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Best Casual Seafood/Fish restaurant

Whats the best Manhattan has to offer for American seafood & fish cuisine?

I am looking for a friendly restaurant, possibly family owned, aimed at casual, informal lunch or dinner experience with home-made cooking.

I am NOT looking for French-influenced or Asia-fusion cooking. I only have time for 1 visit. I cannot go outside Manhattan (not enough time nor energy :-).

Thanks a lot for tips.

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  1. MARY'S FISH CAMP! I love this place which is on W. 4th. Best lobster rolls. Downside is that the waiting time is so long, but it's well worth the wait.

    1. lol...hoon beat me to it. i second marys, but i just wish it wasnt such a tiny place. show up early or be prepared to wait a bit =\

      1. I was going to say the same thing...... Mary's Fish Camp!

        1. Me too~Mary's Fish Camp! It's worth the wait.

              1. re: kiworan79

                2nd. and blt fish,mermaid inn and mary's fish camp... all!

              2. wow, all the same seafood recommendations.

                try fresh in tribeca...very underrated and fantasticly fresh and prepared seafood.

                1. Have you been recently, at least since the chef left to start Klee in Chelsea? When he was there, I wouldn't have called it "casual"; certainly "friendly" enough, but not the same type of place as Pearl, Mary's, et al. Perhaps the new chef has changed everything around? Anybody know? (they do have that "1000 point bonus" thing going on OpenTable.com.)

                  1. Agree the Pearl beats Mary's in service. Food is about the same.

                    Mermaid Inn is great too if you want to avoid the crowd and long line at Pearl. The selection is slightly smaller though.

                    1. Mary's usually does have a wait, but they will take your cell phone number so you can get a drink down the street. I love places that do this! I think Mermaid does this also, but I am not 100 percent.

                      1. I've never been to Mary's, so I'll stay out of the Pearl vs. Mary's debate, but I do love the Pearl. It's one of my favorite places in the city.

                        1. If you like a slightly pricier option, BLT Fish (the upstairs restaurant) has great, fresh seafood with your choice of preparations and great service. Make a reservation, though. I wasn't a huge fan of the downstairs Fish Shack (the more casual part).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: outside25

                            Slightly pricier? I enjoyed my one visit to BLT Fish (upstairs) too, but it was a lot more expensive than "slightly pricier."

                          2. Totally agree that you should go to either Pearl or Mary's. They both sound like exactly what you're looking for, and you can't go wrong with either one.

                            Some posters have also posted some great alternatives, but it sounds to me like you're in town for a short time and want to try a "consensus" type place. Pearl's and Mary's fit that bill. Plus, they are both in the West Village, which is a great walk-around area for a visitor.

                            1. I like Aquagrill, best oyster selection in town (kumamotos are great), place is casual, fish is always reliably fresh. I've been many times and we are eating there again tomorrow night. Try them, you'll like it.

                              1. I second Aquagrill for awesome fish and oysters, but the more casual Mermaid Inn and Mary's Fish Camp are also great.

                                1. All of these are great ideas, may I offer FISH on Bleecker, next to John's and close to Cones (so see around Cornelia just E. of Seventh Ave.)? will take reservations. nice casual service. many things on menu- simple to less simple, casual, small not so small as I hear Tides is.