Best oyster restaurants and bars
Arguably Austin’s most well-known oyster hangout, Clark’s is a mecca for bivalve-hungry diners looking to treat themselves. At the cold bar, options include Blue Point, Duxbury (Massachusetts), Conway Royal (PEI) and others from both coasts. Want to take it up a notch? Dressed oysters come with mint, crispy shallots and cucumber and honey vinaigrette. Shoot ’em back on the sunny patio.
The breezy South Congress restaurant was practically made for spring afternoons, when oyster enthusiasts congregate on the shaded outdoor patio for trays of the good stuff: mostly Prince Edward Island (PEI) varieties with a handful of Fanny Bay, Kusshi and Copps Island bivalves available at the cold bar. Get your liquor fix with Perla’s oyster shooter, a tangy delight made with Tito’s vodka, Bloody Mary mix, horseradish and lime.
The idea of ordering oysters in a strip mall may cause involuntary shudders, but Quality Seafood Market bucks the stereotype of what an oyster joint should look like. Regulars sidle up to two bars and a handful of high-tops inside the spacious restaurant; a couple of cases in the market area are filled with oysters and provide inspiration for your order. While Gulf Coast and grilled variations are available on the half shell, the Blue Point (Connecticut) oysters are the real winner here: large, packed with the salty notes of the sea and perfect when washed down with a Blue Moon or two. After you’ve demolished a dozen, order some to-go for at-home shucking.
It’s a rare thing when you find a spot that’s both a neighborhood restaurant and a dining destination, but Foreign & Domestic fits the double bill with its convivial atmosphere and expertly executed fare. Come for the dollar-oyster deal on Tuesdays: Plump Virginia oysters dominate here, paired with a simple mignonette or cocktail sauce. The additional incentive of half-off on rosé, sparkling and white wine makes this the best place to be a baller on a budget—at least for one day of the week.
Gulf Coast oysters tend to get a bad rap for being too meaty and lacking the ocean zest of East Coast varieties. But you wouldn’t know it at Alcomar, where chefs Alma Alcocer and Jeff Martínez dress them up with orange-habanero mignonette and Cholula cocktail sauce, or throw them on the grill before slathering them with mojo butter, bacon and Manchego cheese. You’ll be a Gulf Coast convert in no time.
A charming east side seafood market and kitchen, Mongers Market + Kitchen embraces the coastal chic vibe. Expect clean lines and big windows, nautical touches and a menu that changes based on seasonal availability. East Coast oysters dominate the raw bar here (and they're a dollar off during happy hour!), along with clams and a daily crudo. Consider it an appetizer before that giant plate of scallops you'll be downing.
Amidst the hectic pace of Dirty Sixth, Parkside serves as a diamond in the rough—one with really, really good oysters. The most cost-effective time to stop by for the bivalves is during happy hour, when an entire oyster platter costs $32 (and on Wednesdays, it's half off). But the raw bar here is excellent at any time, filled with mostly East Coast and PEI oysters, as well as a classic ceviche dish that'll have you feel like you're steps away from the ocean.
Recently expanded to a second location, Deckhand is now in both Round Rock and south Austin. Though they source from the Gulf, this isn’t your typical southern seafood fare. In addition to fried, boiled and grilled dishes, the eatery also offer a variety of items with an Asian-influence, like Tokyo mussels, Tom Yum soup and papaya seafood salad.