5 great seafood restaurants in the Knoxville area: the Grub Scout

We might be highlanders here in eastern Tennessee, but that doesn’t stop most of us from wanting to sample the flavors of the sea every now and then. This week, I’m running suggestions for five Knoxville-area restaurants that might just scratch that specific culinary itch. As always, these are presented in no particular order.

Fresh Seafood at Chesapeake's Raw Bar on Parkside Drive.


Yes, this member of the Copper Cellar family of restaurants is perhaps one of the first names that comes to mind when you think of Knoxville seafood. I have to admit, it’s been a while since I’ve had a meal there, but my last experience received very high marks, and I have no reason to believe that this level of consistency doesn’t. tenuous. These days, the dinner menu still features everything from a classic shrimp cocktail appetizer to fresh cold-water oysters and live Maine lobster to recipes like imperial crab and fried seafood platters. Those with a sweet tooth may want to dip into Chesapeake’s slower Delaware Pie for dessert, complete with coffee ice cream and a Kahlua chocolate cookie crust. Chesapeake’s is also open for lunch and serves brunch on Sundays with a representative sample of its regular menu, in addition to seafood omelets and Benedict crab cake.

The "Alligator bites" the food basket includes side dishes like coleslaw and corn at Shrimp Dock on Kingston Pike in Knoxville.

The shrimp wharf

My visit to The Shrimp Dock a few years ago was actually at the Alcoa / Maryville location, so I cannot offer any personal perspective on the Knoxville location. But I was impressed with this local chain’s shared menu, which currently includes Po ‘Boys shrimp or oysters, various fried seafood baskets, and a basket with a choice of seared or charred scallops. Meals can be accompanied by side dishes such as Cajun jambalaya, hush puppies, fried okra, and potato salad. On our previous visit, The Grub Spouse and I enjoyed a few different Po ‘Boys, and I remember mine was monstrously stacked with fried shrimp. You can dine at the Shrimp Dock, but if you want to buy fresh, raw seafood for home making, each location also serves as a market where you can stock up on everything from salmon and lobster to shrimp and the crab.

Co-owner Cindy Cantillo holds a plate for Cook Shane Freeman as he serves alligator dishes in honor of the Tennessee-Florida football game on September 22, 2016, at the Bayou Bay Seafood House in South Knoxville.  Alligator is prepared in three ways: grilled, blackened and fried.

Bayou Bay Seafood House

Surely you, the folks of South Knox, are familiar with this family-owned business on Chapman Highway that has been serving Cajun-inspired cuisine for over 25 years. The menu has definitely grown over the years and now includes a wide choice of starters (Rockefeller oysters, Cajun hot wings, steamed snow crab legs, etc.) Crayfish stew and jambalaya. As a starter, choose from fried specialties such as clam strips, catfish fillets, alligators, soft-shell crabs or frog legs. The grilled / sautéed dishes contain ingredients like grouper, scallops, mahi mahi, chicken and steak. Sandwiches, homemade desserts and even a kid-friendly menu round out the selections.

Shuck Raw Bar and Ale

When I first visited Shuck it was still in the 100 block of Gay Street before I left Bearden. That night, The Spouse and I took a dip in the menu, going with half a dozen oysters (there are now five varieties) topped with a blend of jalapeno, lime, and cilantro chimichurri. It was just to start. We then enjoyed The Tower – a cylindrical structure made of shrimp, chunked crab, pico de gallo, romaine lettuce, and avocado in a honey chipotle vinaigrette – and the Lobster Roll Shuck, served the traditional way. on a New England toast. and accompanied by puppies shhh. Everything was fantastic. While staying at Shuck (not Shucks or Shuck’s), look for crab legs, peeled and eaten shrimp, lobster quesadilla, grouper and fresh salmon, and lobster ravioli. The menu even includes a selection of steaks as well as taco recipes made with seafood ingredients like lobster, shrimp, and yellowtail tuna.

La Bamba seafood restaurant combines Mexican cuisine and seafood.

La Bamba seafood restaurant

This hidden gem may be the one you haven’t heard of, possibly because it’s the most recent of the ones mentioned. Spouse and I visited the Latin influenced Chapman Highway restaurant last summer, and it comes highly recommended. The menu begins with elaborate soup presentations the size of a meal of shrimp, crab, mixed seafood or mixed shellfish, and you’ll also find an old-fashioned shrimp cocktail as well as similar preparations from octopus and oysters. Other categories – fish (goldfish), tilapia, filetes, octopus, and shrimp – offer these specific main ingredients in several varieties, including fried, garlic, diabla, garlic mojo, wrapped in foil, and buttered. By the way, we weren’t expecting the small bowl of fish and shrimp ceviche offered with the obligatory tortilla chips. We enjoyed our respective orders – grilled shrimp and a burrito filled with a mixture of sautéed fish and vegetables dipped in a cottage cheese sauce. Yums.

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