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Where is the best no frills Seafood in all of Florida?

I am looking for the best non-touristy seafood restaurant in all of Florida.

I am from central Florida but am looking to take a day trip in search of some of the best seafood in the state. I am looking for a place that is filled with locals eating fresh and tasty seafood. Sadly I don't know of any of these types of places aside from JB's fish camp in New Symerna Beach. I'm looking for something new, fun, tasty, and not crazy expensive. Anyone here have a favorite place to recommend?

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  1. I like all my seafood with frills, so I couldn't tell ya. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: askdrtodd

      Try The Fish Shack in Pompano Beach Fl. You cant go wrong. Its the best little seafood restaurant that I have ever been to. Simply put it is fantastic.. Tim Hoholik.

    2. Have you tried Down the Hatch on Ponce Inlet? I love their smoked fish dip and broiled combo platter.


      Down the Hatch
      8010 49th Ave N, Saint Petersburg, FL 33709

      1. Hunt's Oyster Bar in Panama City- not Panama City Beach, but Panama City. Unfortunately with the current situation in the Gulf, who knows how long they will be around- we will be going there later this week, so I will let you know!

        4 Replies
        1. re: Clarkafella

          I've never been a big fan of Hunts, but I do recommend Cato's which is a just a little seafood market on Hwy 231 right before you get into town. Basically point to the stuff in the case and they'll cook it up for you and you can sit at one of the handful of tables they have inside or a picnic table outside. I'm headed back over this weekend and also very worried about how all these little places are going to fare.

          1. re: flgrl

            Ate at Hunt's tonight- not sure why you aren't impressed unless you don't like oysters. Here it is- mid-July, and it was still fantastic!

            1. re: flgrl

              I have to agree with you flgrl. We've lived in PCB for 4 years and up until last year everyone kept saying how we HAD to try Hunts. Well, we tried and I was really not happy. Maybe we just went on an off night, but I don't really want to waste the money to try again. The oysters had a wonderful texture but were absolutely tasteless - it was really weird. The entrees we got were also less than impressive. It was such a bummer because I had really high expectations! I prefer Dusty's for oysters - hole in the wall but the oysters are always great.

              1. re: kris20871

                Bayou on the beach PCB. Oysters, crawfish, royal red shrimp. Give them a try.

          2. I like Charlies Fish House on U.S. 19 in Crystal River. Good fresh seafood and not fancy.

            1 Reply
            1. re: fdobbs1

              Charlies Fish House is good for fish, if you like Mrs. Pauls or Gortons. Nothing was fresh, the deep fry was greasy, and the portions were tiny. Never again.

            2. PJ's on Indian Rocks Beach just off of indian rocks road, best prices they are also on St. Pete Beach but indian rocks road is the better one, not a classy joint but the food is to die for. great prices, come early by 5pm that place its nuts. so eat early then you can drive south to just past 694 towards Seminole to the Candy Corner for a big Ice cream cone with some sprinkles and some Violets candies, do you all remember them? Yummy and Sen Sen and the Violets gum!!

              1. Check out Lee & Ricks Oyster Bar in Orlando - it's a family owned no frills oyster bar, been here over 50 years and still in the same family. They've got a huge concrete bar, you sit at the bar and they shuck the oysters right in front of you, throw all the garbage right back on the bar and they throw it down the hatch. Can't beat the prices, atmosphere or shuckers!!! Great time!

                3 Replies
                1. re: VWRobin

                  I was going to recommend Lee & Ricks. It's the best oyster dive of all. They have their own beds in apalachicola.

                  1. re: VWRobin

                    we went there last wednesday, 7/6/2010, they were low on oysters, they still have shipments coming in but not that day. We went to victorio's(?) instead.
                    Lee and Rick's is the best oyster dive and the shuckers are great, esp. brian and skeeter(?) not sure of spelling ;)

                    1. re: VWRobin

                      Great choice - agree (tho there is always a slight smell of Clorox it seems)

                    2. Nothing fancy, but good fish always cooked just right at Pep's on Federal Hwy just North of Indiantown Rd in Jupiter, FL. :-)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: gatorjwade

                        To me, one of the best is the Keys Fisheries Restaurant/market on Marathon Key. I dream of that place.

                        1. re: Old E.

                          My favorite place during stone crab season, not bad rest of year either. Can't beat the atmosphere, prices and quality.

                      2. My vote for best Florida fish with the fewest frills is Star Fish in Cortez Village. Google and check their website. You will share picnic tables on the docks with new friends and pelicans. The minimalist cardboard boxes belie the succulent contents: grouper, pompano, fried oysters, scallops, shrimp, stone crab in season. Enjoy a cup of fish chowder and a cold beer while they prepare your order.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Veggo

                          Starfish is excellent too. Good call.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            My sister and I just ate at Star Fish in Cortez two Saturday's ago. Our original plan was cortez kitchen, but it was 11:30 and they were not open yet, so we went over to Star Fish. Both of us like our fish sandwiches the same way so we both ordered grouper san, lightly blackened, with american cheese. First we were impressed that the whole place is outside on the water, second, you always know your food is going to be good when you have to order it from a home made plywood bar/counter and pay immediately and third, we loved it when our food came out in the shrimp boxes. But the best part was the sandwich itself. By far the best fish sandwich I have ever had. From the lightly grilled bun to the perfectly cooked moist flavorful grouper, it was for us, "The Perfect Grouper Sandwich."
                            Sadly,t the following Saturday we ended up going to Cortez Kitchen (we live in Sarasota) for a late lunch with a couple of other people, ordered the exact same thing and it just didn't even come close to Star Fish. CK used to be our favorite fish sand place, but it is sorely lacking the charm that it used to have. And we were nickle and dimed to death for cheese, sauces and even to get our fish as a sandwich.

                            1. re: ellimac13

                              I 100% agree......
                              Cortez Kitchen was my favorite.... Now I won't go there.... Star Fish is the King of Cortez.....

                          2. Also in the panhandle, there's Nick's on Hwy 20 about midway between Freeport and Niceville. The sides are average, but the fish & seafood themselves are most excellent. Frills consist of average taxidermy over in the bar area.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: beachmouse

                              Starfish is the last of the oldtime Florida seafood shacks. Located next door to A.P. Bell Fish Company, and behind the retail fish store on the dock, (same ownership), Karen Bell buys fresh fish from a fleet of about 45 commercial boats., So the fish and shrimp is all from the fish house, fresh and very tasty. Smoked mullet too. The largest Stone Crab Claws you have ever seen, (in season only) are a treat albeit $$$$. This is a little known treasure.

                              The Fish Company
                              725 Atlantic Blvd Ste 12, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233

                              Crab Claw
                              1313 W Boynton Beach Blvd, Boynton Beach, FL 33426

                              1. re: ospreycove

                                2 quick points: the resto link that popped up is not Star Fish, and A.P. Bell retails stone crab claws for usually $4/ lb less than next door at Star - just watch for the forklifts zooming around.

                            2. Try Walt'z Fish Shack in Madeira Beach. It's surrounded by tourist traps in John's Pass Village, but it's what you say you are looking for - fresh, simply prepared seafood favored by locals, served in a converted cottage painted Caribbean colors. Dinner only, no tables bigger than four-tops and a menu that changes with whatever Walt gets on the dock that day (the menu is a chalk board, and the chalk-out items as they run out).

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Bergerman

                                I second Walt'z as being the real deal. I can describe it in three words: fresh, flavorful and delicious. There is no set menu instead a chalkboard highlights what is fresh and being served that day. The times I've been there the menu consisted heavily of grouper, shrimp, and crab offerings. For an idea about price the grouper sandwich was being offered at 12 dollars. I have had it both blackened and fried, and prefer it blackened. The grouper is huge with almost half of it was actually hanging off the side and out the bun. The blackened comes spiced and cooked perfectly as to not overwhelm the flavor of the fish. The fried option is very lightly dusted perfectly crispy, and did not suffer from the heavy oiled mess that is so prevalent at chintzy seafood places. The fish tasted great on a simple yeasty kaiser roll and came with some lettuce, onion, and pickle. There wasn't any sauce present which was fine by me as it let the fish flavors take center stage, but I can see some people wanting a sauce of some kind. They have a yummy chipotle mayo that would be a perfect addition. Overall, it's a perfect example of a Florida Gulf Coast beach-side seafood restaurant.

                              2. Family Coastal in Sumatra
                                Boss Oyster in Apalachicola
                                Stinkys Fish Camp Tallahasssee

                                Family Coastal Restaurant
                                46624 SW Sr 65, Sumatra, FL 32335

                                Boss Oyster
                                125 Water St, Apalachicola, FL 32320

                                5 Replies
                                  1. re: sunsuze

                                    Absolutely agree! Boss oyster is certainly no frills, but I went there 3 months ago and I'm still craving it almost daily! I can't get those shrimp out of my head!

                                    1. re: flgrl

                                      Oops, I got that wrong. It wasn't Boss Oyster, it was the little shack down the street where you go upstairs and eat out on the porch over the water. Really delicious!

                                      Boss Oyster
                                      125 Water St, Apalachicola, FL 32320

                                      1. re: flgrl

                                        Up The Creek maybe? You order at the counter, they bring it out. We had yummy fresh fish there. And dog friendly :-)

                                    2. re: sunsuze

                                      The original Stinky's Fish Camp in Santa Rosa Beach is also a good pick.

                                      Stinky's Fish Camp
                                      5960 W County Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

                                    3. i've only been once, but i really loved the grouper sandwich from casey key fish house near sarasota. have to cross a one lane bridge to get there...great outside seating and florida atmosphere!

                                      1. Ted Peter's Smoked Fish fits the bill for everything that you mentioned. They feature the best smoked fish on the planet. Ted Peters is a St. Petersburg institution and with good reason. Their smoked fish is out of this world good. I love their salmon as it so moist and fork tender with a beautiful smokey char crust and flavor. The fish spread is also so delicious you will end up wishing every tuna fish sandwich around the country was filled with this stuff. I never get them (I'm too hung up on the fish) but the cheese burgers are also very popular. I routinely have out of town guests demand at least one visit to Ted Peters, and I can't blame them. This is one landmark restaurant that lives up to the hype and must be experienced. They are cash only, and it is usually packed (a good sign for any yummy place) so expect to fight for parking and wait for a table, but be richly rewarded with impeccable smoked salmon, mahi-mahi, mackerel, or mullet. You can also watch a Diners, Dives, and Drive Ins episode featuring the place here -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF4Pd-....

                                        Ted Peter's Famous Smoked Fish
                                        St. Petersburg, FL, St Petersburg, FL

                                        1. I live in Central Florida as well and I really enjoy Grills in Port Canaveral. Its not too bad of a drive and I love sitting outside on the water listening to their live bands and the food is always good and good prices.

                                          Ate at Fish Lips next door and thought their food was great to. They made a great crab alfredo pasta that was loaded with crab and again a very decent price.

                                          1. If you find yourself in Fort Myers, check out Skip One, located on US 41 South once you get past most of the car dealerships. The menu doesn't break any new ground, but for fresh fish and shellfish fried up with skill you can't beat it.

                                            El Patio is also good for ceviche and seafood with a Peruvian twist. I find myself liking Mexican and South American preparations of seafood more and more lately. I especially like the ceviche de pulpo, though I have no idea if the octopus is local or not, but their cancha is also great.

                                            El Patio Restaurant
                                            4444 Cleveland Ave Ste E, Fort Myers, FL 33901

                                            1. The Colonnade in Tampa is one of my favorites, try the grouper piccata. Also, for the best singular seafood dish, barbecued squid at Kaisen sushi in Tampa.

                                              1. Hull's in Ormond Beach is a pretty good contender. They have their own boats, and until a few years ago they were just a market, not a restaurant. I grew up in Ormond and can say that it's been the locals' choice for...geez, at least 25 years, probably more. Fresh fish and not much else.

                                                +1 on Down the Hatch, too.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: kagi

                                                  I tried Hulls last weekend with some friends. I posted my reaction on another thread, but in a nutshell- food very good; but the atmosphere---> the place is small and feels like a "fast food" place, which it really isn't. I expected more of a "nice restaurant" feel. But now that I know what to expect on that level, I would still definitely go back. We are also fans of Down The Hatch.

                                                2. O'Steen's in St Augustine -- No checks, no credit cards, no liquor, and no ambiance, and you'll line up for an hour or more to get a formica-topped table in a tiny little dining room.

                                                  Just the best fried shrimp and Minorcan clam chowder EVAR.

                                                  1. Sea Critters in Passe Grille section of St. Pete Beach...its an experience....right on the water....fresh fish daily...........one of the owners also owns a favorite of mine for ALL kinds of food, Greek, American and especially fresh made-to-order seafood dishes. This is ''the Neptune Grill" in the Gulfport, fl. Overlooks the Bay beach, with outside seating.
                                                    Ms. Danie Huizenga

                                                    Sea Critters Cafe
                                                    2007 Pass A Grille Way, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

                                                    1. Hate to give out my secret, but the Circle Grill in Graceville, Florida (panhandle just north of Bonifay and Chipley) has always been our favorite for fried jumbo shrimp. Their salad is simple, but so good with the home made thousand island dressing. Other seafood there is good as well, but we can't get past the wonderful shrimp. Onion rings are wonderful, too. Place is small and definitely not the tablecloth & silver type, but the food is fresh and good. Service has always been terrific. Biggest problem is the wait for a table....It can be very busy. Open Weds-Sat. from about 4 to 9.

                                                      1. My vote goes to www.whalesrib.com ......Guy Fieri loved it also

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: HotMelly

                                                          The Whale's Rib was not my favorite, went there right after the Guy's show aired, edible but not impressive.

                                                        2. In Sarasota, Walt's has to be the tops. It's minimal frills (a recent refurbishing makes it a bit fancier than it was) and absolutely respects the seafood. Most fish is local, ranging from various snappers and groupers, triple tail, cobia, etc. These are all seasonal, so if something's not in season or doesn't hang around for the winter, you'll have to wait. It also offers 'northern' seafood including Maine lobsters, cod, haddock, and from time to time (again, seasonally) yellow perch, walleye pike, and the like.

                                                          Locally caught shrimp, clams, oysters, and crabs are also available.

                                                          Walt's Fish Market & Seafood Restaurant
                                                          4144 S Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 34231

                                                          1. Oh MY????? I have read the entire first page and can't believe my eyes. NO ONE even MENTIONED Dixie Crossroads???? I have eaten Sea Food ALL OVER THE WORLD. And so far as FRESH, southern style sea food, I have YET to find another place that can compare with Dixie Crossroads. As a matter of FACT, there is a REASON that there is an HOUR or more wait for a table on the weekends. Those that are willing to wait ALREADY KNOW where to find the best seafood in Central Florida. it is NOT 'crazy expensive'. No more so than Red Lobster or the Joe's Crab Shack. and another SMOKING pick here locally in Orlando is High Tide Harry's. You CANNOT beat the prices on their 10.00 menu. and they have different specials each day of the week.

                                                              1. re: Brawny

                                                                Pecks seems like a great choice for the original question. (from July, 2010!) .
                                                                Someone along the way mentioned Charlie's Fish House, Crystal River, and someone else replied with comparisons to Mrs. Paul's Fish sticks. Low blow. We are fans of Charlie's Fish House; never had a bad meal there by any means, but might not put them on the list "of some of the best seafood in the state." I would not relegate them to the Mrs. Paul's wisecrack, either.

                                                                I hope a few people discover Pecks Old Port Cove after reading your post.

                                                              2. In Cocoa Beach, Jazzy's is one of the best for a grouper sandwich, chowder and Maine lobster too.
                                                                Always packed with great service, fantastic food from a great group of guys from Maine.

                                                                Loved Siesta Key and tho' we had lunch at the SKOB, I bet there are some great places to chow down on endless seafood..totally dig being on the island.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                  Now you've done it! We were supposed to keep Jazzy's a Space Coast secret. If word gets out about this place, the Triple D crew will show up & we'll never get in the place again.

                                                                  1. re: cavandre

                                                                    I'm so craving Jazzy's right now for a Grouper sandwich, big bowl of chowda and a cold beer right about now..

                                                                    Space Coast is lucky to have Jazzy's!!!

                                                                2. Hurricane Dockside
                                                                  Tavares Fl
                                                                  Key West them, live bands, Volley ball, great service and great food

                                                                  1. JC's ourDeckDownunder.com
                                                                    Port Orange florida

                                                                    Under the Dunlawton bridge on the Halifax River. East over Dunlawton, as soon as you can at the bottome of the bridge take 2 right turns and straight ahead.

                                                                    1. If your looking for the best seafood in south Florida. Then go to The Fish Shack in Pompano Beach. The fish is fresh daily. Its a small place, but some of the best seafood I have ever had. When Im in pompano beach I eat there as may times as I can.. I ate there four times last week. Each time was better than last. Fantastic seafood Tim Hoholik

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Hoholik

                                                                        Star Fish in the village of Cortez or
                                                                        their sister restaurant called Tide Tables.
                                                                        Both on the water, and both owned by
                                                                        people who are fish processors…..
                                                                        Both restaurants are excellent here in the
                                                                        Sarasota - Bradenton Area.

                                                                      2. Shift there are many option in the Sunshine State. We happened on a great little beach shack in Cocoa Beach called Fat Kahunas that was very good. We just wrote a blog on our visit that you might enjoy.