Moon Shoals (Barnstable, Massachusetts)
Why they’re delicious: Grown near that well-defined bicep of Cape Cod, these hearty, meaty specimens don’t come around often, but when they do, they burst with a mouthful of ocean water. Bite into the meat to pull out the flavor, and you’re rewarded with a citrus-y, creamy, almost vanilla-like finish.
Where you’ll find them: Maison Premiere, New York; The Publican, Chicago; Brasserie 19, Houston
Cooke's Cove Malpeques (Prince Edward Island, Canada)
Why they’re delicious: These tong-harvested oysters are grown in a protected inlet on the northern end of PEI. You’ll get a good wallop of sea-salt brine up front, followed by a sweet, crisp bite of meat.
Where you’ll find them: Grand Central Oyster Bar, New York; The Southern Steak & Oyster, Nashville
Maine Belons (Damariscotta, Maine)
Why they’re delicious: Its technical name is the European flat oyster and was originally planted in Maine in the ’50s by sex-crazed scientists hoping to repopulate the region’s oyster beds. Decades later, they started to flourish. Harvested by divers, they give off a gutsy, strong flavor up front with a metallic-tinny finish. Have a sudsy beer nearby to wash these down -- these oysters don’t play well with delicate wines.
Where you’ll find them: Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME; Island Creek Oyster Bar, Boston