Best Oyster Bars in America

Best Oyster Bars in America

As global fish populations have largely declined in the last 50 years and sustainable fishing practices are becoming paramount, one unassuming little mollusk is holding steady as an environmentally friendly seafood. About 95 percent of the oysters we eat are farm-raised, and studies have shown that oyster farming has a net positive impact on the environment.

This is because oysters (and other bivalves) filter the water that they live in, sequestering nitrogen and carbon dioxide and leading to cleaner water and air. Aside from their environmental impacts, oysters are also a low calorie source of protein, B12, zinc, selenium, and copper, and are undoubtedly some of the best seafood to eat.

To highlight these sustainable – and delicious – bivalves, 24/7 Tempo determined the best oyster bars in America by consulting lists, ratings, and reviews from websites including The Daily Meal, Eater, Tasting Table, Business Insider, Thrillist, Food & Wine, the New York Times, Prior World, and Yelp, as well as numerous local and regional sites.

These restaurants are largely coastal eateries, in places like Boston, Baltimore, and Seattle, that serve oysters from the surrounding area, although some are inland and others offer oysters from all over the world. A few, including Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Washington D.C. and the Boat Oyster Bar in Marshall, CA are outposts of local oyster farms that offer their signature breeds of mollusks.

Cocktail bars, French brasseries, beachside shuck shacks, and everything in between made the list. Most are not exclusively raw bars but offer notable selections or presentations of oysters, whether they are served raw, grilled, Rockefeller style, or covered in caviar. A few of these establishments are also regarded as some of the best seafood restaurants in America.

Source: Courtesy of Kwan K. via Yelp

L&E Oyster Bar
> Location: Los Angeles, CA

Fresh oysters are shipped in daily at this cozy Silver Lake date night spot. Have a few dozen with an assortment of small plates or end with a hearty pasta entrée, like crab linguine in lobster chablisienne or squid gemelli with lemon, chiles, cream, and white wine.

Source: Courtesy of Sherry S. via Yelp

Swan Oyster Depot
> Location: San Francisco, CA

A casual seafood counter and fish market, Swan Oyster Depot serves oysters and other raw-bar fare, as well as smoked fish, stuffed crab backs, and seafood salads. Try the Sicilian sashimi, featuring slices of raw tuna, salmon, and scallops enhanced with olive oil, capers, lemon, and onion.

Source: Courtesy of Mary E. via Yelp

Found Oyster
> Location: Los Angeles, CA

This chic East Hollywood gem is a popular destination for all things raw. Platters feature New England oysters, Sicilian crudo, and prawns, while decadent sea urchin and caviar plates are also available. For cooked fare, try the scallop tostadas or the Flannery Farms steak with butter.

Source: Courtesy of Marciel S. via Yelp

The Jolly Oyster Shuck Shack
> Location: Ventura, CA

This beachside shack with picnic table seating offers sustainably farmed Pacific shellfish along with local craft beers and wine. The scallop ceviche, steamed clams, and fried oysters are all seasoned with flair, and the grilled oysters with habanero butter are a surprise hit.

Source: Courtesy of Rita E. via Yelp

The Boat Oyster Bar
> Location: Marshall, CA

One of many outposts of the sustainable shellfish farm Hog Island Oyster Co., this outdoor café serves raw and grilled oysters from the adjoining bay, along with light seasonal fare, charcuterie, and beer and wine. It’s open for walk-ins only on Thursdays, and reservations only from Friday through Monday.

Source: Courtesy of Eric P. via Yelp

Bar Crudo
> Location: San Francisco, CA

With a $2 oyster happy hour and a great beer list, this trendy raw bar is an ideal after-work or date night spot. The West Coast oysters, arctic char crudo, and assortment of tacos will please the palate; and if you’re up for a hot dish, the seafood chowder or whole branzino won’t disappoint.

Source: Courtesy of Oyster Club via Yelp

Oyster Club
> Location: Mystic, CT

Local is the keyword at this “boat to table” bar and restaurant. New England oysters and other shellfish, line-caught fish, and local veggies and steaks fill out the inventive dinner menu, which features items like smoked fish kielbasa, spicy squid salad, and ginger fried monkfish.

Source: Courtesy of Brittany O. via Yelp

Clark’s Oyster Bar
> Location: Aspen, CO

Enjoy a daily selection of East and West Coast oysters at this rustic-chic restaurant with a full bar, exquisite cocktails, and caviar service. Customers love the grilled Spanish octopus, the cioppino, and the clam linguine.

Source: kentwang / Flickr

The River Oyster Bar
> Location: Miami, FL

This stylish restaurant features local and organic fare, with a full raw bar menu plus grilled fish, seafood pastas, and flatbreads. Perhaps start with some oyster shooters and the snapper tartare, then move on to the gnocchi with jumbo lump crab and black truffle or the sea scallop a la plancha with lentil ragout.

Source: Courtesy of Jason P. via Yelp

> Location: New Orleans, LA

Closed for the summer but open starting in September – just in time for oyster season – this compact, cash-only restaurant has been serving oysters since 1919. The menu features oyster stew, charbroiled oysters, and of course oysters on the half shell, along with gumbo and a huge selection of fried seafood sandwiches and dinners.

Source: Courtesy of Eventide Oyster Co. via Facebook

Eventide Oyster Co.
> Location: Portland, ME

A true New England-style oyster bar, Eventide offers a rotating selection of local Maine oysters and crab claws and clams on ice with all the fixings, as well as lobster stew, clam chowder, New England clam bake, and a famous brown-butter lobster roll. Some Asian-fusion items including steamed bao buns and tuna tartare with nước chấm round out the menu.

Source: Courtesy of Sherris M. via Yelp

Ryleigh’s Oyster
> Location: Baltimore, MD

This sprawling new-American restaurant offers indoor and patio seating with live music and a popular oyster happy hour. The menu features local oysters, a dozen ways to enjoy Maryland crab, Old Bay steamed shrimp, and sushi from Tuesday to Thursday.

Source: Courtesy of Jane L. via Yelp

Thames Street Oyster House
> Location: Baltimore, MD

This Fells Point restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating with water views. The full bar and dinner menus feature refreshing cocktails, seafood sandwiches and entrées, inventive appetizers and extensive raw bar fare, with oysters from both coasts and beyond. Don’t skip dessert, as guests rave about the bread pudding.

Source: Courtesy of My T. via Yelp

B&G Oysters
> Location: Boston, MA

A popular South End eatery, B&G oysters has an extensive wine menu and a compact dinner menu featuring East Coast oysters and other shellfish, fried calamari, lobster rolls, and fish and scallop entrées. Go for the lobster bisque or clam chowder and end with a decadent jar of chocolate mousse.

Source: sackton / Flickr

Neptune Oyster
> Location: Boston, MA

This intimate high-end oyster bar in Boston’s North End offers New England shellfish, raw bar platters, and crudo, in addition to marine entrées. Choose between such offerings as spicy cioppino with shellfish saffron rice, whole mackerel with Basque pepper stew and fennel, or sea scallops with fava beans, pancetta, and kelp butter.

Source: Courtesy of Emma Y. via Yelp

The Raw Bar at Island Creek Oyster Farm
> Location: Duxbury, MA

This casual waterfront patio eatery overlooks Duxbury Bay, where oysters are raised and harvested straight to the shuck shack. Come ready to feast on the freshest raw oysters around, have a shrimp cocktail or caviar hotdog, and throw back a few drinks while enjoying the scenic view.

Source: Courtesy of Angie Y. via Yelp

Select Oyster Bar
> Location: Boston, MA

A casual bistro in Boston’s South End, Select Oyster Bar serves Mediterranean-style fare with delicately curated flavors. Island Creek oysters are featured – and there’s nothing plain about the champagne-poached shrimp cocktail or the hamachi crudo with passion fruit and crispy ginger. Mains include hits like arctic char served over leek ragout with frisee salad, bacon lardons, and pistachio dressing.

Source: Courtesy of Asbury Oyster Bar via Facebook

Asbury Oyster Bar
> Location: Asbury Park, NJ

This sleek boardwalk bistro in a historic convention hall serves a wide range of East Coast oysters and other raw bar selections, tasty cocktails, and inventive tapas-style plates with plenty of vegetarian and seafood options.

Source: flickr4jazz / Flickr

Grand Central Oyster Bar
> Location: New York City, NY

This iconic eatery in bustling Grand Central Station has a huge rotating menu of oysters, fish, and shellfish from all over the world, as well as an extensive wine list. Stews, pastas, smoked fish, fried platters, and old-school daily specials guarantee that there’s something on the menu for everyone.

Source: Courtesy of Eva Z. via Yelp

Off the Hook Raw Bar
> Location: Queens, NY

A cozy bar and grill with numerous seating areas and a wide selection of oysters and raw bar platters, Off the Hook offers classic seafood house fare as well as a few Caribbean- and Central American-styled dishes like shrimp mofongo with saffron aïoli, and whole fried red snapper with tostones, pickled red onions, and cilantro sauce.

Source: loustejskal / Flickr

Maison Premiere
> Location: Brooklyn, NY

This Williamsburg restaurant is a popular brunch spot with a New Orleans vibe and a beautifully styled garden seating area. A large absinthe menu, cocktails, and wine accent the judicious food menu, which features dozens of oyster varieties, caviar, crudo, and small plates that are perfect for sharing.

Source: Courtesy of Bar Crudo via Yelp

Bar Crudo
> Location: Brooklyn, NY

Experience brunch, happy hour, live music, and a full dinner menu at this Park Slope oyster bar. Raw offerings besides oysters include shrimp or coho salmon ceviche, cider-poached octopus, and blue crab claws with aji amarillo dijonnaise. Customers rave about the paella and grilled octopus.

Source: Courtesy of Manuel C. via Yelp

> Location: Patchogue, NY

An Italian wine and seafood bar, Virgola is a great place to bring a date or to share an exquisite meal with a friend. Choose between a wide range of crudo platters, bruschettas, East and West Coast oysters, and flatbreads; or design an epic salumi, cheese, and insalata platter from a plethora of options.

Source: Courtesy of Charlie T. via Yelp

Shucker’s Oyster Bar
> Location: Lincoln City, OR

A down-home neighborhood feel permeates this seafood restaurant and bar. Shucker’s offers raw, deep-fried, and pan-fried oysters, as well as burgers, clams, prawns, and seafood platters. Bar regulars love the oyster shooters and the bloody mary.

Source: Courtesy of Glen P. via Yelp

Oyster House
> Location: Philadelphia, PA

Located in Center City, this raw bar has a daily rotating menu of East Coast oysters and clams, crudo, and small and large plates like grilled broccoli caesar with anchovies, black garlic glazed halibut, and whole char-grilled lobsters. A large gin selection and a happy hour keep customers coming back.

Source: Courtesy of Matunuck Oyster Bar via Facebook

Matunuck Oyster Bar
> Location: South Kingston, RI

This waterfront farm-to-table restaurant features a huge open-air patio and oysters and other raw-bar fare sourced from an on-site shellfish pond. Traditional New England style seafood is served alongside jambalaya and po’boys, and some novel twists like passion fruit oysters with cucumber and salmon roe.

Source: Courtesy of NICO via Facebook

Nico Oysters + Seafood
> Location: Mount Pleasant, SC

A brasserie featuring wood-fired French fare with an ample raw bar selection, Nico Oysters + Seafood provides the service, ambiance, and flavor that create an unforgettable dining experience. Try the seafood quenelle in Nantua sauce with crawfish and mushrooms or the Parisian gnocchi with wood-fired bay scallops and shrimp.

Source: Courtesy of Frances T. via Yelp

The Ordinary
> Location: Charleston, SC

Highlighting coastal flavors by supporting local fisherman, this upscale seafood house in a historic building offers a mouthwatering array of raw bar fare including stone crab claws, pickled little neck clams, pink porgy, and South Carolina oysters. Dinner plates include crispy oyster sliders, smoked fish pâté, blue crab curry rice.

Source: Courtesy of Minh K. via Yelp

Clark’s Oyster Bar
> Location: Austin, TX

Clark’s is a bustling, upscale restaurant with a large selection of oysters, clams, and inventive raw bar fare. The menu also features caviar, an array of whole grilled fish, and entrées ranging from lobster rolls to clam linguine with kale and hazelnut pesto to crispy fried snapper with grits, sofrito, and lemon zest.

Source: Courtesy of Craig K. via Yelp

Gilhooley’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar
> Location: San Leon, TX

This casual cash-only bar and restaurant with a beach vibe has a large menu of classic seafood appetizers, raw and grilled oysters, and fried seafood dinners, plus sandwiches, po’boys, gumbo, and Tex-Mex quesadillas. Patrons must be 18 or older, so leave the kids at home.

Source: Courtesy of Justin N. via Yelp

The Atlantic on Pacific
> Location: Virginia Beach, VA

A craft cocktail bar and raw bar, the Atlantic offers tapas-style hot and cold plates, decked-out baked oysters, and of course an extensive raw bar menu. Customers love the salmon pastrami deviled eggs, oysters Rockefeller, shrimp and kimchi dumplings, and shellfish pot pie.

Source: Courtesy of Veronique L. via Yelp

Rappahannock Oyster Bar
> Location: Washington, D.C.

This casual Union Market hangout serves a quality selection of raw Virginia oysters, small plates, and drinks. Grab a few dozen of Rappahannock Oyster Co.’s famous oysters and chat with a friend, or enjoy a bowl of red pepper and crab soup accompanied by the fried oyster tacos with celery root slaw.

Source: Courtesy of David L. via Yelp

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
> Location: Washington, D.C.

A popular seafood destination, Pearl Dive offers a full bar, brunch, and a happy hour, plus a large dinner menu of chilled and hot oysters, gumbos and stews, and Southern style entrées like cornmeal crusted oysters, blackened catfish with oyster dirty rice, and shrimp and grits with bacon-braised greens.

Source: Courtesy of Lindy P. via Yelp

Elliott’s Oyster House
> Location: Seattle, WA

This Pier 56 mainstay has bay views and the largest local oyster selection around, with dozens of varieties from Washington and British Columbia. Crowd favorites include the roasted king salmon, spicy crab and corn chowder, and the seafood risotto. Be aware of the 20% surcharge on bills.

Source: Courtesy of Sherry W. via Yelp

The Walrus and the Carpenter
> Location: Seattle, WA

With a wide selection of local oysters and house cocktails, this new American fishing-pub restaurant is a popular spot in Ballard for post-work meet-ups. Customer favorites include fried oysters with cilantro aïoli and grilled sardines. The no-reservation policy means that it can be hard to get a table, so show up on the early side or be ready to wait.

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