Chefs' Picks: All-Time Favorite Seafood Shacks

Chefs share their picks for the best spots to feast on lobster, clam chowder, oysters and other seafood in the summertime.

Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.

Seafood and summer go together like shrimp and Old Bay. And the pros know that consuming this seasonal staple in a simple beachside hut, preferably with a salty ocean breeze swirling through, makes the experience all the more enjoyable. From Brooklyn to Malibu, we’ve got the skinny on chefs’ favorite seafood shacks across the country.

Lobster Rolls

While Chef Brendan Cahill of Bar Frances in New Orleans was living in New York, he sought out the flavors of Maine, without the traffic of I-95. His all-time-favorite seafood joint is the original, flagship location of Red Hook Lobster Pound in Brooklyn.

When he resided in the borough, Cahill lived right around the corner from the lobster-centric spot, which made it easy for him to satiate his seafood cravings on the regular. “The Maine Lobster Roll is probably the best I’ve ever had, outside of Maine. …You just can’t go wrong here,” Cahill says. “It’s the real deal!”

Clam Chowder and Pacific Northwest Oysters

Hell’s Kitchen alum Chef Josh Wahler (formerly of Estiatorio Milos, Nobu and NYC’s Spice Market and Gramercy Tavern) doesn’t mind waiting in line — with a glass of bubbly — while watching diners indulge in clams, mussels, oysters and fresh, seasonal fare at Hog Island Oyster Co. at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. He and his wife like to sit at the raw bar, surrounded by Pacific Northwest oysters and other stunning seafood specials on the display.

Wahler’s pro tip? Opt for the clam chowder. “As great as the quality of the raw bar, specials and local seafood, there is not a clam chowder that beats this one,” says Wahler. “It’s about as seductive and sexy as clam chowder can get, with the fantastic clams, smooth herbs, smoky bacon and light cream base.”

Seafood Platters

When Chef Andrew Pastore of Clifton’s in Los Angeles wants to enjoy a restorative Pacific breeze paired with fantastic platters of lobster, clams and shrimp, he heads up the coast to Neptune’s Net in Malibu, Calif. Even the scenic route adds to the allure of a Neptune’s dining adventure: Pastore explains that he enjoys the spot “for the seafood but also because of the amazing rides on my Harley I had getting there.”

Grilled Oysters

Chef Lisa Giffen (formerly of Maison Premiere and Sauvage) is no stranger to the sea. Her favorite laid-back spot in the States is The Marshall Store off Tomales Bay, California. “They have a great selection of grilled oysters, fresh shucked, and other seafood like Dungeness crab … and the view is breathtaking,” Giffen says.

Interested in going on your own culinary adventures? Check out our city guides and great eats across the country:

Photos courtesy of Red Hook Lobster Pound, Ed-Anderson-Photography, Clifton’s and The Marshall Store

Keep Reading

Next Up

Chefs’ Picks: Favorite Movie Treats

When it comes time to watch the action unfold on the movie screen, even chefs who spend their days making masterful dishes prefer to cozy up with low-fuss snacks.

Chefs' Picks: Favorite Thanksgiving Sides

A few chefs from across the country share their favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, and the picks include a jazzed-up gravy and two ways to update seasonal sweet potatoes.

Chefs’ Picks: Favorite Big-Game Snacks

Five chefs from across the country share their must-have Super Bowl snacks.

Chefs' Picks: Thanksgiving Pie

We asked pastry chefs across the country to share recipes for the Thanksgiving pies they're baking for their own holiday table.

Chefs' Picks: Family Meal

The pros share their best dishes for breaking bread together before the shift begins.

Chefs’ Picks: Secret Indulgences

Even chefs have special comfort foods that are kind of unhealthy and possibly somewhat embarrassing for them to admit they eat. Find out which secret indulgences some chefs can’t resist.

Chefs’ Picks: Regional Dishes

Chefs give Food Network the inside story on their favorite regional specialties from across the country. We're talking barbecue, tacos and more.

Chefs' Picks: Chinese Takeout

For those who plan to uphold the Christmas tradition of ordering Chinese food, take a lead from these chefs who’ve shared their preferred takeout plates.