No matter where you are in the United States — even in the most remote regions — tasty seafood options aren't far away. Once you decide to forgo the national chains, get off the beaten path, and take a chance on some local favorites, you'll have the chance to reel in the greatest food the sea has to offer.
Contemporary coastal cuisine is cooked up in three kitchens at Cobalt. This is true waterfront dining — the restaurant offers docking for guests arriving in boats, up to medium yacht size.
ALASKA: BRIDGE SEAFOOD
Bridge Seafood, an Anchorage icon, spans an urban salmon stream called Ship Creek. Guest can even dine while watching anglers reel in their own dinners.
ARIZONA: MARISCOS CHIHUAHUA
ARKANSAS: POWERHOUSE SEAFOOD & GRILL
Powerhouse Seafood & Grill was voted best in Northwest Arkansas for two decades. Live music across all genres lends a celebratory vibe for visitors, who indulge in a range of specialty seafoods and dishes from the oyster and shrimp bar.
CALIFORNIA: PACIFIC BEACH FISH SHOP
COLORADO: WILD STANDARD
Simple and sustainable, Wild Standard in Boulder creates sampler platters designed with the connoisseur in mind. Wine is served out of keg dispensers powered by nitrogen to limit oxidation, and the raw bar offers uncooked fare from land and sea.
CONNECTICUT: THE PLACE
Diners at The Place sit on tree stumps instead of chairs and listen to the crackle of clams roasting on an open fire — seasonally. The Place has roots dating back to open-air Connecticut clambakes in the 1940s, and the tradition continues with a wood-sign seafood menu that starts at $5 (for a half-dozen shrimp) and tops out at $17 for everything except lobster.
DELAWARE: SAMBO'S TAVERN
Known for the best steamed crabs not only in tiny Delaware, but in the region, Sambo's has a half-century of tradition in this town on the Leipsic River. The crabs it serves seasonally come right off the dock out back.
FLORIDA: SAFE HARBOR SEAFOOD MARKET AND RESTAURANT
In the Jacksonville area, you can and must visit Safe Harbor. The restaurant serves up fresh, local seafood, some caught during deep-sea dives, in a sometimes stunning waterfront setting.
GEORGIA: THE SHRIMP FACTORY
Locally owned and operated for 40 years, The Shrimp Factory stands out even in its hometown, the seafood mecca of Savannah. There's no shortage of locals who believe the place is haunted, but even more who come back anyway for the fine dining restaurant's relatively affordable menu.
HAWAII: BANZAI SUSHI
Arguably the best sushi and seafood in the Hawaiian islands is served up at Banzai. The restaurant partners with local fishers and a network of organic farms on the North Shore to bring unrivaled freshness to diners.
When you think of seafood, Boise, Idaho, might not come to mind — but Emilio's Fine Northwest Cuisine could change that, with Idaho rainbow trout as a fine dining option and Guinness-battered fish and chips for people seeking more of a pub style.
ILLINOIS: REEL CLUB
In this Chicago suburb, the Reel Club is known for its warm atmosphere, fresh seafood, and outrageously good sushi. Don't be afraid to dabble in land fare — the Reel Club's surf-and-turf options are legendary.
INDIANA: THE CHUBBY TROUT
The Chubby Trout in Elkhart boasts a seafood menu focused on perch, a European cousin to walleye called zander, salmon, and, of course, trout, complemented by a comprehensive beer menu with plenty of local brews.
IOWA: CATFISH CHARLIE'S
Catfish Charlie's doesn't stop at catfish — crawfish, jambalaya, and Keta salmon all grace a spicy Cajun specialty menu.
KANSAS: WICHITA FISH CO.
The Wichita Fish Co. claims the largest variety of seafood in the state, and the menu suggests it's true, with options of tilapia, pollock, catfish, scallops, shrimp, and oysters — just to name a few.
KENTUCKY: CHARLIE'S FRESH SEAFOOD
Simple fried seafood sandwiches are a speciality at Charlie's, which also maintains a huge selection of frozen seafood for take-away. Try the catfish dinner or whitefish special for under $10 and cocktail sauce made fresh on site.
Middendorf's has been in this town just north of New Orleans since 1934, serving celebrities from football's Manning family to the Prince of Monaco. The restaurant's speciality is thin catfish, but since you're in Louisiana, there are also local specialties such as frog legs.
MAINE: BILLY'S CHOWDER HOUSE
Maine is more closely associated with lobster than any other place on Earth, so it's hard to pick one seafood house as best. The understated Billy's Chowder House, however, makes a strong argument with its Famous Platter — a full pound of fresh-caught seafood for $30. And its chowders and stews are meals by themselves.
MARYLAND: JERRY'S SEAFOOD
Home state of the greatest blue-claw crabs the planet has to offer, Maryland gives seafood lovers a lot of options. Only one, however, is home to the Crab Bomb, 10 ounces of spiced and baked crab: Jerry's Seafood.
MASSACHUSETTS: J.T. FARNHAM'S SEAFOOD & GRILL
The spoon-floating thick chowder at J.T. Farnham's Seafood & Grill might be the best in a state famous for great chowder. The golden fried clams have also brought plenty of acclaim.
MICHIGAN: STREETSIDE SEAFOOD
Streetside Seafood is dedicated almost solely to the sea (and a bit to rivers and streams), with only five land-based menu items (including a green salad and coleslaw). Look for four types of oysters, soups of lobster, crab, and clam, as well as pricier entrées from whitefish to lobster.
MINNESOTA: SEA SALT EATERY
Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes — and some of the best stuff to come out of those lakes winds up on the tables of the Sea Salt Eatery. Baskets include catfish, oysters, shrimp, and fish, and there's also a full po' boy menu, seafood tacos, and soft-shell crabs.
MISSISSIPPI: TASTY TAILS SEAFOOD HOUSE
On the waters of Bayou Bernard, Tasty Tails continues a delicious tradition dating back decades and is still drawing locals devoted to its “to-die-for” shrimp, crab, and crawfish. It is located in the former home of the Blow Fly Inn, which started in 1955 and was once featured on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”
MISSOURI: PEACEMAKER LOBSTER AND CRAB CO.
How can the coastal seafood at Peacemaker taste so fresh? The answer: A fresh catch is flown in every day. A 130-year-old stone oyster trough is the focal point of the establishment, which serves up lobster as Frito pie as well as in rolls and boils.
MONTANA: TUPELO GRILLE
At Tupelo Grille, shrimp and crawfish cakes, coconut shrimp, and Southern bayou catfish are all on the menu — and that's just the appetizers. Can't decide? The Zydeco Combo makes a whole bunch of hard choices for you.
NEBRASKA: PLANK SEAFOOD
Respect to Plank Seafood for its oyster bar, but also for the Prince Edward Island mussels. And the crispy alligator. And the potato crusted calamari. And the peel-and-eat shrimp.
Rapscallion sells itself short as just the "best seafood restaurant in Northern Nevada." The fine-dining establishment could compete with anything in glitzy Las Vegas. The chefs craft 20 varieties of fresh seafood every day.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: NEWICK'S LOBSTER HOUSE
New Hampshire is in lobster country, and Newick's excels at crustacean cuisine. Founded in 1948 by the family that still runs the place, Newick's offers three dishes for land lovers -- but the rest of the menu comes from the water, including "lobstahs" and "chowdah."
NEW JERSEY: THE ANCHORAGE TAVERN AND RESTAURANT
Sure, being featured on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" raised the profile of The Anchorage Restaurant — but locals didn't need any convincing. The tavern has been a Somers Point staple for more than a century, and New Jerseyans have watched it evolve into one of the most lauded eateries in the state.
NEW MEXICO: MARISCOS LA PLAYA
More than 20 years ago, a husband and wife brought south-of-the-border seafood to Santa Fe from their home country of Mexico when they opened Mariscos la Playa. The restaurant won Best of Santa Fe in the seafood category for 12 consecutive years, offering diners dozens of fresh and authentic options.
NEW YORK: GRAND CENTRAL OYSTER BAR & RESTAURANT
Plenty of train stations have bars and restaurants for commuters, but few are considered the best of their genre in the entire city — especially when that city is New York, one of the world's true restaurant meccas. Grand Central Oyster Bar has delighted travelers, tourists, and locals since 1913 with some of the freshest and best seafood in a unique setting.
NORTH CAROLINA: CALABASH WATERFRONT SEAFOOD SHACK
As a coastal state, North Carolina has plenty of seafood restaurants. Few are as authentic and fresh as the Waterfront Seafood Shack. It’s located right on the water and the company has its own fishing boats. This humble little eatery earns high praise from diners and has been pulling fans back in for decades.
NORTH DAKOTA: THE TOASTED FROG
After more than a decade as a staple in the Grand Forks area, The Toasted Frog has earned a reputation for some of the finest seafood statewide. The fish tacos, walleye piccata, and wood-fired lobster tail are among the dishes that keep the place bustling.
OHIO: YOUNGSTOWN CRAB CO. RESTAURANT AND BAR
The Youngstown Crab Co. boasts of "the best legs in town" — crab legs, that is. High-profile accolades and a fiercely loyal following suggest they might just be the best in Ohio. A huge selection of finfish, lobster, and surf-and-turf options round out the menu.
OKLAHOMA: PELICAN'S RESTAURANT
Part of a small chain, Pelican's Restaurant serves notably good seafood (alongside soups and sauces made fresh every day). Consider the frog legs, beer-boiled shrimp, or stuffed sole.
OREGON: GEORGIE'S BEACHSIDE GRILL
The views at Georgie's Beachside Grill are at least as stunning as the food, which has more of a New England lobster house feel than the high-end ambience lets on. Like the mighty Pacific it touches, the portions at Georgie's never seem to end.
PENNSYLVANIA: LUKE'S LOBSTER
The City of Brotherly Love is one of the world's great restaurant cities, but even in Philadelphia, Luke's Lobster stands out. The cozy BYOB joint, steps away from historic Rittenhouse Square, has sustainable seafood in lobster rolls, crab rolls, shrimp rolls, and an assortment of bisques, chowders, and other soups.
RHODE ISLAND: MATUNUCK OYSTER BAR
Few states scream great seafood as loudly as Rhode Island — and the Matunuck Oyster Bar might be the loudest. The restaurant's motto is "farm to table and pond to plate," and that concept is evident not only in its sizable raw bar, but in dishes such as the restaurant's famous lobster rolls.
SOUTH CAROLINA: WHALEY'S RESTAURANT AND BAR
A legendary seafood dive, Whaley's spices things up with live music and karaoke. The cheap but plentiful menu offers exciting options such as select-grade oysters, mussels Mediterranean, firefly flounder, shrimp grits, and a bunch of fried options.
SOUTH DAKOTA: OYSTER BAY BAR AND CASINO
The most legendary city in South Dakota — and perhaps the most iconic of the Old West — is Deadwood. Its Oyster Bay was a legend before being featured on the Travel Channel. Famous for its oyster shooters, Oyster Bay fosters a raucous atmosphere complete with live music and karaoke.
TENNESSEE: ED'S FISH HOUSE
Its website is a late-'90s throwback. Its catering truck looks like a Los Angeles street food cart. Its most famous dish is a whiting fish sandwich. It's Ed's Fish House, the gold standard for seafood in Nashville since 1972. Not convinced? Go to Nashville and ask the locals.
TEXAS: SHRIMP 'N STUFF
The crispy, crunchy, irresistible lure of Shrimp 'n Stuff and its gigantic, hand-battered shrimp has been known to Galveston residents for more than four decades. It's arguably the best in the state.
UTAH: SUMMERHAY'S HALIBUT & CHIPS
Salt Lake City
The namesake dish is prominent on the menu, but Summerhay's Halibut 'N Chips serves up much more than just fish and french fries. Try a bread bowl filled with chowder or the Seafood Louie platter. Entrees start under $12.
VERMONT: WHITE COTTAGE SNACK BAR
New England has no shortage of amazing seafood houses, but the White Cottage in Woodstock has lobster salad rolls and whole belly clams that keep the crowds coming back, 30 flavors of ice cream to end the meal, and seasonal swims in the Ottauquechee River flowing past.
VIRGINIA: RAPPAHANNOCK OYSTER CO.
The Chesapeake Bay is known for some of the finest shellfish in the world, much of which end up on tables at Rappahannock. Its oyster wholesaler has been working the bay since 1899, providing Olde Salt, Barcat, and Stingray oysters for shucking.
WASHINGTON: CHINOOK'S AT SALMON BAY
In the heart of the Seattle Fishermen's Terminal, which houses more than 700 fishing vessels and has served as the heart of the North Pacific fishing fleet for more than 100 years, Chinook's at Salmon Bay serves seafood that lives up to the history. Many dishes are under $20; an occasional indulgence — such as roasted garlic crab — nears $50.
WEST VIRGINIA: TRICKY FISH
The iconic Tricky Fish boasts "beach shack food, cold beer and frozen drinks." Its mahi-mahi, fried oysters, and Carolina catfish come in various styles and forms, including as tacos, baskets, or po' boys.
WISCONSIN: NEWPORT SHORES
Browse a few Wisconsin best-of lists and you'll eventually bump into Newport Shores, loved for its seafood sandwiches, surf-and-turf platters, and seemingly endless variety of lobster, crab and shrimp entrees.
WYOMING: NORA'S FISH CREEK INN
Wyoming is cattle country, and Nora's Fish Creek Inn is one of the few spots where seafood muscles out beef. A staple in Wilson since its founding in 1982, the restaurant has gone on to television fame thanks to "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," and even won a prestigious James Beard Award.