The world is your oyster at these coastal seafood bars specializing in delicious bivalves. With National Oyster Day commencing August 5th, we’ve rounded up a slew of classy oyster dives from the USA’s East Coast to the Pacific Northwest — where you can slurp down a dozen oysters on the half-shell (preferably with a freshly squeezed lemon, a dash of horseradish, and a healthy dollop of Tabasco).
Eat Oyster Bar (Portland, Oregon)
This New Orleans-style raw bar features farm-fresh bivalves to nitty-gritty Southern-influenced dishes: Frog Legs, Seafood Gumbo, Blackened Catfish, and Southern Bread Pudding are on the menu. Order oysters on the half-shell with lemon, mignonette, and horseradish, or try one of their renditions such as the Cowboy Shooter and Baked Redneck Riviera.
Grand Central Oyster Bar (New York City)
Buried in New York’s iconic Grand Central Station, this century-old oyster bar pays homage to the tourists and travelers of the past. With one of the largest (and freshest) seafood menus in Manhattan, visitors can choose from a variety of 25 oysters daily while taking in the bar front’s dramatic architecture. Plus, we hear their chowders and stews are world-famous.
Eventide Oyster Co. (Portland, Maine)
Inspired by the seafood shacks dotting the charming New England coastline, Eventide Oyster Co. is a contemporary yet casual raw bar. While New York and West Coast mollusks do in fact appear on the menu, its well-curtailed selection puts Maine oysters above all else — and specialty accouterments, including tabasco, horseradish, and kimchi-flavored ice come with these half-shells. (Try the Celery Gimlet, which the restaurant deems as “practically healthy food.”)
Dudley Market (Venice, California)
Dudley Market, a locally-run Venice seafood establishment, is sustainably driven at its core: the founders fish from their own boat several times a week. Although oysters aren’t being caught, the eatery sources their bivalves from some of the West Coast’s top-notch farms, particularly Baja California Sur, where the owners also operate a natural winery. Also, its warm interiors feature reclaimed wood furnishings, vaulted ceilings, and a breathtaking oceanfront view making this spot a true SoCal gem.
Clark’s Oyster Bar (Austin, Texas)
A small, chic West Austin neighborhood haunt, Clark’s Oyster Bar spotlights sustainable caviar selections, house-baked sourdough bread, decadent lobster rolls, and freshly caught oysters. The yellow-and-white striped shaded banquet seating is the perfect spot to enjoy Dressed Oysters topped with cucumber & honey vinaigrette, mint, and crispy shallots, or the five-dollar oyster shooters during happy hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 pm.
Hog Island Oyster Co. (San Francisco, California)
With a successful oyster farming business, Hog Island Oyster Co. has expanded across the Bay Area with flagships in Napa, Marshall, and Larkspur, California. However, its San Francisco location inside the historic Ferry Building is one of SF’s best raw bars with jaw-dropping Bay Bridge and Treasure Island scenes. You can’t go wrong with any of the raw oysters, but opt for the Chipotle Bourbon grilled oysters comprising butter, bourbon, brown sugar, garlic, and chipotle for a twist.
Leon’s Oyster Shop (Charleston, South Carolina)
Leon’s Oyster Shop, an old-school seafood joint displaying elevated nautical interiors, is an Upper King Street classic. Infusing good-ole Southern fried chicken and freshly caught oysters on its menu is its claim to fame: its Char-Grilled Oysters come by the half dozen with lemon, parsley, butter, and parmesan. It’d be amiss not to order the perfectly crisped fried chicken while dining here, too.
Elliott’s Oyster House (Seattle, Washington)
With over 50 plus years as Seattle’s jeweled waterfront restaurant on Pier 56, Elliott’s Oyster House knows how to highlight the best-of-the-best Pacific Northwest flavors: Dungeness crab, wild-caught salmon, and a knockout selection of over 25 oysters comprise this fine seafood menu. We’re pairing our oysters with the Sea Smoke libation stirred with Elliott’s Copperworks Gin, kura sake, fusion verjus, and umami bitters.
Maison Premiere (New York City)
An elevated Nola-themed cocktail and oyster oasis, Maison Premiere is an iconic watering hole in Brooklyn’s buzzy Williamsburg neighborhood. Belly up at the rustic bar for front-row seats to the shell-cracking show of East Coast oysters. Its leafy garden tucked in the back provides a sexy spot to imbibe one of their daring absinthe offerings. (The Chrysanthemum mixed with Germain-Robin, Bénédictine, La Quintinye, and aromatic bitters sounds intriguing.)
Matunuck Oyster Bar (Rhode Island)
Matunuck Oyster Bar is as local as it comes: Founder Perry Raso grew up an oysterman before opening the acclaimed waterfront seafood establishment. Perched on its own oyster farm in Potter Pond, this farm-to-table shellfish menu is extensive, to say the least. Bivalve-wise, ordering the Matunuck Oysters right from the restaurant’s backyard is mandatory.
Fives (New Orleans)
Located in the French Quarter on Jackson Square, Fives is the bustling area’s sleekest raw bar. When it comes to top-notch local oysters, sumptuous cocktails, and a smooth jazz ambiance, there aren’t many better spots to be hanging out in the “Big Easy.”
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