The 12 Best Seafood Restaurants & Food Trucks In Austin - Austin - The Infatuation (2024)

As excited as Austinites get about boat rentals and paddleboarding, Town Lake is not an ocean. And despite all the swimming, Austin is not a coastal city. But thanks to technology, transportation, and something called refrigeration, we have access to great seafood from just about every body of water there is. The next time you feel like diving into a mound of Sinaloan-style ceviche or demolishing a seafood tower with your pinky raised, visit these spots.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Richard Casteel

8.3

Quality Seafood

Seafood

North Loop

$$$$

Perfect For:

Casual DinnersCheap EatsDining SoloLunch

Quality Seafood is half market and half restaurant, anchored by a bar that runs down the middle of the store. Portions are plentiful and the seafood is as fresh as you’ll find in Austin, short of whatever might be swimming around in Town Lake. Grab a dozen oysters and some peel-and-eat shrimp, then get any of the fried seafood baskets—we like the Go Fish since you can choose any three options.

photo credit: Richard Casteel

8.5

El Marisquero Seafood

Mexican

East Austin

$$$$Perfect For:BYOBLunchOutdoor SeatingOutdoor/Patio Situation

El Marisquero is home to the best aguachiles in town, and that alone should be reason enough to visit this small seafood trailer in South Austin. But if you decide to venture past the red and green versions of the truck’s best dish, there’s also a large menu of ceviches, oysters, whole fried fish, and a half pineapple filled with grilled shrimp, octopus, and cheese. Bring a group and order as much as you can—this is a place where everybody will leave with a new personal favorite and plenty of leftovers.

photo credit: Richard Casteel

8.5

Clark's Oyster Bar

Seafood

Clarksville

$$$$Perfect For:BirthdaysDay DrinkingDinner with the ParentsFirst DatesHappy HoursOutdoor/Patio Situation

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Here’s the de facto answer to the question “Where should I eat oysters and sip martinis in Austin?” Clark’s has earned that reputation by offering excellent versions of both. The cozy dining room feels very New England, but when the weather is nice, there’s no better place to be than on the large patio covered in pastel-yellow umbrellas that provide shade, ambiance, and a feeling of coastal elitism. A meal here isn’t cheap, and because reservations book out weeks in advance, it’s not really one that you casually walk into.

photo credit: Richard Casteel

8.7

Este

Mexican

East Austin

$$$$Perfect For:Drinking Great co*cktailsDate NightsOutdoor/Patio Situation

It’s easy to forget you’re on a relatively quiet stretch of Manor Road when you step through the doors at Este, a Mexican seafood restaurant that feels plucked out of a small town in Baja California. It’s the type of place appropriate for big floppy hats and white linen pants. Prioritize the raw menu—especially the top neck clams swimming in a fiery pool of habanero pico and chile oil—but save room for excellent fish tacos and the butterflied and grilled fish. And try not to spill anything on your fancy pants.

photo credit: Richard Casteel

8.3

Huckleberry

Seafood

South Austin

$$$$Perfect For:Dining SoloLunchOutdoor/Patio Situation

It might come as a surprise that a trailer on the patio of a South Austin whiskey distillery serves the best fried Gulf seafood in the city. But that’s part of what makes Austin’s food-truck scene exciting. Fish and shrimp are the centerpieces at Huckleberry, and you’ll find both sandwiched between buttery toasted buns or piled on a bed of crispy fries. Get the sandwich if it’s your first time here and pair it with a co*cktail from the bar inside.

photo credit: Holly Dirks

8.3

Ceviche Love

Mexican

South Austin

$$$$Perfect For:LunchOutdoor SeatingOutdoor/Patio SituationDining SoloCasual Dinners

Ceviche Love is located near the Circuit of the Americas track, meaning that anyone who lives in South, Central, or North Austin is probably not going to pass this trailer on their way home from work. It’s worth the detour. The Sinaloan-style ceviche is bright, tart, and packed full of fresh seafood, and it works especially well when added to an order of freshly shucked oysters. Show up for the oysters preparados, but you can’t go wrong with shrimp co*cktail, aguachiles, and excellent fish tacos.

photo credit: Holly Dirks

8.0

Cajun

South Lamar

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Dinners

Take a quick glance at Deckhand’s menu and you’ll see popcorn shrimp, oysters on the half shell, and boudin sausage. Keep looking, and suddenly there’s chicken satay, green curry soup, and thom ka gai. It’s part Thai restaurant and part seafood joint, and it does a great job on both fronts. The concepts don’t overlap a ton—it feels more like two different restaurants that share a roof and a kitchen, though a few dishes, like a whole fried pompano topped with spicy Thai basil sauce, blend Deckhand’s two personalities.

photo credit: Richard Casteel

8.4

Seafood

South Congress

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsBrunchDate NightsDinner with the ParentsFirst DatesOutdoor/Patio Situation

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This is one of the more popular seafood restaurants in town, and they’ve got a reservation list (and the prices) to prove it. Lucky for you, the buzzy patio is walk-in only—it’s where you want to be when the weather is nice. Pull up a chair and order a dozen oysters from some tiny port town in New England, but don’t miss out on the crispy skin rockfish or grilled octopus. There’s a lot of overlap between the menu at Perla’s and its sister restaurant, Clark’s. So much, that we wouldn’t be surprised if the restaurants were connected by a tunnel under Town Lake where servers race back and forth with icy trays of New England oysters and chilled buckets of champagne. But when both spots book up as quickly as these do, just be glad to have twice as many chances to snag a table.

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

7.9

Bill’s Oyster

Seafood

Downtown Austin

$$$$Perfect For:Happy Hours

You can probably guess the specialty at Bill’s Oyster on W. 3rd Street. Outside of the obvious, there’s a small raw-bar menu, two seafood towers, three types of caviar, and a few hot plates like crab cakes and fried grouper fingers. It sits somewhere between a fancy Downtown restaurant and an after-work hangout. Despite all the deluxe seafood and prices that match the neighborhood’s extravagant rent, it’s a fairly casual experience. But when you’re in the area and in desperate need of something cold, refreshing, and briney, it’s one of the best options.

photo credit: Richard Casteel

7.3

Garbo's

Seafood

North Austin

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Dinners

Garbo’s might be most famous for lobster rolls, but they’re not the main reason to come here. It’s for everything else seafood— East Coast oysters, massive fried shrimp, and smoked fish dip with grilled bread. That said, the lobster rolls are good, but portions can be a little too inconsistent for a $30+ sandwich. Grab some fried shrimp or a blackened fish sandwich, then find a table on the cute, shaded patio that feels very Texas-meets-New England.

photo credit: Richard Casteel

8.2

Turf N' Surf

Bar Food

Downtown Austin

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsWatching SportsCasual Dinners

The “surf” side of the menu here is extensive, with 13 different seafood options, all of which can be fried, grilled, or blackened and prepared as po’boys, tacos, or salads. The end result is over 100 different ways to enjoy a meal—and that’s without even getting to the “turf” side of things. Despite being located in the back of a sports bar Downtown, this is the type of place that lists most of the fish at “market price,” which often translates to “whoa, that was a little more than I was expecting.” But when everything is fresh and wild-caught from the gulf, we’re OK spending a few extra dollars.

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

7.9

Plank Seafood Provisions

Seafood

The Domain

$$$$Perfect For:Casual DinnersFirst Dates

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This large, nautical-themed seafood restaurant and oyster bar sits on a busy shopping corner of The Domain. There are four different seafood tower options, allowing you to determine exactly how much you’d like to ball out, and in what capacity. For something less swanky, try the salads, soups, grilled seafood, and pastas. Start with dressed oysters—we like the ones with jalapeño shoyu and smoked trout roe when they’re available—then get the squid ink linguini with sea scallops or a big slab of fish that’s been grilled and finished with lemon.

The 12 Best Seafood Restaurants & Food Trucks In Austin - Austin - The Infatuation (2024)

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