11 of the world’s best places to eat oysters

 

Here’s an idea for a trip – why not focus on travelling to places that can serve you delicious food, but food that is also an aphrodisiac? Oysters are a favourite aphrodisiac around the world, and in the words of Catalan man, Agustí Bertomeu, who has been farming oysters for most of his life: “Six Delta del Ebro oysters equal two Viagra pills.” Here are 11 of the top places in the world to eat oysters – the list is not in any particular order, and doesn’t include all great oyster restaurants worldwide, as this would require writing a small book!

Oysters

1. Delta de l’Ebre, Catalonia, Spain

When you think of eating oysters in Europe, you may automatically think of France. However the area of the Delta de l’Ebre in Catalonia, produces such excellent oysters that actually 80% of these are exported to France. In fact, the President of the Union of Producers of Molluscs, Agustí Bertomeu, has ironically told people that a percentage of these oysters are re-packaged and then “exported” back to sell to Catalan restaurateurs.

The delicious taste of the oysters from the Delta de l’Ebre is the result of the influence of both the sweet fresh water of the River Ebro and the salty water of the Mediterranean. The Delta oysters have a silky texture and a lovely, distinctive flavour. Bertomeu recommends not adding lemon juice to them, but leaving them linger on your tongue for a while, to let the flavours escape. Of course this breaks the normal rules of how we eat oysters, but when you’re sitting in the sunshine of the superb, unique landscape of the Delta de l’Ebre, washing your oysters down with cava, you won’t see this as a problem!

In the Delta de l’Ebre, there a number of restaurants where you can eat oysters and other fresh seafood, but you may also enjoy taking the boat excursion, which happens at 11.30am on Saturdays, from April until the end of September. This costs €25 for 2 hours, and you can taste oysters, mussels and drink cava.

2. Moran’s Oyster Cottage, Galway, Ireland

The not very long established Moran’s Oyster Cottage, has only been open since 1797, so up to now they’ve been around for two entire centuries, and a few years of the 18th and 21st centuries. These days Moran’s is run by Catherine Moran, who is of the 7th generation of Morans since its opening, and Nobel Prize Winner, Seamus Heaney immortalised the establishment in his poem “Oysters.” Moran’s Oyster Cottage has also had its fair share of celebrity visitors, which include Roger More, Pierce Brosnan, the Empress and Emperor of Japan, Keith Floyd and Eddie Jordan. If you want to taste oysters in Ireland, washed down by Guinness, this is the place to go.

3. Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland

Another of Ireland’s top oyster spots is Strangford Lough, in the North of Ireland. What makes the oysters special here is the extremely rich nutrient content of the water and the speedy tidal movements. In celebrity chef, Richard Corrigan’s opinion, these are the best oysters in the world.

4. Huiterie Regis, Paris, France

Of course it would be rude not to visit Paris to eat oysters, so although there a few good oyster bars in Paris, I have chosen the Huiterie Regis because it is intimate and cosy, and they offer the exceptional Marennes Oleron oyster. These oysters benefit from age-old traditions of savoir-faire, and mature in special oyster ponds.

5. Le Coquillage, Les Maisons de Court, Brittany, France

Head north out of Paris, to go and see the fabulous Mont St. Michel and before you know it you’re in the French oyster Mecca, Cancale. In this area you’ll find that the excellent chef, Olivier Roellinger, has a restaurant in a wonderful setting, in a large 1920s villa, overlooking the Mont Saint Michel bay. You can stay, as well as eat there, but you may need to book with a lot of notice, however it’s worth the wait. Below is a link for one of Roellinger’s oyster recipes.

Les Maisons de Court oysters

6. Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill, London, England

As you may expect, London has its fair share of good oyster bars, Richard Corrigan’s Bentley’s makes a religion of oysters. Sample some of the freshest and finest Irish, Maldon and Scottish Rock, and Loch Ryan Natives from Bentley’s broad range.

If you are a keen cook, you may like to go along to the cookery classes that are held here on the first Saturday of most months, which are then followed by lunch.

7. Lochleven Seafood Café, Inverness Shire, Scotland

This restaurant developed because of its sister company, Lochleven Shellfish, who have been exporters of live shellfish to the Far East and Europe for many years. People would come along and ask if they could buy something, and then some people would ask if it could be cooked for them. So a restaurant was created, and in 2011 it won the Scottish Seafood Restaurant of the Year. Visitors from Australia said: “12,000 miles for the best seafood platter we have had.” Oysters cost £1.50 each, and there’s a good shellfish menu, plus some seasonal alternatives.

8. Xinh’s Clam & Oyster House, Washington

Xinh’s is a clam and oyster house, which has been featured in USA Today Travel as one of “10 great places to sample local food and wine.” Xinh was born in South Vietnam, and the extensive menu reflects her heritage, with some wonderful oyster, clam and various other tasty dishes. She won the West Coast Oyster Shucking Championship five times, and then decided it was time to stop and let someone else win.

Xinh’s Clam & Oyster House, Washington

9. Elliott’s Oyster House, Seattle

In a lovely location on Elliott Pier, you can start off with the best oysters that Seattle has to offer and follow them with a prime, juicy steak. This restaurant goes through over 7000 oysters every week, and has a choice of featured oysters, as well as an Oysters Menu.

10. Casamento’s Restaurant, New Orleans

Established back in 1919, Casamento’s serves chargrilled oysters daily, as well as their legendary oyster loaf and a range of other fish loaves and dishes. Joe Casamento blended his Italian roots with Louisiana seafood, to create a food icon in New Orleans. The Chicago Tribune said: “this tiny tile and marble decorated gem serves impeccable raw oysters.”

11. Ponta Dos Ganchos Resort, Santa Catarina, Brazil

Last, but certainly not least, is this gorgeous resort, which is located in Santa Catarina, where Brazil’s best oysters come from. Need I say much more? Well, I guess I could mention that there’s a private beach and a private island, where an intimate, romantic dinner, complete with Santa Catarina oysters, could be arranged for you.

Jackie de Burca is Co-owner of Catalonia Valencia.

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Comments (36)

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  1. Patrick says:

    You omitted Get Shucked Oysters at Bruny Island Tasmania… easily the best Oysters on the planet from the pristine Southern Ocean.

  2. Hannah says:

    Wow! We love this post! We took down notes and made sure to try them when we get to one of these areas! Yummy post!

  3. Thanks Patrick! It won’t be the only great place that I’ve omitted, but it’s great to see you mention it, many thanks.

    It was a hard task to select just a percentage, but as I say in the first paragraph, to include all oyster bars/restaurants in the world, that deserve to be included would be a small book.

    Thanks again, Patrick, for mentioning Get Shucked Oysters at Bruny Island Tasmania…and for others reading this, why not do the same, post your comments about your favourite local oyster bar. :)

  4. Julie says:

    Great post! While I definitely agree with some of these, here’s some oyster bars for serious ostreaphiles that I’d add:

    1. Eventide in Portland, Maine
    2. Open Oyster in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
    3. Osakana yatai Matsuri in Osaka, Japan
    4. The Plump Oyster in Shanghai, China
    5. Belga Queen in Brussels, Belgium

  5. Hannah, thanks so much for your comment I hope you get to try as many as humanly possible. If you manage to get to the Delta de l’Ebre here in Spain, you should try to go on the boat tour and hopefully you’ll meet the character, Agustí Bertome.

  6. Thanks Julie! That’s exactly what I was hoping some readers would do, add there own favourites – and especially you, with your great oyster blog.

  7. John says:

    You’re missing Mercado da Pedra in Vigo, Rías Baixas, Galicia (Spain)
    https://foursquare.com/v/mercado-da-pedra/4c4983c76f1420a15bb0b455
    Probably, best oysters in the world but not a fancy place if you ask me.

  8. Thanks John, love Galicia, but you’re right that’s definitely one that should get a mention. Thanks for your comment.

  9. Barb Jump says:

    C&H Oyster Bar. Elizabeth City, NC USA
    This local dive serves the best oysters on the East Coast. Only open during months with an “r” so plan accordingly! Sit at the bar and have one of the locals shuck a couple of dozen for you (to start). There are other things on the menu so I’ve been told…but why would anyone bother with them when the oysters are so exceptional?

  10. Paul says:

    I love oysters! But sadly don’t have them as often as I would like. These look like some great spots, Jackie… there’s an old post buried here somewhere where I had “Oysters five ways” in the Hague – with ginger, with seaweed, with Bloody Mary, with salt and with onions (see http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2006/08/02/special-feature-haagsche-suites-the-hague-netherlands/ ). It was good to experience but I don’t think you can beat them just as they are, with a dash of lemon juice… :)

  11. noel says:

    I totally love oysters and would love love to try them at all of these establishments. I don’t think I’ve been to any of these yet, so I have a big bucket list.

  12. Ok so I will openly admit that I have never even tried oysters!! Waiting for all the boos but better to be honest right.

    Anyway, after reading through all of these options I would imagine that these would be a good place to start sampling oysters rather than some local establishment that receives few reviews.

  13. Ken says:

    No mention of Canadian oysters? That must have been an oversight! Oysters from Prince Edward Island are world famous, not to mention kusshis from British Columbia. Oyster Boy Toronto is number 1!

  14. These all sound fabulous and I love the sound of the cookery course at Bentley’s in London. It would make a fabulous gift too, if your loved one has a passion for cooking, and you can then join them for lunch. What a treat!

  15. Heather says:

    LOL while in Paris I ordered oysters and the server exclaimed, “They’re raw!” I said, “Yes, I know.” He replied, “I didn’t know Americans could appreciate the fine delicacy of raw oysters.” I explained a bit to him about growing up on the ocean… Aye aye aye.

  16. Don’t forget Duxbury, MA’s Island Creek Oysters, best enjoyed at Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston!

  17. Charles says:

    I was also surprised to see PEI oysters and Tasmanian oysters missing from the list… they are so good that it is a disservice to suggest one single establishment that serves them… [though I did have beautiful French oysters many years back at the seafood restaurant in the basement of the Burj in Dubai...]

  18. Thanks everyone for all the feedback and of course, lots of great suggestions, that I am delighted to see. It was impossible to do this subject justice really, this feature only scratches the surface. Please keep your suggestions coming.

  19. Ivan says:

    As an Islander through and through, I can’t help but notice that Prince Edward Island was missing from the list. Famous for our Malpeque Oysters, Atlantic Lobster, and PEI Mussels, we like our seafood. I do believe we also have a former Oyster shucking world Champion! Maybe we’ll make the next list!

  20. Rebecca says:

    Porthilly Rock Oysters, nurtured on the banks of the Camel Estuary in Cornwall are some of the best I’ve ever tried. But, I am probably biased because I live here!

    They’re used in top Michelin star restaurants locally, such as Paul Ainsworth’s Number 6 and worldwide, and won Gold at The British Oyster Championships in 2013. Definitely worth a try if you’re ever in the area.

  21. Thanks to everyone who has made suggestions so far. I really appreciate your suggestions, as will other readers. Please keep them coming.

  22. Christine says:

    For me the best is to eat oysters in Leucate, France. Directly from the sea. A glass of simple dry muscat wine, bread and butter. No more.

  23. Boomergirl says:

    Can’t believe Prince Edward Island is not on this list. Canada’s mighty little Maritime province is famous for its oysters particularly its Malpeques which are harvested by hand and offer the sweetest meat imaginable. I like them best with a chilled glass of champagne and a side of fresh pumpernickel bread.

  24. Lisa Harris El Mouaquite says:

    I am not an oyster connaissure but from those I know that are say Morocco is heaven for oyster lovers. Whether it is d’jemaa el Fna in Marrakesh or the 20 some stands lining a street near the Morocco Mall in Casaanca, you have a selection of sauces and spices that are the specialty of the house. I promise, I will try them next time I go to bisitmy husband’s family!

  25. Yerseke in Zeeland, the southern Netherlands has two types of delicious fresh oysters, a lot are exported to Belgium and other countries.

  26. Monika HIlm says:

    Excellent choices of Oyster bars- especially Le Coquillage in Brittany.
    I would also add the baked oysters at Burj Al Arab, Dubai.

  27. Thanks so much for the latest suggestions, please keep them coming and help other readers find the best places to eat oysters.

  28. Thea says:

    Sorry Jackie, but I guess I’ll be sticking with “budget” travel and stick with my favorite location…little tiny Apalachicola, FL. :-)

  29. Hey Thea,

    Your comment made me smile :) Sometimes luxury can be found at a budget price, don’t forget it!! Anyhow, yes you’re right this is a location that is renowned for superb oysters, thanks so much for sharing.

    Best
    Jackie

  30. paul munro says:

    Sorry but the best oysters in the world are Bluff Oysters from NZ……..dont need any fancy bar just shuck and enjoy……yum yum.

  31. Baked Oysters are always the best, with butter and a little powdered milk! I tried it once at home, didn’t quite taste like the ones I had but definitely good food all the same.

  32. Karine Alden says:

    People who live in Seattle know that the best selection of the freshest oysters is at Shuckers at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. Wonderful selection from US and Canada.

  33. Schweinsbringer says:

    I strongly disagree with Patrick. I found Tasmania great but the oysters did not match the European oysters at all also in Bruny island! On place that should be included in this list certainly is KadeWe’s Oyster bar in Berlin. Easily the best oyster bar in the world

  34. Marcus Griffin says:

    In The Uk Loch Ness Oysters are the larget Uk natives ive ever had Lovely too

    Lets Not forget whitstable in Kent Uk brought off the boat to you plate in seconds

    Brighton in The Uk has somne great oyster restaurants
    english’s , Fishy faishy are two that serve exceptional Oysters from Dorset

    And in Croatia the Fjord where The vikings Was filmed ” Limfjord” has woderful oysters and mussels farmed by passing a Growth stimulating electronic charge in the water that has astonishing and amazingly tasty results (please note i visited there when it was still Yugoslavia over 25 years ago)

    Lovely jubbly

  35. This is wonderful. It really tempts me into the idea of a short book! Thanks so much to you all for the great suggestions.

  36. Diane Raabe says:

    The best oysters that I have tried where in the South Island of New Zealand – Bluff oysters plump and delicious. I will travel back during next years oyster season just to taste them again.

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