Forget the myths you’ve heard. In Seattle, any month (week, day) is a good month for oysters: the frigid waters of Puget Sound make for sweet, plump, and briny bivalves year-round. You’d be hard-pressed to find a spot in town that isn’t always serving pristine specimens, but there are a few places that stand shell and pearl above the rest for their shucking, their service, or their selection, and we’ve distinguished them from the rest just for you. So next time you’re looking to slurp down a satisfying dozen (or two), here’s where to head.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Bar410 Occidental Ave S, Seattle
2. Bar Melusine1060 E Union St, Seattle
3. The Brooklyn Seafood, Steak & Oyster House1212 2nd Ave, Seattle
4. East Anchor Seafood1126 34th Ave, Seattle
5. Salted Sea4915 Rainier Ave S, Seattle
6. Little Gull Grocery2501 N Northlake Way, Seattle
7. Frank’s Oyster House & Champagne Parlor2616 NE 55th St, Seattle
8. Jack’s Fish Spot1514 Pike Pl, Seattle
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.