JThe humidity and heat in Texas are often a cause for complaint. In the summer, you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. But the heat and humidity also come from being near water, and in some way they’re responsible for all the fresh, delicious seafood we have access to in the Lone Star State.
However, few cities in Texas have embraced seafood quite like Austin. It’s an underrated mecca for big fish. Austin’s best seafood restaurants are a cut above. Here is the short list of the top echelon…
Perla Seafood and Oyster Bar
This South Congress restaurant serves fresh fish and oysters that arrive daily from the East Coast and West Coast. You can get a selection of oysters and almost any fish you can imagine – including octopus – on Perla’s popular patio.
Deckhand Oyster Bar
500 Parker Drive and 4211 S. Lamar Blvd.
Perfect for when you’re craving oysters, craving fried calamari or popcorn shrimp, Deckhand’s two locations are sure to please. Its Southwestern Stuffed Oysters are a great way to dip your toe into the world of oysters. These are cooked oysters stuffed with pico de gallo and Monterrey Jack cheese.
For a spicy dish, discover the Moules Vin Blanc, a full pound of delicate black mussels sautéed with onions, peppers and ginger, and simmered in a Riesling sauce.
1209 East 11th Street.
Hillside Farmacy serves a bit of everything, but you can’t go to this East Austin joint without trying its fresh oysters or crab cakes, topped with pickles and a creamy remoulade sauce.
Mongers Market + Kitchen
2401 E. Caesar Chavez
Mongers Smoked Fish Dip is perhaps the best way to start a summer meal in Austin. It’s made with pickled fresno peppers, radishes and celery for a cool, smoky flavor profile.
Then try Monger’s Seafood Chowder for a mix of land and sea. You’ll find fresh seafood, potatoes and bacon all wrapped up.
Mongers Raw Bar is a great way to try a poke bowl, or you can choose from oysters, scallops, blue crab fingers, clams, and daily crudo. With all of Mongers options, it’s impressive that the restaurant is able to serve its full menus with such care.
For a southern twist, Blue Crab Cake Sammie is made with fried green tomatoes, creamy tartar sauce, and apple and jalapeno salad.
French Quarter Grid
I will always argue that there is no better comfort food than Cajun food. You’ll get your fill of Cajun classics at the French Quarter Grille, which serves up Cajun specialties with Étouffée, which can be served with shrimp, crawfish, crabmeat gumbo, fried crawfish and more.
Although sometimes considered a bottom feeder by more snobby eaters, the Catfish is blackened to perfection before being served over dirty rice, then topped with shrimp and crawfish gumbo.
Clark’s Oyster Bar
1200 W 6th St.
Clark’s welcoming and open restaurant in West Austin is the perfect place for lobster rolls when you can’t make a quick trip to Maine. With an impressive happy hour, wide range of oysters and clams, Clark’s is a great place when you feel like taking a trip under the sea.
Check out his Shrimp Toast, with tendrils of peas, shavings of celery and a spicy harissa aili, or the authentic New England Clam Chowder, served with oyster crackers…. because, duh.
1816 S 1st Street.
Alcomar combines seafood with ingredients and dishes from each of Mexico’s coasts to create a fresh and creative menu. the Austin seafood restaurantShrimp Pozole Rojo’s is restorative, and its lobster enchiladas will have you wondering why these two don’t pair up more often.
14735 Bratton Lane
Part food truck, part restaurant, Garbo’s spotlights New England seafood with coastal charm. Clam Chowder, Lobster Bisque, and Fish & Chips are a no-brainer, but we were impressed that Garbo’s offered lobster rolls from both Connecticut and Maine, the former warmed in butter and the latter served with mayonnaise, celery and lemon.
Don’t forget to try the lobster grilled cheese, which includes white cheddar, smoked gouda and bacon, and tomato soup.