Top 5 Oyster Bars in California
Wondering where to gratify your craving for bivalves? Here is a look at five of the top oyster bars in California. The state has a thriving oyster industry, based on species introduced in the early 1900s after the native species all but disappeared.
The most common types in the state are Pacific and Kumamoto oysters. But its oyster bars take pride in gathering a wide range of delicacies from around the country and the globe.
Here is a look at five excellent oyster bars in California.
Bistro Boudin in San Francisco
Located at historic Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, Bistro Boudin offers oyster loves a combination Oyster, Tapas and Raw bar, called the OTR. It has a range of oysters, like the Hama Hama from Washington’s Hood Canal and Kumamotos from Humboldt Bay in California. The OTR serves them up raw for the brave and cooked for everyone else.
Other delicacies include a variety of ceviche, including Alaskan halibut, Gulf shrimp and calamari. They also serve Dungeness crab and scallops.
Along with your oysters, enjoy views of the bay, Angel Island, Alcatraz and Marin. You can dine on the patio in good weather. The restaurant also sports an active bar and lounge.
The Marshall Store Oyster Bar and Smokehouse in Marshall
Located north of San Francisco, the small town of Marshall is home to the Marshall Store Oyster Bar and Smokehouse. Voted one of the top 30 seafood restaurants in the U.S. on the Travel & Leisure Magazine list, it has received rave reviews in the Huffington Post and Certifiable Foodie blog.
It serves oysters fresh from its farm, the Tomales Bay Oyster Company. They are served up in a variety of ways, including raw with lemon and mignonettes, barbequed with garlic butter and house sauce or with chorizo. You can get them smoked or served in the traditional way as Oysters Rockefeller.
Tipple & Brine in Sherman Oaks
The Tipple & Brine offers oysters from both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Buy one or a dozen, as shooters and with a range of toppings. The restaurant prides itself on its cocktails, wine and other tipples to wash your oysters down in style.
One suggested shooter involves Kentucky bourbon, maple and lemon flavorings, topped with bacon and chives. You can also enjoy your oysters in the traditional manner with a choice of horseradish, lemon, and cocktail and mignonette sauces.
The restaurant, located in Sherman Oaks, also has a wide choice of main dishes, salads and desserts.
Shuck Oyster Bar in Costa Mesa
All the oysters served at Shuck Oyster Bar in Costa Mesa are guaranteed fresh, no more than one day from the water from a legion of 60 farms. They are served raw with standard toppings, as well as fried, in Po’Boys, even in tacos.
Dozens of oysters are listed daily at the restaurant, from Malpeques to Duxburies and Tomahawks. Bivalve gourmands can choose one much like they do wine.
Salmon, clams, crab, stews, chowders, salads and sandwiches are also available.
Ciopinot Seafood Grille in San Luis Obispo
Ciopinot in San Luis Obispo serves a range of oysters on the half shell with an extensive wine list. The emphasis is on white pinots paired with their oysters. In fact, that’s how the restaurant got its name. The owners decided that red pinots worked well with cioppino, the flavorful seafood stew. They combined cioppino with pinot and a restaurant was born.
All oysters on the half shell are served with both champagne and balsamic mignonette and hogwash, a special mix of rice wine vinegar, shallots, cilantro and jalapenos. Specialties are Oysters Rockefeller and Oysters Cas.
Andrew Armstrong is a food-fanatic and digital strategies consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area. A graduate of U.C. Berkeley in 2003, Andrew now lives in San Mateo with his wife and son.