Who has the best fish? Travel site ranks the '15 Best Seafood Restaurants in Florida'
Whether you are a native, a snowbird or in town on family vacation, deciding which restaurants to visit for the freshest catch in Florida can be challenging.
From crab legs and oysters to lobster and shrimp, seafood lovers can find an array of delicacies to choose from at these restaurants across the Sunshine State.
On the northeast coast, people flock to O’Steen’s Restaurant in St. Augustine for the St. Augustine Fried Shrimp and Minorcan clam chowder – family recipes of the original owners. Drive an hour south to Flagler Fish Company in Flagler Beach to find long lines and more than 20 types of fresh fish and seafood daily like Wanda's Clam Dip.
Both eateries were recently named among the "15 Best Seafood Restaurants in Florida" by Trips to Discover. Other dining hot spots on the list include Safe Harbor Seafood Market & Restaurant in Atlantic Beach and Owen’s Fish Camp in Sarasota.
Here they are in no particular order.
Star Fish Company
Star Fish Company is a seafood market-restaurant combo.
Dishes includeg Wild Alaskan Salmon, Mahi Mahi Sandwich, Gulf Shrimp, and Stone Crab Claws. Choose from sides of coleslaw, cheese grits, or french fries all while you soak up Gulf Coast views.
Brotula's Seafood House & Steamer
A locally-owned and operated, casual, family friendly seafood restaurant on the Destin Harbor, Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer is popular for its “hook and cook” cuisine.
It specializes in fresh, locally-sourced seafood, steamed and boiled shellfish platters integrated into a "rustic, yet sophisticated southern fish house," offered in a laid-back, waterfront dining room. Snow crab, lobster, and mussels are also available.
Dixie Crossroads has served "wild ocean-caught seafood" as well as and their famous corn fritters since 1983.
The menu features the very best local shrimp and fish from Port Canaveral as well as the Dixie Spectacular, which comes with Maine lobster, rock shrimp, scallops, and crab legs. Not a seafood fan? They also serve char-grilled steaks and prime rib.
Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House
You'll find locally sourced Southern-style seafood served in a casual setting with ocean views at Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House. Located on the Destin harbor, the spot showcases “Gulf to Table Southern Cuisine” on its four decks that tier down to the water, offering panoramic views of the harbor. They also have live music.
In addition to fresh oysters, they also offer Southern favorites like corn and crab chowder and lobster mac & cheese and smoked tuna dip.
Flagler Fish Company
Flagler Beach, Florida
Just off the Atlantic Ocean, directly adjacent to the local farmer's market, Flagler Fish Company is "one-of-a-kind" in this cozy beach town and has indoor and outdoor dining.
Whether you want tuna, salmon, Chilean sea bass and lobster, they offer more than 20 types of fresh fish and seafood daily. "Food to Knock Your Flops Off," the eatery claims.
DJ’s Clam Shack
Key West, Florida
Overstuffed lobster rolls, conch fritters and steamed clams are just a few items on the menu at DJ’s Clam Shack.
Food is served informally from a lively counter where you'll experience "one of the best traditional seafood experiences in the country."
Hunt's Oyster Bar & Seafood Restaurant
Panama City, Florida
Hunt’s Oyster Bar serves fresh seafood and oysters delivered daily from Tarpon Dock Seafood Market.
"A legendary dive with a friendly atmosphere," this spot has been serving Apalachicola oysters for more than 50 years. It also offers grouper sandwiches, grilled crab cakes and it's famous three cheese Cajun baked oysters.
Walt's Fish Market
Walt’s Fish Market is the only market and restaurant in Sarasota, popular for its fresh-off-the-dock cuisine. Order the conch fritters, mussels and oysters. But make sure to sample their famous smoked mullet spread. I repeat, Do. Not. Skip.
With outdoor seating and live music at its tiki bar, it's great spot after a day at the beach.
2022 best spots to eat in the world:The 50 best restaurants in the world have been revealed. Which country came out on top?
St. Augustine, Florida
The restaurant is a favorite for both locals and visitors alike and long lines are a constant. In its ranking, Trips to Discover said this seafood spot "is known for its fried shrimp, while Minorcan clam chowder and a side of hush puppies also go down well."
Owen's Fish Camp
Owen’s Fish Camp is "an ode to old Florida living...bringing in the Bay’s local fish every day."
With boiled roadside peanuts as a side and even a tire swing out back, you’ll find Southern hospitality while selecting seafood menu items including fried soft shell crab and low country boils for two. The grouper here is also on point.
Up the Creek Raw Bar
You'll find Up the Creek Raw Bar along the Scipio Creek Channel. Sit outside and order oysters in the covered open-air decks overlooking the water.
A low-key restaurant with a laid-back atmosphere, they "are not just your father's oyster bar." Get them raw or get them steamed. Or change it up and get your spice on with minced shallot and habanero pepper on a few.
Stewby's Seafood Shanty
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Stewby’s Seafood Shanty is a small take-out and dine-in seafood restaurant with locally sourced seafood options.
Featuring delights include Sam’s gumbo and signature sandwiches with coleslaw and tater sauce on a sesame seed bun. Don't miss out on their oysters from Apalachicola and shrimp from the Choctawhatchee Bay.
Pensacola Fish House
For upscale dockside dining, the Pensacola Fish House is your spot.
Their "inventive menu" includes fresh, daily seafood selections, house-smoked steaks, sushi.
Make sure to order their world-famous Grits á Ya Ya: A Southern specialty of smoked Gouda cheese grits smothered with a sauce of fresh cream, sauteed Gulf shrimp, spinach, portobello mushrooms, applewood-smoked bacon, garlic, and shallots.
Safe Harbor Seafood Market & Restaurant
Atlantic Beach, Florida
Safe Harbor Seafood Market & Restaurant, a family-owned and operated business located in Mayport Village, offers a sea-to-table experience.
"Come see the boats offload fresh caught seafood directly into our kitchen and then to your plate," its website states.
Enjoy crab, scallops, or mahi-mahi, and have it cooked to your taste for a meal overlooking the water.
Dry Dock Waterfront Grill
Longboat Key, Florida
Located in Longboat Key, Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, an award-winning Al Fresco restaurant, is known to have some of the best grouper sandwiches on Florida’s West Coast.
Seriously. Get the grouper here. (I like the blackened best).
If that's not your thing, order the yellowfin tuna or seafood linguine and sit on the dockside patio at this “polished casual” restaurant over looking Sarasota Bay.
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund