Finally! It is May – the first month of the year without an “R” in it. Down here, that means it is the beginning of oyster season! These delectable molluscs are a signature Southern Louisiana treat and not-to-be-missed during your New Orleans vacation! If you are already an oyster fan, like me, you can eat a cool dozen raw. These are best, in my opinion, with a couple hot, buttery rolls and an ice cold beer. Locally brewed Abita Amber seems to be a heavenly match for Gulf Coast oysters. But, if raw is a little slippery for you, try them charbroiled. Oh, the heavenly delight of a warm tray of oysters with a bit of gravy and some hot bread!
New Orleans Oyster Bars
Standing at the counter, watching the insanely fast skills of an oyster shucker as he works his way through hundreds of Gulf Coast Oysters and eating them straight off the bar, is just as much a New Orleans tradition as the Po’Boy sandwich. Here, according to BestofNewOrleans.com, are the top five oyster bars in New Orleans:
Pascal’s Manale (1838 Napoleon Ave., 895-4877)
The free-standing oyster bar in the old-school cocktail lounge is like an altar to slurping, shucking and jiving and is staffed by affable guys who turn the act of downing a dozen into high entertainment. The bartender doles out poker chips redeemable at the oyster bar for your dozen or half-dozen.
Drago’s Seafood Restaurant (3232 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 888-9254 OR downtown at 2 Poydras St. on the first floor of the Hilton Hotel, 584-3911)
Sometimes out-shined by the bright, buttery spectacle of the restaurant’s famous charbroiled oysters, the raw oysters at Drago’s are superb on their own, thanks to strong relationships between management and oyster harvesters.
Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar (739 Iberville St., 522-4440)
There are three other oyster bars within a few paces of Felix’s are all spiffier, but none turn out oysters as fast and with as little fuss. Just off Bourbon Street, diners can usually walk right in and mix their own cocktail sauce as the shucker sends the oysters rattling across the bar one at a time.
Bozo’s (3117 21st St., Metairie, 831-8666)
A few turns off the main suburban drags is this family-run classic on a Metairie backstreet. The oyster bar feels like a neighborhood joint, even if the mall is just a few blocks away.
Cooter Brown’s Tavern (509 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-9104)
This Riverbend tavern puts the bar in oyster bar. Despite casual appearances, the oyster operation here is serious stuff, serving fresh-tasting and well-shucked beauties until 2 a.m. or later.
Summer Travels to New Orleans
Just reading about all those oysters, my mouth is watering and my heart is thumping! Obviously, I’m pretty obsessed with those bivalves.
When traveling in New Orleans, a great trip can be all about having insider information. Where are great oysters? Amazing music? Authentic creole food? A New Orleans innkeeper can guide you to the corners of this amazing city that the average tourist in the French Quarter will never see. Let us share New Orleans with you. We love this city and we’ll show you why.