While the first person who ever dared to eat an oyster was certainly brave (to paraphrase Jonathan Swift), you can’t deny that these bizarre-looking creatures are insanely delicious. Whether eaten raw with a dash of mignonette, deep-fried, grilled, or prepared in dozens of additional ways, oysters are one of those perfect foods, and these 25 oyster bars are America’s best.
Oyster bars come in every stripe. Some are situated right on the water, where you know the oysters are as fresh as they can be. Others are located in the heart of the city, and are bustling shrines to the noble bivalve. Others are all about specials such as happy hours and oyster tasting menus, with plenty offering dollar oysters, a great deal if there ever was one. Some complement their oysters with spectacular cocktails, and some are renowned for incorporating them into other innovative dishes that have become legendary in their own right. Some are tiny holes-in-the-wall where crowds line up out the door on a daily basis; others are massive emporiums.
We’ve incorporated all these styles of oyster bar into our ranking, while also making sure that all of these restaurants offer a wide variety of shucked-to-order oysters, have knowledgeable employees who can instruct guests on the different styles, have great ambiance, and are committed to serving the freshest, most delicious oysters in the country.
So from a sprawling New York institution located in the heart of the country’s most well-known train station to a New Orleans gem that’s been going strong for more than 100 years, read on to learn which oyster bars are America’s best.
Additional reporting by Kristen Oliveri.