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A seafood tower from Luke
Luke

Where to Splurge on Seafood in New Orleans

16 New Orleans restaurants specializing in over-the-top, decadent feasts from the sea

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A seafood tower from Luke
| Luke

Seafood is a birthright here in New Orleans, where the Gulf waters inform every aspect of the culinary landscape. The city’s chefs wrangle an embarrassment of crustaceans, mollusks, and finned fish every which way: broiled, fried, sautéed, and richly sauced. While po’ boys and platters overflowing with fried oysters, catfish, and shrimp are impossible to resist, this line-up delivers decadent seafood treats served in places special enough for date night, venues best reserved for a celebratory evening.

For a guide specific to New Orleans’s best spots for oysters, see here, and for the lowdown on the city’s best po’ boys, see Eater’s guide here.

Don’t see your favorite place to splurge on seafood in New Orleans? Let us know.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Station 6

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Station 6 is a seafood-centric restaurant from Drew and chef Alison Vega Knoll in funky Bucktown close to the lake. Born and raised in New Orleans, Vega-Knoll hails from a family of fishermen, and the photos around her restaurant tell the tale. From garlicky crawfish boils in season to crab on crab, a special that features lump crabmeat on a fried soft shell that always sells out — this seafood spot delivers the goods.

Crab on crab special from Station 6
Station 6/Facebook

LUVI Restaurant

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Dine at LUVI’s chef counter and watch chef Hao Gong’s mastery of seafood in a range of preparations, from the many raw bar options to double fried yellowtail collar. While the menu covers Japanese and Chinese noodle and soup specialties, Gong especially nails dishes of raw and nearly raw fish — try the Monkey Snack, a salmon and sesame encrusted banana, and the Feed me a la Carte off the raw bar menu for the full experience (as well as any specials).

James Beard Award-winning chef Sue Zemanick’s Zasu is approachable but upscale, with the feel of a neighborhood bistro. While every item on the tight, thoughtful menu expertly showcases Zemanick and company’s talent, it particularly shines through dishes like sea scallops with roasted grapes, pickled sultanas, and cauliflower-almond puree; sunflower seed-crusted grouper with vegetables, chickpeas, and green harissa; and Ora king salmon with shiitakes, bok choy, crispy rice, and charred scallion-ginger broth.

Commander's Palace

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Chef Meg Bickford puts a spin on Creole dishes along with honoring the standards that make Commander’s Palace such an experience. Besides the Creole seafood gumbo and turtle soup, there’s a pecan crusted fish topped with Prosecco poached jumbo lump crab, and a garlic and pepper seared shrimp made with wild Louisiana white shrimp, served with autumn vegetables and smokey tomato butter.

Pecan crusted black drum
Commander’s Palace/Facebook

Seaworthy

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The Ace Hotel’s marquee oyster destination is just that — a true destination for all things seafood: chilled, raw, ceviche-d, boiled, fried, and roasted. It’s one of few places in town to find a few specific things: a seafood tower with oysters, shrimp, and crab claws; oysters that come from places other than the Gulf (here they come from the East Coast, West Coast, and beyond); and a shrimp or lobster roll. The Gulf fish preparation is well done, as is the cioppino entree. Try to snag a spot in the courtyard as opposed to the narrow dining room, and don’t forget the hushpuppies.

The Bower

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Chef Marcus Woodham orchestrates a Gulf and farm to table menu at The Bower, an inviting space in the Lower Garden District with a lovely outdoor patio and chill vibe, inside and out. His tuna tartare with cucumber and avocado is accented with Asian flavors, including goji berries and a yuzu and mirin vinaigrette. Then there’s a whole roasted branzino with black rice and fennel and a spectacular seared scallops option with farro, Maggie mushroom conserva, hot coppa, and basil. Really, everything is so good.

The Bower’s tuna tartare
The Bower/Facebook

Love this bustling French brasserie so perfect for pre-theater dinner and a lively date night. Luke offers an extensive raw bar known for one of the city’s best seafood towers, along with BBQ P&J oysters, a fried oyster salad, and shrimp etouffee. Try the Asian take on moules frites, Prince Edward Island mussels steamed with chili garlic and thyme served with french fries.

Trenasse

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Tucked away in the Intercontinental Hotel on St. Charles Avenue (aka Mardi Gras central), Trenasse is a swell Cajun meet Creole spot for everything, but especially seafood. Besides a raw bar and delish chargrilled oysters six, count ‘em six ways, there’s the taste of Trenasse, which includes Louisiana crawfish pie, pan fried redfish Meunière, and shrimp and grits.

Red Fish Grill

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Ralph Brennan’s seafood-centric landmark is proof positive that Bourbon Street really does have a few good restaurants. Red Fish Grill offers a wide array of fresh seafood in a casual atmosphere that belies the elevated nature of what comes out of the kitchen. Try all of the oysters — there’s a Buffalo-style with hot sauce and blue cheese — a terrific crab cake, and (naturally) a blackened Gulf fish of the day.

BBQ oysters from Red Fish Grill
Red Fish Grill

Pêche Seafood Grill

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With the same unflinching focus they apply to piggy goodness at Cochon, chef/owners Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski troll for seafood at Peche, an industrial chic eatery in the Warehouse District. This place is all about local and line-caught seafood, most of it cooked on a hardwood fire grill. Chef/partner Ryan Prewitt, who was named Best Chef South by the James Beard Foundation, delivers intriguing dishes like grilled tuna with butternut squash and almonds and baked drum with coconut and greens. The whole grilled fish is always a good idea.

Roasted flounder with chili butter
Pêche Seafood Grill/Facebook

GW Fins

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Sustainability is the driver at GW Fins, where chef Michael Nelson is a leading proponent for Gulf-to-plate dining and using the entire fish in innovative ways. His delicious tempura fin wings are one example of how this kitchen walks the walk, as is the Scalibut, its famed scallop-encrusted halibut dish. The seafood gumbo swims with sea creatures including crab, shrimp and oysters, all from local waters. Served with a scoop of potato salad, Cajun style, this version of gumbo is one of the very best in town. 

Tempura fin wings from GW Fins
GW Fins

Compère Lapin

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Expect seafood dishes that blend the Caribbean with French technique and a whole lot of creativity from Nina Compton, like tuna ceviche with yucca, broiled shrimp with Calabrian chile butter, and a gorgeous pompano with jerk carrot. Splurge on a mix of shareable small and large plates to share, look out for any seafood specials, and don’t miss the seasonal cocktails.

Compère Lapin/Facebook

Emeril's

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Emeril’s flagship New Orleans restaurant has long been a favorite destination for a celebratory blowout, even if it the heft of the name has waned in recent years. A menu revamp to accompany its Fall 2021 only improved upon the splurge-worthy seafood options — beyond raw oysters, fish crudo, and tartare, there’s now a bacalao in chorizo broth, andouille-crusted salmon, butter-poached halibut, and lobster served with a red wine gumbo sauce, all tasty.

Miss River

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Miss River, the show stopping Four Seasons restaurant from Alon Shaya, has an upscale menu that pays tribute to the waterways of Louisiana, from river to lake to Gulf. There’s a Grand Plateau of Louisiana seafood that feeds four, a salt crusted Gulf red snapper for the table, and and a pan roasted Gulf flounder with brown butter. There are no prices on the online menu — if that worries you, best to dine elsewhere.

Salt crusted Gulf red snapper
Miss River

The Elysian Bar

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Chef Jonathan Klaskala recently took over for Alex Harrell as executive chef of the Elysian Bar and he’s already leaving his mark on the stunning dining spaces inside and outside Marigny Hotel Peter and Paul. Klaskala is a rock star when it comes to letting ingredients shine and that’s especially true for seafood. His roasted Gulf shrimp entice, head-on monsters simmered in zippy Calabrian chile butter and topped with bottarga breadcrumbs. Oh, and there’s the snapper tartar with coconut, the roasted baked oysters with country ham bread crumbs — so hard to choose.

The Elysian Bar

Tchefuncte's Restaurant

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For those on the other side of the Lake, Tchefuncte’s in Madisonville impresses beyond date night — it’s downright proposal worthy. That’s partly the stylish surroundings but mostly chef Michael Gottlieb’s innate sense of making seafood sing. His new fall menu includes warm Louisiana blue crab and spinach timbale with lemon and brown butter sauce — inspired by his time in the kitchen at the Inn at Little Washington. Try the scallops with artichoke and duck fat fingerlings or the tuna carpaccio with more of that amazing Calabrian chili.

Tchefuncte’s bluefin tuna carpaccio
Tchefuncte’s Restaurant/Facebook

Station 6

Crab on crab special from Station 6
Station 6/Facebook

Station 6 is a seafood-centric restaurant from Drew and chef Alison Vega Knoll in funky Bucktown close to the lake. Born and raised in New Orleans, Vega-Knoll hails from a family of fishermen, and the photos around her restaurant tell the tale. From garlicky crawfish boils in season to crab on crab, a special that features lump crabmeat on a fried soft shell that always sells out — this seafood spot delivers the goods.

Crab on crab special from Station 6
Station 6/Facebook

LUVI Restaurant

Dine at LUVI’s chef counter and watch chef Hao Gong’s mastery of seafood in a range of preparations, from the many raw bar options to double fried yellowtail collar. While the menu covers Japanese and Chinese noodle and soup specialties, Gong especially nails dishes of raw and nearly raw fish — try the Monkey Snack, a salmon and sesame encrusted banana, and the Feed me a la Carte off the raw bar menu for the full experience (as well as any specials).

Zasu

James Beard Award-winning chef Sue Zemanick’s Zasu is approachable but upscale, with the feel of a neighborhood bistro. While every item on the tight, thoughtful menu expertly showcases Zemanick and company’s talent, it particularly shines through dishes like sea scallops with roasted grapes, pickled sultanas, and cauliflower-almond puree; sunflower seed-crusted grouper with vegetables, chickpeas, and green harissa; and Ora king salmon with shiitakes, bok choy, crispy rice, and charred scallion-ginger broth.

Commander's Palace

Pecan crusted black drum
Commander’s Palace/Facebook

Chef Meg Bickford puts a spin on Creole dishes along with honoring the standards that make Commander’s Palace such an experience. Besides the Creole seafood gumbo and turtle soup, there’s a pecan crusted fish topped with Prosecco poached jumbo lump crab, and a garlic and pepper seared shrimp made with wild Louisiana white shrimp, served with autumn vegetables and smokey tomato butter.

Pecan crusted black drum
Commander’s Palace/Facebook

Seaworthy

The Ace Hotel’s marquee oyster destination is just that — a true destination for all things seafood: chilled, raw, ceviche-d, boiled, fried, and roasted. It’s one of few places in town to find a few specific things: a seafood tower with oysters, shrimp, and crab claws; oysters that come from places other than the Gulf (here they come from the East Coast, West Coast, and beyond); and a shrimp or lobster roll. The Gulf fish preparation is well done, as is the cioppino entree. Try to snag a spot in the courtyard as opposed to the narrow dining room, and don’t forget the hushpuppies.

The Bower

The Bower’s tuna tartare
The Bower/Facebook

Chef Marcus Woodham orchestrates a Gulf and farm to table menu at The Bower, an inviting space in the Lower Garden District with a lovely outdoor patio and chill vibe, inside and out. His tuna tartare with cucumber and avocado is accented with Asian flavors, including goji berries and a yuzu and mirin vinaigrette. Then there’s a whole roasted branzino with black rice and fennel and a spectacular seared scallops option with farro, Maggie mushroom conserva, hot coppa, and basil. Really, everything is so good.

The Bower’s tuna tartare
The Bower/Facebook

Luke

Love this bustling French brasserie so perfect for pre-theater dinner and a lively date night. Luke offers an extensive raw bar known for one of the city’s best seafood towers, along with BBQ P&J oysters, a fried oyster salad, and shrimp etouffee. Try the Asian take on moules frites, Prince Edward Island mussels steamed with chili garlic and thyme served with french fries.

Trenasse

Tucked away in the Intercontinental Hotel on St. Charles Avenue (aka Mardi Gras central), Trenasse is a swell Cajun meet Creole spot for everything, but especially seafood. Besides a raw bar and delish chargrilled oysters six, count ‘em six ways, there’s the taste of Trenasse, which includes Louisiana crawfish pie, pan fried redfish Meunière, and shrimp and grits.

Red Fish Grill

BBQ oysters from Red Fish Grill
Red Fish Grill

Ralph Brennan’s seafood-centric landmark is proof positive that Bourbon Street really does have a few good restaurants. Red Fish Grill offers a wide array of fresh seafood in a casual atmosphere that belies the elevated nature of what comes out of the kitchen. Try all of the oysters — there’s a Buffalo-style with hot sauce and blue cheese — a terrific crab cake, and (naturally) a blackened Gulf fish of the day.

BBQ oysters from Red Fish Grill
Red Fish Grill

Pêche Seafood Grill

Roasted flounder with chili butter
Pêche Seafood Grill/Facebook

With the same unflinching focus they apply to piggy goodness at Cochon, chef/owners Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski troll for seafood at Peche, an industrial chic eatery in the Warehouse District. This place is all about local and line-caught seafood, most of it cooked on a hardwood fire grill. Chef/partner Ryan Prewitt, who was named Best Chef South by the James Beard Foundation, delivers intriguing dishes like grilled tuna with butternut squash and almonds and baked drum with coconut and greens. The whole grilled fish is always a good idea.