5 Places to Eat Oysters in San Francisco

5 Places to Eat Oysters in San FranciscoIt’s oyster season in San Francisco! And, along with the dungeness crab season that comes later in November, it is one of my favorite times of year in the Bay Area! San Francisco is lucky to have oysters all year round, but at this time of year there are far more varieties to choose from. I wanted to share my favorites so here are 5 places to eat oysters in San Francisco.

And maybe, just maybe, if you hit all these places, maybe you’ll end up with enough pearls to make a necklace as my friend and illustrator Carrie Campbell depicts below (thanks Carrie!).

Oysters-to-Pearls_Carrie-Campbell

Hog Island Oyster

Shucking-Oysters.-Hog-Island-Oyster-Bar-San-Francisco.-Ed-Anderson-1000

Photo credit: Hog Island Oyster

A beloved spot for tourist and locals alike, Hog Island Oyster is popular for a reason.  They offer local (and regional) sustainable oysters with delicious wines and beer to wash them down.  The vast majority of their oyster comes from their oyster farm in Marshall, on Tomales Bay, and they even have farm tours. Check them out in the Ferry Building (go early to avoid lines) or in Napa at the Obox Market if you are out in wine country.

P.S. If you’ve got a non-oyster loving friend in your dining group, they make a killer grilled cheese sandwich.

Water Bar

waterbar-oyster+bar

Photo credit: Waterbar

I confess, I go to the Waterbar for their lobster roll, fried pickles and fabulous martinis, but they also have a fantastic oyster bar. You can not find a better view of the Bay Bridge (they’re located right on the Embarcadero), they’ve got a great terrace for outdoor dining as well, but I love to sit at the zinc bar and fill up on delicious oysters, especially during happy hour (more on those later).

Swan Oyster Depot

swan oyster depot

Photo credit: Eat Big Apple

People either love or hate the Swan Oyster Depot. The most common description about the counter in the 100+ year old fish market is “no-frills.”  Personally, with the quality of oysters they serve, I don’t care about the frills!  I will say, given the size of the counter, it is extremely tough to get into, but so worth it.  Go early to the Nob Hill location (1517 Polk St) and make friends, the service is great (all family) and please note it is CASH only!

Anchor and Hope

anchor and hope

Photo credit: Betsubara-san

I am not sure if I love Anchor and Hope for its oysters or their housemade potatoe chips!  Paired with a beer, sometimes I never want to leave.  Besides the fresh oysters which are always amazing they have a dish called ‘Angels on Horseback’ which are smoked bacon wrapped oysters served with a remoulade sauce, worth every bite!  I know you are here for oysters, but they have one of the best fish and chips in town as well!

Anchor Oyster Bar

Serving out of its Castro Street location since 1977, the Anchor Oyster Bar has a loyal following and was just added to the Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand list this year. They focus on sustainably harvested seafood, including succulently fresh oysters.  The staff is very knowledgeable and they know the perfect oysters for beginners to try should you find yourself with newbies.

Oyster Happy Hours

oyster-happy-hour

San Francisco has dozens of spots for oyster happy hours! You can get fresh, inexpensive oysters after work in nearly any part of town. 7×7 has a guide that gives you 36 oyster happy hours spots and Eater’s has their favorite oyster deals heat-mapped.

Not your Mama’s Oyster

I had to share two oyster dishes that are a little unique.

Tadich Grill’s Hangtown Fry with eggs, bacon and fresh oysters and a classic hangover meal for many San Francisco natives. You can get fresh oysters as well from the city’s oldest restaurant along with their famous ciopinno.

Tadich Grill

Photo credit: SF Oyster Nerd

HRD Coffee Shop’s Fried oyster Po Boy is special.  Yes, you can get the world’s best po boys in New Orleans, but does theirs come served with spicy kimchee coleslaw, Korean aioli, along with the delicious, melt-in-your-mouth oysters?

HRD-Po-boy

Photo credit: Thrillist

How about you? Are you a fan of oysters? Do you have a favorite spot you go to get them?  A favorite way of serving or cooking them?  Do tell!

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About Andi Fisher

I'm a lifestyle blogger focused on travel and food. A marketing gal who gave up my job to travel around the United States in an RV with my hubby. I'm now settling into the Portland area where I'm looking for my next career adventure! I love to travel via my stomach. Eating, seeking out local artisans and features to share. I've got more than 26 years of experience in marketing focused on content, social media, and direct marketing and I've mentored many bloggers, old and new.

Comments

  1. I think I tried oysters just once in my life, when I spent New Year’s Eve in Paris, a few years ago. The restaurant we went in served them the normal way, with just lemon. I never thought they could be served in all these different ways, I’d love to try the fried ones!

  2. Allyson Bossie says:

    We love oysters here. We have a place that we go eat them here in NC that is as good as it is going to get away from the ocean, but these places look so nice!

  3. I just started eating oysters last year and I love them! However, I enjoy the smaller oysters we have here in New England. I ordered oysters in California this spring and they were a bit to large for me to handle. Something I’d have to get used to.
    Tamara recently posted…An Epic Day Dog Sledding in Iceland

    • Andi Fisher says:

      @Tamara, there are smaller varieties our here as well, next time tell your server you prefer them and you will get what you want.

  4. My little sister looooves oysters (so she was excited when we moved to Virginia), but I could take ’em or leave ’em. Of course, I was spoiled in Sweden when we went sea kayaking and an oyster farmer we met dove down and brought us some that we ate right there in the kayaks! Doesn’t get much fresher than that. 😉 (Now DO sign me up for dungeness crab season!!)
    Katie @ Domestiphobia recently posted…An Unadulterated Glimpse At Novel Writing (So Far).

    • Andi Fisher says:

      @Katie, an oyster right out of the water is to die for! But I kind of fell the same about most seafood, the sooner you can eat it the better it is going to be!

  5. I don’t eat oysters too often-I prefer mussels-but the reality is-if there is a shell fish in my vicinity-I will eat or at least try it! Lobster will always be my favorite-boiled with drawn butter and a squeeze of lemon.
    Michele recently posted…$25 Amazon /PP-1-WW-When Dreams Touch-Rosemary Hanrahan-Ends 9/26

  6. I don’t eat oysters, but I do love San Francisco. It’s been so long since I was there; I’d love to go back.
    Denise C recently posted…See a Doctor Without Leaving Your Home & Get Your First Visit Free!

  7. Not a fan myself (of clams or mussels either). Something about the texture just gets to me.
    Scott recently posted…Skip the Pot. Make a Cup of Coffee

  8. Wow, what beautiful displays and plating! Each of these options have such great reasons I would love them. I don’t make it to San Fran very often but when I do, I will be bringing this list.

  9. never had oysters but it looks so deicious

  10. Oysters are my favorite! I’d love to try all of these places.

  11. hopscotchnjb says:

    I love all of these and I love the set up! oyster is one of my favorite especially when it grilled together with a tasty wine.

  12. How great! I’m not an oyster fan but my husband enjoys them. We plan to head to Cali in the next few years to vacation so this is great!

  13. It was only recently that I learned to eat oysters. I love it! I hope to try all these when I visit San Francisco.

  14. I am a huge seafood fan and I love oysters. These would definitely be on my list of places to eat.
    Toughcookiemommy.com recently posted…Enjoy The Moment This Back To School Season! @MinuteMaid_US #DoinGood #DimeMedia #Ad

  15. If those don’t look appetizing… I don’t even like oysters and those look good! 🙂
    Amanda McMahon recently posted…Football Kick off (and a bonus recipe!)

  16. What lovely places to eat oysters! Thank you for sharing your reviews and experiences with us.

  17. I LOVE oysters, and I definitely OD’d on seafood when I was in San Fran, although somehow I don’t think a seafood overdose is possible, come to think of it. I’m so jealous that you have all of this at your fingertips!

  18. Diana Vuong says:

    I love eating oysters. If I was in San Francisco, I will be having a feast now!

  19. Richard Hicks says:

    Will have to keep these places in mind on my next visit

  20. never had oysters but this looks delicious

  21. Sandra Watts says:

    Never been a big fan of oysters but some of the other stuff looked good.

  22. I’ve never had oysters! Thanks for sharing!
    Jasmine P recently posted…Fashion Friday

  23. Judith Martinez says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had oysters. I’ve eaten mussels (fresh caught off the coast of Maine) and clams but not oysters. My husband loves them.

  24. Now I’m majorly craving oysters :o)

  25. Is there anything better than a good oyster? Ok, maybe a few things, but I’m a huge fan of oysters. I’ve been trying to learn about the different tastes from the different regions and it is interesting to note the difference like wine and terroir, but much more hands-on research needs to be done!
    Kelly @ TastingPage recently posted…Fundamental LA

    • Andi Fisher says:

      @Kelly, I am with you on the research! Thus far some of my favorites in the world are those found off the Brittany coast in France!

  26. Andi, you know I love me some oysters and I’m spoiled for choice here with the Atlantic and Chesapeake Bay at my doorstep but this post has me wanting to try what the west coast has to offer.
    Brianna recently posted…The Natural Wonders of South Iceland

    • Andi Fisher says:

      @Brianna, yes, you have to come out and do the west coast varietals! I always try to eat on the coast I am currently at. Love to have the east coast ones when I am on that side of the country!

  27. Amber Ludwig says:

    I looove smoked oysters but have never tried them fresh!! Ive heard they are fantastic but that I should pick someplace known for them 🙂 Thanks for sharing these fabulous places!! Maybe one day i’ll make it to sanfran to check them out!!

  28. Nicole Carter says:

    Wow, I wish I lived in CA! That Waterbar place looks amazing! Lobster roll? Count me in!

  29. I love oysters. It’s very expensive where I live, and It’s been years since I’ve had them. They are sooooo good. 🙂

  30. i love san francisco

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