As global fish populations have largely declined in the last 50 years and sustainable fishing practices are becoming paramount, one unassuming little mollusk is holding steady as an environmentally friendly seafood. About 95 percent of the oysters we eat are farm-raised, and studies have shown that oyster farming has a net positive impact on the environment.
This is because oysters (and other bivalves) filter the water that they live in, sequestering nitrogen and carbon dioxide and leading to cleaner water and air. Aside from their environmental impacts, oysters are also a low calorie source of protein, B12, zinc, selenium, and copper, and are undoubtedly some of the best seafood to eat.
To highlight these sustainable – and delicious – bivalves, 24/7 Tempo determined the best oyster bars in America by consulting lists, ratings, and reviews from websites including The Daily Meal, Eater, Tasting Table, Business Insider, Thrillist, Food & Wine, the New York Times, Prior World, and Yelp, as well as numerous local and regional sites.
Click here to see the best oyster bars in America
These restaurants are largely coastal eateries, in places like Boston, Baltimore, and Seattle, that serve oysters from the surrounding area, although some are inland and others offer oysters from all over the world. A few, including Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Washington D.C. and the Boat Oyster Bar in Marshall, CA are outposts of local oyster farms that offer their signature breeds of mollusks.
Cocktail bars, French brasseries, beachside shuck shacks, and everything in between made the list. Most are not exclusively raw bars but offer notable selections or presentations of oysters, whether they are served raw, grilled, Rockefeller style, or covered in caviar. A few of these establishments are also regarded as some of the best seafood restaurants in America.
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