Best Seafood in Atlanta for the Money

Finding seafood in a landlocked city can be a challenge.

Which Atlanta restaurants/retail stores serve/sell the best seafood?

Photo courtesy of the Southern Foodways Alliance via Flickr

34 thoughts on “Best Seafood in Atlanta for the Money”

  1. Much props for the Kimball House oyster menu, but (at least on my budget) only if you go before 7pm. No better way to experience at one sitting just how varied taste and texture can be as you move from north Atlantic southward, through the Gulf and up to the Pacific northwest. [Ducks head, dodges hipster derision]

    1. Best oysters i’ve ever had at Kimball House and you are right about price before 7pm…now if only happy hr oysters on the weekend…

  2. My vote goes to The Optimist. It’s not cheap, but both times we have been, we couldn’t believe how low the bill was when it came. Everything is delicious.

  3. There is a new place on DeKalb Ave near Candler Park station called Finn Direct. Will eventually be a market, but now you call ahead to order, then pick up. Sells raw fish and shellfish plus prepared dishes and meals. Not cheap, but always fresh and good quality. Here is an excerpt from email he sent yesterday.

    –we are planning a big Mardi Gras Boil Tuesday Mardi Gras Day!!! Live Blue Crabs, crawfish(on order), artichokes, new potatoes, garlic and corn on the cobb! Take it to- go or eat in at The Loft! Just like you were in New Orleans for Fat Tuesday! The pot starts boiling at 4
    Order now as we are bringing up what is ordered!
    We will try to get any and all King Cakes we can. Order now and we will try to fill orders! No guarantees on da Cakes!–
    Fresh fish and shrimp and oysters will be loaded in the truck too!-

    1. +1 for Mike at Finn Direct. Great prepared foods for those that need a quick dinner for 2 or 4- jambalaya, gumbo, stuffed flounder, smoked salmon, smoked brisket, etc. Or just fresh raw seafood from the gulf- if it doesn’t look good then he doesn’t buy it. Memberships are being offered which gives you reduced prices, ability to special order/pre-order, and its nice having a personal shopper for seafood or any Louisiana/Cajun items that are hard to find here in ATL.

      Front of the house market should be open in the next few weeks- pending ATL permitting.

  4. I had the pleasure of working with a New Orleans chef recently at Cook’s Warehouse, and she always buys her seafood at the hole in the wall place on Lawrenceville Hwy–Seafood Shack? just ITP across the street from CVS.

    1. Hmm….i wonder if that is recent or not……Southern Seafood (that you mentioned) is part of about 6 seafood markets in the ATL metro that receive their shipments from the gulf on a weekly basis. However, I’ve found their quality to be under par in the last 6 months…all of their fish comes into the market vacuum sealed and frozen. And, the shrimp has not been from the gulf in almost a hear- it’s farm raised. The normally have a good price for blue crab in season but lately their crabs have had barnacles on the outside which means they are dredging and not catching crab.

      I’ve switched back to the Farmer’s Market and now Finn Direct- but i have some seafoood allergies and have to be specific about types of fish.

      1. Regarding Gulf shrimp, or Gulf seafood in general, is anyone else concerned about lingering health issues related to the BP spill?

            1. Lyrics Only Guy, call your office …

              “Balls In Your Mouth”
              (Jimmy Fallon, feat. Eddie Vedder)

              [VERSE 1:]
              The oil spill, by BP
              Has left tar balls, all over the sea
              So don’t go swimming, down in the south
              Unless you want, tar balls in your mouth

              [CHORUS x6:]
              Balls in your mouth, balls in your mouth
              Don’t swim in the ocean you’ll get balls in your mouth

        1. I am theoretically. But have to admit that I’ve never questioned any tasty shellfish that has ended up on my plate. I guess I’m trusting the regulatory folks. (I believe that Sinclair Lewis wrote about how foolish that trust is!) If I tasted or smelled fuel in my shell fish, I probably would reject it…

          While I am blissfully ignorant of what chemicals are in my shellfish, little concentrators of pollution that they are, I do get squeamish about raw shellfish. Not only have I gotten grossed out by pictures of exotic parasites and worms but it just doesn’t feel right eating uncooked beings. They just don’t seem dead enough.

          1. “but it just doesn’t feel right eating uncooked beings. They just don’t seem dead enough.”

            They are plenty dead when they hit my tummy! I’m thinking of you, oysters, tuna, steak tartare, and many others.

        2. No. I’ve eaten gulf seafood several times after the BP spill and all was fine. I trust it much more than the tiger strip shrimp that is shipped from overseas. Much of it is raised in ponds that were made by destroying mangrove swamps. The feed is unnatural and often laced with heavy metals. They use the ponds until they fill up with shrimp poo and dead shrimp and then move on to another pond. To top it off the shrimp are collected by folks that get paid pennies.

          Most Gulf seafood actually thrived after the BP spill as the moratorium was much larger than the impacted area and impacted commercial and sport fishing. Species populations rebounded from an entire season of not being fished. In fact, there were reports that select species like the deeper water reds (shrimp) were available in numbers not seen for a decade.

        3. Hard to tell what’s really Gulf or not. It’s perfectly legal to import farm-raised shrimp from the Philippines to Tampa, rebox it and then label it “from Florida.” Fishing guides on the Fla Gulf coast will tell you those waters, at least on a commercial level, were fished out by the late ’80s, when Taiwanese companies came in and started seine-netting the baitfish. With the bottom of the food chain gone, the upper levels also collapsed. And the old mullet runs in the coastal rivers are also just a memory.

    2. It’s “Southern Seafood”, at Lawrenceville Highway and Frazier Road just inside 285.
      Fresh seafood at very reasonable prices.

  5. +1000 for Crawfish Shack. Just had the pleasure of eating at Crawfish Shack on Buford Hwy. Amazing! Feels and tastes like you are at the beach. Pretty cheap too. We will go back!

    Have heard many good things about Finn’s. Have to try that.

  6. I don’t remember the last time I ate seafood out in ATL. We either buy as fresh as we can and cook/grill at home or just wait until the next time we’re at the coast. Under 5 hours to Savannah and 6 hours to the Gulf – worth the drive. Mmm – I can taste the fresh shrimp steamed to order with extra, extra seasoning added now. Several times in earlier days we just jumped in car and headed down.

  7. LURE in Mid-town is absolutely incredible. It is not cheap, so consider it for a special event. The menu changes seasonally with whatever fish and shellfish are in season. Very good service, the most mouth-watering, flavorful scallops I have ever eaten! Great and unusual seafood appetizers…HIGHLY recommended by me! and my wife who is waiting for another ‘special’ occasion to visit. Also, nice outside patio when the weather is warmer (like yesterday, not today). Music not loud. One can hear the people you are dining with-no shouting necessary.

    1. “Music not loud. One can hear the people you are dining with-no shouting necessary.” — Who cares about the fish, this alone makes it worth considering.

  8. Finn’s is awesome! I’ve had several prepared dishes and bought some raw. Highly recommend!!

  9. We’ve really enjoyed Goin’ Coastal in the Highlands. Reasonably priced for a nice night out and delicious shrimp.

    1. I can assure you that the best seafood for the money is NOT Captain D’s. Only $4.99 but what I got was horrible from the first bite. Hand breaded flounder was a thin piece of strong tasting fish coated in thick hush puppy batter and fried. Unfortunately when I peeled the thick slab of batter off the fish it was still gummy where it was in contact with the fish. Yuck.

      Also discovered that you can improve McDonald’s filet o fish sanwdwich if you ask them to add lettuce and tomato.

      But seriously, when you are heading home from work starving at 8 pm, where can I pull in and get a decent ready made fish dinner that I don’t have to go home and cook? I love the fish sandwich at Harbour House Pub or Harbour Bar and Grill near Twains, but with fries and slaw I think it ran me about $16-$18.

      Anyplace else or do I make the trek to Northlake to see what Red Lobster has?

      1. I’m sorry, but you lost me at “you can improve McDonald’s filet o fish sandwich.”

        And by “you lost me”, I mean I threw up on my keyboard.

      2. “I can assure you that the best seafood for the money is NOT Captain D’s.”

        Who’d have thunk it?

  10. I’d lay odds you didn’t get any “flounder” at Captain D’s. I don’t know which way you head home from work, but if you pass a Three Dollar Cafe, they have a pretty decent “grouper” sandwich (at least the one near Chamblee-Tucker and I-285 does). It’s a huge piece of fish, enough for two people maybe, and with a side I think it’s 9 or 10 bucks.
    People rave about Crawfish Shack on Buford Hwy., but both times I tried to go there the line was longer than I was willing to wait on.

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