The 6 Best Seafood Restaurants in Charlotte: 2020
Upstream, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in the Phillips Place complex this year, is a rare example of a restaurant that has adapted to the changing culinary landscape while maintaining its identity as a seafood restaurant that gets it right. 6902 Phillips Place, 704-556-7730.
South End’s oyster bar has all of the essentials: lobster rolls, fried fish sandwiches, and oysters four ways. Start with the Waterman’s Platter, which comes with crispy oysters, fried shrimp, crawdaddy dippers, fries, and a variety of dipping sauces such as tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, and aji verde. At sunset, head up to the rooftop terrace for a signature cocktail and views of uptown. And the spot recently unveiled weekday lunch service, too. 2729 South Blvd., 704-275-5558.
The sun reflects off Lake Norman and fills Hello, Sailor with natural light—which is ideal for the dozens of Instagram shots diners take inside this chic fish-fry restaurant. Joe and Katy Kindred’s second restaurant is nothing like Kindred or The Rusty Rudder, which once occupied this space. But while you’re eating calabash shrimp in a mid-century modern dining room with a view of the lake’s ripples, you wouldn’t want Hello, Sailor to be anything else. 20210 Henderson Rd., Cornelius, 704-997-5365.
At any given time, Fin & Fino’s raw bar serves no less than 12 types of oysters. The dinner menu features uncomplicated dishes like North Carolina trout, Faroe Island salmon, and P.E.I. mussels. But as a “social seafood house,” its sweet spot is the shareable plates. Try the grilled banh mi shrimp drizzled with sriracha aioli and the scallops and latke, which punches up a classic potato pancake with crème fraiche and caviar. 135 Levine Avenue of the Arts, 704-800-5680.
Happy hour—when oysters from Sea Level, North Carolina, are $1 apiece—draws in an after-work contingent, and that crowd doesn’t thin until the dinner rush passes. The name is inspired by the name of a seaside town, but is fitting for Charlotte’s most consistent seafood restaurant. The cocktail menu run by Colleen Hughes is worth noticing, as well. Top that all with a beautiful interior punctuated with Edison bulbs, and Sea Level is a dependable uptown favorite. 129 E. 5th St., 704-412-2616.
Chef Shane Graybeal came to RockSalt in October, after former executive chef Jim Diecchio left to open a new restaurant by renowned chef Vivian Howard. Graybeal says he wants to add some “craveable” dishes to the menu; we’ll soon see if he succeeds. 512 Brandywine Rd., Ste. 500, 704-503-9945.