Getting premium seafood doesn’t have to be a formal affair. From a Mediterranean-inspired hole-in-the-wall to a classic New England-style seafood shack — these laid back seafood restaurants are making a big splash in Jersey City.
Skip the drive to New England and get yourself a meaty lobster roll at The Lobster Garage. The outdoor eatery is part of adjacent Lighthorse Tavern, but specializes in fresh seafood with a menu that includes lobster rolls, steamed mussels, crab cakes, and fish sandwiches. 98 Morris
Scale Fish Market
Ok, so it’s technically not a restaurant. However, every seafood lover needs to visit Scale Fish Market. They have a growing menu of oysters, made-to-order lobster rolls, and ceviche that’s simply unmatched right now in Jersey City. The shop is small, but tables have been set along the walls (and outdoors). Bonus points for their BYOB policy. 45 Coles (Menu)
Casual, fun, and always delicious — New York-based The Boil JC is one of our favorite seafood spots in Jersey City. Crawfish, lobster, shrimp, and crab are ordered by the pound and served in a piping hot plastic bag dusted with Cajun seasoning. We also love The Boil for offering one of the best happy hours in Jersey City — BOGO drinks and $1.25 per oyster. 8 Erie Street (Menu)
Get down and dirty at Just Beclaws — our favorite spot for cracking crab claws and dunking lobster tails in butter. On busy nights, you can expect to wait for a table, but trust us when we say it’s worth it. Main entrees — such as lobster, crab, shellfish, and shrimp — come by the pound in plastic bags with your choice of seasoning (their signature Just Beclaws sauce is legit awesomeness). Other menu items include po’boys, lobster rolls, and seafood gumbo. A personal favorite — the JB Crab Fries — are perfectly crisp and served with generous chunks of crab meat. 280 First Street (Menu)
Morgan Fish Market & Restaurant
Morgan’s is an old-school gem just a few blocks from the PATH Journal Square station. The family-owned restaurant is known for its whole fish dishes, which you can get fried, baked, or barbecued. The latter is our favorite and comes blackened in a coat of Egyptian spices with a crispy exterior and tender flesh. It’s among the best and most unique whole fish dishes you’ll have. Service can be painfully slow — expect to wait up to an hour for your dish — and at times borders on inattentive. So call in your order ahead of time and take it to go. 2801 Kennedy Blvd.
Sometimes it’s the small, no-frills restaurants that serve the best-tasting dishes. Such is the case at SamakMak Seafood, an unassuming restaurant in Jersey City’s West Side district. Don’t be put off by its 1980s decor — the food more than makes up for it. At SamakMak you can get your seafood fried, grilled, or served in a pita. Like Morgan’s Seafood Market, service can be hit or miss (you don’t want to bring your first date here). You should also expect to wait up to 30 minutes for your dish. And heads up, prices on their menu are not up to date, so expect to pay a few bucks more than what you see. Your best bet is to ask before you buy. But prices are reasonable and trust us when we say you won’t leave hungry. 772 West Side Avenue (Menu)
Hooked JC (permanently closed)
Our go-to spot for seafood on any day of the week, Hooked JC brings a taste of New England right to our own backyard. Here seafood dishes come as platters, over a salad, or po-boy style with fries and some of the best hush puppies you’ll find. No matter what you pick, you’ll get a fresh and delicious meal with a menu that rotates seasonally. The BYOB restaurant is self-serve and there’s no fancy dinnerware, but portions are generous and grilled, seared, or blackened to perfection. It’s a must-visit for anyone who loves seafood. 467 Communipaw (Menu)
Got a seafood restaurant you’d recommend? Hit us up in the comments below.