Best Seafood in Tampa

Top Notch Tampa Restaurants Feature Fresh-from-the-Gulf Seafood

Seafood lovers rejoice! Visitors to Tampa with a love of seafood will appreciate its prime location on the Gulf of Mexico and the abundance of seafood riches available at many local restaurants. Fresh and local fish specialties include grouper and mahi-mahi among other varieties. Many types of shellfish are also available, including shrimp, oysters, and crabs.

Whatever you are in the mood for, chances are it didn't have to far to travel before arriving at your table. To help you find the perfect spot, 10 Best has researched the local food scene and brought together a list of the top seafood restaurants to choose from.

Tampa's seafood restaurants range from the upscale to the ultra casual with many featuring stunning views of the very waters that were home to the catch of the day. Local treasures, like the Rusty Pelican, have been pleasing locals and tourists alike for decades with well-prepared dishes and great views.

If you're looking for something more sophisticated, then you can't go wrong with Oystercatchers, widely considered one of the best seafood restaurants in Tampa.



If you're searching for a casual seafood restaurant with great views of Tampa Bay and downtown, then Taste of Boston is a perfect choice. This unpretentious eatery features authentic New England fare and boasts "the best deep fryer in the Tampa Bay area." The kitchen here offers a full array of fresh, deep fried seafood goodness including shrimp, clams, oysters and scallops as well as a wonderful New England Clam "Chowdah." Conveniently located at Ballast Point Park, the restaurant is a perfect stop for families enjoying a little fishing or cooling off at the children's water park.

Recommended for Seafood because: Taste of Boston offers diners fresh and seasonal seafood delicacies complete with a large outdoor eating area and beautiful views of downtown Tampa.

Skye's expert tip: This ultra-casual eatery is notable for its scenic location just beside the Ballast Point Pier.

Read more about Taste of Boston →

Harpoon Harry's Crab House
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

Fresh seafood is on the menu at Harpoon Harry's Crab House in downtown Tampa. Conveniently located in the Tampa Convention Center, Harry's is close to most downtown attractions, businesses, and hotels. The large restaurant features seating for over 500 with both intimate and group seating, a large bar area and upstairs outdoor patio. The extensive menu features a wide variety of seafood specialties and crab pots, in addition to a good selection of USDA steaks, chops, and chicken dishes to choose from. Make sure to save some room for dessert as they also feature a delicious selection including several that are served in homestyle jars.

Recommended for Seafood because: A convenient downtown location, stylish interior, and superior seafood has made Harpoon Harry's a fast favorite in Tampa.

Skye's expert tip: Parking is available in the attached Convention Center parking lot, but it is actually cheaper to use the valet. Just pull up to the front door!

Read more about Harpoon Harry's Crab House →

Salt Shack on the Bay
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

Salt Shack on the Bay is an open-air restaurant with terrific views of Tampa Bay. Featuring two large covered pavilions, one for the bar and one for the restaurant, there is plenty of shady space in which to enjoy the Caribbean-inspired menu. In keeping with the location, seafood is the main attraction on the menu featuring Gulf-caught fish and shrimp prepared in a variety of ways. For starters, try the daily variety of Caribbean Fritter - check their board for details - or the locally made Mahi fish spread. There are several sandwiches and burgers to choose from including their own take on Tampa's ubiquitous Grouper sandwich. For an entree, try their fresh catch of the day prepared just the way you like it.

Recommended for Seafood because: Located in south Tampa, Salt Shack on the Bay offers fresh seafood with a Caribbean twist and great water views.

Skye's expert tip: The west-facing view of Old Tampa Bay makes this a premier spot to enjoy Tampa's beautiful sunsets.

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Charley's Steak House features only the best Grade 'A' beef, aged on-site, cut fresh daily and seasoned for 30 hours before being flame-grilled over Florida citrus & oak wood. While Charley's is known more as a steak house, its huge wood-burning grill is also used to cook up some of the best seafood in town. In fact, half of the menu is devoted to fish, crab, shrimp, and lobster tail. Obviously pairing their seafood with one of their famous steaks in a Surf 'N Turf would be a guaranteed winner. With a wine list that numbers over 800 selections, you are sure to find something that pairs wonderfully with your meal.

Recommended for Seafood because: Charley's is a popular upscale steak and seafood restaurant located in Tampa's business district.

Skye's expert tip: Dedicated steak and seafood aficionados will delight in this traditional steakhouse, a great spot to celebrate any special occasion.

Read more about Charley's Steak House and Market Fresh Fish →

Rocky Point
Rusty Pelican
Photo courtesy of Specialty Restaurants Corporation

The Rusty Pelican is a classic Tampa seafood-and-steaks place located directly on the waters of Tampa Bay. This casually elegant restaurant serves up fresh-from-the-water fare that does for the taste buds what the restaurant's panoramic views do for the eyes. The Rusty Pelican makes a memorable first impression, but what truly keeps folks coming back is the food. Try the Rocky Point Grouper topped with fresh asparagus, Beggars Salmon wrapped in phyllo and stuffed with crab or Shrimp Scampi Rustico with angel hair pasta. Even the steaks, a handful of which are prepared table-side, garner high praise! The Rusty Pelican is also a well-known event location, hosting weddings and other events for up to 300 guests.

Recommended for Seafood because: Tampa's Rusty Pelican restaurant is an locals favorite that serves up delicious seafood dishes with stunning views of the bay.

Skye's expert tip: Check out their popular Sunday brunch, but call for reservations to ensure a table with a view.

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A legendary local hangout, Skipper's Smokehouse is wonderfully Old Florida and attracts a faithful crowd of regulars. The decor is perfectly done in Florida-shack style, appearing as those made of corrugated tin and brightly painted plywood held together with a few nails. Although it started as a smokehouse, Skipper's is now renowned as much for booking top musical acts as it is for the award-winning 'gator ribs. Known as the "Skipperdome," the outdoor venue welcomes performers of all musical genres who play to appreciative crowds beneath moss-draped oaks. On any given night you can enjoy rock, soul, jazz, zydeco, blues, ska and reggae under the stars.

Recommended for Seafood because: Skipper's Smokehouse features a unique menu of "Floribbean" cuisine, an authentic 'Old Florida' atmosphere, and world-class entertainment.

Skye's expert tip: Try a taste of Old Florida with their delicious versions of authentic local delicacies like 'gator ribs or smoked mullet.

Read more about Skipper's Smokehouse →

South Tampa

Shells is a small Tampa chain of seafood restaurants that specialize in preparing local favorites in a comfortable, casual environment. Serving the region for over 30 years, Shells been voted best seafood restaurant for 15 of those years. You won't find anything fancy here, just fresh, high-quality seafood, and friendly and knowledgeable staff, at a price that won't break the bank. Try starting off with a cup of their famous clam chowder or spicy buffalo shrimp. For the main course, there is a good selection of daily fresh fish specials at market prices. There are also a variety of deep fried favorites and pasta offerings.

Recommended for Seafood because: Shells is a small local seafood chain that is dedicated to providing high-quality dishes at budget-friendly prices.

Skye's expert tip: Not in South Tampa? Try their other locations in Carrollwood and Brandon.

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Big Ray's Fish Camp has quickly made a name for itself preparing traditional Tampa seafood favorites. Located in South Tampa, close to Ballast Point Park, visitors wishing to taste authentic versions of local classics will not be disappointed. Chef Raymond "Nick" Cruz is as local as they come and learned to fish on the nearby Ballast Point Pier. The lightly breaded Grouper sandwich is one of the best in the city, as is their deviled crab appetizer. The tiny, yet charming restaurant boasts only 4 indoor tables with some outdoor seating and is Florida casual, meaning flip flops and shorts are welcome. The service is friendly and the prices are great.

Recommended for Seafood because: Big Ray's Fish Camp offers tasty versions of traditional Tampa seafood dishes at bargain prices.

Skye's expert tip: Deep fried delicacies are a house specialty from oysters to onion rings to cronuts!

Read more about Big Ray's Fish Camp →

Eddie V's is a popular upscale steak and seafood restaurant located across from Tampa's International Plaza Mall. Great for a leisurely dinner with friends, the ambiance is sophisticated while still being casual and comfortable. Start off the evening in the bar which features live jazz music every evening along with a selection of carefully crafted cocktails. The menu offers a great selection of seafood options from around the world including Chilean Sea Bass, Icelandic Cod, and of course, Florida Grouper. Steak options are equally well represented and there are several surf and turf options available as well. The service is very good and the wait staff is knowledgeable regarding the regarding menu items.

Recommended for Seafood because: Convenient to Tampa's airport and business district, Eddie V's is a popular restaurant offering premium seafood in a sophisticated setting.

Skye's expert tip: Try a taste of Eddie V's without blowing the budget by visiting during happy hour, weekdays from 4 - 7 pm.

Read more about Eddie V's Prime Seafood →

Airport Area

The first thing you notice as you enter Oystercatchers is the amazing view. This seafood restaurant, nestled among lush, tropical landscaping, takes full advantage of its location at the edge of Old Tampa Bay. Inside, the decor is bright, simple and modern, serving as the perfect backdrop for both the views and the expertly prepared food. The star of the menu is a selection of locally sourced fish served wood grilled, blackened or sauteed. Not only are the dishes inventive and fresh, they are also gathered with conservation in mind. While the food and the view will cost you, the experience cannot be beaten. Part of the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, Oystercatchers has cemented itself as one of the great restaurant spaces in Tampa.

Recommended for Seafood because: Located at the Grand Hyatt on the shores of the Old Tampa Bay, Oystercatchers is simply the best seafood restaurant in Tampa.

Skye's expert tip: There might not be a better place to watch a sunset in all of Tampa. Make your reservations early for the Golden Hour.

Read more about Oystercatchers →


Meet Skye Rodgers

Skye is a freelance writer that adopted Tampa as her hometown over a decade ago and never looked back. As a native of Canada, Skye has happily embraced the no snow climate, and in her spare time...  More About Skye