Maybe it’s the warmer temps or the return of lake and river days, but there’s just something about this time of year that has us craving seafood. Whether you like it fried, steamed, seared or what-have-you, we’ve compiled a bevy of different options that show Columbia SC knows its seafood.
Salmon Orzo Salad | Za’s on Devine
A perfectly pink salmon filet sits atop a bed of spinach, chilled orzo, capers, olives and diced tomatoes that’s all tossed together with the most delightful champagne vinaigrette. Pair it with a crisp glass of rose for a meal that’s lovely down to the last bite. We love you, Za's.
Shrimp & Grits | Blue Marlin
Ask around town where you should get some shrimp and grits and you’re likely to hear Blue Marlin come up more than once. Their signature dish is comprised of locally-milled Adluh grits, creek shrimp, andouille sausage and tasso gravy – an award-winning combination. Pro tip – you can also enjoy this dish in a more relaxed setting at Blue Marlin’s new sister restaurant in Lexington, Oak Grove Fish House.
Oysters | The Oyster Bar
Keep it simple at this come-as-you-are eatery in the Vista. At The Oyster Bar, get a dozen raw or steamed oysters on the half shell and don’t forget the cocktail sauce!
Trigger Bites | Pearlz Oyster Bar
We love happy hour at Pearlz for a number of reasons – a chance to unwind from the work day, discounted drinks (we see you, $3 Prosecco) and filling up on Trigger Bites before dinner. The crispy, golden morsels of fried triggerfish come with a side of Cajun tarter for dipping and are way better than anything you’d cook at home, anyway.
Seafood Mac & Cheese | Café Strudel
Just when you thought macaroni and cheese had reached peak perfection, Café Strudel decided to throw seared scallops, shrimp, bacon, goat cheese, cheddar and cavatappi pasta together and changed everything we ever thought we knew about the ultimate comfort food.
Peruvian Shrimp Taco | Cantina 76
Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops | Gervais & Vine
Citrusy and spicy, the scallops found at Gervais & Vine are prepared with white balsamic reduction, lemon caper aioli and chive oil with Cholula. Up the vacation vibes with a round of sangria.
All You Can Eat Crab Legs | D’s Wings
Lobster Grilled Cheese | The Kraken Gastropub
Hearty pieces of buttery lobster meat + béchamel + brie between two slices of sourdough = one amazing grilled cheese sandwich found at The Kraken in the Rosewood neighborhood.
PEI Mussels | Goat’s
We couldn’t create a seafood roundup and not include mussels! Head to Goat’s in Five Points and make way for 1 lb. of steamed mussels cooked in your choice of a cream or pesto sauce. Ask for extra bread so you can sop up every last bit.
Catfish & Grits | Bone-In Barbeque
Available during Saturday brunch, Bone-In goes the unexpected route by offering buttermilk fried catfish over chipotle cheddar grits. A coffee porter gravy, fried capers and fried banana peppers round out the dish for what is truly a breakfast of champions.
Pan Seared Crab Cakes | Cola’s Restaurant
At Cola's on Assembly Street, two sizeable and savory crab cakes are served alongside sweet corn puree, succotash and green tomato relish. So, basically, it’s summer on a plate.
Pasta Alla Al | Al’s Upstairs
A popular date night spot with stunning views of the downtown Columbia skyline across the river is only made better with a heaping dish of Pasta Alla Al in front of you. Cheese-filled pasta purses are served with shrimp, scallops, a lobster claw and a sweet chili sauce. (Bonus, the lobster bisque with shrimp and puff pastry dome starter is preeettyyyy delicious, also.)
Crawfish Deviled Eggs | 1801 Grille
Quite possibly one of the most Southern things we’ve ever heard of, 1801 Grille in the Vista offers Crawfish Deviled Eggs with green onions and Cajun spices for an appetizer that’s sure to start your meal off right.
Lowcountry Boil | Peebles Wing Shack
Sometimes you just want the benefits of a Lowcountry Boil without the whole to-do of hosting one. Well, Peebles has you covered. Pull up a chair at the bar, sip on something frothy and cold and go to town on almost 2 lbs. of corn, andouille sausage, baby red potatoes, shrimp and crawfish (for an additional charge) all prepared with butter and a sprinkling of their made-in-house seafood seasoning. The best part? You don’t need to share with ANYONE.
Catfish Stew | The War Mouth
This old, passed-down Southern recipe from The War Mouth will have you flashing back to your childhood days with every spoonful. Chock full of vegetables and served with a slice of cornbread, it’s just the fuel you need for a day out on the river.
Blackened Mahi Mahi | Blue Fin
The smokiness of the blackened Mahi Mahi is made all the better with a zesty chipotle pineapple sauce and fresh pineapple pico de gallo. Might we also recommend Blue Fin's Mermaid cocktail for a sip that’s sure to complement?
Peach Mustard BBQ Glazed Salmon | Mr. Friendly’s
Sweet peach chutney works together with tangy mustard barbeque sauce to add a flavorful glaze to this salmon entrée at Mr. Friendly's, accompanied by sautéed vegetables and creamy grits. Heavenly.
Seafood Boat | Inakaya Watanabe
Go big or go home with the Seafood Boat from Inakaya Watanabe, which includes enough King crab legs, fried shrimp shumai, sushi rolls and sashimi to feed 2 – 4 serious seafood lovers.
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