Best Oyster Bars
Food trends are nothing new. Who remembers when cronuts became an obsession or when salads without kale were not worth eating?
The latest craze in the Alamo City is oysters. These succulent mollusks are taking the city by storm. In years past, our best bet for finding oysters in the city was at the annual Fiesta Oyster Bake. However, right now, options for these delicacies are ample.
Why is the city in the midst of this oyster renaissance? As more San Antonians seek out oysters, local eateries are discovering creative new ways to serve these delights. These days, it is no longer just a choice between raw or fried. Oyster toppings now range from a simple butter and white wine sauce to Thai chilies. Restaurateurs are sourcing oysters from as close as the Gulf Coast and as far as Wallace Bay in Nova Scotia. Given this large scope, here are the top 10 places to eat oysters around the city.
The oyster bar at this New Orleans-style restaurant is one of the best. The Cookhouse's charbroiled oysters are perfectly crisp and buttery. It also serves traditional raw Gulf oysters as well as oysters som tam — a Thai-inspired oyster topped with green mango, Thai chilies, and lemon. If you are there for lunch, try the Peacemaker po'boy, filled with fried oysters and bacon.
Sometimes the best way to get high-quality oysters that are fresh and flavorful is to go directly to the source. This seafood market used to only sell to restaurants buying seafood wholesale, but it is now open to home cooks buying in smaller quantities. If you are not opposed to cooking and shucking your own oysters, this market has the freshest oysters in the city.
This seafood chain originally hails from Houston. It serves oysters in the half shell topped with three creative flavor options that you can't find anywhere else: Thai Green Chili, Japanese Ponzu, and Korean Kimchee. It also offers traditional raw oysters, fried oyster baskets, and oyster po'boys for those looking to keep it simple. However, the unique fusion of Asian and Cajun cuisine gives LA Crawfish an innovative edge over its competition.
Mariscos Del Puerto
This family-owned restaurant has been serving delicious Mexican seafood since 2012. Its oyster cocktail is divine as well as its ostiones empanizados (fried oysters). The raw oysters are a great way to begin any meal, and if you're looking for fresh oysters in a casual yet cheerful setting, Mariscos Del Puerto is the place to look.
The Sandbar Fish House & Market
Andrew Weissman’s intimate restaurant prides itself on its huge oyster bar with a variety of fresh oysters sourced from the North Atlantic and Gulf Coast. Though the oysters are pricey, their quality makes them worth it. For those wanting to try The Sandbar’s other outstanding fresh seafood selections, The Sandbar Platter includes a dozen oysters as well as shrimp, crab, and sashimi.
Shuck Shack Oysters & Such
This oyster spot in the Pearl district is wonderful for any seafood. With its playground and outdoor seating area, there is a casual, friendly ambiance at Shuck Shack. A favorite for customers are Texas barbecue oysters topped with a Shiner sauce and barbecue fat. There are two other kinds of baked oysters — the Rockefeller and Casino. If you sit at the bar, you can see the shucking firsthand and discuss with the staff the different varieties offered that day.
Chef John Besh’s Lüke has been famous for its oysters for a long time. It offers various types of raw oysters as well as a mammoth oyster po'boy. Additionally, the refreshing fried oyster salad with a creamy avocado mousse and bacon is a highlight. During happy hour from 3 to 6 pm (till 8 pm on Tuesdays), Lüke offers raw oysters for 75 cents and charboiled oysters for a dollar. Try your oysters alongside one of the restaurant's best cocktails, the French 75.
Silo Terrace Oyster Bar
The Silo family has been offering gourmet, high-end cuisine at two restaurants for years, but they opened a new location barely over a year ago that focuses solely on seafood. Half of the menu is dedicated to oysters. Its “oysterology” section lists the numerous types of fresh oysters that have been flown in. Patrons also rave about the signature chicken-fried oysters served with sauteed spinach and braised pork belly and the Rockefeller grilled oysters. The terrace bar offers gorgeous views as well as a happy hour from 4 to 7 pm.
Stone Werks Big Rock Grille
There are three Stone Werks locations around San Antonio: one outside the Quarry in Lincoln Heights, one at the Rim, and another at the Vineyard. Each location has the Big Rock Oyster Bar, which offers raw Gulf Coast oysters as well as mixed oysters and shrimp. The starter of Oysters Rockefeller is also a fine choice. Stone Werks is perfect if you are looking to enjoy oysters on a more conservative budget.
Wildfish Seafood Grille & Steaks
The Wildfish oyster bar offers market oysters for $1 as well as other raw seafood delicacies. The seafood comes with a traditional cocktail sauce, lemon, or superb Champagne sauce. If you are in the mood for a steak but would still like an oyster fix, all the premium hand-cut steaks can have the “carpetbag style” of batter-fried oysters and a topping of bearnaise sauce added. The batter-fried oysters are also available as a succulent appetizer.
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