Oysters are delicious, plain and simple. They’re the number one aquaculture product in Rhode Island, and are served on menus across the East Bay. If you’ve been wondering where to get a taste, we’ve got you covered. Area restaurants are showcasing these tiny treats in the most delicious ways possible.
1. East Bay Oyster Bar
The East Bay Oyster Bar doesn’t hold back when it comes to offering local oysters. “We source the most local oysters possible so our selection will always be predominantly from Rhode Island such as Dutch Island, Cedar Island, Wild Goose, Afternoon Delights and Chessawanock,” says restaurant owner Jim Harris. 308 County Road, Barrington. 401-247-0303.
The pride and passion that Bywater has for oysters is abundantly clear. The focus of Bywater – owned by husband and wife duo Katie and Brian O’Donnell – is on East Coast oysters with a particular attention to Rhode Island grown species. Katie says that, “The aim is to have oysters that are different enough from each other so that the tasting experience is fun and you can get to know where they’re from.”54 State Street, Warren. 401-694-0727.
3. Bristol Oyster Bar
Location, location, location is the name of the game when it comes to the Bristol Oyster Bar’s beautiful red brick building and its attitude to oysters. General Manager Scott Pinocci says with pride that “You can expect to find oysters harvested from Rhode Island waters on the raw bar, we get them hours after they come out of the water. It’s all about the freshness.” Local varieties such as Matunuck, East Beach Blonde, Aquidneck and Moonstone are regularly found on the chipped ice laden metal platters presented to eager oyster lovers. 448 Hope Street, Bristol. 401-396-5820.
4. The Red Dory
Red Dory owner Steve Johnson is a particular fan of local Rhode Island and Massachusetts raised oysters, and sings the praises of Sakonnet Point aquaculturalist Peter Melanson, from whom he buys many oysters including those harvested from the south side of Fogland Bay. Unlike other raw bars, The Red Dory only offers one variety of oyster at a time. Steve's approach is to sample what is available seasonally, and once he finds the best available he’ll stick to it. This allows him to order small amounts very regularly, ensuring only the freshest shellfish are on the bar. 1848 Main Road, Tiverton. 401-816-5001.
5. Bluewater Bar and Grill
Offering fresh Blue Point oysters delivered daily, Bluewater Bar and Grill offer their oysters individually rather than by the half or whole dozen for one simple reason: “You can order one, 12 or 43. We don’t set limits on oysters here,” says Head Chef Cara Duskin. 32 Barton Avenue, Barrington. 401-247-0017.
6. Metacom Kitchen
Metacom Kitchen has earned itself a reputation for fine dining in a casual and relaxed environment. Under the stewardship of head chef and owner Rick Allaire, the once dive bar location is now home to a refined menu inspired by local produce and seasonal delicacies. Speaking of his affection for Rhode Island native oysters, Rick recites the raw bar roll call, which includes: Walrus and Carpenter (a particular favorite of Allaire’s due to their medium size and natural balance of salt and brininess), Moonstone and Wellfleet varieties. Summer months also see a selection of ceviche – cured and raw preparations of black bass join the oysters on the menu. 322 Metacom Avenue, Warren. 401-245-1193.
7. Midtown Oyster Bar
Right in the heart of bustling Newport, Midtown Oyster Bar sits in the spot once occupied by beloved Salas’ Restaurant. The renovation and ultimate rebuilding of the property on Thames Street may have initially been met with trepidation, but the resulting multileveled space, filled with reclaimed wood and cathedral ceilings, has earned a steadfast place in the hearts of local and visiting food lovers alike. 345 Thames Street, Newport. 401-619-4100.
8. The Wharf Tavern
Perched directly on the water in Warren, boats can dock right on The Wharf Tavern’s mooring in warmer months. The large deck surrounding the restaurant, often dotted with anglers in summer, is open seasonally. In cooler months the restaurant continues to benefit from its enviable waterfront location, with winter light glancing off the water through large windows on all sides of the dining room. The beauty of The Wharf Tavern lies in the fact that, as manager Sue Esmay says, “Every seat has a water view.”
215 Water Street, Warren. 401-289-2524.