With the news last week that Drakes Bay Oyster Company, which produces 40 percent of the oysters grown in California, will have to cease operations at its farm in Point Reyes within 90 days, many are wondering how Bay Area restaurants will be affected. The stakes are huge, since an afternoon spent sipping wine and downing local oysters on the half shell is the quintessential San Francisco experience. As a tribute, here are eight local oyster spots that Chowhounds love, listed here in alphabetical order.
1. BAR CRUDO
655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco
This Western Addition restaurant has an oyster happy hour that's always popular. The current happy hour menu includes $1 Washington state Pickering Passage oysters, as well as a dear-sweet-lord-delicious smoky seafood chowder. Fans crow about the extensive beer list, too.
56 Gold Street, San Francisco
If your must-haves also include martinis, bartenders in jackets, and a classy vibe, slide into Bix in Jackson Square and order six oysters on the half shell with mignonette. On offer recently were the Walker Creek variety, from the mouth of Tomales Bay.
4. HOG & ROCKS
3431 19th Street, San Francisco
When in the Mission, do as the hipsters do: Go to Hog & Rocks (the name refers to the section of the menu that features various types of ham as well as oysters).
5. HOG ISLAND OYSTER BAR
The Ferry Building Marketplace, San Francisco
Amid the hubbub of the Ferry Building, Hog Island serves bivalves from both its Tomales Bay home and other purveyors.
6. SALT HOUSE
545 Mission Street, San Francisco
With a location that makes it easy to dip in from Union Square or the Financial District, Salt House is a good choice for a lunchtime bacchanal. The menu changes each day; a recent sampling included Pearl Point oysters from Oregon, St. Simons from New Brunswick, and Fanny Bays from British Columbia.
7. SWAN OYSTER DEPOT
1517 Polk Street, San Francisco
This San Francisco classic lands in many a tourist guide, so expect lines out the door. Chowhounds like it for the old-school ambiance.
399 The Embarcadero South, San Francisco
For an extensive shellfish menu that pulls from growers in Alaska, Rhode Island, and everywhere in between, try Waterbar, which also features a full bar and a view over the San Francisco Bay—the perfect accessory for downing oysters.
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