The world may be your oyster, but New Orleans is certainly the pearl. When certain local restaurants (ahem, Antoine’s) have invented some of the most prized oyster dishes in the world, you know we’re doing it right. Whether you want them served raw, bubbling with cheese, or stuffed in a po-boy, here’s where to throw back some of the best (and cheapest) oysters in the city.
Top Oysters in New Orleans
Best Raw: Pascal’s Manale
Many New Orleans restaurants claim to serve the freshest, plumpest oysters in town. But throw in a side of entertainment with your dozen raw, and Pascale’s Manale takes the pearl. Locals and visitors alike make their way to this New Orleans staple for a chance to see master shucker “Uptown T” in action. The pride he takes in his work makes the oysters taste that much better.
Their oyster bar serves oysters on the half shell with and without local caviar. The current special is the Black and Gold Oysters, which are raw oysters topped with both black and gold caviar, because it’s Saints season, y’all! Bourbon House also offers a daily oyster happy hour with $1 oysters from 4-6pm.
The former lobby between Tableau and Historic Le Petit Theatre now serves specialty Gulf oysters. The Oyster Bar features aqua-culture oysters that are hand harvested in the Gulf region. On any given night, you can find three to four varieties on deck. Oysters in regular rotation include Southern Belle, Caminada Bay, Independence Island, Champagne Bay (from Louisiana), Massacre Island, Turtleback and Point aux Pins (from Alabama). Mmmm…we’ll take one of each, please!
Best Oysters Rockefeller: Antoine’s
Try as you might (and many have), but you can’t beat the original. Created in 1899 by second-generation proprietor Jules Alciatore, Antoine’s Oysters Rockefeller recipe is still the same family recipe — and a secret to this day. A decadent treat that must be experienced at least once in your lifetime. Ya know, for historical purposes.
Best Oysters Bienville: Arnaud’s
An Arnaud’s restaurant original recipe still reigns supreme. Plump Gulf oysters are topped with a creamy mixture of diced shrimp, mushrooms, breadcrumbs, parsley, and Romano cheese. You can enjoy this delicacy at their restaurant in the French Quarter any night of the week.
Best Oyster Po-boy: Red Fish Grill
A festival favorite that can be devoured year-round in their French Quarter restaurant, Red Fish Grill’s barbecue oyster po-boy took home the “Best Seafood Po-Boy” crown from the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival four years straight. Can’t argue with that.
Best Charbroiled: Drago’s
Sizzling and buttery to golden perfection, Drago’s charbroiled oysters are arguably the best oysters in the city. When garlic, butter, and a blend of cheeses and herbs are involved, you can’t go wrong. Just make sure you save some bread for soaking up the excess sauce.
Best Oyster shooter/Oyster Bloody Mary: Acme Oyster House
Sure, it’s the oldest and most famous oyster bar in New Orleans (also making it one of the busiest), but that means they have perfected all things bivalves — cocktails included. Nothing is more coveted after a late night in the Crescent City than one of Acme’s spicy Bloody Marys topped with a raw oyster. And, for a quick fix, grab an oyster shooter, which consists of a shot of chilled vodka with a raw ‘ster and a drop of cocktail sauce. Breakfast of champions, am I right?
Best Oyster Bar: Seaworthy
Tucked in between Balise and the Ace Hotel on Carondelet, this oyster bar features sustainably harvested oysters coast to coast. Local Gulf varieties include Caminada Bay out of Grand Isle, La.; Mon Luis from Sandy Bay, Ala.; Point Aux Pins from Grand Bay, Ala; and our wonderful, wild Gulf Louisiana oysters.
Lagniappe: Oysters Goodenough from Carrollton Market
A “little something extra” is our mantra in New Orleans, and Carrollton Market delivers in the oyster department. Their specialty: Oysters Goodenough with flash-fried oysters, Benton’s bacon, creamed leeks, and sauce béarnaise. The name says it all.