Where To Get Seafood In DC

Fried fish, swordfish kebabs, and seafood boils galore.
Basket of fried fish with ketchup, cole slaw, tartar sauce, and fries on counter with condiments.

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

We’ve never gone down to Haines Point and grabbed our fish directly from the source, though mad respect to those who do. Instead, we like ours scaled, fileted, smothered in Old Bay, and served alongside stuff like fries, corn on the cob, and slices of lemon. In case you, too, are not checking any crab traps these days, try these great seafood spots in DC.


photo credit: Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips



$$$$Perfect For:Quick EatsSerious Take-Out Operation
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You might think there are a lot of good seafood options at the Wharf, but gone are the days of Captain White’s and Phillips. And while none of the seafood here can touch what was happening in the olden days, we’ll swing by Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips for a relatively cheap, grab-and-go box of fried shrimp and chips. It’s a great place to wrangle hungry kids who are fed up with taking family pictures in front of the water. Grab a seat at one of the tables or take your Union Jack-covered boxes of fried seafood to the outdoor courtyard right across the street to reminisce about better fried seafood days at the Wharf.

Georgetown is full of seafood restaurants, but Georgetown Seafood is our favorite in the area. The casual, converted rowhouse spot serves crispy, golden brown fish and shrimp that you can get on the run. There are a couple of tiny dining rooms decorated with fake pelicans and buoys, plus a small umbrella-covered patio outside. The menu is great for families with picky kids—and you’ll see a lot of them here—since everything is straightforward, like the Maine lobster roll made with butter and lemon juice (no mayo), or fried. We especially like the sweet, crunchy shrimp served piping hot (seriously, blow and chew slowly).

If you want the best seafood in DC, head to Millie’s. The New England-style restaurant is full of folks in top-siders dreaming about Capri or St. Barts while a giant compass on the wall indicates they're respectively a mere 4,606 and 1,689 miles away. You’ll see plenty of quesadillas and tacos floating around the room, but do not get distracted. You want the juicy seared scallops with cheesy orzo and the buttery swordfish kabob that smells just as good as it tastes. Come here for weeknight dinner with family or friends.

This Woodley Park restaurant is our favorite seafood boil spot in the city, and a fun place to unwind after climbing many a hill at the zoo. Come here with a group of friends or your family, and split the $68 drool boil full of crawfish, shrimp, and crab legs. There’s plenty of seafood, but if you’re into the corn and potatoes, ask for extra because you’ll only get a couple in each boil. Or, during weekday lunch, grab the $16 catfish, crawfish, or shrimp po’boy special that comes with fries and a drink.

While you can buy fish straight out of the display case at this Union Market stall, their inventive seafood dishes like their salmon cheesesteak are why you come here. Enjoy your food at the counters or communal table right by the stall, or head upstairs to Hi-Lawn where you can pair it with lawn games, firepits, and drinks.

This Latin seafood spot in Dupont Circle swaps tartar sauce and malt vinegar for mole and salsa verde. The restaurant looks like a maze—small dining rooms and tables zigzag throughout the space. The light walls are covered in mini mirrors and murals of fish, and each room feels like you’re sitting in a little tank, which can feel like a betrayal as you sip your creamy lobster bisque. Come here for a low-lift dinner with parents or just to enjoy buttery cuts of tuna and chewy octopus with chunky polenta with your homies on a weeknight.

Don’t sleep on carryouts when you’re looking for seafood in DC. This Uptown spot has delicious—and inexpensive—boils that you can grab and go in ten minutes. We love the head-on shrimp with the restaurant’s own seasoning that’s just a little sweet.

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