Eat your first oyster naked (the oyster, not you), then dress it — if you so choose
The world is your oyster — so eat it.
But before you start, here are a few things you should know:
The three main species of West coast oysters are Pacific, Kumamoto, and Olympia
- Pacific oysters are buttery and sweet, with fruit (think melon) or vegetable flavors to finish;
- Kumamoto oysters are smaller than Pacific oysters, have a bowl-like shell, and for the most part taste sweet with a hint of nuttiness;
- Olympia oysters are quarter-sized — which makes them quite small in the mollusk world — are also more shallow than Kumamotos, and have a coppery flavor that’s more of an acquired taste. Fun fact — these oysters were almost wiped out during the Gold Rush in San Francisco.
Atlantic and Belon are two additional oyster species but are rarer in Tucson.
Regardless of what kind of oyster you’re about to indulge in, it should have a fresh, sea-water smell, be full of meat, and come served in its own juices (known as its “liquor”). We recommend eating your first oyster naked (the oyster, not you), then dress it — if you so choose — with classic condiments such as lemon, mignonette, cocktail sauce, and hot sauce.
Without further ado and in alphabetical order, here are your best restaurants for oysters in Tucson.
100 S. Avenida del Convento. Ste. 150
Agustin Kitchen’s daily raw oyster menu features top-notch oysters from regions from Canada to Mexico. Accompanying sauces change from time to time, but the zippy cocktail sauce will always be there.
For more information, visit agustinkitchen.com.
Charro del Rey
178 E. Broadway Blvd.
While Charro del Rey’s dishes mostly draw inspiration from Sonora and Sinaloa, their fresh oysters include selections from other coastal regions such as the Pacific Northwest.
For National Oyster Day on Monday, August 5, they are celebrating with half-off oysters and select bottles of Champagne. The rest of the year, oyster specials are on happy hour 4 – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 p.m. – close Thursday through Saturday.
For more information, visit charrodelrey.com.
2960 N. First Ave.
It’s not often that you find yourself eating oysters in Tucson out of a submarine. These little torpedoes of flavor are like everything else on the menu — vibrant and delicious. Something is special about the way they cut their limes, too — the juices flow out effortlessly.
Try their grilled oysters with El Berraco’s special garlic and parsley butter or their Oyster Rumba with fresh oysters, Clamato, and a special mix of salsas served in a chabela glass rimmed with chili powder and chamoy.
For more information, visit el-berraco.com.
5689 N. Swan Rd.
Take your dog out for oysters. This pet-friendly restaurant serves up Gulf Coast farmed oysters with their house cocktail sauce that’ll have you slurping up every ounce.
For more information, visit finislanding.com.
6320 E. Tanque Verde Rd.
Oyster season is just starting at Jonathan’s Cork. From October through May, you can order Pacific Coast (primarily Washington) oysters on the half shell or Rockefeller for a couple bucks more.
For more information, visit jonathanscork.com.
2564 E. Grant Rd.
Most likely the first restaurant to pop into mind when the words ‘oysters in Tucson’ are uttered, Kingfisher doesn’t flounder. The tried-and-true Gulf of Mexico Oysters are available year-round, while other varieties are available seasonally. If you’re feeling particularly ravenous, order the Oyster Bar Tasting, which includes three oysters, two grilled shrimp, smoked ruby trout, and ceviche. Don’t forget the classic martini.
For an annual oyster extravaganza, don’t miss out on their Oysterfest in October.
For more information, visit kingfishertucson.com.
Mariscos Mi Mazatlan
5601 E. 22nd St.
This family-owned restaurant puts out some meaty oysters. Purists can order the oysters plain with lime, while adventurous eaters can order Ostiones Especiales are topped with scallop, avocado, and a wee bit of jalapeño.
With all these bold flavors, douse these with lime and your pick of hot sauce — there’s nearly a dozen for you to choose from at your table.
Keep up with Mariscos Mi Mazatlan on Facebook.
Maynards Market & Kitchen
400 N. Toole Ave.
Maynards’ mollusks are served with aromatic salts, fresh lemon, cocktail sauce, and hot sauce. If you go for dinner on select Fridays, you can also partake in one of their weekly regionally-inspired wine tastings.
For more information, visit maynardstucson.com.
6453 N. Oracle Rd.
The Parish serves their oysters on the half shell with a house-made smoked tomato cocktail sauce.
If you prefer them cooked, get the Baked Oysters Bleu with bacon, Creole bread crumbs, and lemon blue cheese vinaigrette.
For more information, visit theparishtucson.com.
PY Steakhouse at Casino Del Sol Resort
5655 W. Valencia Rd.
PY’s oysters change seasonally depending on quality and availability and are served with a shallot mignonette, traditional cocktail sauce, and a house fermented Habanero hot sauce.
The Four Star Happy Hour at its bar is a fantastic deal with half-off whiskey, signature cocktails, and oysters.
For more information, visit casinodelsol.com.
Sushi on Oracle
6449 N. Oracle Rd.
One of the only places in Tucson where you can have an order of oysters and Monkfish liver pate in the same sitting.
This sushi restaurant knows how to treat its seafood right. You’ll find two to three varieties of Pacific Northwest oysters served with a ponzu sauce made with fresh yuzu imported from Japan.
For more information, visit sushionoracle.net.
2033 E. Speedway Blvd. • 2910 N. Swan Rd • 250 S. Craycroft Rd.
With three locations to better serve you, catch the game and forget about greasy bar food. Trident’s oysters on the half shell hit a home run.
For more information, visit tridentgrill.com.
Union Public House
4340 N. Campbell Ave.
Known for their Whiskey Wednesday, Union Public House offers more than just a crafty cocktail. Try their chef’s choice oysters served with traditional cocktail sauce and fresh horseradish, then wash it down with a glass of bourbon.
For more information, visit uniontucson.com.
Where do you like to eat oysters in Tucson? Let us know in the comments.