The summer season means indulging in seafood favorites. With a close proximity to the Jersey Shore and Atlantic Coast, Philadelphia restaurants serve up fresh, delicious fish and shellfish. Follow our guide to some of the best spots in town.
The folks over at Oyster House (1516 Sansom St., 215.567.7683) know a thing or two about the oh-so-summery seafood delicacy. They’ve been shucking them for over 60 years after all. Take a seat at their signature raw bar and order up fleshy local oysters, like the New Jersey Cape May salts, briny ones from further north like Long Island Sound’s sense Naked Cowboys, or Virginia’s Chincoteague’s from down South. The “buck-a-shuck” happy house, offered Monday through Saturday, can’t be beat.
Dig into Shrimp and Crab Louie for starters at Stephen Starr’s ritzy Butcher & Singer (1500 Walnut St., 215.732.4444) before savoring the roasted halibut with truffled corn and fresh raw selections. For plump, West Coast oysters and a bouillabaisse to die for, grab a table al fresco at Parc (227 S. 18th St., 215.545.2262) in Rittenhouse.
At Ocean Prime (124 S. 15th St., 215.563.0163), the high-ceilinged steak salon gains speed on its seafood menu with its zesty colossal shrimp sauté’ with Tabasco cream sauce, a dynamic “Prime Feature” of full bodied sea scallops, parmesan risotto, English Peas and the dramatic smoking shellfish tower.
Whether it’s his flagship namesake BYOB in Queen Village (795 S 3rd St, 215.625.0556) or his Northern Liberties nosherie (944 N. 2nd St, 215.592.4550), Dmitri Chimes does one seafood thing better than anywhere else in Philly: his tender, oil-and-wine marinated, Greek-inspired grilled octopus appetizer. Also on the menu: sauté mussels, steamed clams, fried smelts and shrimp scampi.
For a fresh take on seafood, go no further than Chef Johncarl Lachman’s Norwegian standout Noord (1046 Tasker St, 267.909.9704) in East Passyunk. Bite into open-face, house-smoked fish sandwiches (changes daily), herring, cucumber and pickled onion sliders, or Snert, beer-battered whitefish with bacon.
A visit to Morimoto (723 Chestnut St., 215.413.9070) is a must for curious “Iron Chef “aficionados. Masaharu Morimoto’s Old City outpost is noted for pricey rarities such as its fugu (blowfish), but its additional sushi and sashimi plates are exquisite. Toro Tartare with caviar and fresh wasabi is a most desirable starter, and the slow, stewed, seafood Toban Yaki with sweet prawns and king crab, shows off this eatery’s culinary talent beautifully.
Now that Fork’s Eli Kulp has taken over the kitchen at a. kitchen and its smaller a.bar, the chef, recently named one of Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs for 2014, has focused the a.bar’s (135 S. 18th St., 215.825.7035) menu on its happy hour program with a diverse oyster selection (from the creamy to the robust) and globally-inspired crudos, snacks and plates, including hearty Maine lobster rolls with uni mayo, soft-shelled shrimp, and whole grilled bronzino.