clock menu more-arrow no yes
Cole Giordano

10 NYC Restaurants Doing Sustainable Seafood Right

The farm-to-table movement has come for your seafood: Here are the eateries dedicated to serving ethically sourced fish.

View as Map
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Farm-to-table taught us never to eat asparagus in winter. Ethical meat advocacy introduced free-range and grass-fed to our everyday dining lexicon. And increased attention towards sustainable seafood has encouraged us to rethink consumption of Atlantic salmon, bluefin tuna, mahi-mahi, and orange roughy.

But of course, local seafood from New York’s harbors has been hard to come by. Water pollution and overfishing near decimated local oyster reefs and fisheries in the 20th century. But today, there are many organizations in New York actively working to restore New York Harbor back to the dynamic environment it once was, such as Billion Oyster Project on Governor’s Island and New York’s Blue Point Brewery.

So in an attempt to help turn the tide against overfishing and polluted waterways, the following restaurants have become stewards of the sea-to-plate movement, actively involving themselves in conservation programs and adding trash fishes and bycatches to their menus. In fact, many of these restaurants work with Billion Oyster Project, who collects cast-off shells from the restaurants and takes them to be cured, seeded with oyster larvae, and restored back to New York’s harbor and its repopulating oyster reefs. (We’ve marked those participating restaurants with an asterisk.) Eat at these restaurants to get a taste of how sustainable seafood should be done.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Crave Fishbar*

Copy Link
428 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024
(646) 494-2750
Visit Website

Crave is a true trailblazer when it comes to sustainable seafood sourcing in the Big Apple: Not only were they the first NYC partner of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, they’re also a charter member of the JBF Smart Catch Program. And with two sprawling locations, they’re perfectly positioned to preach the gospel of ethically caught fish to the masses by way of barramundi ceviche, red crab salad, seared yellowfin tuna marinated in coriander adobo, and fried fish sliders, featuring tempura-battered local hake.

2. Gloria

Copy Link
401 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 956-0709
Visit Website

Owned by two Contra alums, this pescatarian paradise works magic with wild, local, and sustainable seafood plucked from the North Atlantic. And certainly it’s hard to miss the red meat when options run to golden tilefish with Caraflex cabbage, pan-roasted monkfish paired with Tropea onions, steelhead trout scattered with romano beans and slicked with olive remoulade, and beer-battered blowfish tails dunked in preserved ramp aioli.

3. Oceana*

Copy Link
120 W 49th St
New York, NY 10020
(212) 759-5941
Visit Website

Though no relation to the leading conservation and advocacy organization, the restaurant Oceana still does its part as a maritime custodian. Partnered with the Billion Oyster Project, they have the perfect depository for discarded shells from Plymouth Rocks, Moondancers, and Cape May Salts. And with Bill Telepan at the helm — also executive chef of the Wellness in Schools nonprofit, the director of sustainability at ICE, and a true farm-to-table pioneer — you can bet their ocean-to-plate ethos is more realized than ever.

Courtesy of Oceana

4. Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant*

Copy Link
89 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017
(212) 490-6650
Visit Website

Considering it’s been NYC’s premiere peddler of oysters for over a century, GCOB makes a natural — and prolific — partner for the Billion Oyster Project, donating cast-off shells to help them realize their mission of restoring oyster reefs to New York Harbor. And goodness knows they have an awe-inspiring variety to sift through on any given day, from lightly briny Asharokens from Long Island to sweet Bogues Bay from Virginia and wild, metallic Belons from Maine.

5. The Lobster Place*

Copy Link
75 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 255-5672
Visit Website

Unsurprisingly, Chelsea Market’s mob of tourists tends to get a bit thicker around this glittering haven of seafood, both sold retail and shuttled to their in-house fish shack, sushi bar, raw bar, and lobster counter, as well as adjunct restaurant Cull & Pistol. And while each and every item is mindfully procured and selected, the Lobster Place takes a measured approach to sustainability. Operating under the idea that consumer preference should help direct the way we manage our ocean’s resources, they’re a judgement-free zone about what goes on your plate. Not to mention that they put their actions where their words are: The Lobster Place operates Billion Oyster Project’s shell collection program and goes to restaurant partners to transport and donate cast-off shells from the week.

Courtesy of The Lobster Place

6. Bar Sardine*

Copy Link
183 W 10th St
New York, NY 10014
(646) 360-3705
Visit Website

Fighting back against the fact that we tend to be “basic” when it comes to seafood (heavily relying on salmon, tuna, and shrimp), Gabe Stulman and crew changed ingrained ordering habits at their restaurants — which, in turn, they hope affects their customers’ everyday choices as well. Armed with the knowledge that nine out of ten fisheries are being fished at or above their sustainable limits (which has led experts to caution of a collapse in marine biodiversity in the next 35 years), offerings extend to topneck clams with cornbread stuffing instead, not to mention their namesake sardines, which come stacked with Creole tomato sauce on toasted strecchi bread.

7. Grand Banks*

Copy Link
Hudson River Park Pier 25
New York, NY 10013
(212) 660-6312
Visit Website

So much more than a means of enjoying lobster rolls on the water, the historic schooner-situated Grand Banks (along with its sister establishments Pilot and Island Oyster) operates in partnership with the Maritime Foundation — for whom they’ve generated over $100,000 to preserve at-risk vessels, restore healthy rivers, and develop oyster habitats in New York Harbor. They’ve even led an industry-wide campaign against serving striped bass and other at-risk species. But considering the chef is none other than Kerry Heffernan, it’s hard not to dwell on those lobster rolls, tossed with a dulse emulsion and ideally accompanied by seaweed-salted french fries.

8. Seamore's*

Copy Link
390 Broome St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 730-6005
Visit Website

After originally making waves with meatballs (as co-founder of The Meatball Shop), Michael Chernow elected to indulge his childhood passion for fishing instead, at the ecologically minded Seamore’s. Local, underutilized species, such as sea robin, pollock, and skate, are spotlighted in the “Daily Landings” listings and can be ordered as part of the “Reel Deal,” with a choice of sauce and three sides. It’s moves like these that recently earned Seamore’s a “Smart Catch Emblem” by the James Beard Foundation, celebrating their efforts to maintain 90% sustainability at all six locations.

9. Mayanoki*

Copy Link
620 E 6th St
New York, NY 10009

Originally launched as a Brooklyn pop-up, this eight-seat East Village eatery is New York’s only sustainable omakase spot. And as the lone local sushi restaurant to be recognized by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, you’ll find the bare minimum of farmed and frozen specimens, to say nothing of international shipments of exotic fish, flown in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. Instead, the 15-course progression is far more likely to include tidbits of wild Long Island porgy, Montauk scallops, North Carolina grouper, and raw, oily bluefish, accented with produce from the Union Square Greenmarket, and accompanied by sake from Brooklyn Kura or wine via Rooftop Reds.

Courtesy of Mayanoki

10. Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.*

Copy Link
114 Nassau Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 349-0400
Visit Website

Not only do they serve as a supplier for many of the city’s most conscientious seafood consumers (such as the aforementioned Mayanoki), GPFL makes ample use of their network of fishing industry relationships in an adjoining restaurant. And just as at their retail counter (where daily catches arrive whole, then are broken down in house), the menu changes based on weather conditions, spawning seasons, area closures, and harvest limits. So you never know when you’ll find fried Rhode Island squid, Boston mackerel escabeche, or Calendar Island mussels, or whether the fish in the sandwiches will be invasive species such as blue catfish and lionfish, or bycatches such as dogfish or Acadian redfish.

Jane Bruce
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

1. Crave Fishbar*

428 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Crave is a true trailblazer when it comes to sustainable seafood sourcing in the Big Apple: Not only were they the first NYC partner of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, they’re also a charter member of the JBF Smart Catch Program. And with two sprawling locations, they’re perfectly positioned to preach the gospel of ethically caught fish to the masses by way of barramundi ceviche, red crab salad, seared yellowfin tuna marinated in coriander adobo, and fried fish sliders, featuring tempura-battered local hake.

428 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024

2. Gloria

401 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

Owned by two Contra alums, this pescatarian paradise works magic with wild, local, and sustainable seafood plucked from the North Atlantic. And certainly it’s hard to miss the red meat when options run to golden tilefish with Caraflex cabbage, pan-roasted monkfish paired with Tropea onions, steelhead trout scattered with romano beans and slicked with olive remoulade, and beer-battered blowfish tails dunked in preserved ramp aioli.

401 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019

3. Oceana*

120 W 49th St, New York, NY 10020
Courtesy of Oceana

Though no relation to the leading conservation and advocacy organization, the restaurant Oceana still does its part as a maritime custodian. Partnered with the Billion Oyster Project, they have the perfect depository for discarded shells from Plymouth Rocks, Moondancers, and Cape May Salts. And with Bill Telepan at the helm — also executive chef of the Wellness in Schools nonprofit, the director of sustainability at ICE, and a true farm-to-table pioneer — you can bet their ocean-to-plate ethos is more realized than ever.

120 W 49th St
New York, NY 10020

4. Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant*

89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

Considering it’s been NYC’s premiere peddler of oysters for over a century, GCOB makes a natural — and prolific — partner for the Billion Oyster Project, donating cast-off shells to help them realize their mission of restoring oyster reefs to New York Harbor. And goodness knows they have an awe-inspiring variety to sift through on any given day, from lightly briny Asharokens from Long Island to sweet Bogues Bay from Virginia and wild, metallic Belons from Maine.

89 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017

5. The Lobster Place*

75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Courtesy of The Lobster Place

Unsurprisingly, Chelsea Market’s mob of tourists tends to get a bit thicker around this glittering haven of seafood, both sold retail and shuttled to their in-house fish shack, sushi bar, raw bar, and lobster counter, as well as adjunct restaurant Cull & Pistol. And while each and every item is mindfully procured and selected, the Lobster Place takes a measured approach to sustainability. Operating under the idea that consumer preference should help direct the way we manage our ocean’s resources, they’re a judgement-free zone about what goes on your plate. Not to mention that they put their actions where their words are: The Lobster Place operates Billion Oyster Project’s shell collection program and goes to restaurant partners to transport and donate cast-off shells from the week.

75 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011

6. Bar Sardine*

183 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

Fighting back against the fact that we tend to be “basic” when it comes to seafood (heavily relying on salmon, tuna, and shrimp), Gabe Stulman and crew changed ingrained ordering habits at their restaurants — which, in turn, they hope affects their customers’ everyday choices as well. Armed with the knowledge that nine out of ten fisheries are being fished at or above their sustainable limits (which has led experts to caution of a collapse in marine biodiversity in the next 35 years), offerings extend to topneck clams with cornbread stuffing instead, not to mention their namesake sardines, which come stacked with Creole tomato sauce on toasted strecchi bread.

183 W 10th St
New York, NY 10014

7. Grand Banks*

Hudson River Park Pier 25, New York, NY 10013

So much more than a means of enjoying lobster rolls on the water, the historic schooner-situated Grand Banks (along with its sister establishments Pilot and Island Oyster) operates in partnership with the Maritime Foundation — for whom they’ve generated over $100,000 to preserve at-risk vessels, restore healthy rivers, and develop oyster habitats in New York Harbor. They’ve even led an industry-wide campaign against serving striped bass and other at-risk species. But considering the chef is none other than Kerry Heffernan, it’s hard not to dwell on those lobster rolls, tossed with a dulse emulsion and ideally accompanied by seaweed-salted french fries.

Hudson River Park Pier 25
New York, NY 10013

8. Seamore's*

390 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

After originally making waves with meatballs (as co-founder of The Meatball Shop), Michael Chernow elected to indulge his childhood passion for fishing instead, at the ecologically minded Seamore’s. Local, underutilized species, such as sea robin, pollock, and skate, are spotlighted in the “Daily Landings” listings and can be ordered as part of the “Reel Deal,” with a choice of sauce and three sides. It’s moves like these that recently earned Seamore’s a “Smart Catch Emblem” by the James Beard Foundation, celebrating their efforts to maintain 90% sustainability at all six locations.

390 Broome St
New York, NY 10013

9. Mayanoki*

620 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009
Courtesy of Mayanoki

Originally launched as a Brooklyn pop-up, this eight-seat East Village eatery is New York’s only sustainable omakase spot. And as the lone local sushi restaurant to be recognized by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, you’ll find the bare minimum of farmed and frozen specimens, to say nothing of international shipments of exotic fish, flown in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. Instead, the 15-course progression is far more likely to include tidbits of wild Long Island porgy, Montauk scallops, North Carolina grouper, and raw, oily bluefish, accented with produce from the Union Square Greenmarket, and accompanied by sake from Brooklyn Kura or wine via Rooftop Reds.

620 E 6th St
New York, NY 10009

10. Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.*

114 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Jane Bruce

Not only do they serve as a supplier for many of the city’s most conscientious seafood consumers (such as the aforementioned Mayanoki), GPFL makes ample use of their network of fishing industry relationships in an adjoining restaurant. And just as at their retail counter (where daily catches arrive whole, then are broken down in house), the menu changes based on weather conditions, spawning seasons, area closures, and harvest limits. So you never know when you’ll find fried Rhode Island squid, Boston mackerel escabeche, or Calendar Island mussels, or whether the fish in the sandwiches will be invasive species such as blue catfish and lionfish, or bycatches such as dogfish or Acadian redfish.

114 Nassau Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222