From Kumamoto to Kusshi, Fanny Bay to Barcat, summer brings oyster fever to Los Angeles. Savor the beautiful briny bivalves solo or at the start of a carefully crafted coastal menu. Here are eight spectacular places to do just that.
The Hollywood and Santa Monica locations of this seafood institution celebrate the oyster by offering just-off-the-boat selections every day. Order them from the blackboard by the dozen or pair them with other specialties such as green lip mussels and cherrystone clams from the restaurant’s impeccably curated raw bar.
Whether you’re dining with an ocean view at the Santa Monica location or in the bustling downtown spot, the Water Grill’s raw bar is your destination for a hefty selection of daily pickings. Pull up a chair to catch some shucking action, and sample varieties such as Barcats, Stingrays and Kumamotos on their own, or as a perfect start to the restaurant’s signature seafood tower.
Dockside is the new seafood-centric dining arm inside Playa Provisions, the highly anticipated four-in-one culinary destination from chef Brooke Williamson (Top Chef Season 10 runner-up) and her husband chef Nick Roberts that also includes fast-casual King Beach café, Small Batch ice cream shop and Grain whiskey bar. Nibble on freshly selected oyster offerings, in addition to steamed or grilled Maine lobster, scallop crudo, fried crab claw pops and more.
Downtown’s hottest new dining den fuses Prohibition-era décor and cocktails with rustic California cuisine executed with modern techniques. The raw bar welcomes discerning diners with ocean finds and accoutrements like a mignonette made from wild pink peppercorns harvested in Griffith Park and executive sous chef Huy Nguyen’s backyard garden.
Michael Cimarusti, chef and owner of Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Providence, pays homage to his grandparents (the restaurant’s namesake) with the East Coast-flavored fare served here. Check the board for an ever-changing array of oysters to enjoy raw or order them wrapped in bacon and served on bread (Angels on Horseback). You can also get them deviled or served Rockefeller style.
Chef and proprietor David LeFevre’s homage to Virginia’s Eastern Shore offers a bevy of bivalves, in addition to traditional (Atlantic lobster) and eclectic raw bar selections (Peruvian scallops). And while those items may entice, it would be silly to walk away from this jewel box of a restaurant without ordering one of the aptly named seafood towers (The SS Minnow, The Queen Mary and The Mothershucker) to tease your palate into the rest of the menu.
Hit up L.A.’s hip Silver Lake neighborhood for this hidden gem where oyster slurpers and fish lovers can slip into a cozy bilevel space to indulge in all things raw, steamed, smoked, grilled and fried. As the name hints, mollusks are the focal point here, and L & E scours both coasts to get the best. Order up a dozen and enjoy them on their own, or get fancy and top them with rhubarb granita and mint.
Although Los Angeles’ three Chaya concepts are distinct with their Euro-Asian fusion menus, they all offer a delightful selection of oysters. Savor them seaside in Venice, post shopping in Beverly Hills or as a kickoff to your sushi spread downtown. At the latter outpost, you can nosh on them all night long at the bar, lounge or patio.
Photos Courtesy of Andrew Stuart Photography, Water Grill and Faith & Flower