Whether it’s cracking open a crab or grabbing the last calamari ring; slurping up oysters, or shucking fresh lobsters – everyone has a sweet spot for seafood. Summer and fresh fish go together like mussels and a shell – so here are the best spots to enjoy seafood in Melbourne.
Claypots Seafood and Wine
Just in case the name didn’t tip you off, Claypots' giant aerial octopus is there to not-so-subtly remind you that this is the place for seafood. Looming against an ocean-coloured ceiling, diners at this St Kilda favourite can enjoy fresh oysters, piping claypots packed with kick-ass south-east Asian flavours, and soft crab. With wine, beers, live music and a leafy, bright space for summer, get to Claypots early if you want your fish-y fill.
You might not expect to find some of Melbourne’s best seafood on the ground level of a chunky apartment building, but this is Dear Liza’s home. Frustratingly hidden behind foliage that seems determined to delay your access to Morton bay bugs with chilli, parsley, lemon and crusty bread or popcorn salt and pepper calamari – persist with your search for Dear Liza, she is so worth it.
Dish selection is left to the experts at Kappo – menus are designed in five, seven or nine course omakase (chef’s selection). The menus feature Kappo’s daily ingredients which may include salmon roe, swordfish belly, yuzu or spaghetti squash. It’s all about close, intimate dining at Kappo with warm timber tables and a communal bar bench ideal for chatting with (or up) the chef. Meals can be paired with matching drinks, if you’re there with someone a lil’ special.
With fresh, hand-picked seafood on the dining menu, you’re guaranteed to have a sea-filled treat at The Atlantic in Crown. From an indulgent seafood platter for up to four - including cold crayfish, sashimi, freshly shucked oysters, prawns, crab legs and scallops - to warm tempura soft shell crab, you better get slurping Listers. More of a mix ‘n match lover? The Atlantic’s oyster and bar grill is your spot.
Meat Fish Wine
If you’re looking for a place that will seriously dazzle the socks off your guest, Meat Fish Wine is the (literal) sparkling restaurant you need in your life. Whether it’s for your (potential) business partner, (possible) employee or (future) wife, Meat Fish Wine serves beautifully rich seafood with over 500 wines to match. Hot tip: we know how much you love ceviche, but if your buddy is willing to share and care, try their local Wagyu too.
Only locally sourced fish makes it into Sweet Salt – because this isn’t your standard greasy fish ‘n chips store. Boasting all your expected fish-y options (although some are exclusively grilled instead of battered), Sweet Salt is also home to soft shell crab buns, barramundi and prawn spring rolls, and blue swimmer crab dimmies. YES, CRAB DIM SIMS – there must be heaven on earth! Featuring chic wooden bar stools, perforated whitewashed walls and an exposed concrete floor, Sweet Salt’s interior is just as refreshing and bright as the menu itself.
Miss Katie’s Crab Shack
Southern-style seafood at Miss Katie’s Crab Shack means king-hits of flavour, spices and herbs! From boils (aka giant pans of seafood) bursting with fresh clams, prawns and mussels to crab cakes with herby salads, the bibs here are (fortunately?) not just for show. Prepare for a cracking, crushing, splashing good time Listers - this spacious, nautical-themed restaurant is not fancy-pants first-time-I’m-going-to-meet-the-in-laws material. Especially not when you have a bib on.
Making a strong case for some of the best oysters in Melbourne, skimming past the seafood platters at Richmond Oysters is a big no-no. There are creamy risottos and spiced pastas to choose from, but as any seafood aficionados knows, nothing beats the fresh stuff. From perfectly cooked scallops to mornay lobster, if you’re going to share with someone, maybe pick a seafood-lover who doesn’t eat that much. If those people exist.
City, South Yarra
A small or large seafood platter – a simple decision, we think! Featuring spanner crab, scampi, prawns, oysters, seashells and sea urchin, Entrecote's feast is fit for the finest sea king. If you think going to a steakhouse for seafood sounds lame, go anyway. If you think steak sounds way better than an oversized seafood platter, leave now.
Claypots Evening Star
Finding a restaurant like Claypots Evening Star is rare. On the outskirts of South Melbourne, this mismatched, unpretentious hotspot serves fresh seafood without the fussy, fine dining experience. The unpolished, compact interior features bar bench tables on one side and low sitting tables on the other, but visitors aren’t concerned about the space. They’re here for the inexpensive, fresh seafood - just like you will be!
Shelly’s Beach Pavilion
Off the bay of Williamstown’s main beach, Shelly’s Beach Pavilion features light seafood-heavy dishes - perfect for ocean lovers that aren’t too keen on cold oysters. Choose from crispy calamari with squid ink aioli, spaghetti alle vongole with clams, or a soft shelly’s crab burger for the ideal post-beach meal this summer.
Wait, what do you mean you haven't read our round up on Melbourne's Best Crab Dishes?!
Image credit: Miss Katies Crab Shack