It's easy to forget sometimes that, besides The Bronx, the majority of the New York City boroughs are islands. In fact, it is situated along one of the largest natural harbors making it great not only for trade but for fresh seafood as well.
Whether you're looking to shuck some oysters or enjoy a white tablecloth experience there's definitely no shortage of options.
Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co
114 Nassau Avenue, Brooklyn
You can't get much fresher fish unless you catch and clean it yourself. Greenpoint Fish & Lobster gets in fresh fish daily and serves everything to order so you get the best experience possible. In order to accentuate that fresh fish taste, they are generally light on seasoning and batter so customers can truly enjoy the taste of the sea.
While lobster might be part of the restaurant name, they also offer oysters, sea urchin and clams. The menu changes based on the daily catch so while the menu might not change the flavor will based on what seafood they have available.
Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant
89 East 42nd Street
This local mainstay has been around since 1913, so you know they're doing something right. The wood paneled walls and vaulted ceiling gives it the appearance of formality.
Luckily, looks can be deceiving as this is a fairly casual place to knock back a dozen or so oysters. There are many different types of oysters to choose from, but if it's your first time make sure to ask one of the knowledgeable servers or bartenders for advice. Or try out the medley platter for a taste of everything in the raw bar.
Clemente's Maryland Crab House
3939 Emmons Avenue, Brooklyn
Situated right on the water, you can enjoy the ocean breeze while eating some delicious seafood. If you don't want to travel the 4 hours down to Maryland, the next best place to get yourself some freshly boiled blue crabs and meaty crabcakes is Clemente's. You can choose from the traditional Maryland seasoning of Old Bay or for simple oil and garlic.
Either way you choose, you'll definitely be licking your fingers. As with the traditional crab houses in Maryland, you'll need to crack open the shell of the blue crabs by hand. It gets messy so you'll want to wear clothes you don't mind getting dirty. This is also a cash only place so make sure you pull some out before you make the visit. If you really want to stuff yourself, go there on Monday and Tuesday for an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Pier 25, Hudson River Park
If you want some stellar views while sipping on cocktails and downing oysters, you can't go wrong with Grand Banks. Not only do you get stunning views of downtown Manhattan, you're also eating aboard a boat – the Sherman Zwicker schooner to be exact. As you might expect, the restaurant is only open during the warmer season. It generally opens in May and closes around September. Since the time frame to visit is so small, you'll definitely have to wait if you want a seat at this seafood joint.
It's worth the wait though. The seafood is incredibly fresh and makes you believe they reeled in the fish just a few minutes ago off the side of the boat. Since this is a boat, you'll have to keep in mind it will rock back and forth so it might not be the best option for those with motion sickness.
240 Central Park South
When many people hear Italian, they automatically imagine pasta and pizza. There's a lot more to Italian cuisine than that. Most of the country is surrounded by water, so it should come as no surprise Italians are experts at cooking seafood. Marea, Italian for tide, offers a glimpse into what the Italian coast offers. While there certainly is pasta on the menu, the flavors are more refined and fine-tuned to complement the more delicate seafood flavors. With such melt-in-your-mouth delicious food it's no surprise that it has earned a Michelin rating of 2 stars.
Russ & Daughters
179 East Houston Street 240 Central Park South
This little unassuming shop has been around since 1914 serving up lox, herring and bagels since 1914. You can also partake in some delicious latkes if you prefer, but the highlight here are the bagel sandwiches.
The deli guys definitely don't skimp on the fixings for your bagel, whatever you decide to order. Since this is a grocery store ordering can be a bit confusing. Simply take a ticket and when they all your number go up to order and wait with watering mouth until they've made your sandwich. This is a very popular spot so no matter what time you go, you'll definitely be in for a wait.