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White Swan Public House is a great waterfront place to eat oysters.
White Swan Public House/Facebook

12 Top Spots To Slurp Oysters in Seattle, Fall 2018

A bivalve education, from Ballard to downtown

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White Swan Public House is a great waterfront place to eat oysters.
| Photo by White Swan Public House/Facebook

When it comes to raw oysters, plucked fresh from cold, nutrient-rich local waters and shining with the subtle merroir of their salty origins, Seattle is a dream. In the Pacific Northwest, home to amazing farms like massive Taylor Shellfish, there's no need to douse superbly formed varieties of Kumamotos, Virginicas, Pacifics, and native Olympias with heaps of cocktail sauce, though local chefs often create delicate mignonettes that perfectly complement the oysters' pure, clean taste.

Oyster bars in Seattle are an educational experience, too. Shuckers here are deeply knowledgeable about oyster farmers' growing methods, flavor profiles developed by way of their origin, and more. They’ll help diners decipher the many mysteries of these briny beauties. Here now, are Eater's go-to spots for slurping bivalves.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Frank's Oyster House

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2616 NE 55th St
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 525-0220
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Diners who favor a cozy spot over a trendy newcomer should choose this tried-and-true oyster house and champagne parlor just north of University Village. The decor balances vintage and modern, with an updated take on wood paneling and vinyl-backed booths. Neighborhood regulars tuck into oysters served on a wooden plank and a sturdy slab of ice alongside a Negroni or brut rosé.

2. Ballard Annex Oyster House

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5410 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 783-5410
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This roomy, nautically themed Ballard spot draws crowds of friends as well as families with kids. The oyster selection is generous, with piles of freshly plucked beauties waiting to be shucked and slurped. Daily happy hour from 3:30 to 6 p.m. brings the oyster prices down to $2 a pop.

3. The Walrus and the Carpenter

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4743 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 395-9227
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This Renee Erickson gem in Ballard has helped define Pacific Northwest cuisine, combining just-shucked oysters — like Lil Moons, grown exclusively for Erickson — and the chef’s flawless take on locally sourced seafood and produce. Thanks to a ton of press coverage, a constant stream of accolades, and a no-reservations policy, the small restaurant is hard to get into, but well worth it, and the sibling Italian aperitivo bar next door, Barnacle, helps make the wait more interesting.

4. Westward

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2501 N Northlake Way
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 552-8215
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Rich with references to Wes Anderson's the Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou and with mooring spots for fancy boats, this waterfront oyster perch on the north end of Lake Union in Wallingford is quintessential Seattle. Oyster-seekers should belly up to the oyster bar and learn from the shucking experts.

5. White Swan Public House

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1001 Fairview Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 588-2680
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This busy, breezy spot on the southern end of Lake Union is a pretty sweet place to camp out for a couple hours at dinnertime and watch the float planes come in, though summer visitors who are wise will make a reservation. No excellent meal here would be complete without raw oysters and well-constructed original cocktails.

6. Taylor Shellfish Farms

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1521 Melrose Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 501-4321
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More than a century old and now the country’s largest purveyor of farmed shellfish, Taylor Shellfish Farms and its handful of hip oyster bars (Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, Queen Anne, and Bellevue) are an educational experience. Whether coming in solo or with a group, diners should be sure to ask lots of questions about the many Kumamotos, tiny native Olympias, and other types they’ll sample. These folks know their oysters, and, in no time, every patron will, too.

7. Bar Melusine

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1060 E Union St
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 900-8808
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Renee Erickson expanded her seafood-themed Sea Creatures empire to Capitol Hill with bright Bar Melusine. Small plates and aperitif cocktails are the focus, perfect for gearing up to dine at Erickson’s impeccable steakhouse next door, Bateau. But diners wouldn’t be blamed for just filling up here, especially if raw oysters shucked at the bar are part of the game plan.

8. East Anchor Seafood

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1126 34th Ave #101
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 708-6669
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This sleek Madrona seafood market has a solid lineup of to-go items, but there are a few seats for anyone wishing to eat here, and diners are rewarded with raw oysters, well-chosen wines, and snacks like smoked fish crostini and salumi.

9. Bitter/Raw

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952 East Seneca Street
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 323-5275
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Perched above John Sundstom’s beloved Capitol Hill restaurant Lark is the chef’s atmospheric mezzanine-bar, Bitter/Raw, one of the chic spots on Capitol Hill to take down oysters. Diners feeling extra fancy simply must save room for the white sturgeon caviar.

10. Tankard and Tun

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1415 1st Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 812-6619
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Proving that oysters do indeed pair well with beer, Pike Brewing’s new downtown restaurant sits like a glittering crown above the company’s more down-home pub space below street level. Other local specialties plucked from the sea, like albacore loin ceviche and sea beans with preserved lemon, add to the experience.

11. Shuckers

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411 University St
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 621-1984
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Shuckers, situated in a former haberdashery on the ground floor of the upscale Fairmont Olympic hotel, exudes class. Patrons might come here to impress a business client or just to feel fancy. As the name suggests, oysters are the star of the seafood-centric menu, which otherwise tends toward pricey dishes that don't always live up to the bivalves.

12. Elliott's Oyster House

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1201 Alaskan Way Pier 56
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 623-4340
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Sure, it's probably filled with more tourists than locals, but Elliott's Oyster House on the waterfront is a classic when it comes to raw oysters. The shuckers behind the massive 21-foot oyster bar are deeply knowledgeable about the 30-something varieties they're prying open. And the views on a clear day? Unbeatable.

1. Frank's Oyster House

2616 NE 55th St, Seattle, WA 98105

Diners who favor a cozy spot over a trendy newcomer should choose this tried-and-true oyster house and champagne parlor just north of University Village. The decor balances vintage and modern, with an updated take on wood paneling and vinyl-backed booths. Neighborhood regulars tuck into oysters served on a wooden plank and a sturdy slab of ice alongside a Negroni or brut rosé.

2616 NE 55th St
Seattle, WA 98105

2. Ballard Annex Oyster House

5410 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

This roomy, nautically themed Ballard spot draws crowds of friends as well as families with kids. The oyster selection is generous, with piles of freshly plucked beauties waiting to be shucked and slurped. Daily happy hour from 3:30 to 6 p.m. brings the oyster prices down to $2 a pop.

5410 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

3. The Walrus and the Carpenter

4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

This Renee Erickson gem in Ballard has helped define Pacific Northwest cuisine, combining just-shucked oysters — like Lil Moons, grown exclusively for Erickson — and the chef’s flawless take on locally sourced seafood and produce. Thanks to a ton of press coverage, a constant stream of accolades, and a no-reservations policy, the small restaurant is hard to get into, but well worth it, and the sibling Italian aperitivo bar next door, Barnacle, helps make the wait more interesting.

4743 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

4. Westward

2501 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103

Rich with references to Wes Anderson's the Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou and with mooring spots for fancy boats, this waterfront oyster perch on the north end of Lake Union in Wallingford is quintessential Seattle. Oyster-seekers should belly up to the oyster bar and learn from the shucking experts.

2501 N Northlake Way
Seattle, WA 98103

5. White Swan Public House

1001 Fairview Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

This busy, breezy spot on the southern end of Lake Union is a pretty sweet place to camp out for a couple hours at dinnertime and watch the float planes come in, though summer visitors who are wise will make a reservation. No excellent meal here would be complete without raw oysters and well-constructed original cocktails.

1001 Fairview Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

6. Taylor Shellfish Farms

1521 Melrose Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

More than a century old and now the country’s largest purveyor of farmed shellfish, Taylor Shellfish Farms and its handful of hip oyster bars (Capitol Hill, Pioneer Square, Queen Anne, and Bellevue) are an educational experience. Whether coming in solo or with a group, diners should be sure to ask lots of questions about the many Kumamotos, tiny native Olympias, and other types they’ll sample. These folks know their oysters, and, in no time, every patron will, too.

1521 Melrose Ave
Seattle, WA 98122

7. Bar Melusine

1060 E Union St, Seattle, WA 98109

Renee Erickson expanded her seafood-themed Sea Creatures empire to Capitol Hill with bright Bar Melusine. Small plates and aperitif cocktails are the focus, perfect for gearing up to dine at Erickson’s impeccable steakhouse next door, Bateau. But diners wouldn’t be blamed for just filling up here, especially if raw oysters shucked at the bar are part of the game plan.

1060 E Union St
Seattle, WA 98109

8. East Anchor Seafood

1126 34th Ave #101, Seattle, WA 98122

This sleek Madrona seafood market has a solid lineup of to-go items, but there are a few seats for anyone wishing to eat here, and diners are rewarded with raw oysters, well-chosen wines, and snacks like smoked fish crostini and salumi.

1126 34th Ave #101
Seattle, WA 98122

9. Bitter/Raw

952 East Seneca Street, Seattle, WA 98122

Perched above John Sundstom’s beloved Capitol Hill restaurant Lark is the chef’s atmospheric mezzanine-bar, Bitter/Raw, one of the chic spots on Capitol Hill to take down oysters. Diners feeling extra fancy simply must save room for the white sturgeon caviar.

952 East Seneca Street
Seattle, WA 98122

10. Tankard and Tun

1415 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Proving that oysters do indeed pair well with beer, Pike Brewing’s new downtown restaurant sits like a glittering crown above the company’s more down-home pub space below street level. Other local specialties plucked from the sea, like albacore loin ceviche and sea beans with preserved lemon, add to the experience.

1415 1st Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

11. Shuckers

411 University St, Seattle, WA 98101

Shuckers, situated in a former haberdashery on the ground floor of the upscale Fairmont Olympic hotel, exudes class. Patrons might come here to impress a business client or just to feel fancy. As the name suggests, oysters are the star of the seafood-centric menu, which otherwise tends toward pricey dishes that don't always live up to the bivalves.

411 University St
Seattle, WA 98101

12. Elliott's Oyster House

1201 Alaskan Way Pier 56, Seattle, WA 98101

Sure, it's probably filled with more tourists than locals, but Elliott's Oyster House on the waterfront is a classic when it comes to raw oysters. The shuckers behind the massive 21-foot oyster bar are deeply knowledgeable about the 30-something varieties they're prying open. And the views on a clear day? Unbeatable.

1201 Alaskan Way Pier 56
Seattle, WA 98101

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