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Oysters on the Half Shell
Oysters on the Half Shell
Oysters on the Half Shell


From raw to fried and everything in between + how to chargrill them at home

Oysters in New Orleans are their own food group - usually served by the dozen piled high on crushed ice. Although they can be found in coastal cities around the country, oysters are a little bit different around here: large, plump and full of flavor. At restaurants around the city, Gulf oysters are served raw, fried, baked or chargrilled. Try a dozen and your oyster game will forever be changed.

What months can I eat oysters?

You can enjoy oysters year-round, but they are the best in the months that have an “R”: January, February, March, April, September, October, November, and December. Some places have dedicated oyster bars, while others are standing-room-only for oyster-slurpin’. Some restaurants prepare them away in the kitchen, and others share the process with you. You’re never dining alone if you’re sitting in front of an oyster shucker--they make great conversation. See below for some tips on where to experience them. 

Raw Oysters

Raw oysters are safe to eat and quite delicious. They are served often on beer trays, over a pile of ice or with rock salt. Accompany them with lemon, cocktail sauce, horseradish or a cracker! There are several noteworthy establishments for raw oysters in New Orleans. Watch the bartender shuck ‘em while you slurp ‘em. 

Justen Williams

Pascal Manale’s is a local’s choice for oysters and socializing. Cooter Brown's is the spot for raw oysters and sports, while Casamento's is an old school spot that has been serving the seafood delicacy since 1919 (Casamento’s remains cash only and is only open during oyster season). Bourbon House offers a great oyster bar that is more upscale. Here, you can pair your appetizer with caviar or champagne. Perhaps the most famous oyster bar in the city is Acme. Try one of their oyster shooters as well! Felix’s, close-by, is another great spot for raw oysters in New Orleans.

If you want to compare raw Gulf oysters to oysters around the country, check out Peche, Lilette or Seaworthy, all of whom offer a variety of raw oysters. 

Paul Broussard
Chargrilled Oysters

Oyster Dishes

Restaurants frequently offer oyster specials and unique twists on traditional recipes. Be sure to try the chef’s creative specials. Some of the most renowned dishes can be found below.

Chargrilled Oysters from Drago’s

Butter is the key ingredient for this oyster dish. Drago’s, located in the Hilton Riverside Hotel, created the dish, which has taken off around the city. Butter, cheese, garlic and herbs are combined to season the oysters, which are grilled on the half-shell. The sauce is great for dipping french bread as well.

Oyster Rockefeller from Antoine’s

Antoine’s stands as one of the oldest restaurants in the country and has remained true to its roots for centuries. In 1889, the restaurant created Oyster Rockefeller when there was a shortage of escargot. The recipe remains a family secret, but it involves breadcrumbs, a sauce of spinach and/or herbs, and is served warm from the oven. 

Oyster Bienville from Arnaud’s

This dish is decadent and one-of-a-kind. Arnaud’s gulf oysters are served with diced shrimp, green onions, mushrooms, herbs, and a white wine sauce. Again, they are baked and served warm. Pro tip: Arnaud’s offers a variety of special baked oysters. Order the “Oysters Arnaud” to try one of each.

BBQ Oysters from Red Fish Grill

Red Fish Grill on Bourbon Street serves fried oysters tossed with Crystal BBQ sauce and homemade blue cheese dressing. 

Fried Oyster Po-Boy

A fried oyster po-boy is a staple in New Orleans cuisine. You can never go wrong with this traditional topping, but many po-boy shops only offer it on certain days. Some of our favorite places where you can always order one include Domilise’s and Mahony’s.

Oyster Bed Roast from Saffron

This Indian restaurant spices up their traditional dishes with New Orleans flare. The oyster bed roast at Saffron is prepared with caramelized onions, garlic, and curry. 

Paul Broussard, NOTMC

Oyster Happy Hours

Most legendary oyster bars mentioned above offer a happy hour. See some of our other top picks below. A perfect night out in New Orleans starts with some oysters, and they don’t have to break the bank!

  • Luke: P&J oysters offered 3  p.m. to 6 p.m. daily
  • Superior Seafood: Raw or chargrilled oysters from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily
  • Grand Isle: All day oyster happy hour
  • Blue Crab: Oysters raw or chargrilled from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday

Recipe: Chargrilled Oysters 

Recipe courtesy of Acme Oyster House

  • Oysters, freshly shucked (on the half shell) – 24
  • Salted butter – 1 lb.
  • Green onions, chopped fine – 2 bunches
  • Fresh garlic, puree – 20 toes
  • Crushed red pepper – 1 tsp.
  • Fresh thyme, chopped fine – 3 tbsp.
  • fresh oregano, chopped fine 3 tbsp.
  • Fresh lemon juice – 2 tbsp.
  • Worchestershire sauce – 1 tbsp.
  • Creole seasoning – 2 tbsp.
  • White wine – 2 oz.
  • Romano cheese, grated – 8 oz.
  • French bread – 1 loaf

Butter garlic sauce should be prepared just prior to grilling the oysters.

In a large saute pan add two sticks (or ½ lb.) of butter and place over medium heat. Add green onions, garlic, red pepper, thyme, oregano, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Creole seasoning. Cook for two minutes and then add white wine.

Stir ingredients continuously and cook until green onions are soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 3 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl (before the mixture is completely cool) add the remaining butter (or ½ lb.) and sauce. Blend until butter is folded into the sauce.  The final product should be a creamy consistency.

Grilling Oysters:
Pre-heat grill to 350.

Once at 350, place freshly shucked oyster on the half shell on the center of the grill.  Once the water around the oyster begins to bubble and the oyster begins to rise, ladle one tablespoon of the butter garlic sauce on top of each oyster.
Top with a ¼ ounce of grated Romano cheese and allow cheese to melt.
The oysters should brown slightly around the edges.

Remove oysters and place on a heat-resistant plate or platter. While still hot, add an additional tablespoon of butter sauce to the top of each oyster.

Serve immediately with warm French bread for dipping.

Serves four / makes 24 oysters

Love To Eat | Oysters
Oyster Episode - New Orleans Saints Sean Peyton
Love to Eat - Oysters
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