Shells Seafood Restaurant

Shells Seafood Restaurant

Shells Seafood Restaurant is a regional chain in the Tampa Bay area that has been around for years.  They used to be spread all throughout Florida, but those other locations have closed over the years.  The South Tampa location is still here and doing quite well.   

Shells Seafood Restaurant

The sign out front says ‘Shells Great Casual Seafood’ and to our surprise, that is exactly what we got on our visit.  We feel that Shells competes with Red Lobster and does a much better job with just about everything.  Shells Seafood Restaurant

The décor is bright and modern with a ‘no frills’ attitude that makes you feel right at home.  We liked the fact that Shells doesn’t try to be something it’s not and it also shows in the friendly, attentive service. Shells Seafood Restaurant

With no wait for seating, we had our drinks quickly and our appetizers seem to fly out of the kitchen.  Entrees are heavy in all things seafood, with fried and grilled options and some specialty sauces and toppings to mix things up.  Our server was a great help in guiding us on our main courses and passed Jeff’s “so what’s good?” question test.   Shells Seafood Restaurant

Shells Clam Chowder, cup ($3.99) – Clams, bacon and spices.  The menu promises “The best clam chowder you’ll ever eat!” and “Gourmet Magazine’s been asking for our recipe since ’88”.  With all that bragging, we had to try it.  Well, we do have to say that this was the best clam chowder (New England style) we’ve had in Florida.  This was loaded with tender clams and the bacon really added a nice salty depth.  It’s not your low calorie soup and I swear I tasted some butter in there too. Shells Seafood Restaurant

Fried Mushrooms ($5.99) – The portion of mushrooms was larger than expected and more than enough for two people to share.  Shells Seafood Restaurant

While they were fresh out of the fryer, we found the coating to be a bit on the bland side.  A dip in the slightly spicy sauce and we were much happier. Shells Seafood Restaurant

Fried Trio ($15.99) – Freshly breaded fried shrimp, scallops & clam strips.  It was at this point that I was realizing that I might have gone overboard on the fried options for the night.  Shells Seafood Restaurant

The generous pile of seafood was fresh with our favorite being the shrimp.  The scallops were the small ‘bay’ variety, while sweet, not our favorite.  Shells Seafood Restaurant

The fried clams were crisp with the signature chewy inside we’ve come to expect.  The garlic potatoes were a tasty option and I was glad I substituted vegetables for the cole slaw. Shells Seafood Restaurant

Ultimate Combo ($16.99) – Fresh salmon, grilled shrimp skewer and a jumbo crab cake.  Served with rice and steamed vegetables.  We were actually impressed at the look of this dish.  Shells Seafood Restaurant

After a few bites, we knew this was the winning selection (thank you server Scott!).  The salmon was high quality and grilled perfectly, easily something we would order here again.  The shrimp were seasoned well and cooked perfectly.  The crab cake, while tasty, was probably the one item on the plate we could have passed on.  The rice was a nice ‘healthier’ option for a side and it was really flavorful. Shells Seafood Restaurant

We really liked our casual dinner at Shells Seafood Restaurant.  Our next visit will be all about the grilled seafood and I’m definitely going to get the salmon.  Prices are very reasonable and we think it’s actually a great value to get your seafood fix.  It’s not easy to find good seafood at the ‘casual’ restaurant chains and we are glad we have one right here in Tampa – Shells Great Casual Seafood. Shells Seafood Restaurant

Shells Seafood Restaurant is located at 202 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL

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