You don’t have to wait for National Oysters on the Half Shell Day (March 31) or National Oyster Day (Aug. 5) to suck down some tasty treats from the sea. Floridians love their oysters raw, steamed, grilled and deep-fried. But mostly we want them on a plate in front of us. Here are 11 great places in Florida to enjoy oysters.
Hunt’s Oyster Bar
The Hunt family has been around a half century, faithfully serving up Apalachicola oysters. (Heck, they’ll even sell you oyster shells by the yard for use in your driveway or parking lot.) Visitors rave about the service (and the non-touristy prices) when reviewing this local gem. Not in the mood for oysters? Try the shrimp, gator or catfish instead.
1150 Beck Avenue Panama City Florida 32401 huntsoysterbar.com
Dave’s Oyster Bar and Grill
Oysters from the Gulf Coast are the stars here at Dave’s Oyster Bar, but choosing the preparation might be your toughest choice. Chipotle, Rockefeller, cajun parmesan, the list goes on and on. Make things easy and just get the sampler platter (which two of each baked oyster). Or go crazy and get the chargrilled “Keywester” style, with lemon, butter, basil and thyme.
4699 Gulf Breeze Pkwy Gulf Breeze, FL 32563 davesoysterbarandgrill.com
Shuckums Oyster Pub & Seafood Grill
Since 1967, the motto at Shuckums has been: “We shuckum. You suck um.” Try the oysters raw if that’s your thing, but we recommend one of the many topping options: Mexican, Cajun, jalapeño, Fresca, Italian, chipotle and, of course, Rockefeller.
15614 Front Beach Rd Panama City, FL 32413 shuckums.com
If there’s a mothership for oysters, it’s Boss Oyster. Here the oysters make the short journey from the restaurant’s private fishing boat straight to the tables right on the waterfront. The menu features more than 10 preparations for the star ingredient, but we gravitate toward Oysters Captain Jack (with bacon, jalepeno peppers, colby cheese and hot sauce.)
125 Water St Apalachicola, FL 32320 bossoyster.com
Lee and Rick’s Oyster Bar
Lee & Rick’s is the very definition of an old school oyster bar. The bar opened in 1950 with just nine stools and a BYOB drink policy. Today, the Orlando institution seats 50 people along its concrete shucking bar, where oysters are prepared right in front of customers.
5621 Old Winter Garden Rd Orlando, FL 32811 leeandricksoysterbar.com
Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar
You’ll be tantalized by plates of scallops, shrimp and chicken wings, but remember why you came here: oysters! Start with the buffalo oysters as an appetizer but save room for the famous Creek Combo Pot for 2, which includes two dozen oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, corn on the cob and garlic bread.
5353 S Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL 34231 creekseafood.com
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G&B Oyster Bar
You’re on the east coast now, so start your meal here with a vodka oyster shooter. Now move on to the oyster and andouille gumbo. Still hungry? G&B serves up deep-fried and raw oysters. But don’t pass up the Portuguese whole sardines and alligator ribs straight off the grill.
429 Seabreeze Blvd Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 gandboysterbar.com
Smokin’ Oyster Brewery
If saying Smokin’ Oyster Brewery feels like a mouthful, just call it S.O.B. like the locals do. A renovated home and porch serves as the home for S.O.B., where oysters are served raw, steamed, fried and stacked on a hoagie roll with remoulade sauce as an Oyster Po’ Boy.
340 Old San Carlos Blvd Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931 smokinoyster.com
Indian Pass Raw Bar
The Indian Pass Raw Bar’s history goes way back to 1903, when it opened as a commissary for a turpentine company (though the raw bar itself didn’t start until 1986). A crowd favorite here are the baked oysters, prepared with parmesan and garlic butter and served with garlic toast to mop us the drippings.
8391 County Rd 30A Port St Joe, FL 32456 indianpassrawbar.com
The River Seafood and Oyster Bar
Leave it to Miami to give oysters a culinary update in the form of The River Seafood and Oyster Bar, which opened in 2003. Oyster shooters get an upgrade with lemon-thyme vodka. And as for the star attraction, diners can choose from a wide variety of providers and styles, including baked oysters prepared with sofrito, manchego cheese and chorizo sausage.
650 S Miami Ave Miami, FL 33131 therivermiami.com
Wait, what’s this? The Frenchy’s restaurants in Clearwater Beach are probably best known for their grouper sandwiches, so you’ll want to go easy on the oysters here to save room. Or you could split an order of Baked Oysters Rockaway, prepared with a blend of spinach, spices, onion and bacon and topped with a pepper loaf cheese sauce.
7 Rockaway St Clearwater, FL 33767 frenchysonline.com