Fall’s the season for lots of wonderful things — pumpkin spice, cozy sweaters, crisp strolls through the park and of course, fresh oysters! Briny, sweet, creamy and plump — our favorite bivalves satisfy all of our flavor cravings. Topped with a squeeze of lemon, dollop of cocktail sauce and a pat of horseradish, we could slurp these oceany, refreshing bites all season long. Here are a few of our favorite spots to knock back a few dozen with chilled wine, cold beers and good friends.
Where to Get Your Oyster Fix
BAR CRUDO - Fresh oysters on the half shell (San Francisco)
With so many types to choose from (Sea Cow, Washington, Miyagi, Kumamoto, St. Simon, Kusshi and ~gasp!~ Naked Cowboys), crushing a few platters in one sitting is not out of the ordinary.
Bar Crudo is a modern raw bar serving notable oysters and inventive seafood dishes. In addition to a focus on sustainable seafood and supporting local producers, the restaurant has a great beer selection, with a vast array of crisp, floral, hoppy and dry brews available to enjoy alongside the fresh shellfish.
DITCH PLAINS - Roasted oysters with garlic butter (New York City)
Drippy, buttery and delicious, this is a most comforting way to serve them. Filling and warming to the toes, could there be a more perfect oyster dish for fall?
Ditch Plains is a chic yet casual New York-style oyster bar and seafood shack. The restaurant features American classics — including simple salads, sandwiches and burgers — that honor Chef/Owner Marc Murphy’s love of Montauk. An aquatically inspired dining room evokes an oceanside eatery, with plenty of wines, cocktails and beers on offer.
Oysters, shrimp, lobster and Fluke crudo. Otherwise known as a platter of delight.
Located right by Fenway Park, Island Creek Oyster Bar brings embodies the farm-to-table ethos. The menu, sprinkled with the names of purveyors throughout, brings you the best of the New England shore. A destination unto itself, the bar features an extensive list of craft cocktails, rotating beers and wines by the bottle and the glass.
A raw bar devoted to the good stuff takes center stage, with oysters, shrimp, scallops, uni and more. Plus an entire section of the menu dedicated to crudo and ceviche? We’ll be here all night.
Drawing on an oyster-friendly heritage, Row 34 serves up a seafood-heavy menu in an industrial-inspired setting. Chef/Owner Jeremy Sewall’s brick-and-wood eatery offers fish entrees and an oyster menu, along with craft beers and an extensive wine list.
Served with cucumber, lemon and jalapeño. To whoever figured out that these salty gems could actually taste better when balanced by a slightly bitter, sour and spicy topping, we thank you.
Osso serves classic comfort food paired with small plates and charcuterie in a unique, ornate space — complete with occasional live music. A fresh selection of cocktails crafted with an eye to pairing well with the simple menu is one hallmark of this neighborhood favorite.
RM CHAMPAGNE - Daily selection of east and west coast oysters (Chicago)
Simple, unadulterated, fresh oysters served on a gorgeous plate of ice. We like to imagine we’re on a luxurious yacht, washing it those ocean-breeze flavors down with many glasses of bubbly.
This lavish 1,500 square foot wine and champagne salon, tucked discreetly down a secluded cobblestone alley, offers a select menu of New American small plates in an elegant setting — complete with a marble fireplace and crystal chandeliers. A wide-ranging collection of bubbles are popped and poured in an elegant yet accessible dining room adorned with eclectic frames of vintage artwork.
SA fat fried oyster with tangy coleslaw and fancy mayo on a buttery roll. We’ve been known to put away several of these bad boys.
Photo by Michael Persico
At Kevin Sbraga’s second restaurant, The Fat Ham, the Top Chef winner prepares unique, pork-centric and Southern-inspired small plates. The list of seasonal, specialty barrel-aged cocktails and more than 120 different bourbons and whiskeys also takes its inspiration from the South. An eclectic collection of tableware, chairs and artwork keep the high-ceilinged, retro-rustic space as unexpected as the fare.
Whether you find them raw, roasted, fresh or fried, the year’s best oysters are popping up all over. So grab the Reserve app and let the country’s best restaurants wow you with their takes on the mother of mollusks. This oyster season, we only have one thing to say: game on.