‘Tis the season for slurping oysters.
Well, technically, oysters can be consumed year-round. The old rule to avoid them during months not ending in “r” — a.k.a. the spawning period — no longer applies with the abundance of farmed oysters. However, among bivalve buffs, fall and winter is prime time for shucking, since cooler waters make for lovely oysters. Plus, with an abundance of zinc and vitamin B-12, oysters brim with micronutrients that help beat seasonal colds and flu.
Seattle’s surrounding waters produce some of the Pacific Northwest’s finest, from the Hood Canal’s Sea Cows to Dabob Bay’s eponymous oyster. The Emerald City is smack dab in oyster country; even the varying shades of gray skies evoke the steely palette of oyster shells. Here’s where to fill up on the half shell around Seattle.
On the second floor of Lark’s new soaring space, Bitter/Raw serves bivalves with a balcony view. In addition to oysters, other oceanic delights — like hamachi crudo and dungeness crab — make for a delightfully, fresh dinner. A craft cocktail bar shares the mezzanine space; take your oyster obsession to a new level with the Gibson, made with oyster-shell infused vermouth. Happy Hour: 5 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Frank’s Oyster House & Champagne Parlor
Tucked away in Ravenna, Frank’s Oyster House offers oysters without pretense. This cozy, neighborhood joint serves them raw with a tasty, bloody Mary granita atop rough-hewn planks that match the wooden walls and booths. Oysters also come fried atop a salad or baked with spinach and Parmigiano-Reggiano cream. Drink up an array of sparkling wine, oysters’ classic pairing. On Tuesdays, Frank’s boasts 30 percent off bottles of bubbly.
Taylor Oyster Bars
The big fish in the oyster-producing pond, Taylor Shellfish Farms has been in business for over 100 years. Since 2011, they’ve operated three oyster bars around Seattle where diners can sample their sustainable shellfish fresh off the farm. Order your oysters raw, in a hearty stew, or baked, like the Oysters Marco, a baked bacon, kale, and shallot combo. The savvy staff is full of oyster-knowledge. Each of the locations have their own distinct spirit; check out Pioneer Square for pre-game oysters or grab a window seat in Capitol Hill for prime, people watching. Happy Hour: 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday at Queen Anne and Pioneer Square and from 2 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday at Capitol Hill.
Walrus and the Carpenter
The Walrus and the Carpenter lives up to its name, which is also the title of a Lewis Carroll poem about oysters. Renee Erickson’s “fishing pub” lures oyster-lovers into its white-washed space by offering a rotating selection of the Pacific Northwest’s finest. Grab a seat at the zinc bar or a high table to slurp Shigokus, Treasure Coves, Blue Pools, and the like. If the no-reservations place is packed, oysters can be had at the Walrus’s adjacent bar, Barnacle. Happy Hour: 4 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
Westward & Little Gull Grocery
Want oysters along the waterfront? Head to Little Gull Grocery, an oyster bar on the shores of Lake Union. Each seat affords shuck-side views, bringing diners in on the oyster-opening action. The daily menu is Northwest-heavy with selects from the East Coast as well. Hungry for more? The oysters are also available at Little Gull’s sibling, Westward, which features Northwest cuisine dunked in Mediterranean flavors. Or, nab an Adirondack chair outside along the oyster-shell-lined bonfire. Happy hour: 5 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and 3 to 6 p.m. on weekends.