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Fresh Seafood Dinner in DC: Hank's, Pearl Dive, or somewhere else?

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I'm looking for a spot to have a good meal of high-quality fresh seafood in DC proper that isn't Black Salt (been there too many times). Price is not hugely important, though value is always nice. I've gone through some of the past boards on the topic but given that new places open up all the time and that seafood restaurants have the potential to rise or decline in quality quite quickly, I wanted to gauge current opinions on Hank's and Pearl Dive, as well as any other places worth trying. Thanks for your help!

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  1. I love Pearl Dive - esp. for oysters. I haven't been to Hank's yet, so I can't compare the two. No reservations, so arrive as early as you can.

    1 Reply
    1. re: woodleyparkhound

      Agree on arriving early. We went Monday night and snagged two seats in the bar area for happy hour, but by the time we left, the whole restaurant was packed - on a Monday night during a week when a lot of people are on vacation! We also had dinner there - it was very good. I've had dinner at Hank's, too, and I think I liked Pearl Dive better (of course, it is fresher in my memory, so take that fwiw).

      In terms of value, well, the happy hour is a great deal (we had $2.50 Abita Ambers and $1 oysters), although obviously limited in choices of food. My husband and I laughed at a $22 bowl of gumbo! We used to live in Southern Louisiana. But yeah, we know, this is D.C. :-)

    2. Both are good choices. I have never been to Johnny's on the Half Shell, but it might fit the bill too.

      1. I haven't been to Pearl Dive yet but hear good things.

        I personally love Hank's Oyster Bar because it reminds me of the New England seafood restaurants I grew up with. Their lobster roll is very good and definitely make sure to check out what ever specials they have listed that night, since those tend to be seasonal and tasty.

        For slightly higher end, I always have liked Kinkeads as an old stand by. Although truth be told it's been quite awhile since I've been there.

        Johnny's is also good. Even though most people probably view it as a seafood restaurant, their non-seafood items are equally as good. I had there oyster po-boy for lunch a few months ago and it was delicious.

        1. This is more of a question than a reply I guess, but I've noticed that Pesce seems to have fallen off the map when it comes to discussions of seafood places. I used to love it, but it's probably been two years or more since I've been, so have no recent experiences to evaluate. Does anyone have current thoughts on it?

          1. Thanks to everyone for the advice. We ended up going to Hank's and it fit the bill perfectly. Started with raw oysters, and then shared soft-shell crabs and a fried oyster platter, as well as the mac-and-cheese and broccoli. Everything was good, and the crabs were excellent: thai-inspired seasoning, perfectly cooked. All of that, with a few glasses of wine each (they have two good sanceres by the glass), and the bill came in at under $150 before tip. Not cheap by any means, but a good value for a very enjoyable celebratory dinner. I would go back in a heartbeat.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cigar12345

              Thanks for the report! I went to Hank's for the first time on Sat. night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had the oyster po-boy. The oysters on it were plump, cooked perfectly and were plentiful. I also loved the slaw that was served with it. - and I thought it was a great value at $15. We also had raw oysters. They were good, but awfully small - the ones we had at Pearl Dive around Christmas were better. A friend ordered onion rings, which were wonderful. These people know how to fry. I too would go back in a heartbeat. They had lots of tempting-looking items on the menu (including those soft shells you ordered), but it will be difficult for me not to order the oyster po-boy again.