Water covers about 70% of the Earth’s surface. That’s good news for seafood lovers traveling in the southeast United States. And if you have a taste for aquatic cuisine served up in totally casual atmospheres, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana are great destinations to satisfy your cravings.
Here are three seafood restaurants to dive into:
- The Crab Shack in Tybee Island
- Bayside Hut in Miami
- Casamento’s Restaurant in New Orleans
Low country cuisine reigns supreme on Tybee Island, and one popular dive has been serving up tasty crustaceans and other seafood favorites since 1990. The Crab Shack, located along the creek banks of eastern Georgia, still has the original boat hoist from the restaurant’s days as a fish camp, allowing guests to watch as boats dock to drop off the freshest catches of the day.
Start with an oyster, mussel or crawfish Shackatizer. Then dive into the Shack Specialty: A heaping platter of assorted in-season shellfish, accompanied by corn, potatoes and sausage. Try the Low Country Boil or try the crab. Snow, Stone, Dungeness, Blue and Alaskan King are all on the menu. Be sure to place an order—you’re going to pinch yourself if you don’t. Landlubbers can feast on a tempting selection of Shackwiches, BBQ ribs, half chickens and pork platters.
The Crab Shack has received numerous honors and awards including being voted the number one dive in Georgia in Coastal Living’s 14th Annual BEST DIVES poll. And that floats owner Captain Jack Flanigan’s boat just fine. Because in his words, “If you are going to be one, be the number one!”
You won’t find five snobby stars shining brightly on The Crab Shack menu, but the food is still stellar. Just ask the locals who flock there to hang out, eat well and share good times. For more than 20 years, this dive joint has consistently served up meals that keep everyone coming back for seconds. One taste is all it takes to get hooked on this seafood dive—and that’s no fish story!
There are plenty of hoity-toity, highfalutin dining establishments in the Miami area. But this former hot dog stand turned tiki hut with a laid-back atmosphere and weathered-looking exterior certainly doesn’t fall into that category. Of course, you can still expect exceptional service and contemporary menu items with seasonal flair. No wonder Bayside Hut keeps reeling in new customers along with accolades as being one of the best seafood restaurants in south Florida.
Your meal begins with smoked fish dip, crackers and beautiful views of Biscayne Bay—all complimentary. Appetizer selections include fish ceviche, fried calamari, shrimp cocktail, crab cake, buffalo wings, soups and salads. Entrees come straight from the sea for the ultimate in freshness. Try the catch of the day or go for a school of succulent grilled shrimp. Lobster comes from the local waters of Florida and as far away as Maine. For a really special treat, have the chef prepare the Banana Crusted Snapper topped with ginger cream sauce. You’ll definitely swim back for more of this fish. Also available are tempting selections from the land. The Palomilla, Grilled Churrasco and Carolina Honey chicken are served with choice of salad, rice, black beans, mix veggies or fries.
Remember, looks can be deceiving. If you’re vacationing near Miami and think you’ve stumbled upon what looks like an abandoned restaurant, walk right in and take a seat. You’re sure to enjoy a great seafood meal.
This iconic New Orleans restaurant is tiled inside and out. In fact, there are so many tiles some customers have said it resembles a giant swimming pool. Seems appropriate for a 95-year-old seafood dive restaurant with an international reputation as one of the best places to get seafood in New Orleans. So what is it about this restaurant, which blends Italian tradition with the deep-rooted tastes of Louisiana seafood, that continually earns them such rave reviews? Topping the list has to be the sandwiches—more specifically, their loaves.
Those with a taste for oyster loaf have come from as far away as Australia and England to savor the flavor and sink their teeth into this delicacy. Loaves are traditionally made from French bread. But Casamento’s uses “pan bread,” then stuffs the freshly prepared loaf with gluten-free fried seafood favorites like shrimp, trout, catfish and shell crab. No trip to the Big Easy is complete without some gumbo, so order a big, tasty bowl and dig in. And don’t forget to try the oysters—you can have them on the half-shell, charbroiled, in a stew or as the star of a seafood platter dinner.
Save room for dessert and keep your eyes open for someone famous. Celebrity sightings at Casamento’s have included Guy Fieri from the Food Network, all-star quarterback Peyton Manning, actor Tommy Lee Jones and musician Sheryl Crow.