Mollusk Musts: 11 Restaurants for Raw Oysters in Tucson

Last modified on October 13th, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Oysters at BIRD Modern Provisions & Bar (Credit: Jackie Tran)

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 mollusc world, they 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.

Agustin Kitchen

100 S. Avenida del Convento #1507
Oysters at Agustin Kitchen (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

Oysters at Agustin Kitchen (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

Agustin Kitchen’s daily raw oyster menu features top-notch oysters from various regions. The mignonette is zest, while the cocktail sauce is garlicky. For a baked alternative, visit on Tuesdays for their ½ off Bottle Wine and Oyster Bake Night — select bottles of wine are half-off and you can nosh on five Kumiai oysters for $10, served with lemon shallot garlic parmesan, panko and parsley.

For more information, visit agustinkitchen.com.

BIRD Modern Provisions & Bar

7109 N. Oracle Rd.
Oysters at BIRD Modern Provisions & Bar (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Oysters at BIRD Modern Provisions & Bar (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Come for the fried chicken and stay for the oysters, served with a granita-like frozen mignonette, horseradish, and lemon.

For more information, visit fukushuconcepts.com.

El Berraco

2960 N. 1st Ave.
Oysters at El Berraco (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Oysters at El Berraco (Credit: Jackie Tran)

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.

Fini’s Landing

5689 N. Swan Rd.
Oysters at Fini's Landing (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

Oysters at Fini’s Landing (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

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 of these.

For more information, visit finislanding.com.

Jonathan’s Cork

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.

Kingfisher

2564 E. Grant Rd.
Oyster Bar Tasting at Kingfisher (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Oyster Bar Tasting at Kingfisher (Credit: Jackie Tran)

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 but 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 annual Oysterfest in October.

For more information, visit kingfishertucson.com.

Mariscos Mi Mazatlan

5601 E. 22nd St.
Ostiones Especiales at Mariscos mi Mazatlan (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

Ostiones Especiales at Mariscos mi Mazatlan (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

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.

For more information, visit mazatlanseafood.com.

Maynards Market & Kitchen

400 N. Toole Ave.
Oysters at Maynards Market & Kitchen (Credit: Maynards Market & Kitchen)

Oysters at Maynards Market & Kitchen (Credit: Maynards Market & Kitchen)

Maynards’ molluscs are served with aromatic salts, fresh lemon, cocktail sauce, and hot sauce. If you go for dinner on a Friday, you can also partake in one of their weekly regionally inspired wine tastings.

For more information, visit maynardstucson.com.

PY Steakhouse at Casino Del Sol Resort

655 W. Valencia Rd.
Oysters with shallot mignonette, traditional cocktail sauce, house-fermented habanero hot sauce (Credit: PY Steakhouse)

Oysters with shallot mignonette, traditional cocktail sauce, house fermented habanero hot sauce (Credit: PY Steakhouse)

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. You can also raise the stakes with their broiled oysters served with chorizo, chile, cilantro and Sonoma Dry Jack.

For more information, visit casinodelsol.com.

Sazerac Creole Kitchen & Cocktails

4340 N. Campbell Ave. Suite 164
Oysters-on-the-Half-Shell at Sazerac Creole Kitchen & Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Oysters-on-the-Half-Shell at Sazerac Creole Kitchen & Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Storm the Sazerac for some oysters-on-the-half-shell served with crackers, cocktail sauce, horseradish, and lemon. Make sure to order from their wide range of specialty cocktails.

For more information, visit sazeractucson.com.

Sushi on Oracle

6449 N. Oracle Rd.
Oysters at Sushi on Oracle (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Oysters at Sushi on Oracle (Credit: Jackie Tran)

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.

Trident Grill

2033 E. Speedway Blvd. • 2910 N. Swan Rd • 250 S. Craycroft Rd.
Oysters at Trident Grill III (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

Oysters at Trident Grill III (Credit: Adilene Ibarra)

With three locations to better serve you, catch the game and forget about greasy bar food. Trident’s oysters on the half shell are 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 with 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.

Addie Ibarra, native Tucsonan, is a fierce lover of adventure, travels, and Star Wars. Her love of food and drink takes her to places far, far away.