Just because Tennessee is a landlocked state does not mean it’s not filled with restaurants serving up high-quality varieties of delicious seafood! From glazed salmon dinners, to blackened whitefish filet, to Hawaiian sunfish, you’ll feel like you’re right by the shore. Here are the 10 most delectable seafood restaurants in the state.
Riverfront Seafood Company is a beautiful restaurant set on the scenic South Fork Holston river. The menu is diverse, offering beef, pork, chicken, pasta, soups and salads, and, of course seafood. The menu can be a bit intimidating (because it’s so large!) but we recommend trying the fresh catch of the day. Failing that, the Grilled Orange Roughy is worth the trip by itself. When you’re finished with your meal, stop by the fresh seafood market to take the latest catch home.
For an upper-class seafood dining experience in Nashville, you can do no better than the exquisite Fin and Pearl. According to their website, “Fin and Pearl is Nashville’s first fresh seafood restaurant committed to sustainable and traceable sourcing, Earth-friendly operations, and providing an approachable dining experience with Southern hospitality.” Fin and Pearl has an expanded raw bar and extensive menu of wines, beers, and cocktails. The seared scallops are worth the price. Stop by for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The Half-Shell has been voted first for “Best Seafood” in Memphis, Tennessee for over 40 years, in addition to accruing accolades from the Memphis Flyer, Germantown News and others. The menu includes weekly specials, appetizers, soups and salads, sandwiches, burgers, po’boys, as well as entrées and a kids’ menu. The entrée platters are served with a hot roll and a side item of your choice. When visiting The Half Shell for the first time, go for the Half Shell Combo, which includes three jumbo fried shrimp, two Southern-style crab cakes and a four-ounce piece of pan-blackened catfish. Stop by for brunch at either of their two Memphis locations.
Connors Steak and Seafood has locations in Franklin and Knoxville, Tennessee, and is expanding rapidly outside of the state. The restaurant is triple A diamond rated. Menus from location to location might vary slightly, but you can always count on delicious steaks, chops, and fresh seafood. We recommend the cilantro lime grilled shrimp or incredible swordfish scampi for any trip to Connors.
Harpoon Harry’s is a Certificate of Excellence TripAdvisor winner. Their menus change seasonally, and are kept updated based on the finest available local ingredients. The dinner menu is available all day, in addition to the lunch and sushi menus. If you’re feeling up to it, the fried seafood platter will give you a great overview of Harpoon Harry’s best. If you’d prefer something a little more management, go for the glazed salmon dinner, served with rice and chef’s vegetable of the day.
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill offers American food, steaks, and unbelievable seafood. Start the meal off with the lobster spinach queso (lobster, baby spinach, tomatoes, pepper jack cheese, and tortilla chips) before diving into the parmesan encrusted mahi (tomato basil beurre blanc, parmesan mashed potatoes). Make a reservation. They say it’s optional, but why take the chance?
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is one of the more prolific southern-style restaurant chains. Conveniently located next to the Gatlinburg Convention Center and near the Great Smoky Mountains National park, Bubba Gump offers a huge menu of consistently delicious food. Not sure what to get? You can’t go wrong with the shrimp shack mac and cheese (noodles mixed with sautéed shrimp and freshly grated cheddar, Monterey, jack and parmesan cheese, topped with breadcrumbs).
Awedaddys Bar and Grill has a seaside restaurant with waterfront dining. The laidback restaurant regularly hosts bands for live entertainment, especially in the summer. The “Local Favorite” blackened whitefish filet, smothered in their house crawfish sauce and served over a bed of rice with a side salad, is fantastic. Don’t forget to order a homemade hot fudge brownie a la mode for dessert.
Peerless Restaurant in Johnson City, Tennessee, has been in business since 1938, serving up memorable dishes and fine seafood cuisine. Stop by their Johnson City or Knoxville locations for dinner Monday through Saturday. Their seafood platters offer a wide variety of flavors, but if you’re interested in a more focused meal, we recommend the grilled ahi tuna. Peerless is available for catering and to host your events.
Catch Bar and Grill is located in a historic, recently renovated commercial space, and is one of the first seafood restaurants in the area. The menu is coastal and Asian inspired, with small plates like ahi tuna and crab cakes. Go for the shrimp and grits on your first visit—if that doesn’t float your boat, the Hawaiian sunfish, served with coconut jasmine rice, vegetables, and mango Thai dipping sauce, is excellent.