CHARLESTON, SC - Seafood is serious business in Charleston, and no where is that more evident than in the Holy City's love for oysters. Harvested fresh from the Lowcountry waterways and sold by the bushel, these bivalve molluscs are a delicacy found at oyster roasts and restaurants alike.
We are now in the heart of oyster harvesting season, so what better time to give this Charleston favorite a try? These restaurants are known for serving up delicious oysters. Only thing you've got to do is decide how you want them:
Pearlz Oyster Bar - 153 East Bay Street/9 Magnolia Road
If you've got a sudden late night jonesing for oysters, make your way over to Pearlz. Located on East Bay Street in downtown Charleston and in West Ashley's Avondale District, this longtime Charleston favorite is serving up 12-counts of fresh, local oysters on the half shell atop a tray of ice with cocktail sauce and lemon. Depending on the market, you can also order oysters from up and down the East Coast.
Bowen's Island Restaurant - 1870 Bowen's Island Road
Tucked back off the highway on the way out to Folly Beach sits Bowen's Island Restaurant, a family-owned seafood paradise that has been serving locals and tourists alike for nearly 70 years. While the building itself isn't all glitz and glam, you'd be hard pressed to find a better view for oyster shucking. Pull up a seat on the back deck and look out onto the marsh of Sol Legare Creek while you crack open cluster after cluster of oysters fresh from the nearby waterways.
Leon's Oyster Shop - 698 King Street
Since opening its doors in May 2014, Leon's has established itself as a must stop for oyster lovers near and far. Named one of Eater's Best New Restaurants in America, Leon's is a fun and open joint set inside a renovated body shop/garage on Upper King. They are serving oysters raw, char-grilled and fried, all on a half shell. Or, skip the shell and order the fried oyster sandwich, piled high with juicy fried oysters, lettuce, tomato, avocado and their comeback sauce.
167 Raw - 289 East Bay Street
Born out of a seafood and meat market on Nantucket Island, Co-owner Jesse Sandole brought his family's love for fresh seafood from New England down to the Lowcountry. Inside the white subway tile-wrapped cafe at 167 Raw, customers can devour oysters from all over the coast, expertly shucked right before their eyes by the trained staff. And if after the oysters you're craving more seafood, check out their fish market, serving fresh sushi-grade fish and shellfish.