FRESH Catch

Best Seafood: Enjoy Coastal Cuisine at These 10 Restaurants

From meaty raw cuts to golden-fried shrimp baskets, go fish at these noteworthy seafood destinations.

By Megha McSwain May 18, 2022

Enjoy the luxury of Houston's best seafood at these local restaurants"  Image: Courtesy Linda Hughes Photography/Shutterstock

With Houston’s convenient proximity to the Gulf, it’s no surprise that the city is generously peppered with worthy seafood restaurants. From slinging fresh-caught Gulf gems to sourcing exotic cuts from around the globe, the scene is richly populated with interesting dining choices. And while seafood-fueled meals can at times be costlier than other provisions, there are plenty of places keeping the sometimes-sophisticated cuisine casual and approachable. 

Whether it’s a family-friendly dinner with fried finds you seek or a more elevated meal, complete with tiered raw bar towers and caviar, there is a place for every preference. Take a break from your favorite barbecue joints and steakhouses, and explore Houstonia’s picks of the city’s most bountiful seafood restaurants. 

Loch Bar

It’s no surprise that true Maryland-style crab cakes are a must at this Baltimore-based restaurant with an outpost in River Oaks District, but head-turning seafood towers, pristine caviar presentations and live Maine lobster are equally worthy. Find local favorites like blackened Gulf redfish and oysters served grilled, fried and Rockefeller style. The sophisticated tavern-like setting with comfortable banquettes and bar seating galore is made even more dynamic with live music nightly. 

La Fisheria

This Downtown hideaway, which packs major vacation resort vibes, puts the spotlight on coastal Mexican eats. Begin with one of many seafood-filled campechanas built with house-made Acapulco sauce or the raw seafood ceviche trio before indulging in whole pompano fish. Prefer something handheld? Choose from plenty of seafood tacos, including with lobster, Baja-style fish and spicy adobo shrimp.

Caracol

Hugo Ortega’s restaurants are synonymous with excellent Mexican eats, but at Caracol, there is a hefty focus on seafood plates. It’s a crime not to begin with the famed wood-grilled oysters, served bubbling with cheese and chipotle butter, but if an extra humid Houston day calls for something cold and refreshing, spring for a fresh fish ceviche, vibrant with crisp veggies and citrus. Wood-grilled fish is enticing as a main, and entrees like the pulpo ahumado, which combines grilled octopus with Mexican sausage and potatoes, are more than filling. 

Christie’s Seafood

In Houston’s seafood game, Christie’s is a major player. The iconic restaurant is among the oldest in the city, but continues to impress with its menu of seafood comfort eats, including fried platters, gumbos, stews and chowders, and hearty fish-filled sandwiches and po’ boys. Take your pick from the large menu or settle on one of the restaurant’s whole fish offerings for a shareable meal among friends.

Acme Oyster House

Houstonians can skip the hours-long commute to NOLA and score belly-filling eats from Acme Oyster House, which recently opened in Montrose. Oyster lovers will find them presented a number of ways here, including served raw with spicy cocktail sauce, chargrilled, fried and topped on salads, made into Rockefeller soup and presented in between crusty loaves in fully dressed po’ boys. Beyond oysters, find plenty of fried and grilled seafood platters, seafood-stuffed tacos and even fried alligator. 

Willie G’s Seafood

This buzzy Landry’s restaurant is a one-stop shop for all of the seafood dishes of your dreams. Imaginative plates begin with Bang Bang rock shrimp in an explosive dynamite sauce and tiger prawn dumplings, while freshly shucked raw Gulf and East Coast oysters are presented traditionally with horseradish, mignonette and cocktail sauce. For an interactive moment, consider cooking your ahi tuna on hot rock. 

1751 Sea & Bar

Don’t let its retail strip locale deter you — 1751 Sea & Bar is one of the most exciting restaurants to visit for elevated seafood plates, and it’s got one of the largest collections of gin in the city as a bonus. Discerning diners may choose to begin with Atlantic oysters or Siberian Osetra caviar service before moving on to pozole steamed mussels, crawfish Johnny cakes with brown butter bearnaise sauce or a fleshy piece of Ora King salmon grilled over white oak. 

Liberty Kitchen

This popular seafood destination, with locations in River Oaks and West Houston, is known for its impressive selection of oysters, but also offers hearty pasta plates, sandwiches and sushi rolls. Nostalgic favorites like deviled eggs are topped with fried oysters, while crowd-pleasers like Texas redfish are served on the half-shell. Here, there is plenty to splurge on, but for a taste of something truly decadent, go for the 10-ounce butter-fried Chesapeake crab cake.

Flying Fish

This no-frills seafood joint, fitted with eclectic, boat house-themed décor, is a Heights neighborhood gem. Find all of the usual suspects here, from fried seafood combination baskets to shrimp po’ boys, but also adventurous choices like a Cajun platter complete with fried frog legs, crawfish jambalaya and gator meat. Love a good side hustle? Pair your favorite seafood with beer-battered onion rings, creamy coleslaw, fresh corn on the cob, house-made hushpuppies, fried okra and more. 

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