Many people love fresh seafood, and who can blame them? Nothing says flavor like fish or seafood plucked from its underwater home just hours before being served to you. When that seafood is oysters, there’s a little bit of romance in addition to gastronomic enjoyment.
The thing about oysters is they have unique flavors, shapes and sizes depending on the region where they grew, their age, what they’ve eaten, and even what season they get harvested. Just like with land-sourced foods, which reflect the terroir of the region where it was grown, so, too, do oysters have a merroir that reflects their habitat. West Coast oysters, often available fresh and chilled over ice in San Diego, have a flavor that is distinct from their East Coast relatives.
So how do you find a restaurant with a range of amazing oysters that showcase the merroir of San Diego and nearby fisheries? All you need to do is check out one of the four restaurants on this list, which are sure to impress you with their selection of fresh-shucked oysters, as well as other fresh seafood dishes.
The Oyster Bar SKC
Location: 551 J Street (map)
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
If you’d like an informal setting while slurping on oysters, check out The Oyster Bar SKC. As the name implies, Oysters are an important part of their lineup. They also feature a range of New Orleans inspired fare, full of bold Cajun and Creole flavors. Few places offer such brave takes on fish and seafood as Southern Louisiana. Thanks to The Oyster Bar SKC, you don’t have to travel across the country to try it! Instead, you can savor some authentic flavors right here in Gaslamp!
Their fresh oysters vary from day to day and seasonally. However, you can expect to find both East and West Coast varieties on the menu. There are Kumaia Oysters from Baja, Calm Cove oysters from Washington and Eastern Oysters from East Virginia, among others. You also can’t beat the price, which is a buck a shuck, all day every day. Each oyster you try is only a dollar.
Combine their great prices, rich flavors and dog-friendly outdoor seating with a kid’s menu that includes mac & cheese, and chicken tenders, entrees such as etouffee, gumbo, po boy sandwiches, and a robust selection of craft beers, and you have a great dinner destination.
Osetra Fish House
Location: 904 5th Avenue (map)
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 4 p.m. to midnight
If you’re looking for a more classy eatery that doesn’t really cater to kids, then Osetra Fish House should be your destination! With a full bar and outdoor seating, you can have a beautiful night out with premium seafood.
The raw bar alone is enough to make an oyster lover go weak in the knees. They have different oysters in house daily, $19 for a half dozen or $34 for full dozen. You don’t have to stop there, however. They serve a Baja California shrimp cocktail, yellowtail carpaccio, and a range of sushi and steak tartar. If you have a taste for the finer things in life, check out their caviar selection, which include classic West Coast white pacific sturgeon caviar, Siberian sturgeon caviar and Osetra sturgeon caviar from the central Eurasia seas.
They also offer a range of cooked prime seafood, such as stuffed sole, swordfish with carrot and leek risotto, ahi tuna, jumbo sea scallops over polenta and lobster ravioli. If you want a hand cut steak, you can order that, too. Options range from an eight-ounce filet mignon to a 20-ounce bone-in rib-eye. Don’t forget dessert, which could be hazelnut chocolate mousse or even New York style cheesecake.
Blue Point Coastal Cuisine
Location: 565 5th Avenue (map)
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
In the mood for something fabulous? At Blue Point Coastal Cuisine, you can order all kinds of seafood in a classy, upscale environment. Dressing up for dinner can really add to the experience, and you’ll want to pick something dressy before taking someone special to Blue Point Coastal Cuisine. They’ve been a top-rated seafood destination in San Diego since 1996, and they continue to impress over twenty years later.
Oysters here are market price, so you will have to check to see what they have on hand. They also offer several kinds of caviar, a shrimp cocktail and seared sesame sashimi from the oyster bar. If you want to impress your date, consider the Chef’s Seafood Tower, which is $38 per person.
Beyond the raw bar, you can order lobster salad or Blue Point Lobster Bisque as a starter. From there, you can choose a range of fresh caught local fish: halibut, salmon, whole lobsters, sea bass, tuna, scallops, mussels, clams, king crab and even octopus. If you want to try cooked oysters, they offer fried oysters with Sriracha remoulade. For dessert, options include passion fruit cheesecake, a selection of sorbets or ice cream, and even a molten chocolate lava cake.
Lou & Mickey’s
Location: 224 Fifth Avenue (map)
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Unlike several other places on this list, Lou & Mickey’s offers fresh lunch options in addition to amazing dinners. They offer two different seafood soups daily, New England Clam Chowder and Crab Bisque, as well as a host of salads, including salads with shrimp, lump crab and albacore tuna. They offer fresh-shucked oysters as well as many other amazing fresh dishes. During Happy Hour, those oysters are only $1 each.
Whether you’re in the mood for steak, seafood or pasta, you’ll have great options to choose from at Lou & Mickeys. They even have a Wagyu beef cheeseburger. Some of their more impressive fish offerings include teriyaki wild Ecuadorian mahi-mahi, pan sauteed jumbo lump crab cakes, Macadamia nut crusted Alaskan halibut and even New Orleans BBQ jumbo shrimp. Steaks include sirloin, New York strip, rib-eye and porterhouse. You can order them with shrimp or even a lobster tail on the side.
If you’re craving carbs, try their linguine and Manila clams or their wild jumbo shrimp pasta with tomato and basil. Sides and vegetables include potatoes, corn, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli Hollandaise and even grilled asparagus. Their desserts are baked fresh daily and vary regularly. No matter your tastes, you’ll find something satisfying here!