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Jul 14, 2010 09:11 AM

Fish markets for raw clams and oysters in DC

I just moved to DC from New England, and I already miss my clams and oysters. Is there any place in the city to get consistently good bivalves? I'm looking for fish markets or clam shacks, not raw bars so much (unless there's someplace I can get a dozen clams for less than eight or nine dollars). I live in Capitol Hill, but I will travel any distance for delicious shellfish.

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  1. You want the Maine Ave. Fish Market Also, check out Old Ebbitt Grill's Raw Bar selection and HH deals.

    ps...please ignore the auto-generated link to The Fish Market in Old Town!

    Old Ebbitt Grill
    675 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

    Fish Market Restaurant
    105 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

    1. Concentrate on crabs.
      I don't know of any real New-England style clam shacks around here. The Tackle Box in Georgetown is perhaps the closest attempt. at it. Even getting good clam chowder or fresh fried clams or a lobster roll is a bit of a problem - have to go way upscale such as Kincaids or mid-scale to Hanks.
      As suggested the Maine Ave. waterfront is good for fresh seafood, but less so for prepared foods. They have relatively cheap clams on the half-shell though.

      4 Replies
      1. re: a1234

        I've never been able to find live Dungeness crab, even on Maine Avenue. Any ideas?

        And, yes, this is where you insert the obligatory "Dungeness isn't local to DC" comment. Well, neither is the coffee you had for breakfast. Plus, I'm from Humboldt County, CA and miss the stuff from home. ;-)

        1. re: kriscolby

          Yeah, but my coffee didn't arrive on the shores live. :-)

          I'm not sure I've ever seen Dungeness live locally. I'll give the same advice I gave to the person looking for fresh octopus - call BlackSalt. If they don't have it, and can't get it, probably nobody else can.

          4883 MacArthur Blvd., Washington, DC 20007

          1. re: kriscolby

            I haven't found it live, but every once in a while some of the higher end Safeways in NoVa and Montgomery have it frozen. Whole Foods in Glover Park has it occasionally as well.

            1. re: kriscolby

              I've seen live dungeness crabs at the local Korean markets: Super H and the El Grande Market in Springfield. Have not seen them live in DC proper.

          2. You can try Camerons Seafood market at 1540 Benning Rd NEWashington, DC 20002. Website at

            1. Liberty Tree on H Street, NE. Probably the best in town if you're from New England. So are the owner and chef. They bring their own whole belly clams down from Ipswich because they an't get them from local suppliers.
              The Lobster Roll is the real deal and significantly cheaper than about any other place in town. Market price, which was about $14 the last time I had it.


              3 Replies
              1. re: MakingSense

                Thanks for the heads-up on a new one. Sounds good.

                1. re: MakingSense

                  Thanks Liberty Tree menu looks tasty I will have to try it out

                  1. re: agarnett100

                    I had the clam chowder at Liberty Tree and it was inedible. Three sips and I sent it back. First of all, it was inedibly salty and second they used too much bacon and third it was way too thick. I've always had clam chowder that used rendered fatback. This tasted like hot bacon ranch dressing. The lobster roll was pretty good, as were the fried clams.

                2. Thanks for the suggestions! The menus for Cameron's and the Liberty Tree look great, and I'll be sure to hurry over to the Maine Ave. market.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: gutch

                    Cameron's has about a dozen different locations in the area, one in Richmond and one in Philadelphia. Good for crabs. Cheap but just OK and IMO not at all like the NE clam shacks, whihc are a wonderful institution.

                    1. re: gutch

                      I can't imagine the seafood at Cameron's will look "great" once you see it, and I can't imagine anyone "hurrying" over to Maine Avenue for any reason whatsoever (certainly not to buy seafood).

                      You'd be much better off at Cannon's or Blacksalt if you are looking to carry-out and Hank's or Old Ebbitt to eat in.

                      1. re: Pappy

                        Has everyone forgotten that Cannon's was busted for knowingly buying poached Rockfish a few years back? That alone would keep me from EVER buying anything from them.