Where to begin on our list of reasons we love taking a trip to Florida? World-class theme park attractions. Palm trees as far as the eye can see. Year-round gorgeous weather. And, most importantly? 825 miles of glittering, white sandy beaches. This means that, on any visit, you can be sure we are going to seek out the very best seafood we could find. From the shoreside towns of the panhandle all the way down to Key West, we searched (and shucked) high and low to create the ultimate seafood lubbers list. From sky-high seafood towers in swanky Boca Raton to fried fish sandwiches from an unassuming roadside market, no crab leg was left uncracked.
The restaurants that made the cut all have one thing in common: serving the freshest, locally-sourced seafood that money can buy. Along with longstanding family favorites are some surprising new options which elevate our favorite crustaceans of the seas in next-level ways.
Grab a slice of lemon, get that tartar sauce ready, and let’s turn this thing up with an oyster shooter. Here are the absolute best seafood restaurants in Florida.
Euphoria Fish House – Orlando
We are kicking off the list with one of the newest spots in Florida that has quickly become a favorite. The Margaritaville Resort Orlando is a stunning resort just steps from Central Florida’s bustling theme parks, but you’d never know that based on its tranquil setting. After wasting the day away in Margaritaville — literally — the property’s on-site restaurant serves as the ultimate cap to the day.
Euphoria Fish House is an elevated seafood restaurant that feels very much upscale but with homey, modern furnishings. Named after Jimmy Buffet’s beloved yacht, the menu reads like a love letter to the wonderful flavors of Florida. Conch fritter-topped lobster bisque and seared tuna tataki with sesame soy glaze shine as starters. Signature sides, including an addictive crab fried rice and decadent lobster mac n cheese are just the beginning when it comes to the entrée course. The star of the show, however, is their pan roasted Chilean sea bass, expertly prepared with citrus braised bok choy, shitake mushrooms, and edamame. It’s only suiting that you’d pair your meal with a selection from their house list of handcrafted margaritas, including the mango chile with ancho reyes chiles liqueur.
Pompano Joe’s – Destin
Few beaches in the world can compare to the incredibly fine, white sand beaches of Destin, Florida. Located on the panhandle, this Florida city’s seafood options are seemingly endless, but there’s one spot we found ourselves coming back to again and again. Located directly on the beach, Pompano Joe’s is everything you’d want in a surfside restaurant. With the gentle gusts of the gulf breeze, Pompano Joe’s welcomes guests in right from the beach.
The family-friendly spot shells out some of the best seafood in the area in a relaxed, casual setting. Large clusters of snow crabs are incredibly meaty and the only appropriate way to start a meal here. The house favorite consists of a perfectly-executed coconut shrimp with island flair, courtesy of mango-papaya chutney and Caribbean-style black beans and rice. Other favorites include crab cakes, seafood platters, and blackened grouper. The bar is lively and offers an irresistibly-priced happy hour. Grab one of their signature bum buckets on the way out and plant yourself right in the sand. You’re welcome.
JB’s Fish Camp and Seafood – New Smyrna Beach
When visiting New Smyrna Beach, Florida, just south of Daytona Beach, JB’s Fish Camp and Seafood has all your water equipment rental needs covered. We are dead serious. The famous riverfront seafood restaurant also doubles as a spot to rent kayaks and paddle boards. With stunning views of the sunset, sitting dockside here is like enjoying a little slice of old Florida. It is 100% no frills at this classic dive that also happens to serve the best quality seafood you’ll find in the area. Don’t be deterred by the shabby exterior and dirt parking lot.
Open for both lunch and dinner, the seafood shack is known for their award-winning soups, including Southern-style clam chowder and a Bethune spiced seafood gumbo. Snack on some fried alligator tail — you are in Florida, after all — before digging into a jumbo soft-shell crab sandwich or the turtle mound sampler complete with oysters, clams, crabs, shrimp, and corn on the cob. The steamed rock shrimp are drool-worthy and come prepared in JB’s famous shrimp sauce. Finish your meal off with their key lime pie — this is non-negotiable.
The Boathouse – Orlando
Central Florida may be synonymous with theme parks, but Walt Disney World carries some serious street cred in the foodie department. Not only is it home to an AAA Five-Diamond Award-winning restaurant and a nationally-ranked tequila bar but also a dining paradise known as Disney Springs. The entertainment complex is a hop, skip, and a jump away from the parks but couldn’t feel any more removed. The restaurant scene has evolved to include spots from culinary heavy-hitters, including Iron Chef Morimoto, Guy Fieri, and Chef José Andrés.
Where can you usually find us? At the raw bar at the property’s standout seafood joint, The Boathouse. Located waterside, dine inside or out on their over-the-water dockside patio with prime viewing of retro Amphicars cruising by. Their expansive raw bar offers up the freshest collection of oysters, lobster, and wild-caught Sea of Cortez jumbo shrimp. After throwing back a few oysters, feast on Gulf of Mexico red grouper or shrimp and andouille sausage mac & cheese. The showstopper is an 8-ounce Maine lobster tail served Oscar-style with jumbo lump crab, asparagus, and a creamy Bernaise sauce.
Coconuts – Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, may very well be one of our favorite places in the state. The beachfront town also has the intercoastal running alongside it, bringing endless opportunities to belly up to a bar with a nice breeze and a good view of the water. If you’d like to watch a 100-foot-long yacht cruise on by while imbibing on some cocktails and oysters, then Coconuts is the spot for you. The all-day bar and restaurant is a people watcher’s delight — lively from morning until night. Their food is downright incredible in an atmosphere that is chill and unpretentious — an anomaly in South Florida.
Regulars know that you must start with scoobies — a house specialty consisting of blue crab fried in a heavenly mix of savory garlic and oil. From there, feast on coconut shrimp, local blackened mahi, lump crab meat cakes, and a lobster BLT. Their brunch is one of our favorites around and brings in a slew of new offerings, including a standout lobster benedict with Maine lobster claw meat.
Joe’s Stone Crab – Miami
Next up, we are cruising down I-95 from Fort Lauderdale right on to Miami, Florida. Our list continues with the downright legendary Joe’s Stone Crab. Opening in Miami Beach in 1913 first as a small lunch counter, it’s since become a global institution and a must for anyone visiting the area. The restaurant has come a long way since just offering fish sandwiches and fries, but this most-famous seafood restaurant still keeps true to its roots and, 100 years later, remains family-owned and operated.
The atmosphere is elegant and bustling, with the attentive service you’d expect from a high-end restaurant. Joe’s famous Stone Crab, served chilled and cracked and available in medium, large, or jumbo, served with a tangy mustard sauce, is the signature menu item. The expansive menu continues on with baked sea scallops, stone crab bisque, and a decadent macaroni and cheese. For entrées, there are plenty that even the seafood-averse will love, including an impressive selection of cast iron charred meats, like a bone-in ribeye with marrow butter.
Ke’e Grill – Boca Raton
Boca Raton, Florida, embraces all the nuances of South Florida — gorgeous beaches, plenty of outdoor spaces, golf courses abound — but with fewer crowds. This swanky gem of an area is also home to incredible restaurants, and you can rest assured they offer many options in the seafood department, from fish shacks to fine establishments.
Named after the famous Hawaiian beach, Ke’e Grill does things a little differently. The cozy, inviting restaurant brings in a bit of island inspiration that’s expressed in both the atmosphere and the menu. Tropical décor, including indoor umbrellas, brings a bit of hominess to the casual vibe that’s a welcome respite from other nearby upscale establishments. The menu has pan-Asian flair, including teriyaki glazed shrimp and even a pupu platter should you choose to go all out. House favorites include a sesame-seared yellowfish tuna with double wasabi drizzle and a blackened miso-glazed snapper with pineapple-mango salsa.
Four Flamingos: A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen – Orlando
I’m sure we’ve grabbed your attention with the mention of Richard Blaise alone. The beloved Top Chef alum has captivated us with his charming personality and the wizard-like techniques he brings to the kitchen (Hello, liquid nitrogen!). The James Beard-nominated author is now bringing his skills to the Orlando, Florida, market. Four Flamingos: A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen draws on his own family memories in the great sunshine state. The restaurant oozes vintage vibes in its décor, but the menu is nothing but the freshest of ingredients expertly prepared with modern techniques.
The culinary offerings bring the local ingredients of Florida to the forefront — think citrus, vegetables, and seafood. What about that liquid nitrogen we mentioned? It’s not just about presentation flair but infusing unique flavors into the food and even the cocktails. The most impressive use of the liquid nitrogen, however, is depicted by their presentation of oysters on the half shell. Hibiscus hot sauce and fresh dill are infused into a colorful orb that slowly melts its way across a platter of incredibly fresh oysters, resulting in an explosion of flavors. Science is delicious.
Todd English’s Bluezoo – Lake Buena Vista
We never imagined we’d ever include the words ‘aquarium’ and ‘hip’ in one sentence, but, alas, here we go. Todd English has been a culinary trailblazer for decades. With restaurants all over the country, we find ourselves continually amazed by Todd English’s Bluezoo at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The space is modern chic with glass accents and aquariums, resulting in a totally unique space.
Meals begin with a glass of vino from their award-winning wine list — a multi-time recipient of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. The menu changes frequently to reflect what is seasonally available, but the theme is always the same: intercoastal seafood delights. The teppan-seared sea scallops with braised short rib and cauliflower puree remains a menu favorite while their grilled octopus is a fun twist on the classic starter. Classic grilled presentation is given a Greek-inspired makeover, adding the elements of chickpea puree and Aleppo pepper. Bluezoo’s signature clam chowder is an elevated version of the beloved soup and uses salt-cured bacon and house-made oyster crackers.
The highlight, however, is their ‘simply fish’ menu offering created from using one of the nightly offerings of fresh fish, paired with a series of sauces, including charred tomato sauce or warm crab meat Dijon.
Meat Market Palm Beach – Palm Beach
You may be a little confused by this next one, being that the word ‘meat’ is in the title. Meat Market is a small chain of high-end steakhouses located across Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s a contemporary steakhouse in every sense of the word, but what makes it special is that their locations are infused with a vibe — the bustling energy of a Miami nightspot meets a hint of youthful glam. Yes, they serve standout steaks, including a 30-ounce Wagyu beef tomahawk ribeye, but they also offer some amazing seafood.
Meat Market Palm Beach is our favorite of the locations, as it is literally steps from the ocean. Their oysters remain some of the best we’ve ever had and are even better when served as a shooter with vodka and a tangy tomato-base. We love their jumbo shrimp cocktail as much as their roasted truffle rockafeller oysters and crab and lobster cakes as starter options. Seafood extends to the main event, with a wood-grilled Scottish salmon and a wildly creative presentation of sea bass that uses tomato concasse, sweet corn, and truffle mash.
Fish Tales Market & Eatery – Marathon
Fish Tales Market & Eatery is described as the “heart of the Florida keys,” both literally and figuratively. Located in Marathon, Florida, this is the no-frills spot that locals have relied on for years. Family-owned and operated, it is part-restaurant, part-seafood and meat market. The roadside eatery is understatedly low-key and homey with a couple of outside picnic tables. Only open til 6:30 p.m., the walls are adorned with classic Keys vibes, like décor of plastic fish and colorful mermaids.
Their red conch chowder is worth a drive down alone, along with their selection of superbly fresh and affordable seafood, both fresh from the market and prepared. Market selections include lobster, Key West pink shrimp, mahi mahi, and sushi-grade yellowfin tuna. For dine in, it’s all about the sandwich, including fried clam strips or the grilled catch of the day. They also serve all the classics, like fried scallops, fried calamari, and smoked fish spread.