Seafood encompasses so many different experiences. There’s the bite of a flaky, buttery piece of tilapia. The succulent meat of a King crab leg. The briny slurp of a raw oyster. The hot crunch of a piece of fried shrimp. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface.
If you’re in Charlotte visiting or a long-time resident, here’s a guide to some of the most beloved local seafood spots.
129 East 5th St | Charlotte, NC 28202
Sea Level is rated as one of the romantic seafood eateries in Charlotte, with a warm and lovely ambiance. They offer a combination of seafood and American cuisine accompanied by a cocktail bar. Among the more popular meals are fried oyster tacos, lobster roll, sea level oysters, corn fritters, and the Lionfish. They are well-known for their dedication to procuring wild seafood and you’ll be able to taste the difference.
2729 South Blvd Ste D | Charlotte, NC 28209
The Waterman Fish Bar is a contemporary neighborhood grill and seafood bistro with ample bar seating with unique cocktails and tasty comfort dishes. The menu features domestic, sustainably sourced products, with locally-sourced oysters. These are put together to add twists to old-time favorites and combine with Southern-inspired, classic seafood cuisine. Lobster bene and salmon avocado toast are some of the top features of the brunch menu, while shrimp po boy and the sedgefield burger are highlights of the weekday lunch menu, dubbed the Low Tide Lunch.
512 Brandywine Rd, Suite 500 | Charlotte, NC 28209
Rock Salt, a neighborhood gem, won the Diners’ Choice Award in 2017. This bistro’s main feature is its hickory-fired wood grill that provides a unique taste to the meals served. Among menu favorites are oysters Rockefeller, steamed shrimp, roasted oysters, Rappahannock oysters, grilled oysters, whole grilled fish, and ceviche. They source their clams and oysters from the proprietor Travis’s side venture, the Rappahannock River Oysters. He is zealous about oysters and is quite involved in the community in countless projects.
135 Levine Avenue of the Arts #100 | Charlotte, NC 28202
Fin & Fino is renowned for their oyster variety, with at least a dozen different oyster types at the raw bar each day. Seasonal ingredients, shellfish, and fish are all delivered daily to ensure freshness. They have a special called The Treatment, a tasting menu which comes as entrée courses – five full-sized ones. Other menu favorites include the grilled oysters, the penthouse, sunburst farms trout, scallops, seafood boil, and grilled octopus.
10020 Monroe Rd | Charlotte, NC 28270
This seafood restaurant doubles as a seafood and fresh fish retail market. It’s family-owned and is an idyllic spot to enjoy sandwiches and entrees if you’re looking for a quick bite, or you can take your time and enjoy the full dining experience. They source their fish from some of the best ports in the world. For instance, scallops are sourced from New Bedford and salmon is sourced from Scotland. The pricing is well worth the freshness. Some of the menu favorites include a grape salad with grilled jumbo shrimp, blackened swordfish sandwich accompanied with jalapeno tartar, and alligator sausage po-boy, served with creole sauce and tomatillos.
8805 University East Drive, Charlotte, NC 28213
When you come to the Harbor Inn, there’s nowhere to sleep but plenty to eat. No visit is complete without getting the broiled seafood, available with pretty much any type you can imagine, all served with your choice of side and, of course, hush puppies! You can also get the everyday special: fried tilapia, baby shrimp, and stuffed clams served with slaw and hush puppies. Or get the fried seafood platter: a fried flounder filet with deviled crab, baby shrimp, and oysters.
2501 Central Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205
If Krazy Fish seems familiar, you might have seen it on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives! If it’s good enough for Guy Fieri, it’s good enough for anybody! This place redefines what you can do with high-quality seafood. While tacos are their staple, don’t sleep on the Thai curry snapper or the mussels. Plus, they’ve got a refreshingly unique take on gumbo with slow-roasted pork, chicken, shrimp, and CACTUS (don’t ask us). If you’ve got a high heat tolerance, you’ll love the seafood diablo, containing scallops, shrimp, and mahi mahi, then drenched with sriracha, valentina, and chipotle peppers and served with some flour tortillas. Might we recommend some water with that?
101 S Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28280
At Eddie V’s, you can eat at the restaurant or relax in The V Lounge, where you can enjoy hand-crafted cocktails and enjoy signature apps while enjoying live jazz. Slurp on some fresh raw oysters or go for the shellfish tower, packed high with Maine lobster, shrimp, oysters, and jumbo lump crab. Some of their tastiest apps make the seafood the star, including kung pao calamari, yellowtail sashimi, and Maine lobster tacos. For your entree, check out the scallops, chilean sea bass, parmesan sole, or the surf and turf (Filet Oscar and South African lobster tails), or you can indulge in crab-stuffed jumbo gulf shrimp, flavored to perfection with herbs and garlic.
3022 Freedom Dr, Charlotte, NC 28208
There’s no need to travel to New Orleans for authentic Cajun cuisine when Po Boy’s is right in Charlotte! They’ve got you covered with low country shrimp boils, fried pork cracklin, and more, though you should look no further than the po boy sandwiches. They’re served on a fresh hoagie roll with your choice of meat or fish (such as soft shell crab, fried shrimp, andouille sausage, and plenty of others), topped with shaved lettuce, tomato, and choice of sauce, though you gotta go with the award-winning po boys sauce. Not only does Po Boy’s serve all your New Orleans favorites, they also have a seafood market where you can get all your favorite fresh fish, crawfish, and more for an incredibly reasonable price. Get them raw or they’ll fry it up for you. Now that’s customer service!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on July 22, 2021 and last updated on November 12 2021. Please refer to restaurant websites and social media pages for the most up-to-date information.