It's said that Casanova — the 18th-century Italian adventurer best known for his legendary womanizing — began his day with 50 raw oysters. No wonder, then, that so many refer to these briny bivalves as the ultimate aphrodisiac. Once considered a poor man's food, today oysters are more of a delicacy, and across the world there are over 100 species to choose from — a fact you can throw around this week when the country celebrates National Oyster Day Friday, August 5.
Most often named after the bay, ocean, or body of water from which they hail, oysters are known by a number of nifty names, including Blue Points, Kumamoto, or
If you're already a fan of raw oysters, this week presents the perfect opportunity to indulge in a dozen or two. Of course, such a task requires a handy list highlighting the best raw bars for oysters in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Whether you're looking for a deal or simply a good selection, here are the best spots for oysters in South Florida.
12. Hurricane Alley
529 E. Ocean Ave., Boynton Beach; 561-364-4008; myhurricanealley.com.
Longtime Boynton Beach restaurant and raw bar (they recently celebrated 20 years of business) Hurricane Alley is known for many things: super sandwiches, friendly staff, a strong local crowd, awesome happy-hour deals, and — of course — fresh seafood. This includes raw oysters, specifically one dozen Blue Points sold for a steal at $9 from 3 to 6 p.m. during happy hour, Monday through Friday. Even if you miss happy hour, the price is still better than most places at $12.95 per dozen any time of day, seven days a week.
11. The Whale Raw Bar and Fish House
7619 N. State Rd. 7, Parkland; 954-345-9190; thewhalerawbar.com.
The same year Whale's Rib in Deerfield Beach received accolades with a feature on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, owners Scott and Danielle Williams (who were Whale's Rib managers before they became owners) decided to open the Whale Raw Bar and Fish House in Parkland. Several years later, the similarly themed, New England-style seafood and raw bar outpost is still the place to go for seafood and raw bar items. Here, the oysters are sold at market price and are just as fresh as at the original Broward County outpost. The time to visit: every Thursday during summer, when you get 20 percent off all raw-bar menu items from 5 to 9 p.m.
10. Spoto's Oyster Bar
4560 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; 561-776-9448; spotos.com.
Off PGA Boulevard just west of Military Trail, you'll find Palm Beach Gardens' seafood and raw-bar institution Spoto's. Here, you can find oysters on ice any day of the week, when Blue Points are sold by the half-dozen for $17.75. A second-choice oyster rotates weekly, and the featured oyster of the day sources all kinds from across the country, priced $17.75 to $18.75 for a half-dozen. The biggest draw for most folks is the daily happy hour at the restaurant's bar and Blue Point Lounge, when Blue Points are sold for $1.75 each from 4 to 6:30 p.m., excluding holidays. On National Oyster Day, celebrate with $1.75 oysters all day long (and the last Thursday of every month).
9. Papa's Raw Bar
4610 N. Federal Hwy., Lighthouse Point; 754-307-5034; papasrawbar.com.
Papa's Raw Bar in Lighthouse Point is known for many things, including its raw bar (hey, it's even the name). Here, you can get some of the best and freshest seafood around, sourced by its sister establishment and market next door, Seafood World. During the week, you can get a half-dozen Gulf Coast oysters for $12 or a half-dozen East Coast Blue Points for $18. Oyster lovers might want to stop by on Thursday, however, when the restaurant runs its own in-house special: half-off all raw and grilled oysters by the dozen or half-dozen.
8. G&B Oyster Bar
429 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-525-2421; gandboysterbar.com.
Oyster and andouille gumbo. Oyster stew. Grilled oysters. Oyster poor boys. And, of course, raw oysters. You'll find them all at G&B Oyster Bar in Fort Lauderdale, where any day of the week you can enjoy a number of East and West Coast oysters. Sold at market price throughout the day and weekend, if you're looking for a deal head there during happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, when you can get a half-dozen for $7.
7. PB Catch
251 Sunrise Ave., Palm Beach; 561-655-5558; pbcatch.com.
At PB Catch on Palm Beach Island, the seafood selection is considered topnotch. Here, after all, is where you can find one of the most original menu items, a seafood charcuterie board. Of course, you'd expect the oyster offerings to be second to none, and they are. The variety changes on a daily basis, and there are typically anywhere from four to six different oysters available at any time, with East and West Coast selections changing from week to week. If you're the type who can't make up her mind, the restaurant offers an oyster sampler that gives patrons a chance to sample three types of oyster (two of each kind) for $20 to $25. Know what you like? Happy-hour Blue Point oysters are buy one, get one free from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. daily. That deal extends all day long come National Oyster Day, when the restaurant will offer its buy one, get one special on each type of oyster available at the raw bar.
519 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-833-4660; sub-culture.org.
West Palm Beach residents know the place to go for fresh oysters is 6-year-old Longboards, located on the westernmost stretch of Clematis Street. Here, the raw bar offers a daily rotating selection of three to five oysters priced $2 and $3 each. Go during happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. daily, where you'll find $1 select East Coast oysters — which you can order alongside $1 select clams, half-priced drinks, and $6 select appetizers. Head there on Wednesday for the realest raw deal around these parts when all oysters are sold for $1 each from open to close.
5. Southport Raw Bar
1536 Cordova Rd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-525-2526; southportrawbar.com.
For those of you with high expectations of divey-type places, this raw bar has appeal. You can stumble up to the docks almost any time of day and sup on platters of Gulf oysters, then wash them down with ice-cold beer from the bottle. Or, you can plunk down inside and escape the sun with an iced tea and a platter of steamed clams. Seafood here is as good as it gets: freshly prepared and downright cheap. If it's oysters you're after, go during the weekday and weekend happy hours when oysters are priced $14.95 a dozen from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 p.m. to close on weekends.
4. City Oyster
213 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach; 561-272-0220; cityoysterdelray.com.
If you're looking for oysters, a place with "oyster" in its name is probably the place to go. That's certainly true of City Oyster in downtown Delray Beach, where there's always a good selection of mollusks — anywhere from several East and West Coast picks priced $2.75 to $3.25 each. The steal here is during the restaurant's daily happy hour when, every day from 4 to 7 p.m., the bar sells any oyster on the menu for $1 off each selection (and the entire raw bar).
3. Jimbo's Sandbar
6200 N. Ocean Dr., Hollywood; 954-927-9560; facebook.com/jimbossandbar.
Jimbo's Sandbar has many things: a killer waterfront view, an unbelievable tiki-style vibe, potent cocktails and tropical drinks, and a great seafood selection. It also boasts about having "the largest selection of oysters on the beach," meaning there's a raw bar that offers up to several varieties of East Coast oysters that change daily. A special menu gives you all the important info up front, from a detailed description of where each oyster hails from to how it tastes. If you're looking for a deal in southern Broward County, it doesn't get better than Jimbo's Sandbar. On Monday, you can even play "oyster poker," where the chef shucks you four random oysters for $7.95.
2. Racks Fish House + Oyster Bar
5 SE Second Ave., Delray Beach; 561-450-6718; racksdelray.com.
Racks Fish House + Oyster Bar in downtown Delray Beach is one of the best places in South Florida to find raw oysters. Why? The restaurant's raw bar offers a number of East and West Coast picks delivered fresh each day. A daily happy hour presents quite a steal with the "Buck-a-Shuck," when patrons can get a half-dozen Blue Point oysters for $1 each from 4 to 7 p.m., seven days a week (bar area only). If you'd like to reach outside the East Coast offerings, get any of the specialty West Coast- and East Coast-sourced bivalves for $2.75 to $3.50 each. Racks Delray is also one of the best places to visit come National Oyster Day when the restaurant runs a weeklong special, expanding its happy-hour special outside the bar area to include the entire restaurant all day long. That means you can enjoy the restaurant's annual "shell-a-bration" with its $1 oyster happy-hour deal taking place Monday, August 1 through Sunday, August 7.
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1. Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille
620 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-467-2555; wildsealasolas.com.
You can end your search for the perfect oyster match at Wild Sea, one of two restaurants located inside the historic Riverside Hotel off Las Olas Boulevard. Here, each oyster is served $3 apiece; it can seem a tad pricey, but it allows the restaurant the freedom to source rare picks while maintaining a consistent price point. For bargain hunters, the real steal can be found during the daily happy hour, when — from 5 to 7 p.m. — select oysters are sold at half-price. On National Oyster Day, there's an even better deal: an oyster-eating contest where guests up for a challenge can go head-to-head with executive chef Toby Joseph. The friendly competition will take place at 8:15 p.m. and will include prizes of a $50 bar tab credit (third place), a $100 gift card to Wild Sea (second place) and a coveted grand prize of $150 toward brunch for four at Indigo, the Riverside’s contemporary American restaurant.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the New Times Food & Drink Instagram.