D.C is a location for many seafood restaurants. The best oysters in Washington DC can be found in most restaurants that sell seafood. The city is in the mid-Atlantic, this means there’s access to a terrific amount of oysters. Here are some of the area’s top destinations for oysters, chilled lobster, clams, crab claws, and more.
Best Raw Oysters in Washington DC
1. Hank’s Oyster Bar – Dupont Circle
Hank’s Oyster Bar specializes in coastal favorites and New England beach fare classics like daily fish specials, lobster rolls, and meat ‘n’ two.
Lightly fried items such as calamari and Ipswich clams and popcorn shrimp balance Hank’s ice bar options which comprise a selection of raw oysters, ceviche, and tartar.
Hank’s Oyster Bar is a major community success since it opened in May 2005. In 2006, it was nominated for “Best New Restaurant” and in 2007, the “Best Neighborhood Restaurant” by The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. The owner, Chef Leeds’ success is based on her simple, approachable seafood, comprising small and large plates for serving.
Though the menus vary slightly among all four of chef Leed‘s local restaurants, you can always count on great oysters. The casual dining rooms have lively bars where you can match your shellfish pleasing cocktails. Better yet, you can come in for oysters during the seafood-centric brunch.
This place is awesome for brunch. They have a special place you can pick an appetizer plus entree and enjoy bottomless mimosas, bloody mary’s, or champagne at awesome deals you’ll only find in DC.
It is a really pleasant oyster bar close to the White House. The atmosphere is nice, laid back, and relaxed. The quality of the seafood is quite fantastic, the bar and its cocktails excellent and the service, exceptional. Strongly recommended if you want to eat and drink with pleasure in the Washington city center.
1624 Q St., NW; 633 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 701 Wharf St., SW; 1026 King St., Alexandria
2. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace is great for people who want to take their food seriously. This is a palace where people are feasting on Cajun food riddled with abundant amounts of oysters.
Drinkers fill up the tiny patio bar on 14th Street, but oyster lovers will want some bivalves inside this Jeff Black restaurant. You can select from close to a dozen East and West Coast varieties, including the restaurant’s salty signature Old Black Salt Oysters.
Everything is outstanding and better than you can imagine. When it comes to the unique tastes of raw oysters, this place kills it. The oysters are creamy and plump and can come with sauces like mignonette, horseradish, cocktail, and “dive juice”, a bright mix of lime, cilantro, jalapeno, and champagne vinegar.
Another thing that will blow your mind is that the oysters are cocooned in smoky bacon and drizzled in a balsamic vinegar reduction and a creamy sauce – giving them a melting and warm feel with a wood-grilled flavor.
There are also super plump cornmeal-crusted oysters that sit on a generous bed of spicy tazzo ham hash. There are oysters even in their chips and dip! The mariscos is a cone-shaped monster filled with pico de gallo, oysters, shrimp, and crab served with homemade tortilla chips.
Overall, pearl dive is one favorite place in DC that consistently provides good food and good service.
3. Rappahannock Oyster Bar
Rappahannock Oyster Bar is an oyster bar situated in the heart of Union Market and is committed to serving seasonal, locally sourced food served with a rotating wine, beer, and cocktail list.
Their phenomenal oysters are displayed at this casual Union Market counter, but eating these sustainably harvested bivalves isn’t the only nice way to spend a calm afternoon here. You can start with a flavorsome cocktail or a not too expensive glass of wine, then try the ceviche or an exquisite crab-cake sandwich.
The set up is cute. Things can get busy but the service is great, the bartenders are attentive. The bar sits nicely around the area where the oysters are shucked, so you are kind of entertained while watching this while waiting for your meal rather than being on your phone.
The cousins behind this Union Market raw bar also have their Chesapeake oyster farm, so you are sure the bivalves are getting to you fresh. You will also enjoy the briny Olde Salts from Chincoteague, VA matched with a local beer or refreshing “Afternoon Delight” spritz.
If you like hot sauce on your oysters, make sure to ask for a bottle of their addictive housemade stuff. You also get to enjoy the oysters so tasty and dressed up with lemon, hot sauce, and horseradish.
4. Old Ebbitt Grill
A classic! Never disappoints. The Old Ebbitt Grill, established in 1856, was a favorite of Presidents Harding, Grant, Cleveland, and Theodore Roosevelt. The restaurant’s decor consists of a Beaux-Arts facade, mahogany and velvet booths, with bars set in brass, marble, and beveled edge glass.
The ancient restaurant boasts of being the oldest saloon in the nation’s capital. The atmosphere is one that throws back to the medieval times, an anachronistic posh that has survived the passing years. It is just a few steps away from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Paintings adorn the walls of Victorian-style architecture distinguished with special pieces like antiquated furniture from a New York Central Railroad dining car and historic gas chandeliers.
There are also stuffed taxidermy animal heads with stories told to have been shot by Teddy Roosevelt. From their perch above the bar, they are directly above the dining room that was once frequented by past Presidents.
History is all around this place as you can check out the pictures that go far back in time. The fare is pretty good and prices are about what you should expect in that kind of setting. Though it’s not cheap, it’s also not outrageous. Good food to find in a historic location.
Old Ebbitt serves a rich selection of food featuring sandwiches, steaks, pasta, seafood, and especially an Oyster Bar with oysters from both coasts. They are open early for breakfast and weekend brunch, also serving lunch, dinner and a late-night menu. There are private and semi-private dining rooms including a rooftop where you can have a view from above and sight the monuments and The White House.
There is a late-night oyster happy hour at this old, mahogany-paneled saloon especially for chefs looking for a post-shift snack. All oysters are fifty percent off from 11 PM to 1 AM. Want to indulge? The Orca platter overflowing with lobster, crab claws, shrimp, clams, and oysters is a Washington classic.