads and raw bar. Enjoy the casual pub vibe inside or meander outdoors for the popular patio. Fried fish baskets and sandwiches pair nicely with one of the bar's ample craft brews. Since this location is overlooking historic Oakland Cemetery (the other one is on the West Side), you'll notice a few macabre-named menu items. If you have an open afternoon, we suggest filling up at Six Feet Under, then walking it off at the beautiful cemetery. You may be surprised at the history underfoot. (404-6664)
8 Ray's in the City
Venerable Ray's on the River has established an outpost in the city, and it's a beautiful place, complete with an aquarium, an onyx bar, tiled walls and ambient lighting. Seafood is delivered several times daily, and everything is impeccably fresh. Terrific oysters from the raw bar are a briny treat, and the sushi bar offers favorite rolls fashioned to your specs. Much of the fish is simply grilled, but there's also grouper with a horseradish crust, ginger-glazed yellow fin tuna, lump crab cakes, and a wonderful broiled seafood platter. Pork, chicken and steak satisfy landlubbers who can't give up their comfort zones. (404-524-9224)
7 Atlanta Fish Market Restaurant
The extensive menu at this gourmet Southern restaurant features some of the freshest seafood in the city. The selection here is outstanding with more than 100 varieties of fresh fish flown in daily. Although the menu changes daily, typical entrees include cedar plank salmon, pecan crusted salmon trout filet, George's Bank sea scallops and sushi. The enormous copper fish out front is a familiar Buckhead landmark, and the bustling bar is a fun place to wait for a table. The atmosphere is warm and lively, and reservations are strongly recommended. If you loved your meal, pay a visit to the onsite Pano's Market, which sells sushi, fish platters and fresh filets to prepare at home. (404-262-3165)
6 Goin' Coastal Seafood - Atlanta
Virginia Highland's easy going seafood spot puts fresh, sustainable seafood at its mission's forefront. Grab a seat in the open dining room or sidle up to the bar to catch the bartenders in action. Dishes are inspired by the Southern coast, so you'll find a heap of favorites--everything from shrimp scampi and shrimp etouffee to lobster pot pie fritters. Not only does Goin' Coastal have a prime Viginia Highland location, it also has some terrific cocktails. If you prefer wine, the wine list is excellent. These go perfectly with the selection of fresh fish served Miso, Parmesan, blackened or coastal style. Start your meal off with the fried pickles and their daily selection of fresh oysters. (4049419117)
The interior of Kyma is nothing short of stunning. The sky-like ceiling features twinkling stars and there are huge marble columns throughout the restaurant as well. Begin your meal with octopus and dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), both typical Greek fare. While you can certainly find meat-centric dishes at Kyma, you'd do best to order seafood here. The whole, basted and grilled fish is a special feast, but so too are the house specialties (cue the Arctic char and skate wing). Big eaters can opt for the All Meze Dinner (a selection of spreads plus five appetizers) or the Meze and Whole Fish Dinner (three spreads, four appetizers and a whole fish) for a range of eats. The restaurant offers a vegan and vegetarian menu as well. (404-262-0702)
4 C & S Seafood & Oyster Bar
Entering inside C&S Oyster bar, you almost feel like you've stepped into another era. Although it is located in a strip mall, you forget that once you get a glimpse of the handsome dark-wood interiors and plush banquettes. With hints of a French bistro among the restaurant's environs, there's an immediate sense you're in upscale territory. Oysters are an absolute must at C&S. There's an a la carte option to pick and choose which oysters you'd like from the list of bivalves hailing from the New England Coast and Nova Scotia. Skip pricy lobster and crab legs in favor of fish. Snapper, tuna, sea bass, and skate are all good choices. (770-272-0999)
3 Ray's on the River
Set along the Chattahoochee in Sandy Springs, Ray's on the River almost feels like a secret hideaway. Walk waterside along the river and for a moment, you feel like you're leagues away from Atlanta. The transportive experience continues inside the longstanding seafood restaurant. Traditional American seafood dishes mix with an array of inventive specials. Lean savory with the Parmesan-encrusted scallops served over lobster basil risotto, or opt for lighter fare with one of the Fresh Seafood Market options (like the Georgia Mountain Trout, grilled with a lemon caper, tomato and brown butter sauce on the side). A wide-ranging seafood menu is complemented by multiple salads and red meat selections, as well as a handsome array of sides. Vegetables, like the seafood, are fresh and most often, locally grown (maybe even on the premises!). Brunch is especially lovely and a great outside-the-box experience for out-of-towners. (770-955-1187)
2 Chops Lobster Bar
Chops, a swanky local favorite, is often frequented by power brokers and features hushed tones and a well-stocked display case. One level of the restaurant is a steak house, hence the name, Chops. The other level, Lobster Bar is predominately seafood. Lobster Bar downstairs, offers the featured crustacean along with many other fish dishes. The seafood platter consists of a south african lobster tail, petite salmon filet, colossal lump crab, diver sea scallops. The wine list is excellent. This is an upscale restaurant with waiters wearing jackets, so you'll want to get a bit dressed up when paying a visit to Lobster Bar. Reservations are a must, ANY day of the week as Lobster bar is popular with the business crowd and for special occasions. (404-262-2675)
1 The Optimist
Chef-owner Ford Fry's (also owner of King + Duke, St. Cecilia, No. 246 and JCT. Kitchen & Bar) ode to the Southern coast has become an instant hit for Atlantans seeking seaside cuisine. Executive Chef Adam Evans cooks up a menu peppered with seafood staples (think lobster rolls, hush puppies and eat-and-peel shrimp)as well as divergent renditions (wood hearth roasted mangrove snapper or duck fat poached swordfish with smoked short ribs). Begin your meal with an artful appetizer and indulge in one of the craft cocktails. Oyster aficionados will delight in the adjacent Oyster Bar at the Optimist, which features an extensive raw bar as well as multiple small plates. (404-477-6260)
About Kelly Skinner
Kelly Skinner comes to Atlanta by way of sunny coastal city, Pensacola, FL. A lover of all things food, music and travel, Skinner found her perfect match in Atlanta in the food-centric hub of Decatur. A full-time freelance writer and editor, Skinner's byline has appeared in a range of publications including Paste, The Atlantan, Jezebel, Redbook, South and Living Intown. When she's not writing, editing and exploring Atlanta for the best places to eat, drink and play, Skinner loves doing yoga, running with her dog in Piedmont Park and scouring book stores and record shops for hidden treasures.
Read more about Kelly Skinner here.