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Freshest Seafood in Dallas?

Hey everyone,

My dad is coming in town for my graduation next weekend and he is a seafood vegetarian (who lives in Florida and has fresh all the time). We are looking for a great restaurant to celebrate graduation and that will be up to his standards. We will be in business casual attire, price isn't a factor and for location all of DFW would work, with a focus on Dallas and Plano area.. I have been to several of the fine dining establishments in Dallas but I wanted to go somewhere with a focus on fresh fish that is flown in daily. I am not opposed to going to a steakhouse that also has great seafood, just as long as there are several items that would work for him. I have looked into Roy's (which I loved in Austin), Oceanaire, and Chamberlains Fish Market. Any thoughts on these or other suggestions??

I appreciate your time and suggestions!

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  1. Oceanaire is very good, and I don't really enjoy seafood. They have a menu that lists whatever fish is freshly obtained that day and have a wide selection of oysters. I've had oysters, kampachi, salmon, tuna, arctic char, and a couple other fish there and don't have anything negative to say about any. Oh, the cioppino was a bit salty. The fish comes alone in an entree - all sides are ordered separately - and they'll cook to order. I've read their crab cakes are terrific.

    From what I've read Chamberlains is great as well. I've only had their fish tacos which were good.

    1. Really fresh seafood is tough to find in Dallas. This isn't Boston! Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the only days I would eat seafood in any Dallas restaurant.
      However, I concur with amokscience regarding Oceanaire. It's (IMHO) the best in Dallas. And, the best crab cakes anywhere!
      Haven't eaten at Chamberlain's but they have an excellent reputation for very good food.

      1. I've only been to thier happy hour, so haven't eaten any of their entrees, but I think Coast in the Shops of Legacy would be worth consideration.


        1. I think you'd enjoy this place. They take reservations and you get to dine amongst the well heeled.

          Cafe Pacific
          24 Highland Park Village
          Dallas, Texas 75205
          (214) 526-1170

          Cafe Pacific
          24 Highland Park Vlg, Dallas, TX 75205

          5 Replies
          1. re: Scagnetti

            I think the Cafe Pacific would be a good celebration place that the parentals would like, however, CP has gone in the tank a little since Jean Pierre left several months ago. Agreed with Oceanaire. Best and freshest seafood in town. Not terribly inventive cooking, but simple, straightforward and fresh. Agree with Twinwillow that they have the best crab cakes anywhere, not just Dallas. Never had a better one. I also like Chamberlin's. It too would be a good celebration place as they have a backroom with about 6 tables that is quiet. (we eat there every Christmas Eve). Best Gumbo in town IMO. Fish is flown in daily. Never had a bad meal there. If pops wants something transcending......Crab Cake at Oceanaire would be my call.

            Cafe Pacific
            24 Highland Park Vlg, Dallas, TX 75205

            1. re: J.R.

              you're putting a lot of pressure on oceanaire saying it's the best crab cake anywhere ;). Having moved from the MD blue crab area, feel like I should give it a whirl, tho I am a HUGE crab cake snob (atleast I can admit it!). We'll see....

              1. re: pgwiz1

                well, that's the problem with people who claim "the best" anything, anywhere. The only way to make that proclamation hold any meaning is to have tried them all, everywhere - at least a few times. In my view, such comments do nothing but undermine the credibility of the commenter (nothing personal to J.R., who at least qualified the statement with "Never had a better one" - a statement of personal experience). Except, of course when they have tried everything everywhere... like BBQ Snob's article on BBQ in the DFW area. He has tried it all, many times, and I'm happy to hear what he considers the best, and why.

                While I'm on the topic, saying that something is "the best" with no description of why it deserves that title is equally useless. What are the properties that you like in a crab cake? How (and where) are the others deficient? Is the example you're citing perfect in your eyes, or is there still room for improvement? Crabcakes: little to no binding agent? Large lumps of meat? Nice seasonings/vegetables added in, or do you prefer it plain? Fresh tasting crab? A particular type of crab (blue, snow, king) that you prefer? Nice crust on the outside of the cake? Or uniformly tender? Or did you just enjoy the sauce they served it with? And probably a million other things that might occur to you, and not to me.

                it would be nice to see more description and less opinion on this board. Opinion has a place too, but the supporting details are what make it interesting (for me).

                1. re: gavlist

                  You probably saw my crab cake report recently, and I hope I covered all the criteria you mention, gavlist. It can be a fun yet difficult task to tear into a single product and label it 'bes't. Then as sure as you do, a better version waltz's in (making it even more difficult).

                  But as far as comparing something like a crab cake to one found on coastal waters that is known for their fresh crab is problematic at best. I think we can just settle for 'best in area' for these items.

                  But I totally agree! Devil in the detail.

                  1. re: DallasDude

                    that's the beauty of Toque to Toque... the playing field is well defined. Two contenders, one winner, with details to support the argument. Imagine if you wrote the piece and never gave any reasons for your opinion? No one would take you seriously (and you might not get paid :).

                    For chowhound, blogs, boards, etc. I don't care that everyone covers all possible criteria... just at least say what it is that you, personally, find appealing (or unappealing) so that we all have a frame of reference and a way to assess how your experience will translate into our experience.

          2. After the D Magazine Supper Club dinner at Sevy's last week, I'd have to recommend them. The dinner was attended by the restaurant's seafood suppliers who explained how the fish gets from the water to the table in 48 hours.

            1. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions! I think I am stuck between Chaimberlains Fish Market and Oceanaire... leaning more toward Oceanaire.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nomnomTX85

                I would go with Oceanaire. I've been to Chamberlain's and I know I'm in the minority when I say I wasn't that impressed.

              2. I have been to all of them and I agree with Oceanaire. I think it is an easy decision.

                Cafe Pacific is good but can be a bit pretentious and the menu is rather small. I prefer the atmosphere at Oceanaire.

                Cafe Pacific
                24 Highland Park Vlg, Dallas, TX 75205

                1. Was at Truluck's last night and tried basically everything they have. Pretty damned amazing. Seafood Tower for sure. They have they own fisheries for their stone crabs, and they are flown in daily.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: DallasDude

                    I love Trulucks, good suggestion. I wanted to go someplace I haven't been, so sounds like Oceanaire it is!

                    1. re: nomnomTX85

                      You won't be dissapointed. Attached find a few archive pics of mine concerning Oceanaire. Crabcake and chef Aaron Valimont.

                      1. re: DallasDude

                        I have posted on this Board before that an Oceanaire crabcake, salt and vinegar fries, and a glass of vino is damn near the perfect Dallas lunch. I would stick with those and the oysters and the fresh fish simply prepared. Most of the "specialties" and "classics" don't work too well in my opinion.


                        1. re: bhoward

                          I can't say can disagree with that assertion. Been know do just that on a Friday at the bar for lunch.

                  2. Personally, I find Truluck's very expensive and their service somewhat condescending. But, if you do go there, better hurry. The stone crab season ends May 15th.

                    And although I wouldn't discount Chamberlain's by any account,
                    I would still recommend Oceanaire. The dining room has a "special event" feel to it. And, service is nonpareil!

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: twinwillow

                      The seafood items at Trulucks are impeccably fresh and prepared. I have frequented the place off and on for many years and never found the service to be snooty. Probably just the opposite. The beef they use is Niman Ranch, so thats a given as incredible.

                      When the stone crab season in Florida dissapates, they gather crabs from another location. I believe South American waters. Not as luxurious since the waters are warmer, but they still have a supply.

                      pic is Seafood Tower and the sea bass from Trulucks.

                      1. re: DallasDude

                        Every year, my husband and I go to Trulucks during stone crab season. The stone crabs are consistently terrific, but the sides are consistently poor. A little disappointing, given the high prices. We'll keep going, though, because no one outshines them when it comes to stone crab!

                        1. re: flomogal

                          let me say this as someone who knows what vendors serve what restaurants: neighborhood services, oceanaire, the mansion, sevy's, fearings all utilized great vendors. that is not to say this is an exclusive list (i'm sure stephen pyles has fantastic seafood vendors, but i don't know who), but i know for a fact that they order good stuff from great vendors. D mags cover story this week has great info on this subject.

                          1. re: JonFromTJs

                            That is one reason NS fish and chips is the best in Dallas hands down. All the fish he uses is fresh as can be.

                            1. re: OCNC

                              yep yep. i've seen nick's seafood, we stored it when power outages occurred over valentines. he gets the best. he had some Boston Sword in there i wanted to steal!

                              again, this isn't to say someone i didn't mention doesn't. i'm sure york street uses amazing vendors. just reporting what personallyi know to be true.

                              1. re: JonFromTJs

                                NST uses a fish cheek for their fish and chips. Cheeky.