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Seafood in Manhattan preferably below 57th

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I am looking for restaurants I can take an out-of-town primarily vegetarian, but fish eating fellow, who will enjoy some NY energy and vibe. Its ok if they serve meat, but I'd like there to be more than just one fish option to choose from.

I want to pay $20-$35 for an entree. So far I've thought of Mermaid Inn and Shelly's Traditionale. Any thoughts on these? And please, any additional recommendations would be appreciated.

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  1. Stella Maris, on Front Street near the South Street Seaport, for really good fish and a number of choices (not just shrimp, flounder or salmon). Last week I had a great sea bass dish. Oysters on the half shell could not have been fresher. Entrees are generally in the low end of your price range.

    1. Lure Fish Bar

      1 Reply
      1. re: D...DF

        Another vote for Lure -- especially their happy hour...

      2. Le Bernadin or Fig & Olive

        1. Aquagrill has the best seafood with the best price, but if you do want a NY "scene", Lure Fishbar is not a bad choice, though food is not as good as Aquagrill.

          Mermaid Inn used to be quite good but had gone downhill. I won't bother.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kobetobiko

            Esca....

          2. If you are willing to go to the LES, Tides would be my pick.

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            Tides
            102 Norfolk St, New York, NY 10002

            1. Aquagrill

              1. For a nice twist try Pampano; great mexican that specializes in seafood, wonderful fish dishes

                1. I second Esca, 43rd Street and 9th Ave. Go after the theater crowd has departed.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Rasher

                    I'm generally a Batali defender, but OP wants "New York energy." I don't think that can be found at Esca.

                  2. I appreciate all the recommendations, I'll avoid Mermaid if its gone downhill... I know Lure, but I've never been, I thought it would be such a scene it wouldn't have good food, but maybe I'll try it.
                    Been to Esca, liked it, was the best for pre-theater I'd had in awhile.