Food & Drink

The Best Places to Slurp Oysters in Seattle

Published On 09/22/2016 Published On 09/22/2016
Flickr/T.Tseng

Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bars

Lower Queen Anne (& other locations)

It’s hard to get any closer to the source than an oyster bar run by a local shellfish farm. This kind of connection means that the restaurants were entirely designed around offering the finest oyster experience -- from wine choices to color schemes. It also means you’ll find the best-educated staff in town here: they spend time at the farm learning everything there is to know about oysters.

Bar Melusine

Bar Melusine

Capitol Hill

Easily the best-looking oyster bar in Seattle -- if not the world -- Bar Melusine is James Beard Award-winning chef Renee Erickson’s oystery ode to the French Atlantic. It draws diners in with seafoam-green accents swimming in a sea of marble and white. Then it holds their attention with baskets full of fresh Hama Hama oysters, waiting on ice to be shucked.

Chona Kasinger

The Brooklyn

Downtown

For the old-school oyster lover in all of us, The Brooklyn is the kind of place where you can still get oysters with your three-martini lunch, or a side of bivalves with your 14oz rib-eye (this is a good thing, and we highly recommend trying it). The Baker’s Dozen will set you back $32, but it’s 13 of the chef’s top picks from the day.

East Anchor Seafood

East Anchor Seafood

Madrona

The seafood market sibling to chef Brian Clevenger’s Vendemmia, it’s mostly a retail space (and the perfect place to pick up some poke for later), but there are a few seats that you’ll want to grab, along with some fresh-shucked oysters and a glass of sparkling wine while you people watch out the window.

Salted Sea

Columbia City

The South End’s oyster darling brings on the bivalves at lunch, brunch, happy hour, and dinner, with creative takes on traditional accoutrement, including a nod to the Vietnamese inspiration behind much of the menu via the cilantro-lime mignonette.

Westward & Little Gull Grocery

Little Gull Grocery

Fremont

The oyster bar within Westward might not receive as much praise as its big brother, but there’s nothing second fiddle about the huge variety of oysters and expert shucking going on within it. The same adorable details (look for witty shucking puns on the signs) and chef-y style that made Westward famous are present here, but in a more seaworthy fashion.

Frank's Oyster House & Champagne Parlor

Frank's Oyster House

Ravenna

Imagine a top-shelf Manhattan, but in the form of an oyster bar: that’s Frank’s. It’s dark without heaviness, simple, clean, and somehow always exactly what you need. More like the classic East Coast oyster bar, with blacks, browns, and woods forming the décor, than the bright, white marble West Coast ones, Frank’s is unquestionably going for the cozy vibe.

Flickr/Ali Eminov

Jack's Fish Spot

Pike Place Market

For sheer market ambience, the atmosphere (or lack thereof) at Jack’s Fish Spot can’t be beat. Hop on a stool, breathe in the fishy market air, and watch the fishmongers work their magic. When you’re ready, put in your oyster order and relish your own chance to kibbitz with the guy cracking shells in front of you.

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1. Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar 410 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104 (Pioneer Square)

Before it opened shop, Taylor Shellfish was providing oysters, clams, mussels, and crab to most of the city’s chefs. Now with several of its own locations, this oyster bar continues to serve all seafood in its purest form. Not to mention that the selection of draft beers and wine is worth drinking your way through. It seems like it would be some sort of Seattle stereotype that people spend their pre-football-game time drinking craft beers and slurping raw oysters, but that’s why we love it here, no?

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2. Bar Melusine 1060 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98122 (Capitol Hill)

Behold: the freshest oyster bar in Seattle in both taste and style. James Beard Award-winner Chef Renee Erickson is the mastermind behind this ode to the French Atlantic, where guests slurp the highest-quality Hama Hama oysters alongside champagne, rosé, and sherry. Beyond oysters, the daily-changing menu typically features treats from both land and sea, including salmon rillettes, steak tartare, and smoked leg of lamb. It's all served inside a bright-white space with accents of sea-foam green in the chairs and tiled floor.

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3. The Brooklyn Seafood, Steak & Oyster House 1212 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101 (Downtown)

With a winding copper bar encircling the oyster bar, this Downtown spot is the perfect place to knock back a few tasty oyster shooters (especially the vodka drenched ones). Frequent happy hours and a slew of wine/beer options make this a can't-miss seafood spot.

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4. East Anchor Seafood 1126 34th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122 (Madrona)

Seafood market meets oyster bar, East Anchor is the minimalist-chic sibling to Chef Brian Clevenger’s Vendemmia, providing everything you need to make a beautiful ocean-inspired dinner: local seafood, Washington produce, and some prepared meals, including poke, if you're feeling lazy. Fresh-shucked oysters and glasses of sparkling wine await you as well, which you can enjoy at one of the few stools inside this bright space while you people-watch.

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5. Salted Sea 4915 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118 (Columbia City)

Salted Sea is the place for those who love oysters (there are at least four on the menu to start) and simple seafood like whole-roasted trout.

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6. Little Gull Grocery 2501 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103 (Fremont)

Directly connected to its big brother, Westward, 22-seat oyster bar Little Gull is just as adorably nautical as it sounds, and offers a wide variety of freshly shucked oysters, wine, and beer. Signs with puns like "in cod we trust" make it a whimsical spot, but make no mistake: they take their oysters seriously here, serving only the finest from the Northwest. Take a seat and savor each slurp, or pick up groceries to go, such as charcuterie, olive oil, and growlers of beer, and create a perfect waterfront picnic.

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7. Frank’s Oyster House & Champagne Parlor 2616 NE 55th St, Seattle, WA 98105 (Ravenna)

With a sleek, woodsy interior and eclectic, seafood-centric menu, Frank's Oyster House & Champagne Parlor is Ravenna destination. Happy hour attracts the masses with its affordable bar bites, house wines, and signature cocktails (pro tip: try the "Rothko," a winning combination of bourbon, brandy, Canton ginger cognac, lemon juice, orange bitters, and a dash of Angostura bitters, served straight up in a martini glass). Food offerings range from refined twists on time-honored plates like goat cheese deviled eggs, steak tartare, and mac and cheese, but oysters are the real highlight at Frank's, as the selection features both West and East Coast varieties.

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8. Jack’s Fish Spot 1514 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101 (Downtown)

A Pike Place Market mainstay since 1982, Jack's Fish Spot doubles as a by-the-pound fishmonger and bustling seafood bar. Walk through the pungent veil of fresh fish on ice -- regional specialties like dungeness crab, manila clams, sockeye and king salmon, and oysters -- to the bustling, stainless steel counter in the back. It's a great spot to post up, slurp some oysters (heck, you can even watch their journey from the ice display case out front, to the shucking counter, and to your plate), or feast on some delicious fish and chips.

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