Like a Local: The Best Seafood Restaurants in Oakland

by Holly Riddle  |  Published May 24, 2018

Oakland restaurants easily top culinary listicles in many publications, which makes sense: the culture and location are ripe with bountiful cuisines, unique restaurant concepts and world-class talent.

The East Bay deserves recognition for its wealth of restaurants, rivaling those of neighboring San Francisco (Photo: Tony Webster)

From the casual and affordable to the upscale and splurge-worthy, you’ll find it in Oakland. The same holds true when it comes to seafood. Craving a unique, gourmet entree in a traditional steakhouse setting or more casual seafood shack-style favorites, like fried fish and seafood stew? Or how about spicing it up with Caribbean-style seafood, with Jamaican home-cooked influences? Find of this and more on our list of the five best spots to get your seafood fix in Oakland.

Scott’s Seafood

It doesn’t get any closer to the water than this (Photo: Jeffrey Grandy)

A Bay Area favorite, the award-winning Scott’s Seafood has been serving hungry diners since the 1970s. There is a lot to love here besides the food: waterfront views, plus live music from pianists to jazz groups. From June to November, the menu additionally features monthly themes, such as Pacific Rim in June, the Deep South in August and Old Fashion Clam Bake in October. Standard menu items do not disappoint, though. Appetizers range from calamari to clam chowder, shrimp to shucked oysters. On the entree menu, you’ll find Scott’s Famous Dungeness Crab Seafood Cioppino, with fresh fish, Dungeness crab and shellfish all simmered in a hearty marinara sauce. For the non-seafood lover in your life, juicy steaks await.

#2 Broadway  

Kincaid’s Bayhouse

Located nearby, Kincaid’s Bayhouse is also on the waterfront and is a combination seafood restaurant, chop house and steak house. Fresh fish is flown in daily and steak cuts are of the finest quality. Appetizers include oven-roasted crab and artichoke dip and oysters on the half shell. Several soup and salad options are also available. Seafood entrees include a pan-seared shellfish fettuccine and the Seafood Louie Salad, with grilled salmon, Dungeness crab and poached jumbo prawns. Even seafood lovers may be tempted by the specialty steaks, though. The American wagyu sirloin is a 40-day aged cut served with crispy green onion potato cakes, roasted green and cannelloni beans, slivered almonds, aged balsamic, mustard aioli and a cabernet demi-glace.

1 Franklin Street

Quinn’s Lighthouse Restaurant & Pub

This casual (yet still classy) restaurant takes “waterfront” to a whole new level. Set in a landmark lighthouse that was built in the late 1800s, Quinn’s features an interior dining room as well as an upper deck pub, where the floor is littered with peanut shells. Seating on the outside deck overlooking the marina is also available. The menu ranges from fried fish and chips to seafood stew (clams, mussels, calamari and prawn in a vegetable and rice clam broth), seafood ravioli to crab-stuffed salmon. The Quinn’s “Doodaa” plates start with black beans, two-grain rice, corn salsa, avocado and fresh vegetables and are topped with your choice of chicken, salmon, prawns or nothing at all. Another appeal? This East Bay eatery has won awards for its wine list.

1951 Embarcadero


If you ever needed delicious seafood delivered straight to your hotel room, call Marica (Photo: Sharon Hahn Darlin)

A small, family-owned restaurant, Marica is a little further from the shore, but that hardly means the seafood isn’t as fresh or every bit as delicious. The menu specials change weekly, but you can expect starters like mussels in a white wine pernod shallot butter broth, hand-chopped calamari and shrimp corn cakes. Other crowd pleasers include the mesquite grilled swordfish and the 20-hour lobster cognac tomato broth seafood stew, with scallops, shrimp and rock cod. Be sure to save room for one of their beautiful desserts, like the berry panna cotta. Tip: Marica offers a delivery service, so if you’re not able to get to the restaurant, they’ll bring their scrumptious food to you.

5301 College Ave.

Kingston 11

If you have a hankering for more than just any seafood, say with flavors of the Caribbean, Kingston 11 has you covered. The best Jamaican restaurant in the city offers not just seafood options–salt fish fritters, wild gulf shrimp in tamarind sauce, and roasted salmon with pickled vegetables and sweet potato–but also local Caribbean favorites, like curry goat and jerk chicken. Stop by during lunch for specialty plates like the sailfish and cabbage sauté, a prime example of Jamaican home cooking.

2270 Telegraph Ave.