When it comes seafood boils—those old-fashioned feasts that boil up everything from shrimp and crab to Great Lakes whitefish—there’s no place better than your own backyard. These 10 great seafood restaurants and shacks do it up right, allowing you leave the boiling (and clean up!) to the pros.
The Crab Shack, Tybee Island, Georgia
This funhouse on Chimney Creek has it all—a funky, tree-lined setting, live music, a bustling bar, and most importantly, marvelous platters of boiled seafood served up family-style in a totally laid-back setting replete with nautical kitsch.
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Boiling Kitchen Seafood Restaurant, Lexington, Kentucky
Yes, we know this isn’t a coastal town, but the seafood boil here is so good, it made the list anyway! Pick your seafood (blue crab, lobster, mussels, you name it!), your flavor (we recommend the Thai Chili), your heat (be brave), and your sides. Afterward, just sit back and prepared to be wowed.
Fleet Landing, Charleston, South Carolina
In the shadow of the U.S. Customs House on Charleston’s historic waterfront, Fleet Landing does a superb Lowcountry boil complete with jumbo shrimp, smoked sausage, corn, potatoes, and onions, all in a steamy lager broth.
The Boil, New York, New York
All good things come to New York City eventually. And seafood boils are no exception. Now with two locations in lower Manhattan, The Boil features an excellent range of boiled seafood: crawfish, shrimp, Dungeness crab, snow crab legs, clams, and lobster, all cooked to varying degrees of spiciness.
Related: How to Peel, Devein, and Butterfly Shrimp
The Galley Seafood, Metairie, Louisiana
Spun-off from a successful catering operation, this restaurant in old Metairie does seasonal boils to great local acclaim. Pro tip: Mid- and late afternoons are the best times to go to beat the near-constant crowds.
The Angry Crab, Chicago, Illinois
This wildly popular restaurant on the city’s northwest side serves up a wide variety of seafood boils, including crawfish, crabs, clams, and lobster. The exposed brick walls are lined with flat-screen TVs, in case there’s a lull in the conversation. And it’s BYOB, so you can catch a Cubs game while sipping your suds of choice.
The Boiling Crab, various locations, California
With more than a dozen locations in southern California (as well as locations in Dallas and Las Vegas), The Boiling Crab has become the West Coast’s preferred boiled seafood fix. Choose from several different types of boils, including crab, crawfish, and mussels lacquered in garlic or lemon pepper sauce.
The Juicy Seafood, Savannah, Georgia
This roll-up-your-sleeves place encourages you to eat with your hands as you fall upon heaping plates of boiled seafood of every stripe, accompanied by corn, potatoes, and plenty of cold beer. Don’t forget to bring your Sharpie, as you’ll want to contribute to the graffiti-strewn walls.
Related: How to Make Shrimp Boil Nachos
Old Post Office Restaurant, Ephraim, Wisconsin
Way up north on the Great Lakes in Door County, Wisconsin, the Scandinavian fish boil lives on at the Old Post Office restaurant, where locally caught whitefish is boiled in a pot over a kerosene-doused fire and served up with potatoes, onions, homemade bread, and cherry pie.
Skull Creek Boathouse, Hilton Head, South Carolina
With such boils as the “Lowcountry” (shrimp), the “New England” (lobster, mussels, clams), and the “Deadliest Catch” (king crab and snow crab), this tourist-friendly spot is still the go-to spot for seafood on Hilton Head. Don’t overthink the encyclopedic menu; the seafood boils are what it’s all about.