"A decent, reasonably priced seafood restaurant in the city?"

Options, alas, are few. The restaurant biz runs tight margins, and fresh seafood's costs are flukey.

Seafood Unlimited (270 S. 20th St.), one of Philly's "sleeper" restaurants, has been around since the early '70s, first as a seafood market and now as a bar-restaurant jazzed up by an Isaiah Zagar mural and a killer $11.95 all-you-can-eat mussels special on Mondays.

Italian Market mainstay Anastasi Seafood (Ninth and Washington) also grew out a fish market to become a bar-restaurant with an emphasis on shellfish. Right inside a market — Reading Terminal — is Pearl's Oyster Bar, a no-frills counter that mixes traditional and more modern preparations.

Though it changed hands recently, Gallo's (8101 Roosevelt Blvd.) still turns tables in Northeast Philly with cheerful service, to boot.

Whole branzino with chimichurri at Pinefish, 12th and Pine Streets.
GLORIA ESPOSITO
Whole branzino with chimichurri at Pinefish, 12th and Pine Streets.

Two newer-comers are worth a throw: Pinefish in Washington Square West, whose happy hour features buck-a-shuck oysters and clams and there's a cleverly named Friends With Benedicts Sunday brunch.

There's also the kitschy Bait & Switcha bar that is killing it in Port Richmond across from Tacconelli's.

For the takeout and delivery crowd, solid options (and strawberry iced tea) abound from Captain Hooks, a hole-in-the-wall just north of the Temple campus in North Philly.

For Philly fish-house style and buck-a-shucks at happy hour, try two of the city's fancier seafooders: The Olde Bar (on the site of Old Original Bookbinder's at Second and Walnut Streets) and Oyster House (1516 Sansom St.).

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