Located inside the Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium, Tiburón serves deep-sea treats with courtside views to a 60,000-gallon shark tank. Tiburón's menu features succulent seafood creations made with sustainably harvested fish. The New Orleans shrimp ($12.95) comes sautéed in Cajun spices in a beer-butter sauce, while the firecracker calamari ($9.50) sizzles in a spicy tomato coulis and roasted-poblano aioli. The East Coast is well represented with rich, creamy lobster bisque simmered with jumbo crab meat ($6 cup, $8.50 bowl). The entree choices are equally aqueous and ambrosial—a grilled Arizona pecan-crusted trout ($20) is served with wild-rice pilaf and seasonal vegetables in a lemon-butter sauce, while the shrimp tortellini ($22) comes with fresh asparagus and a choice of alfredo or marinara sauce. Diners who suffer from acute cases of crustacean commiseration can opt for land-based dishes such as the chef's famous roasted-duck tacos ($12.95) or a steak option ($28–$29) with a choice of sides. Each menu selection is paired with a wine or beverage recommendation.
Pelican Bay Oyster Bar shrugs off its landlocked setting with an extensive seafaring menu. Land a lunch of charbroiled Cajun salmon ($13.95) or sample the shrimp and crab delight, which joins its loving marine proteins in sautéed matrimony with mushrooms, green onions, basil, wine, and linguine ($12.95). Dinner diners can bet hunger pangs on the clams casino, an appetizer that turns in a guaranteed jackpot of baked clams, bacon, and bread crumbs ($12.95). Pasta plates run the gamut from seafood fettuccine ($15.95) to shrimp scampi ($13.95), and the grill lets culinary adventurers reel in oceanic treasures such as swordfish, halibut, lobster, and snorkeling steaks. Pelican Bay harbors diverse wine and cocktail options to pair with fishy tastings and bait guests's minds with captivating tales of the dinner that got away.
Specializing in modern island fare, Hula's brunch menu fuses Polynesian and Hawaiian dishes with worldly and supernatural influences. Recover faster than an action star after a boat explosion with Hula's hangover hash (two eggs stacked on a heaping helping of Luau pork hash over a bed of hash browns, $9). The ahi-tuna eggs benedict is a classy twist on a classic ($12), and the two-egg breakfast injects two shots of tradition into morning stomachs ($7). Purveyors of lunch need look no further than the Maui onion-smothered Hula burger ($8), shrimp tacos ($8–$14), or mango-chicken salad ($13). Add a side of fried Spam ($2.50) to show the world you haven't forgotten this beloved piece of Americana.
It’s not everyday that, what can only be described as a hole-in-the-wall eatery, makes it onto the pages of Gourmet magazine. Yet in 2003, Mariscos Playa Hermosa did just that, landing in the mag’s Restaurants We Love edition for its fresh and authentic Mexican seafood. A spot in the national limelight is likely more than owners Jose and Maria Maldonado had in mind when they first left their small colonial town in Mexico. The couple came to the States hoping to introduce customers to the tastes of Sinaloan-style Mexican food; Jose's cooking skills, matched with Maria's hosting abilities, turned out to be a formula for success. The fresh seafood helps too, 70% of which comes from the Pacific, and 30% from the Gulf. Made-to-order items such as Seven Seas soup, garlicky octopus, crab enchiladas, and ceviche populate the menu, each laced with unique flavors from Sinaloa, Veracruz, and Guanajuato, Mexico.
Donovan’s Steak and Chop House isn't out to rewrite the book on fine dining—it just tries to make sure that book is printed in the most elegant cursive possible. The restaurant largely succeeds, thanks to a few simple things it refuses to compromise on. Take, for example, the fact that Donovan’s exclusively serves USDA Prime steaks straight from the Midwest. Each and every rib eye or new york strip is wet-aged and flash-seared at 1,600 degrees to seal in the juices and leave the meat tantalizingly tender. And while beef might be the main event, Donovan’s doesn’t skimp on its non-steak menu, either, serving market-fresh Australian coldwater rock lobster and Alaskan king crab legs in a chilled seafood tower that guests can topple with their choice of a fork or trident.
If you live in Phoenix and want a taste of the ocean, you have two options: drive west on I-10 until you reach the Pacific coast, or pay a visit to The Salt Cellar Restaurant in nearby Scottsdale. The latter option has proven wildly popular since 1971, when locals got their first taste of The Salt Cellar’s pan-fried oysters, charcoal-broiled sea scallops, and crabmeat-stuffed shrimp. The restaurant’s popularity has endured thanks to chef Kurt Theleman’s commitment to sourcing his seafood from wherever he can—Hawaii, Alaska, Georges Bank, and even New Zealand. Though much of the fresh seafood is seasonal, guests can always count on a selection of whole Maine lobsters, the largest of which weigh in at a whopping 5 pounds. If all this talk of the ocean makes you thirsty, sidle up to the polished hardwood bar to order a drink and regale your bartender with a favorite sea shanty. The restaurant's unique location––it's snuggly tucked below street level––also make it a cozy place to escape for happy hour, which happens twice daily from 4 p.m.–7 p.m. and again from 10 p.m.–1 a.m.