Los Angeles

Los Angeles is all-embracing and all-encompassing when it comes to oysters. Curiosity runs high and traditions are shrugged. Anything goes—for better or worse. And don’t forget: if you didn’t take a #shellfie, it never happened.

Location, location, location! Thanks to Los Angeles’ relative proximity to the Pacific Northwest, Baja California, and New Zealand, finding amazingly fresh Pacific oysters is easy. Lucky ducks. Now, finding a seasoned shucker who knows thing or two about the plethora of choices… that’s more of a challenge. Relaaax dude—LA’s raw bar scene is all about having fun, rather than knowing it all. I found it a bit tricky to do any serious oyster bar hopping, so plan your adventure accordingly.

Want more? Read about my epic LA Oyster Crawl.

 

best places to eat

 

The Oyster Gourmet Downtown

Situated at the back of the bustling Grand Central Market in Downtown LA is an architectural marvel-slash-oyster oasis. This is perhaps my favorite oyster bar and oyster guru in the city. Master Ecailler Christophe Happillon will be glad to teach you about oysters if you let him. But if you just want a dozen shucks and a glass of wine to wash your worries away, he’ll oblige just the same… but you’ll be squandering one of the best opportunities to be enlightened.

 
  • Oyster variety: 4-6 varieties, chef's choice

  • Ambiance: Old School, Intimate

  • Oyster pricing: 6 for $18, 12 for $34

  • Perfect for: oyster & wine pairings, shucker hang out

 
  • 9

    Oyster quality
  • 9

    Shucking quality
  • 8

    presentation
 
(310) 570-0682
 

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Shuck Oyster Bar Costa Mesa

This intimate and airy oyster emporium has a “best-kept secret” vibe. Nestled in the heart of The OC Mix shopping gallery, you would never expect to find such an extensive (20+ varieties) and thoughtfully curated list of West & East Coast oysters, local wines, and seafood-centric fare. Be on the look out for Sonny Nhoung, the resident oyster fanatic and restaurant partner. His energy and enthusiasm for oysters are contagious. Just eat whatever Sonny gets excited about. He won’t steer you wrong.

 
  • Oyster variety: 20+ East and West Coast

  • Ambiance: Chic, Neighborhoody, Playful

  • Oyster pricing: $3 West, $3.25 East

  • Perfect for: trying new oysters, visiting oyster lovers, shucker hang out

 
  • 9

    Oyster quality
  • 9

    Shucking quality
  • 9

    presentation
 
(949) 420-0478
 

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EMC Seafood & Raw Bar Koreatown

Fabulously fresh seafood and assorted Asian comfort food? Yes, please! This place has the best of both worlds. The oysters are plump and respectfully shucked, and the uni (sea urchin) is out of this world. The only downside is you’ll probably struggle to pick what to eat. Best to come with a small entourage that shares your appetite. Dinnertime might be a challenge, so opt for an early brunch. Two words: oyster shooter.

 
  • Oyster variety: 4 West Coast varieties

  • Ambiance: Neighborhoody, Contemporary

  • Oyster pricing: $36-$49 for 1 dozen

  • Perfect for: oyster happy hour, date night oysters

 
  • 8

    Oyster quality
  • 8.5

    Shucking quality
  • 8

    presentation
 
(213) 351-9988
 

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Santa Monica Seafood Market & Café Santa Monica

In my experience, a raw bar’s oyster quality has a lot to do with the distribution chain. So you can’t really go wrong when you dine at a place like Santa Monica Seafood Market & Café—it’s part restaurant, part retailer, and a reputable wholesale/distributor. Sit at the counter and watch the pros work. The oyster selection is a bit limited, but they’re guaranteed to be fresh. If you can’t seem to get enough of something, just buy another dozen or two from the market to take home and shuck yourself!

 
  • Oyster variety: 3-4 East and West Coast rotation

  • Ambiance: Old School, Classy

  • Oyster pricing: $32 for a dozen

  • Perfect for: trying new oysters, shucker hang out

 
  • 8

    Oyster quality
  • 8

    Shucking quality
  • 8

    presentation
 
(310) 393-5244
 

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Blue Plate Oysterette West 3rd West Hollywood

Blue Plate Oysterette Santa Monica is insanely popular, but I happen to like the chic, airy vibe of their West 3rd location more. The oyster selection constantly rotates, the portions are generous, and you just can’t beat that happy hour. It’s also the perfect venue for Oyster Omakase 😉

 
  • Oyster variety: 10-12 East & West Coast

  • Ambiance: Neighborhoody, Upscale Casual

  • Oyster pricing: $2.50 each

  • Perfect for: oyster happy hour, date night oysters

 
  • 8

    Oyster quality
  • 7.5

    Shucking quality
  • 8

    presentation
 
(323) 656-5474
 

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