New Orleans

Slurp Fresh Oysters From These New Orleans Spots

It's more important than ever to support your local oyster bars.

Coterie Restaurant & Oyster Bar
Coterie Restaurant & Oyster Bar
Coterie Restaurant & Oyster Bar

In a pre-COVID-19 world, some oyster lovers in New Orleans could be found sitting at a bar or inside a restaurant slurping their favorite delicacy right out of its shell. Others might prefer to eat it fried, sandwiched between two pieces of French bread dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise. 

Sure, people can get oysters from other states and countries. But there’s something about Louisiana oysters that keeps them coming back. “It’s the flavor,” says Jules Melancon, a local oysterman and owner of Caminada Bay Oyster Farm. “Other states might be a little saltier, but Louisiana oysters have more of a sweet and salty flavor.”

Caminada Bay Oyster Farm
Caminada Bay Oyster Farm
Caminada Bay Oyster Farm

Melancon, who harvests off-bottom caged oysters near Grand Isle, typically sells oysters to about four or five different restaurants in New Orleans. Since COVID-19 forced restaurants to shut down a couple months ago, only one of those restaurants has since reopened. He went from making $5,000 a week to $1,000 a week.

“It’s not good. I got two restaurants in Houston, so I gotta ship some [oysters] to Houston to make enough for me to have a week’s worth of work,” Melancon said.¬†

He’s expanded his shipments to other cities like Dallas and Seattle, but business is still slow. The Louisiana oysterman is hopeful that restaurants will fully reopen once it is safe enough, and that oysters will once again be in demand.¬†

All that is to say it’s more important than ever to support your local oyster bars that are open, to help keep the industry afloat. Get your oysters on the half shell at any one of these New Orleans restaurants. And, remember, to please bring a mask!

Coterie

French Quarter
The oyster bar at this French Quarter restaurant serves oysters raw, chargrilled, broiled, and fried. It also has an oyster Happy Hour featuring ice cold raw oysters served with lemon and spicy cocktail sauce. Happy hour oysters are available at the oyster bar only.

Felix's Restaurant & Oyster Bar
Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar
Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar¬†

Lakefront
While the French Quarter location is closed until further notice, the Lakefront location is still serving up locally harvested oysters. With oyster du jour specials ranging from charbroiled to raw, there’s something for everyone. It is currently open for dine-in and takeout.

The Blue Crab Restaurant & Oyster Bar
The Blue Crab Restaurant & Oyster Bar
The Blue Crab Restaurant & Oyster Bar

The Blue Crab

Lakefront
At this Lakefront restaurant, you can enjoy chargrilled or raw oysters with a view overlooking Lake Pontchartrain. It is currently open for takeout orders and dine-in, with limited seating in the downstairs breezeway. Be sure to call ahead to make reservations.

Poseidon

Garden District
Before the pandemic, you could eat your oysters charbroiled, fried, or raw at this St. Charles Avenue restaurant, and then stick around for some impromptu singing in one of Poseidon’s karaoke rooms. For now, you’ll have to settle for oysters to-go and karaoke at your house.

BOIL Seafood House
BOIL Seafood House
BOIL Seafood House

Boil Seafood House

Uptown
Known for its Viet-Cajun boiled seafood, this Uptown seafood house also serves raw oysters on the half shell and chargrilled oysters saturated in an herb butter sauce topped with a special blend of cheese. You can order food to-go or reserve a spot to dine in the restaurant’s outdoor seating.

Deanie's Seafood
Deanie’s Seafood
Deanie’s Seafood

Deanie’s Seafood

Garden District
The French Quarter location is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, but the Garden District location is still serving up your favorite seafood including raw, charbroiled, and barbeque oysters. You can get your food to-go or dine in as the restaurant offers outdoor seating.

The Half Shell on the Bayou

Seventh Ward
Situated along Bayou Road, the oldest road in New Orleans, The Half Shell on the Bayou serves up Cajun and Creole cuisine along with oysters on the half shell. It also offers an oyster happy hour on Thursdays from 2-6pm. Currently, you can only place to-go orders or dine in by reservation only.

The Corner Oyster House

French Quarter
Situated right next to Jackson Square, this French Quarter restaurant is known for its chargrilled oysters on the half shell, topped with parmesan and seasoned garlic butter. For the adventurous seafood lovers, try the drunken oyster shooter. It’s a fresh Gulf oyster submerged in the restaurant’s homemade Bloody Mary.

Superior Seafood
Superior Seafood
Superior Seafood

Superior Seafood and Oyster Bar

Uptown
While many restaurant dining rooms remain closed, this Uptown staple is open for table service at 50% occupancy. Its popular happy hour (daily from 4-6:30pm) has also returned with 75-cent raw oysters and 2-for-1 specials on some drinks including the fros√© and frozen pomegranate mojito. If you’re not eating out, you can order to-go as the restaurant is offering curbside pickup.

Pascal's Manale Restaurant
Pascal’s Manale Restaurant
Pascal’s Manale Restaurant

Pascal’s Manale

Uptown
For 100 years, this Uptown staple has specialized in seafood, traditional Italian dishes, and steak. It is also known for its popular oyster bar, which features Oysters Rockefeller and Oysters Bienville on the half shell. Pascal’s is currently accepting curbside to-go orders and accepting dine-in reservations.Sign up here for our daily New Orleans email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in the Big Easy.

Kevinisha Walker is a content creator and social media strategist from New Orleans with a passion for telling stories about people in underserved communities. Most recently, she worked at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Media Center as a Leadership Initiative Fellow.

New Orleans

Where to Go on a Perfect Date in New Orleans This Spring

Woo that special someone with sultry live music and inviting outdoor date ideas.

Photo courtesy of Louisiana Travel
Photo courtesy of Louisiana Travel
Photo courtesy of Louisiana Travel

Whether you’re searching for the perfect spot for a first date or looking to spend some time with your longtime love, you should have no problem planning a romantic outing in New Orleans. Our amazing restaurants and bars are classic settings for some quality time, but think outside the date night box and literally get outside. Spring is the most gorgeous time of year here, so you can score some serious romance points. From strolls in the park and outdoor music to cozy wine bars and sultry jazz nights, here are some can’t-miss ideas for the perfect date in New Orleans.

Spend an afternoon in City Park

Mid-City
One could spend hours strolling beneath City Park’s moss-drenched oaks, but combine this beautiful setting with the park’s other offerings and you’ve got yourself a date. Start with coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde to ease into things. Explore the collections at the New Orleans Museum of Art or stroll through the sculpture garden. Continue your romantic walk around the Big Lake, or rent a boat and paddle your way around. If things are going well, finish up with a well-earned drink and a bite at Ralph’s on the Park.

Grab bagels and bike on the Greenway

Mid-City
Bike the Lafitte Greenway and you’ll get moving while having plenty of time to connect. Fuel up at Flour Moon Bagels with coffee and stellar carbs before you hit the pavement. The Greenway’s linear path is 2.7 miles, but you can make it a longer ride by linking up with the Wisner Trail or the Norman C. Francis bike path. The Greenway goes all the way to the Quarter, but you can save that for another date. End up back where you started and cool down with a pint or two at Skeeta Hawk Brewing.

Create some Magazine Street magic

Uptown/Garden District
Magazine Street boasts six miles of unique, locally owned businesses. There are plenty of one-off date options along the street (like grabbing coffee and chocolate at Piety and Desire, having a romantic dinner at Coquette or Saffron, or ordering wine and small plates at Saba). But for a longer get-to-know-you date, the street is perfect for an all-day stroll. Browse esteemed art galleries and shops, have a well-made cocktail at Bouligny Tavern, stop for fresh oysters at Basin, taste a few wines at Spirit Wine, and admire the mix of architecture along the street. Why stop there? Shop for some vinyl at Peaches, grab a casual dinner at Picnic Provisions & Whiskey or Tito’s, then see who’s playing at Le Bon Temps.

Take in the West Bank nature and noodles

Marrero
Take the Crescent City Connection and head down to the Barataria Preserve to explore acres of secluded wetlands that’ll confirm you’re really in south Louisiana. A boardwalk winds through swampy land packed with all the best regional flora and fauna, including alligators. April is typically peak iris season, so check the bloom forecast. Before you head back across the river, stop by Tan Dinh or 9 Roses for excellent pho and other Vietnamese faves.

Nevbrown/Flickr
Nevbrown/Flickr
Nevbrown/Flickr

Go on a wine bar crawl

Various locations
A wine bar presents a perfect middle ground between grabbing casual beers and sipping superior cocktails. You’ve got chill environs, curated selections, and just enough nibbles to sustain your conversation. Second Vine Wines and Faubourg Wines are thoughtfully curated shops that serve wines by the glass, so you can start off with a couple of glasses then buy a bottle if the date moves to another location. Tell Me Bar and Pluck offer rotating selections of intriguing wines you’ll want to learn more about. And of course there’s Bacchanal, where you can enjoy wine, good vibes, and live music under the stars.

Cross the river by boat

Algiers Point
There’s something undeniably romantic about standing at the bow of a boat with wind blowing through your lover’s hair, so take the Algiers Ferry to behold the mighty Mississippi and gorgeous views of the city. Stroll charming Algiers Point, grab a drink with the locals at the Old Point Bar or Crown and Anchor, and then enjoy dinner at Tavolino, Tonti’s Hand, or Plume.

Saunter down St. Charles Ave

Uptown/French Quarter
The streetcar is an underrated date option-get to know each other while rolling past the majestic St. Charles Avenue mansions. Start with a late afternoon drink at The Chloe before hopping aboard. Once you’re in the Quarter, take a spin around the bar with a cocktail at Hotel Monteleone, take a stroll through Jackson Square, then pick from swoon-worthy dining options like St. John, Jewel of the South, Cane & Table, Doris Metropolitan, or MaMou.

Explore Lake Pontchartrain

Lakefront
Take a trip out to Lake Pontchartrain for some sun, fresh air, and seafood. Cruise Lakeshore Drive, check out the Mardi Gras Fountain, maybe take a roll down the levee to connect with your inner child, then sit and watch as the boats and birds go by. As the sun sets, head over to The Blue Crab for fresh seafood or JB’s Fuel Dock at West End Park for pizza and beers.

Photo courtesy of Three Keys NOLA
Photo courtesy of Three Keys NOLA
Photo courtesy of Three Keys NOLA

Let music and lounge vibes set the mood

Various locations
Let someone special know just how you feel by taking them out for a classy evening of fine cocktails and world-class jazz. Grab a prime spot to watch Jeremy Davenport do his thing at his namesake lounge at the Ritz-Carlton, listen to the smooth sounds of solo artists at the intimate Bayou Bar at the Pontchartrain Hotel, or pop into the Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta next time you do a French Quarter outing. For a new-school option, check out a performance at the Ace Hotel’s Three Keys.

Go the extra mile with a day trip

Covington/Abita Springs
Driving the Causeway’s 24 miles will give you plenty of time to go beyond small talk, making a nearby road trip the ideal activity for upping the ante on your relationship. Head to Covington to enjoy the boutiques and galleries of the quaint historic downtown before grabbing a bite at Lola or Tavi, or rent bikes and ride the Tammany Trace to the Abita Brewery where you can take a tour and sample some of the finest local beers. Even better, head over when the brewery is hosting one of its food truck roundups or live music.

Photo courtesy of Urban South Brewery
Photo courtesy of Urban South Brewery
Photo courtesy of Urban South Brewery

Peel crawfish and sip local beer

Various locations
Spring means crawfish boils, and the city is loaded with experts bringing their boil skills to some of the top local breweries. Crawfish and beer make a perfect pair, and what better way to gauge relationship potential than by observing peel technique and spice tolerance? Check their calendars, but breweries including Faubourg Brewing, Urban South, NOLA Brewing, Miel, and Parleaux usually host boils on weekends throughout the season.

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Gerrish Lopez is a Thrillist contributor.

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