As Tennessee’s second-most populous city, there’s plenty for travelers to do while in Memphis. Many know the city as the “Birthplace of Rock and Roll” and “Home of the Blues,” so they take the time to visit landmarks representing the city’s musical significance, such as Beale Street, Sun Studio, and Graceland. Others enjoy visiting the city’s Civil Rights Museum or participating in their annual music and food festivals.
Despite Memphis’ great reputation for barbeque dishes, plenty of places around the city also offer excellent seafood options. With traditional grilled fish and shellfish, you’re bound to find something to like. However, because of the city’s sheer size and affinity for meat, it might feel challenging to find a seafood restaurant exceeding your expectations. I created a list of the top places where you can find the best seafood in Memphis to simplify your search for the best dining experience. Who knows? You might find a new favorite dinner destination.
105 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103
The first entry on my list of places serving the best seafood in Memphis is Flying Fish, located on South 2nd Street, a short drive away from Beale Street. This eatery has a laid-back atmosphere and serves dishes with a Cajun inspiration. Additionally, they use farm-raised fish for a majority of their lunch and dinner entrees. I recommend starting with their seafood gumbo or fried pickles and trying their grilled trout almondine, catfish fillet basket, BBQ shrimp po’boy, or crispy frog legs. They also offer a kids menu for children 12 and under. Top off your visit by ordering a frozen margarita or fried pies.
Half Shell is another go-to destination for Memphis seafood with locations on South Mendenhall Road and Winchester Road. It has a casual atmosphere, complete with an outdoor dining patio and raw bar for indulging in succulent Cajun dishes. They also won several honors and awards from Memphis Magazine and The Memphis Flyer. My favorite entrees are their Memphis King Club, Voodoo Amberjack, Catfish Pauline-Louisiana Style, and Southern Style Crab Cakes. Don’t forget to order a side of rice pilaf or steak fries! They also offer brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 11AM to 3PM, so be sure to try their wine or cocktails.
928 Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104
The next entry on my list is Tsunami Memphis, located in the Cooper-Young Historic District, overlooking Cooper Street. This upscale and sleek eatery offers some of the finest Memphis seafood in the Midtown area. Memphis-born Executive Chef Ben Smith does this by creating seasonal Pacific Rim-inspired small plates bursting with flavor. I recommend their bacon-wrapped dates or crispy calamari as an appetizer, and their fish tacos with spicy lemongrass law and sesame aioli, roasted sea bass on black Thai rice, or spice-crusted tuna as a main dish. My favorite drink special is their Blackberry Mule cocktail. Finally, if you’re in the mood for dessert, treat yourself to their flourless chocolate cake or trio of sorbets.
Soul Fish Cafe
With locations on Cooper Street, Poplar Avenue, and U.S. 64, Soul Fish Cafe is the perfect place to enjoy Southern classics in a comfortable and casual environment. It has a slightly rustic yet homely interior decorated with mounted fish replicas and bright lights on its walls. They also have a great selection of wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages. I recommend trying their catfish tacos, smoked pork shop, blackened catfish, Southwest Salad, or catfish and shrimp platter. Personally, I enjoy pairing my meals with a side of sweet potato fries, black beans, or mac and cheese. Don’t forget to ask about their house wines and order a lemon pie for dessert!
6300 Poplar Ave STE 101, Memphis, TN 38119
Are you having trouble finding restaurants serving the best seafood in Memphis offering healthier options? Then, Humdingers, located on Poplar Avenue, is an option you should consider. This restaurant has a casual atmosphere and creates wonderful grilled entrees with their South African Piri-Piri spice, giving it a unique flavor compared to other Midtown specialties. I recommend their crispy fish & chips, grilled rainbow trout, Piri-Piri boneless chicken breast, or crispy shrimp po’boy with a side of grilled zucchini. In addition, many of these menu items are gluten-free. You should also start out with their crab cakes, crispy calamari, or breadsticks if you’ve got a large appetite.
7915 Winchester Rd # 101, Memphis, TN 38125
Nestled off the corner of Winchester Road and Hacks Cross Road, Southwind Fish is a great lunch or early dinner destination that serves some of the best seafood in Memphis. Its warm and rustic setting offers people several entrees made with all kinds of fish. If you don’t have time to dine in, they also offer takeout and delivery. I recommend sampling their catfish steak, butterfly shrimp, hamburger, or chicken tenders with potato salad or hushpuppies on the side. Each entree tastes best when enjoyed with a glass of sweet tea. Finally, if you have room for dessert, get their caramel or red velvet cake.
Krab Kingz Memphis
You can find Krab Kings Memphis on Knight Arnold Road in East Memphis and Stage Road. This comfortable and quiet restaurant specializes in fried and boiled seafood and crab dishes that anyone can enjoy. In addition, you can order their catering services for your private events four hours in advance. My favorite dishes that I recommend are their snow crab and shrimp platter, chilled shrimp and crab pasta mix, Krab Kingz gumbo, and blackened salmon bowl. They also have several fountain drinks to help you wash down your hot meal. Add Cajun fried rice, fries, or Cajun crawfish for a more flavorful experience.
Joe’s Crab Shack
7990 Horizon Center Blvd, Memphis, TN 38133
Another informal restaurant serving the best seafood in Memphis is Joe’s Crab Shack, located on Horizon Center Boulevard. Although this eatery serves many types of seafood, many people come to enjoy their signature crab buckets and seafood platters. They also offer catering to-go for any occasion. In my opinion, their best dishes are their snow crab bucket, stuffed flounder, lobster tails with rice and vegetables, and East Coast Platter. In addition, I recommend their Shark Bite or Blue Hawaiian cocktails. During October, be sure to try their National Seafood and Breast Cancer Awareness Month specials, such as their Captain’s Plate dinner and Pink Warrior cocktail.
1379 Getwell Rd, Memphis, TN 38111
Located on Getwell Road, Ellis Seafood is your go-to destination for simple seafood in a casual environment. If you find yourself walking through the Parkway Village-Oakhaven neighborhood, you can spot their boxy yellow and brown exterior blocks away. They offer several mouth-watering shellfish and fish entrees, but also serve chicken if you want something different. I recommend their popcorn shrimp, shrimp and chicken fried rice, catfish strip, or tilapia fillets. If you want to spice up your plate, add a side of fries or fried okra. You can also let your children order something from their kid’s menu. After dinner, you should try their pecan pie or cheesecake.
2059 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104
Saltwater Crab, located next to the Overton Square Mall on Madison Avenue, has a bold blue exterior that grabs your attention, which is good because you won’t want to miss it. Besides traditional Memphis favorites, Saltwater Crab offers sushi and sashimi. You can also host private events in their indoor and outdoor spaces. In my opinion, you should try their oyster basket, grilled or blackened Mahi Mahi, catfish po’boy, or sushi and sashimi combo with chunky mashed potatoes (why not?) or white rice. In addition, I recommend their Blackberry Lemonade Whiskey, Apple Pie Sangria, or Caribbean Rum Punch cocktails. You should also ask your server about jumbo cocktail options or their seasonal dessert specials.
The Juicy Crab
Last but not least is The Juicy Crab, located on Winchester Road in the Centennial District, and in the Market at Wolfcreek on Wolfcreek Lane. This seafood house has a warm and friendly environment perfect for locals and travelers ready to enjoy a meal after a long day of walking through the city. Many of their dishes replicate New Orleans’ seafood cooking techniques to deliver quality every time. I recommend starting with their hush puppies or fried calamari and ordering their snow crab legs, lobster tail, fried whiting fillet, or fried chicken tenders with coleslaw or Cajun fries on the side. I enjoy my meal with a glass of cranberry juice or a Shirley Temple before ordering one of their cakes.