Where to get Oysters in San Francisco

  Posted by - August 26, 2014 - $ (0-20), Daytime, Restaurants, San Francisco

Okay guys,

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)

1. Waterbar

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:

Waterbar(Gorg, right? )

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.

2. Hog Island Oyster Co

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.

3. Mission Street Oyster Bar

$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.

4. Anchor Oyster Bar

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)

Anchor oyster bar

 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.

Swan DepotNotice how their clam chowder doesn’t even COMPARE to the Hog Island’s (above).

swan depot oysters

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!



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  • Shina January 26, 2015 - 7:19 pm Reply

    Thanks for mentioning our oysters! It’s always fun to hear about people enjoying them.

  • […] Can not wait to suck down oysters this fall! I be trusting Cyn Eats to lead me to the best oysters in town.  San Fran Oysters Guide  […]

  • Tim September 6, 2014 - 5:51 am Reply

    Headed to Waterbar tomorrow! Thanks for the tip!

  • Sarah Eaton September 3, 2014 - 6:22 pm Reply

    Hog Island is one of my favorite places. Whenever I make it out to visit SF, I always make it a point to eat there at LEAST once during my trip.

  • Carl August 29, 2014 - 11:30 pm Reply

    I was just at Anchor Oyster Bar two weekends ago. A friend had recommended them to me and the food was alright. We didn’t think it was anything amazing. Also, the line was ridiculously long and we had to wait 1hr+ for our table. Some of your other recommendations sounds like a better choice for us next time!

  • Karen T. August 29, 2014 - 6:32 pm Reply

    LOVE Waterbar! You really can’t beat those views, the service, and the $1 oysters. I work right by the Embarcadero, so it’s a great happy hour spot for me after work.

  • Michael Tran August 29, 2014 - 4:38 pm Reply

    I just read your post on Hog Island. I can’t wait to try it this weekend when I visit SF. Thanks!

  • Nancy K. August 27, 2014 - 5:25 pm Reply

    Have you ever been to Bar Crudo in the Divisadero? They also have $1 happy hour oysters and are really clean (I also hate dirty, uncomfortable places).

    • CynEats August 27, 2014 - 5:32 pm Reply

      I’ve only been there for dinner, but never for happy hour! I’ll have to check it out :)

  • Renee August 27, 2014 - 12:22 pm Reply

    I agree with you, Swan Depot is dirty and the lines are just way too long. If you have a party of more than 2, it’s also very difficult to get seated.

  • Tiffany August 26, 2014 - 4:19 pm Reply

    Hog Island and Waterbar are also two of my favorite places! I like Hog Island just a little bit better because they have a variety of food. Plus I always have to get the grilled cheese there.

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