9 best seafood restaurants in Charlotte — and what to order at each

9 best seafood restaurants in Charlotte — and what to order at each
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Looking for seafood in Charlotte? Check out these 9 top seafood restaurants, oysters bars and fish markets around our city.


Hello, Sailor

Award-winning restaurant overlooking Lake Norman

Creators: Owners are Joe and Katy Kindred, the couple behind the hit restaurant Kindred in Davidson.

Must-order dishes: Carolina shrimp calabash ($15.99) with remoulade. It’s a huge basket of popcorn shrimp. Order for the table and share. Or, go big with Hello, Sailor’s Lobster Roll ($29.99) — one whole lobster topped with Meyer lemon on buttery milk bread.

Must-order cocktail: Yacht Club—mezcal, ruby red grapefruit, St. Germaine, lime and jalapeño agave syrup ($11).

Space: Hello, Sailor seats about 90 inside with another 3,500 square feet of waterfront deck space out back with a tiki bar — and 20 dedicated boat slips.

Noteworthy salad: Citrus Crab Louie Salad – Crab, little gem lettuces, avocado, jammy egg, citrus and brown butter saltines ($17.49).

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[Agenda related guide: 28 best salads in Charlotte, ranked]


N.C. Red

“New England-New South” restaurant in Plaza Midwood

Creator: Bruce Moffett — the guy behind Good Food, Barrington’s and Stagioni — recently opened his fourth restaurant named N.C. Red in Plaza Midwood.

Menu highlights: Nashville hot chicken, fresh fried fish, Point Judith calamari, lobster roll, clam chowder, poached crab salad, oysters, mussels and clams.

Oysters: The restaurant will have a legit oyster and clam program sourced from both the East and West Coasts and served up as grilled, Rockefeller, casino and broiled.

Chef: Andrew Dodd, a Nashville native and previously the executive chef at Stagioni, will be N.C. Red’s executive chef as well as a partner in the business. “Coming up with a menu that included a mix of classic Southern cuisine with Northeastern style seafood, with a focus on sustainably farmed bivalves from coast to coast farms, was really exciting,” said Andrew.

Layout: Inside you’ll find a handful of large blue booths as well as an eight-seat bar. It’s not very large inside, so expect long wait times given Bruce’s reputation and N.C. Red buzz. The restaurant also has a cool covered outdoor patio with a large octopus mural painted by local artist Randall Kane, who also hand-painted oyster wallpaper in the restrooms.

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[Lobsta Roll at N.C. Red. Agenda related guide: 15 spots to get a lobster roll in Charlotte]


Clean Catch

Upscale seafood market in Myers Park

Must order: Jumbo Crab Cakes ($16.99) with huuuge lumps of crab. It’s a DIY project that you cook at your house.

Note: There is no seating here, it’s grab and go.

New addition: Clean Catch now serves sushi to go. Additionally, they’ll soon begin construction on a new u-shaped sushi bar that’ll be located in the front of the market (smart idea). The eight- to ten-seat bar will be complete by end of 2019. “It’ll be focused on the Omakase concept – letting the sushi chef decide what to serve,” said owner Bill Ryan. “It’s about the fish. No other sushi bar uses our quality fish.”

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Cooking this Crab Cake is so easy and a guaranteed way to impress your lover or a dinner party

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[Agenda related guide: Top 15 sushi spots in Charlotte]


Sea Level

Seafood restaurant and oyster bar in the heart of Uptown

Go big: Start your group off with a 5th Street Tower — cold cooked mussels, clams, shrimp cocktail and oysters with cocktail sauce, horseradish and migonette ($75). Then order the lobster roll ($22).

Popular sandwich: Catfish Rueben – blackened served on toasted rye with swiss cheese, house claw and caper aioli ($14.50)

Don’t forget: Sea Level offers $1 oyster happy hours from 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday. And in terms of fresh fish, expect two to three different “daily fish” selections that’ll be available.

sea level seafood in charlotte


RockSalt

Farm-to-table spot in the Back Lot of Park Road Shopping Center offering daily fresh fish specials and an oyster bar featuring oysters and clams from their sister Rappahannock Oyster Company

Oyster situation: RockSalt has some of the best oysters in Charlotte as its owner, Travis Croxton, owns an oyster farm. Expect a variety of oysters, including grilled with herb butter, preserved lemon or tomato jam. RockSalt does a “$1 Oyster Happy Hour” from 3-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Popular dish: Go with RockSalt’s Whole Grilled Fish, served on top of mixed greens with a lemon honey vinaigrette (currently a yellow-tailed snapper).

oysters at rocksalt seafood restaurant in charlotte

bar at rocksalt top seafood restaurant charlotte


Upstream

Upscale seafood and sushi spot in SouthPark with a focus on Pacific Rim dishes

Sushi special: $24.95 unlimited sushi from 4:30-7 p.m. at the bar and patio on Thursdays. Choose from eight options, ranging from spicy salmon to spicy tuna crunch to their popular “Snap, Crackle & Pop” roll. Don’t forget that Upstream also offers unlimited sushi (lunch only) for $18 with select rolls.

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Snap, Crackle & Pop Roll from Upstream. Agenda related guide: Best weekly specials in Charlotte

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Main dining room at Upstream


Fin & Fino

Spacious, well designed Uptown spot featuring seafood and American dishes

Must-try dish: Lobster & Truffles – house-made basil shells served with lobster meat and celery root brandade topped with strong shaved truffle ($18).

Oyster situation: Expect a rotating daily selection of oysters with at least 12 different kinds, including the Katama Bay, which has a sweet-like-candy finish, or the Miyagi, which has a tangy cucumber finish according to the restaurant.


Deep Sea Market

Popular family-owned seafood spot located in a shopping center down Monroe Road 

Sandwich: Go with the seared tuna sandwich with applewood smoked bacon served with a spicy slaw and sriracha aioli ($11.99). “At first I toyed with doing a food truck or opening up a restaurant,” said owner Larry Mesiti, who previous managed eight restaurants in Manhattan. “But at the same time, as a consumer, I couldn’t find any good seafood in this part of town.”

sandwich at deep sea seafood market charlotte

[Agenda related guide: 25+ best sandwiches in Charlotte]


The Waterman

Casual fish bar in South End with 80-seat rooftop bar dubbed Topside

Address: 2729 South Blvd.

Specials: $1 oysters from 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday. They’ve also got live music and tiki drink specials every Thursday as well as a DJ, mimosas, Bloody Marys and punch every Sunday.

For the table: Boo Fries –  house-cut fries, cotija, crawfish gravy and scallions ($11).

Lobster rolls: Choose from Connecticut Style (warm lobster meat dressed in butter) or Maine Style (cold lobster meat tossed in mayo on a warm buttery bun) with are both $23.

Popular: Low country boil – a combination of shrimp, smoked sausage, oysters, red potatoes, corn and lemon butter, topped with Old Bay seasoning ($24).

Cocktails: The drink menu includes boat cocktails, frozen drinks and draft cocktails. Popular cocktails include The Waterman’s Sunken Pirate —Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon, ginger, blueberry puree, basil and lemon ($13); Clement — Old Forester Bourbon, Brugal Anejo Rum, Velvet Falernum, Peychaud’s bitters and pineapple gum ($12); and the Nautical Mule — Pinnacle Vodka, ginger, blackberry, star anise and lime ($9).

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Boo Fries

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Lobster roll at The Waterman

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