Food & Culture

Best Places to Get Oysters

Best spots to slurp and sample your way through our regional bivalves

By Jessica Yadegaran, Chelsea Lin and Cynthia Nims; with additional reporting by Haley Durslag June 13, 2016


This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Taylor Oyster Bars
A seagoing version of farm-to-table dining, three Taylor Oyster Bars are supplied by Shelton-based Taylor Shellfish’s oyster beds, ranging from British Columbia to California. Oysters are slurped raw here, but are also available baked and stewed, along with other regional shellfish, including geoduck, clams and mussels. Capitol Hill, 1521 Melrose Ave., 206.501.4321; Pioneer Square, 410 Occidental Ave. S, 206.501.4060; Queen Anne, 124 Republican St., 206.501.4442;

The Walrus and the Carpenter
The northwest of France (Brittany and Normandy, lush oyster-growing regions) meets the Pacific Northwest at Renee Erickson’s spot, where you’ll find an outstanding oyster experience that continues to garner national attention. Enjoy decadent fried oysters, seasonal salads and even cheese to cap things off. Ballard, 4743 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.395.9227;

Bar Melusine
A new sibling to Walrus, this colorful addition brings the same finesse in oyster service (complete with those classic wire baskets and a chalkboard menu of the day’s offerings) to Capitol Hill’s ongoing restaurant boom, alongside Bateau and General Porpoise, which are also all in the family. The well-rounded menu has some adventurous options that might include periwinkles (tiny sea snails), fried fish skin, even gizzard confit. Capitol Hill, 1060 E Union St.; 206.900.8808;

Ballard Annex Oyster House
You can grab a stool at the casual bar, with its nautical motif, to have a peek at the selection of regional oysters on ice that day. The menu covers a range of American favorites, including smoked whitefish, oysters Rockefeller and East Coast lobster.
Ballard, 5410 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.783.5410;

Taylor Shellfish’s spots immerse you in the oyster experience; Photos by Andrea Coan

Sure, sure, travelers flock here after hitting the waterfront (construction and all), this time of year. But this spot has long taken oysters very seriously, from quality shucking to providing details down to the growing method for ostreaphiles. A good 20-plus varieties may be available on any visit. For its “progressive oyster happy hour,” the earlier you go, the less expensive the oysters are. Waterfront, 1201 Alaskan Way, Pier 56; 206.623.4340;

It’s on the water, but not on the high-profile waterfront, which is part of its appeal. Lake Union views, complete with Adirondack chairs and a fire pit, make slurping oysters here feel more low-key and local. Great oysters, stylish presentation (which includes colorful tags indicating the oyster varieties). Wallingford, 2501 N Northlake Way; 206.552.8215;

It might be overlooked by locals, tucked into the Fairmont Hotel as it is, but this wood-paneled, old-school oyster bar serves oysters from throughout the Northwest with panache. You can slurp the seasonal selections raw, or choose from cooked options. Downtown, 411 University St.; 206.621.1984;

The Brooklyn
The ’50s–’60s vibe here brings to mind martini-fueled business lunches and steak Oscar, but the centerpiece oyster bar provides a great option in the business district. Good species served on the half shell, with details on tasting notes and growing methods. Downtown, 1212 Second Ave.; 206.224.7000;

Emmett Watson’s
Although it doesn’t serve the kind of elevated oyster experience that’s increasingly available around town, this nook in Pike Place Market remains a local favorite, offering a dose of Seattle nostalgia, fully unfussy, down to the caricature of namesake Emmett Watson on the brown-paper-bag menu. Pike Place Market, 1916 Pike Place, Suite 16; 206.448.7721

Join The Must List

Seattle's best events delivered to your inbox

Follow Us

Readers' Choice Poll Winners 2021

Readers’ Choice Poll Winners 2021

The best Washington state has to offer

Ballard's Majestic Bay Theatres was voted tops for movies.

Vote: Seattle Magazine Best of 2021 Readers' Choice Poll

Vote: Seattle Magazine Best of 2021 Readers’ Choice Poll

Tell us about your favorites.

Readers chose Musang as the Best New Restaurant in 2020.

'Best of 2020' Readers Choice Survey Results

‘Best of 2020’ Readers Choice Survey Results

Amid the chaos of 2020, your favorite Seattle staples still shined through

Readers chose Musang as the Best New Restaurant.

The Best of Seattle in 2019

The Best of Seattle in 2019

A few of our favorite things

This article appears in print in the December 2019 issue as part of our Best of 2019 cover story. Click here to subscribe. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… just kidding. This account of our 2019 highlights features none of Julie Andrews’ favorite things (though crisp apple strudel sounds like the perfect antidote to most of the year’s…