Austin You're a grown up now, and because that means you'll have to expand your knowledge of seafood beyond fish sticks, we've put together a hit list of spots in town whose raw oyster programs are doing it right. Now, grab a date -- because you're going to be feeling frisky after this sampling -- and get to know the difference between a slippery snack from Prince Edward Island and one from Washington. The world (or at least Austin) is your oyster!
Parkside (info and address)
Parkside is nestled amongst the chaos of Dirty 6th, but walk in and you'll find one of the best and most sophisticated happy hours. This includes not only deals on signature cocktails, but also on their raw oyster platters. Everyday from 5-6:30pm, the oyster platter is half price, which comes out to just 16 clams (pun kind-of intended). They always have fresh, juicy, East and West Coast varieties and don't mind mixing it up for you.
Clark's Oyster Bar (info and address)
While not a cheap option, this West 6th spot is the best option, in our humble opinion. Perfectly balanced cocktails, impeccable service, and a spot-on large variety of East and West Coast oysters ranging from delicate and creamy to briny and complex make Clark's a definite standout. Their daily 3-6pm happy hour includes 50 cents off oysters and drink deals like $5 martinis (Mon-Fri) and half off bottles of wine on the weekends!
Hillside Farmacy (info and address)
Slink past the tragically hip, sunglass-wearing patio-people and step into the lovely Hillside Farmacy. This bright East Side 1920s pharmacy-themed restaurant is serving a rotating selection of East and West Coast oysters along with their farm-fresh local menu. Show up on a Monday after 5pm and they'll hook you up with half-price, East Coast oysters and $5 glasses of cava (that's fancy talk for Champagne).
Foreign & Domestic (info and address)
This tiny, former Austin-Homebrew-cum-skate-shop is as known for Chef/owner Ned Elliot's locavore menu as they are for their weekly oyster deal. Patrons flock to F&D for Dollar Oyster Tuesdays which feature a rotating selection of East Coast goodies. Bonus: $5 for either a F&D Summer Sangria or "The Golden Bear" (tea, Sherry, lemon, and tarragon).
Quality Seafood (info and address)
Forgo the fluff and head over to Quality Seafood where freshness and quality (who knew?!) take center stage. These guys not only provide wholesale seafood to many local restaurants but they're cooking up amazing food of their own -- or shucking if you go for oysters. The selection varies by season but you're guaranteed super fresh oysters and an entire menu of their grilled and seasoned style.
Right on Sixth Street, Parkside is a relatively upscale gastropub known for its raw bar and wine selection. Though the oysters are sourced from all over the country and the wine menu is more than two pages long, don't think it's just a wine and oyster bar. The menu features protein entrees, a knockout cheeseburger, and Texan craft beers.
The Hillside Farmacy doubles as a sit down farm-to-table restaurant with daily raw bar and specialty grocery. Their seasonal meats, cheese, and greens are locally sourced and can be enjoyed with a glass of wine or afternoon tea (if you're detoxing from the night before).
From married City of Roses transplants, F&D is a pastel-painted one-room canteen with mod-wooden furniture and long bench seating, centered around an open kitchen serving an unpretentious French/ Spanish/ American fusion of "snacks, chomps, and plates", but not C.H.O.M.P.S., because movies starring Valerie Bertinelli as the girlfriend of a young man who invents a robotic dog are All-American, baby.
Austin's top seafood supplier since 1938 (when it was just a stall on S. Congress) scored a place on our Favorite 5 sports-watching spots for their totally under-appreciated bar, which is buoyed by a pair of flatscreens and eight taps under five bucks. The game snacks don't hurt either, from applewood-bacon-wrapped scallops, to fried-anything-you-can-imagine, to the freshest fish tacos in town that don't involve making an untoward joke about SRD.
A small neighborhood seafood joint, Clark's Oyster Bar, prides itself on simple, sustainable seafood with a cozy ambiance. The maritime cache is fully stocked with house-made breads, burgers, and an extensive brunch menu, but the oysters, which come in a breadth of both East and West Coast options that rotate out with availability and season, are an essential order.