Thursday, September 26, 2013

Top 10 Seafood Spots

Anyone from Chicago can see that the closest body of water is not where you'd want to go fishing. My sister and brother in law went kayaking down the Chicago River last year and probably saw more dead fish than live ones. All that aside, there are some spots in Chicago that take large measures to serve up solid seafood options year round. Here are my ten favorites. You can also check out this list on Menuism and The Huffington Post.

10) Devon Seafood

It might look like any other River North bar at first glance, but the basement is where it's at. It's dark, cozy, and the variety of fish they serve is impressive. Plus, they've got one of the best pre-dinner rolls around.

The Salmon

9) Half Shell

This little dive bar on Diversey has one of the better patios around. You can get crab legs, oysters, and pretty much anything else you might fancy a seafood dive bar making for you. They do a great job of grilling fish too.

8) Big and Littles 

On the western border of River North, this dive has some awesome fried whitefish tacos. If you can look past the burgers and foie gras french fries, you'll find some killer Po' Boys too. I'd suggest the shrimp or soft shell crab.

The Shrimp Po' Boy

7) Ay Ay Picante 

This Peruvian hot spot is somewhat out of the way but worth the venture. It's cheap and BYOB. Once you're settled in, go for the salmon, the fried calamari, or one of the fried filets.

The Salmon and Mushroom Special

6)  Fish Bar

This Lincoln Park joint has a cool central bar setup, kind of like an old diner. The Po' Boy and the Lobster Roll are the way to go. Make sure not to pass on the basket of crispy lemon, onion, and jalapeno.

The Oyster Po' Boy

5) Piccolo Sogno

For Italian style fish, Piccolo Sogno is where you want to go.  They usually have a whole fish option that's off the menu (that you HAVE to ask for), and the halibut is a solid second option. They do this great calamari in a bag too.

The Mediterranean Sea Bass

4) New England Seafood Company 

It's another BYOB option with a casual setup. If you want to take something home to cook from the large seafood counter, that's fine, but I suggest you stick around for the clam chowder and the lobster roll.

The Lobster Roll

3) GT Fish and Oyster

 The menu is much more small plate oriented than the other places on my list. You can't really go wrong with your choices, and the interior design to the place is pretty interesting. I happen to be partial to the clam bake for dinner and the tuna BLT for lunch.

The Tuna BLT

2) Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone Crab

My family's been going to Joe's for most special occasions in the city for years. They're well known for their stone crab, but that's never been my choice. The seafood salad is a good way to start, and there's usually a great sea bass, halibut, or tuna for a main dish. They've got one of the best key lime pies in the city to finish things off too.

The Turbot

1) Glenn's Diner

Whether its one of the many blackboard options for dinner or the seafood hash for brunch, Glenn's has my favorite fish menu in town. They have this really thick clam chowder that is unrivaled in the city and a scallop dish that I have trouble looking past to try new menu items.

The Smoked Trout Hash and Eggs

Special Mention: The Shanty 

This would have been toward the top of the list, but it's just too far out of the city. The Shanty is in Wadsworth, which I assume you've never heard of. If you're on the way to or from Milwaukee, it's a worthwhile detour with their excellent seafood filets.

The Orange Salmon


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  2. I agree with the majority of this list. As Jeff knows I love Joe's just much as pretty much anyone and the all-you-can-eat crab leg night at Glenn's Diner is second to none. However, one place that I do not want to be overlooked is Mastro's and their seafood tower. It may cost you a second mortgage, but it is out of this world. Also, I would like to give a shout out to Da Lobsta. For fast-food seafood on a late weeknight it hits the spot.

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