Let’s talk oysters.
Except, most of the time…they come pretty pricey.
If you’re anything like me… you’re searching for the $1 happy hour oyster spots… with preferably a great view of the city, a short wait time, and most importantly… some place CLEAN (b/c unsanitary seafood places are gross).
So. I typed in “Best Oysters” in “San Francisco” into Yelp.
And naturally, I went to try out the top 5.
Side: Some of them I LOVE, some of them I HATE. I’m picky. I mean, if you’re going to eat oysters…it might as well be at a nice place for a good deal. Agree?
So here’s the top 5 oyster places re-arranged (because sometimes you can’t trust Yelp <– more on that HERE)
Overview: $1 oysters EVERYDAY from 11:30 to 5:30pm <– Is this real life??
This place seriously has the BEST views and best deal for $1 oysters (It only applies to the ‘featured’ oyster of the day, but still a great deal). I mean, check it out:
Plus, the service is amazing, the tables (inside) are first come first serve, the oysters are legit…and you can’t really ask for more. Read more HERE.
Overview: One of my FAV places to indulge. Not only does this place have awesome oysters & a great outdoor view…they also have the BEST clam chowder and grilled cheese in the city!
(Their oysters are on the pricier side & they have the same ones at Waterbar, which is right down the street)
Tip: They have super longgggg lines. But it goes by fast if you have a party of two. Read more about Hog Island Oyster Co. HERE.
$1.50 Happy Hour | Mon-Thurs 12pm-6pm
The cool thing about Mission Street Oyster Bar is that there’s so many oysters to choose from during their happy hour (unlike Waterbar, where it’s only one special per day).
The negative: It’s kind of a random place and doesn’t exactly feel like an oyster bar compared to these other places. It’s also far from Embarcadero & downtown. But nonetheless, a great deal with comfortable seating and no crazy wait times.
They have a deal for 12 oysters on half shell, 8 steamed clams, 4 chilled prawns for $39.95 or $20.95 half order. (no happy hour).
Overall thoughts: The place is really small, the seating is uncomfortable, and I felt rushed eating here. I came to Anchor right when they opened, and the line was already spilling onto the sidewalk (normal wait time is 1.5 hrs).
So. Unless I’m conveniently in the area, I wouldn’t want to wait THAT long again –> just to sit cramped up at the bar, while trying to enjoy the same oysters I could have ordered at another place.
Side: (Comfort + good food is a big deal in my books. But if you don’t mind the wait & cramped seating, then this is a cool place to check out for a real SF oyster experience)
5. Swan Oyster Depot
I know Swan Oyster Depot is an icon of SF eateries. But I just can’t.
(Sorry in advance to any of you Swan Depot lovers)
It’s a TINY place (smaller than anchor), with only elbow-to-elbow bar seats. Oh, and the place smells. It wasn’t exactly the most sanitary restaurant environment either, which reminded me of a dirty dive bar.
Plus, it’s over priced & cash only.
Side: we arrived at 4:30 on a Wednesday, and they weren’t accepting any more seats at the bar. So we could only order “take-out.” We saw one of the workers taking out the trash out & didn’t wash his hands. BARF.
To sum it all up…
+ If you’re solely looking for quality oysters with an awesome view… go to Waterbar (also less of a wait than Hog Island).
+ If you’re looking for the ultimate seafood experience with oysters, clam chowder, seafood stew… go to Hog Island Oyster Co.
+ If you want to experience a staple San Francisco eatery… go to Anchor Oyster Bar (just beware if the long wait times in a tiny restaurant)
+ And…not sure why Mission Street Oyster Bar is even on Yelp’s top 5 places… because they only have 177 reviews and there was nothing special about them.
PS: Here are my oyster recommendations, you can’t go wrong with local Tomales Bay, Chelsea Gems, Kusshi, or Kumamoto oysters. These are my FAVS and are all from the West Coast– clean, crisp, sweet, and refreshing. (Rarely Waterbar will have them on the Happy Hour menu, they are about $3-$5 but so worth it!
Side: Do you guys know of any other awesome oysters spots in SF that I should try? Let me know below!