The Best Seafood in Columbia, SC: A Quick Restaurant Guide (2023)

Columbia is the capital city of South Carolina. It’s home to the University of South Carolina, and some of the state’s top attractions and events.

Did you know Columbia is also home to an amazing food scene? The city has some five-star dining options across cuisines that are worth exploring. You may have noticed some of these on our top breakfast and brunch in Columbia, SC, list.

Today, we’re taking a look at the 5 best seafood restaurants in Columbia, SC!

Price WebsiteRating
Blue Marlin$$-$$$Link Here4.5 of 5 stars/2,483 Google reviews
Pearlz Oyster Bar$$-$$$Link Here4.5 of 5 stars/1,300 Google reviews
Oyster Bar Columbia$$-$$$Link Here4.5 of 5 stars/487 Google reviews
Freshe Poke$-$$Link Here4.5 of 5 stars/507 Google reviews
Ocean View Seafood$-$$ Link Here4 of 5 Stars/1,178 Google reviews

Check out the list below for some of the top seafood restaurants in the capital city.

1. Blue Marlin

Blue Marlin is an upscale seafood restaurant in Columbia’s Vista arts district. It’s the perfect place for a work lunch or special occasion, like a birthday dinner or anniversary.

Blue Marlin brings Low Country cuisine to Columbia. There is also a taste of Creole and Cajun influence in their dishes.

This restaurant has some of the freshest seafood you’ll find in the Midlands.

To start, you won’t want to skip the She Crab soup! This is a rich and creamy soup with fresh lump crab meat.

The menu is full of Low Country classics like shrimp and grits and Charleston crab cakes. There are also fried seafood platters and fresh tuna, Mahi, or scallops on the menu.

If you have a guest who doesn’t like seafood, there are steaks on the menu as well.

You’ll definitely want to end dinner with a slice of the tart, creamy key lime pie with fresh whipped cream.

Although dinner service is upscale, lunch is a little more laid back. Lunchtime is a good chance to try tasty dishes at a more affordable cost.

For groups or special occasions, private dining is available. There’s a buffet option and a formal seated dining option for private dining.

Check out the Blue Marlin website for more information and to view the menus.

2. Pearlz Oyster Bar

Pearlz Oyster Bar has a fun, casual atmosphere, great menu, and full bar. The Columbia location is downtown, which makes this a great late-night spot!

The Pearlz menu is a mix of raw shellfish, local seafood, and Low Country classics.

Here are some of the different raw bar offerings at Pearlz:

  • Oyster shooter with spicy cocktail sauce
  • Hard shell clams
  • A sampler with oysters, clams, and shrimp
  • House oysters on the shell or steamed

Get the New England lobster roll at Pearlz for a classic you can’t find at many other places in Columbia.

For a delicious taste of the Low Country, get the fish and chips. It’s beer-battered and served with a cajun tartar sauce and house chips.

Pearlz also has a full bar with cold beer, great wine and cocktails. Plus, nightly happy hour specials on both the food and drinks.

Fun fact: there is an upstairs bar at Pearlz that brings in a DJ most weekend nights. If you stay late after dinner, check it out!

Check out the menu here.

3. Oyster Bar Columbia

Oyster Bar Columbia is a seafood restaurant with a pub-like atmosphere. It’s one of the top-rated restaurants in the city, coming in at number 23 out of 600 on TripAdvisor!

The Oyster Bar has some of the freshest seafood you’ll find in Columbia. It’s been around since 2001, and it’s South Carolina’s true old-fashioned oyster bar.

You’ll want to start by trying out something from the fresh seafood list!

Here are some of the fresh offerings you can enjoy:

  • Oysters, raw or steamed
  • Buffalo shrimp or scallops
  • Shrimp, steamed with Old Bay or another special seasoning
  • Scallops
  • Crawfish

As the entree, you can never go wrong with the Beaufort Basket. This South Carolina classic includes a medley of sausage, shrimp, potatoes, and corn on the cob. It’s drizzled with butter and Old Bay seasoning.

Oyster Bar also has a full bar, and they say they have the coldest beer in town.

Fun fact: Oyster bar sells bottles of its housemade cocktail sauce. Pick up a bottle to bring home with you!

Check out the website and view the menu here.

4. Freshe Poke

Freshe Poke is a Hawaiian-inspired sushi bowl restaurant. There are three locations in the Columbia area.

Although this isn’t your typical Southern-style seafood, it is fresh and delicious!

Freshe Poke offers build your own bowls and has a list of pre-made favorites to choose from.

You can choose everything from your base (rice or salad) to the poke selection and toppings. They have raw salmon, tuna, spicy tuna, shrimp and sous vide chicken available as a topping.

Here are some of the fun and unique toppings you can add to your bowl:

  • Avocado
  • Sweet onion
  • Crab salad
  • Edamame
  • Corn
  • Seaweed salad

There are over 10 housemade sauces to dress your bowl with, and some crunchy toppings to add at the end.

With all the options, you can try something new every time you come here!

Freshe Poke also serves classic Boba Tea drinks with a wide variety of flavors to choose from. You can get a light and refreshing green tea variety, or go for something creamy and sweet.

Freshe Poke is a grab-and-go style restaurant, but seating is available inside. You can even order in advance for a super quick and easy meal!

Check out the website and full menu here.

5. Ocean View Seafood

Last on the list is Ocean View Seafood. This is a casual seafood restaurant in Columbia for lunch or dinner. People describe Ocean View as a “mom and pop” style restaurant.

Ocean View is the type of place you go for a standard Southern seafood platter.

You’ll find broiled and fried platter options. Seafood choices range from crab legs to flounder, shrimp and more.

Most regulars recommend a fried seafood platter. This comes with your choice of seafood and two sides. All platters also come with hush puppies and cole slaw.

Ocean View also has lunch specials available Monday through Friday during lunch hours. The lunch specials are smaller portions of the dinner menu, and it is very affordable.

You’ll want to dine-in at Ocean View so you can enjoy your meal hot and fresh!

Check out the Ocean View Seafood website and menu here.

Other Great Dining Options

Check out the video below to make a delicious Southern seafood boil in your own home!

Or check out Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking here on Amazon. It’s been one of the most influential books for me in the kitchen.

And the one versatile piece of cookware I always recommend is the Lodge Dutch Oven. You can find it here on Amazon on sale usually.

Hungry for more? Check out some related blogs on the website.

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