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 several 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
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
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
Hole in the Wall Raw Bar
If there’s a spiritual hometown for oysters in Florida, it’s Apalachicola – a quaint seafaring town sitting on an inlet to the Gulf of Mexico. Here the oysters make the short journey from the restaurant’s private fishing boat straight to the tables right on the waterfront. Hole in the Wall is beloved for its raw and baked oysters – we love the Oysters Fletcher with horseradish, cheddar and green onions – but is also revered for its smoked fish dip and hush puppies. Don’t sass the staff – their antics are the stuff of Yelp legend – and be prepared to wait for a table in this establishment that’s aptly named.
23 Ave D
Apalachicola, FL 32320
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
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
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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
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 serve 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
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
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
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
Are you looking for a great oyster joint near where you are now? Try this Yelp tool.
Steve Spears is editor of Florida Travel & Life, an online brand that inspires active, affluent travelers, providing them with insider information on discovering the best of Florida. Informative and engaging, the website showcases travel destinations, arts and cultural venues, vibrant dining scenes, recreational activities, the great outdoors and the revitalized real-estate market. He is based in Orlando and counts St. Augustine, Key West and the Gulf Beaches among his favorite destinations in the state.