Ten Best Restaurants in Dallas to Score a Fresh Catch

Landlocked Dallas doesn’t exactly scream seafood destination, but surprisingly this meat-eaters haven also boasts a number of excellent eateries that are able to source fresh seafood from all over the world.

Of course, you know your fish is fresh when you can see it glistening in the case or swimming around in tanks before it hits your table, which is what you’ll find at Water Grill, a swanky West Coast seafood haven located in Uptown. Barnegat tilefish, Lake Ontario walleye pike, Alaskan halibut and Chilean seabass are just a few of the freshly flown in offerings at TJ's Fresh Seafood Market, a popular fishmonger and restaurant with locations in North Dallas and Oak Lawn. It doesn’t get any fresher than at The Keeper, a Pacific Rim-inspired seafood spot in Plano featuring fish sourced from Hawaii, Thailand, Vietnam and the Pacific Northwest.
And if there’s anything more impressive than the decadent lobster rolls at Hudson House, it’s The Royal, a multi-tiered tower jam-packed with oysters, shrimp cocktail, tuna tartare, king crab and a whole two-pound lobster. Speaking of lobster rolls, 20-Feet Seafood Joint is known for having the best lobster rolls in town. It’s also the place to dig into the likes of New England-style clam chowder, blue point oysters and crispy cod po' boys. Even better? Everything on the menu can be had for $20 or less.
If these places are making you hungry, the rest of the list is sure to reel you in. Behold, the 10 best places for fresh seafood in Big D.


Cafe Pacific

A magnet for Dallas' creme de la creme, this tony Highland Park institution has been a port of call for seafood and steaks for over 30 years— something many local restaurants have been unable to achieve. So how does it remain relevant amid a steady stream of hot newcomers? Is it the seamless service? Is it the elegant dark mahogany and marble floored surrounds? Or is it the reliably consistent, excellent food— which certainly is not on the cutting edge of anything? Perhaps it's all of that and more. The menu combines old favorites alongside newer additions. Yes, they still serve complimentary sweet-potato shoestring fries before every meal. And classics like sole amandine doused in a buttery lemon sauce and beef tenderloin filets with béarnaise are still on offer. But there's also other delights to be found, like pan seared Bay of Fundy Salmon and a Maryland-style jumbo lump crab cake dish that could possibly be the best in town. Whatever you do, make sure to order the chocolate pecan ball. It's a massive sized concoction of ice cream, pecans and fudge sauce that Kerry Vincent of Food Network's "Best Thing I ever Ate," declared the best dessert she ever had.

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20 Feet Seafood Joint
Photo courtesy of 20 Feet Seafood Joint

Tucked in an off-the-beaten-path shopping strip near White Rock Lake, this overwhelmingly popular, counter-service only spot is one of the best places to indulge in East Coast-style chow. Which means you can expect to find everything from fresh Bluepoint oysters to New England clam chowder, fried Ipswich clams and of course, succulent Maine lobster rolls. But it doesn't stop there: 20 Feet also kills it with mouthwatering blackened shrimp scampi & grits, pork belly banh mi sandwiches, and an awesome key lime pie for dessert. Need another reason to love this place? Everything on the menu is priced under $20 plus it's BYOB.

Recommended for Seafood because: 20 Feet Seafood Joint is a great pick for an excellent seafood dinner without breaking the bank.

Ilene's expert tip: Be sure to check Facebook for daily specials and events.

Read more about 20 Feet Seafood Joint →

Water Grill
Photo courtesy of Kevin Marple

Dallas might not be near an ocean, but there's a veritable aquatic bounty to be found at this West Coast seafood haven that sailed into Uptown in January. This means you'll find everything from oysters (over 13 types), sea urchin and crudo to shrimp, crab, scallops, lobster and char-grilled fish (flown in daily from the East, West, and Gulf), all creatively prepared in a lofty, nautical-inspired space. Add to the equation a vast selection of wines by the glass, twenty local beers on tap, hand-crafted cocktails and a primo 2,000-square-foot patio with retractable roof. No wonder this place is seriously popular.

Recommended for Seafood because: Water Grill cranks out the largest selection of fresh seafood in Dallas.

Ilene's expert tip: Skip the pricey valet and try to secure a spot on the street nearby or park in the West Village for free and hop on the complimentary McKinney Avenue trolley.

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Hudson House
Photo courtesy of Hudson House

For lovers of seafood, this lively and convivial Park Cities hotspot ticks all the requisite boxes. Freshly shucked oysters? Check. Alaskan king crab legs? Check. Whole Maine lobster, maple planked salmon and clams casino? Check, check and check. Plus, you can expect to find the likes of everything from pan-fried trout and steak to lobster rolls, fried chicken sandwiches, and one of the best burgers you'll ever find at a seafood joint. Oh, and did we mention that they have the "world's coldest martinis?" Slide in between 4 and 6 p.m. when you can check out a variety of them for half price.

Recommended for Seafood because: Hudson House is a smart-looking but laid-back and reasonably priced destination for slurping oysters and digging into first-rate lobster rolls.

Ilene's expert tip: Happy Hour is offered on weekdays from 4-6pm (half off oysters and martinis). Take note that reservations can only be made for parties of eight or more. Best bets for scoring a table on the weekend is to arrive early.

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Ocean Prime-Dallas
Photo courtesy of Ocean Prime

Want to feast on succulent crustaceans in swanky surrounds? Look no further than Ocean Prime, a sprawling, high-end surf 'n' turf spot from renowned restaurateur Cameron Mitchell. That means you can expect to find everything from seafood towers, sushi and lobster tails to prime cuts of steak as well as signature cocktails and a Wine Spectator-honored wine list. And don't get us started on the sides: we're talking things like black truffle mac & cheese and lobster mashed potatoes. Also, bonus points for kids and gluten-free menus, daily food specials and live piano bar entertainment on weekends. But one fair warning: the portions are huge so be sure to arrive hungry.

Recommended for Seafood because: Ocean Prime is the best place to please pescetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Ilene's expert tip: Happy hour is offered Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m. in the lounge.

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The Keeper
Photo courtesy of The Keeper

This Plano newcomer sets a beachy vibe with a nautical-chic interior, an inviting outdoor terrace, tropical tiki cocktails and a wide selection of Pacific Rim-inspired seafood delicacies. The focus is on wild-caught, sustainable fish, mostly sourced from small privately-owned fishing boats from places such as Hawaii, Alaska and beyond. Expect to find a variety of raw offerings as well as dishes like PEI mussels with coconut lime broth; barramundi with miso citrus glaze; sable fish with potato- leek chowder and a whole roasted fish of the day served with spicy lime butter, Brussels sprout leaves, scallions and baby bell mushrooms. Not a fish fiend? No problem. Land lovers can dig into everything from pork belly ramen to clay pot chicken, Akaushi burgers and Texas Wagyu steaks. Pair it up with said tiki cocktails or choose from a range of craft beer, sake and wine. As for dessert—all you need to know is three words: Bubble Waffle Sundae.

Recommended for Seafood because: The Keeper is a perfect spot for business dinners, date nights or meet-ups with seafood loving friends.

Ilene's expert tip: The best deals can be had during Tiki Hour (offered Monday-Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.), when you can score $2 off drinks and half-price shared plates. Follow Facebook for daily specials and events.

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Uchi Dallas
Photo courtesy of Erica Wilkins

The hype surrounding James Beard award-winning chef Tyson Cole's Austin-based sushi paradise hasn't diminished in the least since it landed in Dallas the summer of 2015. And as such, getting a reservation here can be a challenge. Fortunately, the restaurant does try to keep around 40% of its tables available to walk-ins. But make no mistake, the place lives up to its stellar reputation and it's not just the sushi that's creating a stir among area foodies. Other highlights include akami crudo with pickled ramps, pumpkin seeds and iberico lardo; oak-grilled escolar with citrus marmalade, and a 72-hour braised Wagyu beef short ribs with fresno chilis and chicharrons. Be sure to save room for the fried milk dessert—it's nothing short of a revelation.

Recommended for Seafood because: Uchi is where to go when you want a seriously innovative Japanese culinary experience.

Ilene's expert tip: For bites and sake priced at $3 to $6, check out Uchi's Sake Social, daily between 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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TJ's Fresh Seafood Market
Photo courtesy of Joey Stewart

It should come as little surprise that one of Dallas' best seafood eateries happens to be tucked inside of a fish market--boasting a daily supply of freshly-caught seafare flown in from all over the world. Served in a comfortable breezy back room space, the menu offers a bounty of tasty selections that range from buttery lobster rolls and crab cake sliders to pistachio crusted Chilean seabass and scallops & grits. It's also a superb spot to slurp down an assortment of freshly shucked East Coast bivalves. Or for those feeling a little fancy, TJ's rocks it with caviar and champagne. To drink, there's cocktails, craft beer and a nice wine list that includes around ten selections by the glass.

Recommended for Seafood because: TJ's is Dallas' go-to, one-stop shop and eatery for all things seafood.

Ilene's expert tip: TJ's features half price wine and beer during happy hour, offered daily from 3-6 p.m. Check Facebook for daily specials and events.

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Tei-An Soba House and Sushi
Photo courtesy of Ilene Jacobs

Getting a table at this Dallas Arts District hot spot has been a challenge ever since it opened in 2008. Understandably so, as Tei-An is considered to be one of the best restaurants in Dallas. And its chef/owner, Teiichi Sakurai, has been a James Beard nominee several years in a row. The restaurant's elegant and serene setting bodes well for Sakurai's array of imaginative dishes. Along with a selection of exceptional sushi and sashimi, the menu features a host of specialties, including grilled tilefish, crab and uni risotto and shungiku (edible chrysanthemums) tempura. Be sure to try one of the soba dishes, it's the restaurant's specialty.

Recommended for Seafood because: When you want to venture beyond the usual sushi selections, Tei-An promises an tasteful experience on every plate.

Ilene's expert tip: Tei-An's seven-course omakase tasting menu (around $100 per person) is amazing. The restaurant also offers a smaller omakase dinner for around $50.

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Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck
Photo courtesy of Five-Sixty

Reunion Tower is Dallas' most iconic landmark and Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty restaurant resides at the top (560 feet up) of its glittering orb. The revolving restaurant is a destination for the setting alone: floor-to-ceiling windows provide stunning panoramic city views, and its sleek modern interior exudes a Zen-like ambiance. The modern Asian menu delivers everything you might expect and more. There's sashimi and sushi, as well as many of Puck's signature dishes like spicy tuna tartar in sesame-miso cones; Chinois chicken salad; and steamed Scottish salmon Hong Kong style. The place also whips up some of the best cocktails in town. Better yet, come by for happy hour (Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.) when you can score those tasty cocktails and appetizers for a steal.

Recommended for Seafood because: Five Sixty is the best place for a memorable dining experience at the top of the city.

Ilene's expert tip: You don't need reservations to eat and drink in the lounge, but there's a dress code (business casual) to get in.

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Meet Ilene Jacobs

As a perpetual wanderer, foodie freak and wannabe chef, Ilene is always on the lookout for the best places to see, eat, drink and sleep. When she's not writing about the latest happenings in...  More About Ilene