in partnership
Whaley's Seafood Platter (Whaley's)

The 10 best (and most instagrammable) seafood towers in town

When you’re lusting for lobster, want to crack open some crab claws, and slurp down some oysters, only a seafood tower will do. Packed with briny bites that showcase the sea’s finest flavors, these extravagant spreads are a heady indulgence. Here are the 10 best in D.C.

Le Diplomate

The Grand Plateau ($140) is a triple level tribute to the ocean’s bounty. Laid out on crushed ice are an assortment of delicacies, including a dozen oysters, Bluejay mussels, more than a pound of lobster, three varieties of crab, shrimp, various clams, whelks, and fluke. C’est magnifique!

Kapnos Taverna

This is not your average seafood tower. The three-tier skyscraper ($135) showcases everything from marinated mussels and king salmon tartare to lobster tossed with with lemon vinaigrette and Aleppo accented shrimp. On the side, there are a bevy of house-made condiments: harissa hot sauce, tomato-ouzo cocktail, lemon yogurt, mignonette, and fresh horseradish.


You can feel good about ordering the large seafood platter ($140), since all the items are approved by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch. The lavish spread includes oysters, little neck clams, poached mussels with lemon vinaigrette, poached shrimp and lobster, a crudo of the day, grilled calamari salad, smoked catfish rillette, and sea urchins simply seasoned with sea salt and chives.

Fiola Mare

Wanna splurge? Order the San Benedetto ($240). The Poseidon-worthy presentation features an ounce of Transmontanus caviar, king crab, tuna tartare, langoustines, tiger prawns, lobster, sea urchins, and much more. Dunk your selections in Chardonnay mignonette, spicy Calabrese aioli, and pink peppercorn passion fruit mignonette.

Ocean Prime

Build your own shellfish skyscraper ($37-119) with your choice of oysters, crab cocktail, whole Maine lobster, shrimp cocktail, and king crab legs. Selections are presented on a tower hiding dry ice, so a smoky haze seeps down the sides. A worthy snap for your Instagram.

Bourbon Steak

Depending on what the fishermen bring in, the selections on this treat tower ($140) will change. It will usually always include tuna tartare, scallop ceviche, mussels, shrimp, lobster, oysters, and clams. On the side, there are bar-worthy condiments: champagne mignonette and cocktail sauce amped up with Tanqueray gin. The gods of the deep would surely approve.

Brasserie Beck

The Plateau à la Beck ($95) reaches new heights. Depending on the season and availability, the platter might include lobster, oysters, shrimp cocktail, clams, mussels, pineapple curry ceviche, and calamari salad. Best of all, guests can enjoy it for half price during happy hour (daily from 4-7 p.m.).


If you’re looking to make a big impression, order the Grande Tower ($120). The two-level turret of tastiness features more than 30 oysters, a pair of lobsters, and a plethora of clams, shrimps, and mussels. They arrive with the traditional accompaniments: cocktail sauce, mignonette, and horseradish.

Mastro’s Steakhouse

Consider this the make-your-own-buffet option ($40 and up). Load up a platter with your choice of jumbo shrimp, lobster, stone crabs, oysters, king crab legs, and more. This duplex of deliciousness is packed with dry ice underneath the regular ice, so it arrives at the table bubbling over with wisps of foggy vapors.

Woodward Table

The full seafood platter ($90) is two stories high and flush with fresh catches. Options could include half a lobster, Maryland jumbo lump crab cocktail, Chesapeake oysters, Chincoteague clams, mussels, hamachi crudo, and tuna poke. Depending on the seasonal availability, guests may be able to add Jonah crab claws, Taylor Bay Scallops, and whelks.