Judging Restaurants – Oceanaire

The Oceanaire (careful link plays piano music) is located at 1201 F Street, NW. They describe themselves:

“As sleek as a 1930’s ocean liner, the Oceanaire provides the perfect setting to enjoy the freshest seafood flown in daily from around the world.

Our knowledgeable staff will delight you with exceptional service guiding you through the wide variety of items on our menu and helping you select the perfect wine to complement your meal. You’ll find out why the Oceanaire has been voted one of the best seafood restaurants in the country. The Oceanaire Seafood Room. Where exceptional seafood meets exceptional service.”

Is this the best seafood restaurant in DC?

24 Comment

  • A little off-topic: what is it with restaurant websites automatically playing music when you go to their sites? It seems to happen more with restaurant websites than other types of site. It is SO annoying — and cheesy. Big turn-off.

  • Hell no

  • It is a fun place to go when someone else is picking up the tab. It has sort of a cool retro feel — you get a “relish tray” to start your meal. The portions are huge and I think most of the food is generally pretty good. In my opinion, the crab cakes are fantastic — I think the best I have had in DC. It is not the best seafood restaurant in the city but, like I said, good for an expense account lunch.

  • It’s nice and old-fashioned. This is the sort of place where people who actually remember the 1930s would go for seafood. In other words, senior citizens who were born in that era, and deranged people who claim to remember the 1930s but are far too young to have actually lived during the decade.

  • It seems most of these posts deal with the decor.

    How are the fish? Fresh? well cooked?

  • If you’ve ever donated to a PAC, you can rest assured that you’ve done your small part toward picking up the tab for a lunch here.

  • I used to have lunch meetings at Oceanaire once or twice a week, to the point that I’m still not sure I ever want to go back. The food was always very good – the fish was fresh and well prepared and the oysters were always great, as was the pickled herring on the relish tray – and the service was great, but it’s only possible to eat at one place so often before fatigue sets in.

    I’m not sure I’d say it’s the best seafood in DC (although I prefer it Johnny’s Half Shell, another place at which we used to have a lot of work meals, and I prefer DC Coast to them all) but it’s really very good. (and I don’t even really feel the need to qualify that with “for a chain”)

    I like the atmosphere, but I can see why some more casually inclined people might not.

  • FYI – Oceanaire went bankrupt and Landry’s bought them out:

  • ah

    Not quarreling that this is not the best seafood restaurant . . .

    but what *is* the best seafood restaurant?

    • But it’s a work lunch place / seafood substitute for a traditional DC steakhouse. Not even close to the best seafood.

      IMO best fancy seafood is Hook in G’Town, best fun seafood is Hank’s in Dupont.

      • I second that on Hank’s. Delicious and a good value.

        • I got much better food at Oceanaire than at Hanks, no comparison actually. but I haven’t gone to either in a year.

          I like Sea Catch but it’s been a very long time since I’ve been there.

          but at Hanks, yes, I got good food. I’m pretty sure that when I went to Tackle Box (?) in georgetown it was better than hanks.

    • I think D.C. Coast is Amazing

  • My two experiences with this place were both terrible. Nice decor, good martinis but really half-@$$ed food for even half the price.

  • I’ve been several times since they opened. Expense account restaurant, for sure. The oysters and cold seafood platter (now $90+ dollars) are wonderful, as is that pickled herring on the relish tray. But I had a $17 bloody mary back in March, hmmmn. Granted, I didn’t want a ‘rail’ vodka and let the waiter choose for me. Some of the entrees in past visits have been on the chintzy side -very few shrimp in the shrimp entree I had for $32, for instance. I’ll go back only for the raw bar & cold seafood. The other stuff I can make at home.

  • Clarify, sorry: raw stuff & cold seafood I can also “prepare” at home; I just don’t want to mess with all those elements.

  • I agree with a previous post: Hook is the best in DC. I have been DC Coast and it is good but Hook just has something extra. I have been there a few times and even during Restaurant Week (which by the way, they have a wonderful menu with many options). It is excellent and I have never been disappointed. While waiting the bartender even gave us complimentary lobster rolls!! I would highly recommend it.

  • I like the crab cakes at Oceanaire and the desserts are delicious! But, I agree, it’s an expense account place. I dont agree with the poster about Johnny’s Half Shell. I used to love their food when they were in Dupont, but had a horrible experience at the North Capital location that has just turned me off completely. Although, their lobster roll is good, I’ll give them that. How in the world is a bloody mary ever $17? That’s insane!

    • I’m the one that mentioned Johnny’s and just realized I left out a word. It should say, “I prefer it TO Johnny’s Half Shell.” The old Johnny’s was better; the North Cap one is mediocre at best, but it was another place where I used to endure a lot of work meals.

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