Dine & Brine: Oyster Dining Guide

Coastal Virginia Magazine’s guide to some of the best restaurants where you’ll find delicious local oysters on the menu—from fine dining to dockside casual and everything in between
oysters rockafeller

Pictured above: The famed Oysters Rockafeller at Rockafeller’s Restaurant at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront (Photo by Leona Baker)

Surf Rider Restaurant: A traditional, family-friendly favorite, Surf Rider has been a local, home-style seafood staple for four decades, now with six locations. Dive into their famous fried oyster dinner or an oyster po’boy with a side of hushpuppies and their popular whole broccoli head with hollandaise sauce. SurfRiderRestaurant.com

Amber Lantern Restaurant: Accessible by boat, helicopter (seriously) and car (though the drive there on Bainbridge Point will make you dubious at first), this fine-dining restaurant is situated atop a secluded marina with stunning Elizabeth River views. The Mediterranean-influenced menu includes fried oysters served as an appetizer or entree. AmberLanternRestaurant.com

Black Pelican: In an area loaded with dining options, this casual, family-friendly Greenbrier restaurant keeps everyone happy, no matter their hankering. For those craving oysters, there’s an appetizer with cornmeal-dusted bivalves and a rotating fry special loaded with the beauties, the fish of the day and fries. BlackPelicanGreenbrier.com

Lockside Bar & Grill: A fire pit and palm trees overlooking water? You’ll blink twice to remind yourself you’re not in Fort Lauderdale when you stop by this popular spot near the Great Bridge bridge. Feel the vacay vibe sitting in a covered glider on the paved patio, drinking a beer and sampling oysters raw or “rocked” with spinach, bacon, garlic cream and parmesan. LocksideBarandGrill.com

Photo by Jacqui Renager Performance Foodservice Virginia
Fried oysters, scallops, shrimp and fish with hushpuppies at Surf Rider (Photo by Jacqui Renager Performance Foodservice Virginia)

Off the Hook Seafood & Chophouse: Owners Jennifer and Derrick Carpinelli pack in diners with a packed-with-seafood menu. Offerings satisfy diners who like oysters to star and those who prefer them in a supporting role. Whether you choose a table or a seat at the wrap-around bar, you’ll be grateful the Carpinellis knew that Great Bridgers deserved dining greatness nearby. OTHDining.com

Wicker’s Crab Pot Seafood: Some forget this Indian River restaurant is a restaurant. Convenient takeout and the live seafood market can steal attention from the dining area with a full menu. That can happen when the owner, Ray Wicker, Jr., is a fourth-generation, local waterman. Stop by for a steal on fresh oysters to take home—or stop by to have them served open on a platter. WickersCrabPot.com

Adrift: Foodies and locals alike flock to this destination in White Stone, Virginia where Chef-Owner David Rose, whose resume includes the Inn at Little Washington, and his wife Kati, honor their Northern Neck waterman’s heritage with an elevated twist. The baked oysters in togarashi butter are to-die-for. AdriftVA.com

Adrift. Photo by Jim Pile
David and Kati Rose of Adrift in White Stone, where the baked oysters in togarashi butter are to-die-for.  (Photo by Jim Pile)

Farmasea: Gloucester’s Main Street area got a boost with the addition of this neo-Southern restaurant, cleverly named for its locale in an old pharmacy. You can bet a bushel oysters pop up in creative ways on Chef Will Mitchell’s eclectic plates. Mobjack Bay oysters with pimiento cheese, Virginia ham and sauteed kale? Yessum. Facebook.com @FarmaseaRestaurant

Merroir: The first of many celebrated eateries from Rappahannock Oyster Co, Merroir overlooks the site of their Rappahannock River oyster farms in Topping, Virginia. Enjoy small seafood plates and a bottle of wine at a patio table on their expansive lawn or inside their cozy dining room. RROysters.com

Portside Grill on Urbanna Creek: Dock your boat alongside the patio and dig into their famous Crab Tots. But, this is Urbanna, so first work your way through their locally sourced oyster options: “Naked” or “Roasted” (with mignonette and cocktail); “Rocked” (Rockefeller); “Fried” (with remoulade); or “Winter” (roasted with fennel, bacon, apple and cheddar). PortsideGrillUrbanna.com

The Tides Inn: The legendary Tides Inn resort on Carter’s Creek is home to two restaurants at which local oysters are given the diva treatment. Try these beauties raw, go for the Rappahannock Oysters with crab, bacon, garlic cream, parmesan and breadcrumbs or the Thai Chili Broiled Oysters. And don’t miss their educational and delicious oyster experiences. TidesInn.com

Urbanna Seafood & Raw Bar: If you come to Urbanna and don’t eat oysters, did you really even come to Urbanna? The home of the annual Urbanna Oyster Festival is also home to year-round oyster lovers. This casual spot offers Rappahannock River Oysters raw or steamed, “three ways” (Rockefeller, Buffalo and Bayou), and on a po’boy. UrbannaRawBar.com

YROC Coastal Bar & Grill: Waterfront dining and oysters go shell-in-hand and what better spot than along the York River in Gloucester Point? Blending “local favorites with California flare,” YROC (formerly York River Oyster Company) will keep your whole crew happy with fried local oysters, Big Island Pearl oysters (raw or steamed), or a fried seafood combo. YROCBarandGrill.com

Bill’s PRIME Seafood & Steaks: On Chincoteague’s charming Main Street, Bill’s PRIME has been serving up local seafood and hand-cut steaks since 1960. Their Oysters Rock is topped with a zingy hollandaise and spinach before being baked to perfection. They have a creamy, delicious oyster pot pie and oyster stew, a killer po’boy and fresh raw, local oysters galore. BillsSeafoodRestaurant.com.

Bills Prime. Photo Courtesy of Bill's Prime Seafood & Steaks
The Oyster Pot Pie at Bill’s PRIME in Chincoteague (Photo Courtesy of Bill’s Prime Seafood & Steaks)

Island House Restaurant & Marina: Turn off 13 and head down Wachapreague Road until you hit the Island House, a spacious fine dining restaurant overlooking Virginia’s Barrier Islands and specializing in seafood, steaks and Seaside oysters served raw, steamed, fried, Rockefeller, and Paramore (baked with crab and their signature sauce—a must-try). TheIslandHouseRestaurant.com

The Shanty: After a day out on the boat or beach, head into this bustling bar and restaurant on the Cape Charles Harbor for some oyster baskets, steamed clams, cold beers and crushes. Flip flops, tank tops and board shorts are just fine at this casual eatery. ShantySeafood.com

Photo by Leona Baker
The fried oyster basket at The Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery in Cape Charles (Photo by Leona Baker)

Sting-Ray’s Restaurant: Proof you can get truly delicious seafood from a highway truck stop, Sting-Ray’s is an old-school counter-service joint 10 minutes from the CBBT that’s been serving Southern-style breakfast, lunch and dinner since 1950. Platters of fresh seafood include local oysters, clams, crabs and fish. StingRays1950.wixsite.com

The Oyster Farm Seafood Eatery: Located next to the marina and resort at Kings Creek in Cape Charles, the airy, modern Seafood Eatery offers local oysters raw, steamed, fried and Rockefeller along with other seafood and Southern classics; plus, stunning sunset views of the bay, a sleek bar and deck dining. TheOysterFarmAtKingsCreek.com

The Deadrise: Named for a traditional Chesapeake Bay fishing/oystering boat and located above the Old Point Comfort Marina on Fort Monroe, Deadrise offers loaded fried oyster baskets and westward views of Mill Creek, the James River and the HRBT from the small dining room and covered deck. TheDeadriseVA.com

Fuller’s Raw Bar: Up the road from Deadrise is one of its sister restaurants, Fuller’s—a raw bar in Phoebus with indoor/outdoor dining; a modern, industrial vibe; and a menu featuring po’boys, fried oyster Ceasar salads, and red oyster chowder (a chef’s specialty). Come on Tuesdays for buck-a-shuck. FullersRawBar.com

Graham and Rollins: Established in 1942, this fourth-generation, family-owned seafood market is best known for takeaway steamed crabs and crabcakes but also offers fresh local fish and shellfish, including steamed, broiled or fried oysters. Attached is a small, no-frills restaurant to enjoy a quick, fresh lunch onsite. GrahamAndRollins.com

Crab Shack on the James: Located at the end of the JRB, Crab Shack offers oysters, crabs and shrimp prepared every which way. The large, family-friendly restaurant also has a fantastic fishing pier. Wraparound windows and a huge, screened-in deck provide breathtaking views of sunsets on the James River. CrabShackOnJames.com

Photo by Jim Pile
Fin Seafood Chef-owner Kenny Sloane’s lunch menu might feature an oyster entree or trio. (Photo by Jim Pile)

Fin Seafood: Chef-owner Kenny Sloane’s two tasting menus at this elegant Port Warwick restaurant don’t feature oysters, but come for lunch to find a refined fried oyster entree or opt for the regular dinner menu, which includes an oyster trio of Rockefeller, raw and Buffalo Fried with Blue Cheese. FinSeafood.com

Harpoon Larry’s Fish House & Oyster Bar: Going strong since 1991, this casual sports bar and raw bar on J Clyde near Jefferson serves oysters myriad ways, including an oyster stew, oyster tower (with steamed, raw, and Rockefeller), Buffalo Oysters, and Oyster Salad (with greens, goat cheese and champagne vinaigrette). HarpoonLarrys.com

456 Fish: An upscale Granby Street restaurant that has served up classic, elevated seafood to downtowners since 2003, 456 Fish offers a unique oyster appetizer in its Nashville style fried oysters, which are prepared with pineapple salsa, pancetta and ranch. 456Fish.com

AW Shucks Raw Bar and Grill: Tucked down 22nd Street on Colonial Avenue in Ghent is AW Shucks, a relaxed raw bar with craft beers and cocktails, burgers and seafood platters. Besides raw, oysters are served fried, Romano, in a po’boy, and in a stew with bacon over mashed potatoes. AWShucksRawBar.com

Captain Groovy’s Grill & Raw Bar: At this laid-back Ocean View restaurant with a bar and patio, you can have your Sandy Point oysters raw, steamed, fried, Rockefeller, Americana (broiled with butter, garlic and parmesan), or in a po’boy; plus, fresh fish entrees, non-seafood sandwiches, “groovy libations,” and a mean brunch. CaptainGroovys.com

Four Eleven York: This Freemason restaurant, adjacent to a boutique inn (both owned by Malia Paasch of The Birch), comprises an intimate dining room and courtyard and serves wild James River oysters roasted with bacon, blue cheese, Pernod and crispy sage; pasta and seafood; craft cocktails, and Sunday brunch. FourElevenYork.com

Norfolk Seafood Company & Big Easy Oyster Bar: Head downstairs to the speakeasy bar or sit at a table in the upstairs white-linen dining room and start your New Orleans-influenced meal with fried oysters, oyster Rockefeller, a shucker’s select assortment, or a raw bar sampler with oysters, snow crab legs, shrimp and crab cocktail. NorfolkSeafoodCo.com

Press 626: Inside a Victorian house at the corner of Colley and Olney in Ghent is Press, Lindsay Bennett’s fabulous wine bar where you’ll find fried local oysters and other small plates, sandwiches, seasonal entrees and a wine list that’s been recognized by Wine Spectator. Press626.com

Photo Courtesy by Saltine Via Facebook
Oysters on ice at Saltine in Downtown Norfolk (Photo Courtesy by Saltine Via Facebook)

Saltine: At the corner of Granby and Main on the ground floor of the Hilton Norfolk is Saltine—a handsome raw bar distinguished by sea green tones, mosaic tilework, exposed brick and large globe lighting, also serving charbroiled Bay oysters. Weekday happy hour includes 75-cent James River oysters. SaltineNorfolk.com

Todd Jurich’s Bistro: A perennial go-to since 1992 for diners seeking a 5-star meal in an upscale space, Chef-owner Todd Jurich’s downtown Norfolk restaurant is known for farm- and sea-to-table Southern cuisine, like Laughing King oysters from Cape Charles served raw, Southern Fried and in Todd’s Oyster Stew. ToddJurichsBistro.com

Fish & Slips Marina Raw Bar & Grill: The only raw bar in Portsmouth, Fish & Slips boasts an incredible location on Craford Bay with jaw-dropping 360 views of the Elizabeth River, downtown Norfolk, Portsmouth Naval and Olde Town. Oysters are served various ways. Daily “Dock Happy Hour” includes buck-a-shuck. FishNSlips.com

Captain Chuck-a-Muck’s: Drive or boat up to this family-friendly seafood eatery on Jones Creek out in Rescue for a classic seafood meal, e.g. the Admiral’s Feast, a smorgasbord of fried shellfish and fish. The restaurant includes a bar, a small deck and a few picnic tables. CaptainChuck-A-Mucks.com

Smithfield Inn Restaurant & Tavern: Not the only entry on this list known to have been visited by George Washington himself (see Christiana Campbell’s in Williamsburg), this beautifully restored landmark on Main Street is steeped in tradition and Southern charm. Try their Oyster Pye with oysters, mushrooms and herbs topped with a crispy puff pastry. SmithfieldInn.net

Smithfield Station: A fine-dining seafood restaurant on the Pagan River connected to a Coast Guard Station-inspired hotel with a boardwalk, cottages and a replica lighthouse that have become iconic Smithfield sites. Sit outside and enjoy Calabash style oysters—fried in a light, crispy batter and piled high. SmithfieldStation.com

The Surry Seafood Co.: Expanding from the family business at Smithfield Station, the Pack Brothers now operate this 100-seat restaurant with a spacious deck, marina and four hotel suites, on Grays Creek near the Jamestown-Scotland ferry dock. The menu includes VA oysters raw, steamed, fried and, of course, lots of seafood. SurrySeafoodCo.com

Decoys: Situated on picturesque Bennett’s Creek is Decoys, a large, duck hunting-themed seafood restaurant with plentiful indoor/deck dining and an outdoor tiki bar, which overlook the marina and (members-only) pool. Part of the M&M Hospitality restaurant group, it serves raw and charbroiled oysters and Southern comfort classics. DecoysSeafood.com

Fin & Tonic: Fin Seafood’s fun, funky little sister, tapas bar Fin & Tonic in Bridgeport carries Chef Sloane’s signature oyster trio of raw, Rockefeller and Buffalo Fried with
Blue Cheese. But the real reason to visit is the moody speakeasy bar in back and the creative cocktails served therein. FinAndTonicSuffolk.com

Harper's Table. Photo by Jim Pile.
Fried oysters at Harper’s Table in Suffolk, where Southern dishes blend innovation and technique with hyper-regionality  (Photo by Jim Pile)

Harper’s Table: Chef-owner Harper Bradshaw and his Main Street staple, Harper’s Table, are to CoVa what Sean Brock and Husk were to Charleston—a take on Southern food that showcases innovation and technique alongside tradition and hyper-regionality. The pork belly biscuit and fried VA oysters are musts here. HarpersTable.com

Bennett’s Creek Farm Market: Check out the Dish section of this issue for more on this old-school iconic spot in Suffolk, which offers hot Southern home cookin’ meals on a rotating menu each week, including perfectly light and crispy fried oysters and catfish on Fridays for lunch. They also sell fresh raw local oysters to take home. BennettsCreekFarmMarket.com

River Stone Chophouse: Though mainly a chophouse known for dry-aged Hereford, this M&M Hospitality restaurant is also a great spot for its seafood and raw bar, including oysters, which also come Rockefeller. Set inside a grand stone building, River Stone paved the way for the Harbour View restaurant scene. RiverStoneChophouse.com

Atlantic on Pacific: A gorgeous bar, classic raw bar, deep blue-toned furnishings and bright white counters and walls characterize The Atlantic (sister restaurant of Eurasia). Oysters also come baked, e.g. Oyster Chesapeake (with mushrooms, garlic, fontina) and Pacific (with chorizo, tomato, manchego). Daily happy hour includes buck-a-shuck. TheAtlanticVB.com

The Back Deck Bar & Café: The smaller, more laidback waterfront neighbor to Bubba’s Seafood on Shore Drive, The Back Deck has become its very own locals’ hot spot with a view. Oysters on tap? You betcha. Order some “locally wild caught Bayside” or buy some to take home at the attached Shellfish Company seafood market. TheBackDeckVB.com

Bay Local: This eclectic, bohemian-style brunch eatery has two locations (Shore Dr. and Laskin) serving classic, Southern-influenced breakfasts and sandwiches, plus mimosas (in jumbo-size!) and cocktails. Fried oysters and a house Rockefeller mix are featured on the Bay Local Bennie, Willis Wharf Omelet and Oyster Rock Burger. BayLocalVB.com

Becca Restaurant & Garden: For a refined experience, indulge in breakfast, lunch or dinner in the elegant, light-filled dining room or lush garden setting at Becca in the Cavalier Hotel. The Oysters “Becca” are mesquite-grilled with crab, sherry and herb butter. Raw oysters are topped with AVA Vodka mignonette. BeccaVB.com

Blue Seafood & Spirits: An intimate chef-owned restaurant focusing on high quality, local seafood, this Red Mill spot will make an oyster lover out of anyone with their Eastern Shore Oysters, flash fried and served with Barrier Island Sauce. Or make it a dinner with seasonal veggies, a chef’s side and homemade sweet potato biscuits with apricot butter. BlueSeafoodandSpirits.com

Blue Pete’s: Locals’ favorite Blue Pete’s is a laid-back, family-friendly restaurant with deck and lawn dining on Muddy Creek in Pungo. The seafood-focused dinner menu includes steamed, fried and Rockefeller oysters; fish, pasta and surf-n-turf. Weekend brunch features the Surf Scoter, a shrimp and lobster-garnished Bloody Mary. BluePetes.com

Bubba's Seafood
From oysters to crab cakes and cocktails, waterfront dining is king at Bubba’s Seafood. (Photo courtesy of Bubba’s Seafood via Facebook)

Bubba’s Seafood Restaurant and Crabhouse: No need wear your waders to dinner. Bubba’s has been family-friendly and family-owned for more than 30 years, still specializing in fresh seafood sure to please a crowd. Oysters come hand-shucked raw or steamed. Or try their Eastern Shore Dinner of lightly battered fried oysters while taking in that Lynnhaven Inlet view. BubbasSeafoodRestaurant.com

Catch 31 Fishhouse and Raw Bar: Located in the middle of all the action, just steps from the Neptune statue on the boardwalk is Catch 31 in the Hilton Oceanfront; the perfect spot to sea-gaze, people-watch and even catch live, outdoor music while enjoying fresh Seasides, Big Island Pearls and Pocahantas’s Secrets. Catch31.com

Chick’s Oyster: Bar Since 1998, this casual indoor/outdoor bar on Long Creek near the Lesner Bridge has drawn crowds of locals, who come for the crushes, raw bar, tacos, burgers and party vibes. Start your meal off right with a round of oyster shooters. Weekday happy hour includes buck-a-shuck. ChicksOysterBar.com

Coastal Grill: A date night destination in VB for three decades, Coastal Grill is known for simple but elegant, beautifully prepared classic dishes done right–especially seafood. And when they do oysters, that’s what you can expect. Look for Hungar Creek Raw oysters or Oysters Rockefeller on their blackboard specials. CoastalGrill.com

CP Shuckers Café & Raw Bar: Come as you are to one of two Shuckers locations (Oceanfront or Shore Drive) for a cold beer, raw bar platter with James River oysters, wings, lumpia and peel-and-eat shrimp. The vibe here is sports bar, beach bar and dive bar in one. CPShuckers.com

Dockside Seafood: You know it’s fresh when you have to walk through the seafood market to get to the restaurant. Dockside keeps it simple because they can. Fresh Eastern Shore oysters are delish straight from the raw bar. Pick a fried oyster sandwich or go big with a fried oyster platter. FishingVABeach.com

Heirloom Restaurant
An elevated farm-to-table experience awaits at Heirloom, where local ingredients like oysters are the stars. (Photo courtesy of Heirloom via Facebook)

Eurasia: This relaxed fine-dining bistro presents globally influenced, farm-to-table regional food and impressive wine and whiskey lists in a lively space with mid-century modern vibes. Try Oysters Eurasia, a take on Rockefeller with cream cheese and bacon, or raw oysters with cucumbers and honey mignonette. EurasiaVB.com

Harpoon Larry’s Oyster Bar: Unaffiliated with the restaurant in Newport News of the same name, Harpoon Larry’s at the Oceanfront is a surf shack-style raw bar that also serves seafood-focused sandwiches and entrees, including an oyster po’boy and fried oyster dinner. Feeling frisky? Try the Crabby Oyster Shooter! HarpoonLarrysKillerSeafood.com

Hearth: Known for wood-fired cuisine and craft beer, Hearth is a warm, welcoming ViBE District favorite serving up hearty and innovative pizzas like the Big Braise (short rib, caramelized onion, Yukon gold potato, fontina and creme fraiche). Try the deviled oysters with bacon and tabasco hollandaise. HearthVB.com

Heirloom: An elevated farm-to-table experience awaits at VB native Chef Brent Cowan’s authentic ode to our local culinary heritage, near the VB Courthouse. Oysters are a key part of that heritage. Try their oysters on the half shell with seasonal mignonette or their Oysters Rockefeller, and be sure to ask your server about the perfect wine pairing. HeirloomVB.com

Hot Tuna: Another long-time VB fave at Shore Drive and Great Neck, the festive vibe comes with a full menu of fresh, local seafood, steaks, small plates and cocktails aplenty. Top your salad with fried oysters or hit their happy hour or “Shuckin’ Sundays” for $2 oysters raw, Rockefellar, chorizo or bourbon butter, and $2.50 oysters shooters. HotTunaVB.com

Lucky Oyster: This seafood grill in Red Mill is memorable in part for its on-brand, quirky wall-to-wall nautical décor. But it’s also brimming with locals “Casting Off” with Oysters Rock, Chesapeake Bay oysters from the raw bar, or “Lucky’s Marina,” a heaping helping of steamed shellfish. Their fried oysters are on point, too. LuckyOysterVB.com

Mahi’s: You don’t get much better beach views than at this seafood and sushi restaurant on the boardwalk at the Ramada Oceanfront, which has attracted tourists and locals since 1993. Try Oysters Mahi, which add watercress, arugula, bacon and sambuca cream to the typical Rockefeller mix. MahisVB.com

Margie & Rays. Photo by Jacqui Renager Performance Foodservice
Fresh oysters and clams at Margie and Ray’s Seafood Restaurant and Crabshack (Photo by Jacqui Renager Performance Foodservice Virginia)

Margie and Ray’s Seafood Restaurant and Crabshack: In 1997, Thomas Blanton inherited the little Sandbridge country store and tackle shop his parents, Ray and Margie, opened in 1964 and turned it into a beloved, down-home roadside restaurant, which serves some of the best steamed and fried seafood platters in the region. MargieAndRaysCrabHouse.com

Murphy’s Irish Pub: Did you know the Oceanfront’s favorite Irish party pub and brunch spot (Giant Mason jar mimosas, anyone?) is also a great choice for fresh oysters? That’s because owner Tom Mooney started his own oyster farm off Tangier Sound, and his Back Creek Beauties are served raw, steamed, fried, topping burgers and more. MurphysPubVB.com

Orion’s Roof: Up on the 23rd floor of the Marriott Oceanfront is Orion’s Roof, an Asian restaurant and sushi bar open daily for lunch and dinner. Try local raw oysters with yuzu, foam, shiso oil and rice wine mignonette, and take in arguably the best view at the Oceanfront, high above the beach. OrionsRoofVB.com

Rockafellers Restaurant: Recently renovated and loved by locals and tourists alike, this Rudee Inlet staple has a fresh look, but it’s still about as Virginia Beach as you can get. As the name suggests, their Oysters Rock is a classic must-have (keep an eye out for occasional .99 cent oyster specials) and, of course, they also serve them raw. Rockafellers.com

Rudee’s Restaurant and Cabana: An evening spent enjoying fresh local seafood in Rudee’s famed outdoor gliding chairs is always one for the memory book. Their Oysters Rockefeller was featured on The Food Network. Also try: Shooting Points (raw or steamed), the Fried Oyster Sandwich, Oyster Shooter, Fried Eastern Shore Oysters dinner or Inlet Station Broiled Platter. Rudees.com

Steinhilber’s: The grandmother of all modern fine dining establishments in Coastal Virginia since 1939, this Thalia neighborhood destination is known for its crispy, delicious and gargantuan “Steiny’s Shrimp.” But freshly shucked oysters on the half shell and Oysters Rockefeller also feature prominently. Steinys.com

The Swan Terrace: Another classic spot with an elegant, traditional atmosphere, located inside the Founders Inn next to Regent University, Swan Terrace is beloved in part for its epic all-you-can-eat brunches, which typically include fresh oysters on the half shell with accompaniments. Or try their fried oyster dinner. FoundersInn.com

Terrapin: Dinner at Chef-Owner Rodney Einhorn’s sleek, upscale restaurant on Holly Road is an occasion unto itself, showcasing wholesome ingredients, impressive techniques, and undeniably delicious flavors. Start with fried oyster lettuce wraps or Laughing King oysters with apple mignonette before diving into a decadent pasta and dessert. TerrapinVB.com

Tautogs. Photo by David Uhrin.
Oysters and other seafood are staples at Tautog’s in Virginia Beach (Photo by David Uhrin)

Tautog’s: Set inside a small 1920s beach cottage with cozy porch seating on 23rd Street, Tautog’s is a unique restaurant and bar experience with a relaxed vibe and a mainly seafood menu. Besides raw and Rockefeller, there are the Benny’s Oysters—oven-roasted, topped with sun-dried tomato pesto and havarti. Tautogs.com

The Porch on Long Creek: Grab a group of friends and enjoy the summery vibes at this airy, beautiful seafood and sushi restaurant with panoramic water views and an open kitchen. Try baked Seaside oysters gratin or Cajun fried oysters with Thai chili aioli. Their awesome weekday happy hour includes buck-a-shuck. ThePorchOnLongCreek.com

Zoe’s Steaks and Seafood: Celebrated Chef Paul Benton and Sommelier Marc Sauter won’t do you wrong at this sophisticated dining establishment near the VB Convention Center. Preview your luscious Surf ‘n’ Turf or famous $50 Wagyu burger with their take on Oysters Rockefeller. Don’t be surprised to find raw oysters with a seasonal mignonette on special. And don’t skip the wine. ZoesVB.com

Berret’s Seafood Restaurant: At Merchants Square, Berret’s beloved crabcakes, fresh catches, and shellfish have been attracting devotees since 1983. As for oysters, let’s count the ways. Victory Point York River VA, James River or a rotating featured local oyster on the half shell, traditional Rockefellar, baked with crabmeat and ham or Andouille sausage and tomato, or a combo of the three. Berrets.com

Christiana Campbells Tavern: This Colonial-style restaurant was established in the 1700s and favored by George Washington for its seafood. Oysters from Morattico, Virginia, are served fried or “A Ragoo,” following 18th-century cookbook recipes, as well as raw with a unique “mushroom catsup and allegar mignonette.” ColonialWilliamsburgHotels.com/Dining

Casa Pearl: Chef-owner Mikey Maksimowicz brings his Northern Neck roots, classical training, and chef experience from some of the best restaurants between D.C. and Florida to this outstanding oyster and taco bar inside of a renovated Texaco gas station on Merrimac Trail. Classic and innovative oyster dishes abound. EatCasaPearl.com

Fat Tuna Grill & Oyster House: When “Oyster House” is in the name, expectations are high. And this Williamsburg seafood restaurant from the owner of Sal’s by Victor brings the goods with traditional Oyster Rockefeller, Buffalo Oysters, Oysters Chesapeake (topped with crab and baked), oyster on the half shell, a po’boy and fried oyster baskets and platters. FatTunaGrill.com

Big Island Oysters at Waypoint Seafood & Grill in Williamsburg. Photo by Jacqui Renager Performance Foodservice Virginia
Beautiful presentation of oysters at Waypoint Seafood & Grill in Williamsburg (Photo by Jacqui Renager Performance Foodservice Virginia)

Waypoint Seafood & Grill: Oyster virgins at Waypoint surrender to the succulence after one glance at Chef James White’s stunning presentation with orchids. The locally harvested Big Island oysters come on the half shell, fried or charbroiled with cocktail and mignonette. Or enjoy them perched atop their Fried Oyster Caesar. WaypointGrill.com.

Yorktown Pub: Part family-style restaurant, part biker bar, part military hangout, this small, laid-back Yorktown Beach spot has been a locals’ favorite since 1987. Fresh shucked York River oysters are served raw, steamed and fried, along with other traditional pub fare and ice-cold local beers. YorktownPub.com

Water Street Grille: Further up Yorktown Beach is this riverfront restaurant, which offers plentiful indoor and outdoor seating, a great craft beer selection and terrific views. The diverse menu features ‘Big Island’ oysters served raw or chargrilled, as well as tapas, brick-oven pizza, and other hearty entrees. WaterStreetGrille.net

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Hannah Serrano
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Hannah Serrano is director of sales & marketing at the TASTE Family of Businesses and former marketing director at O'Connor Brewing Co. Hannah is a passionate foodie and beer nerd. Her advocacy for local culture developed as an arts editor at Port Folio Weekly, culture contributor at WVEC-13, owner of AltDaily.com, and co-organizer of Norfolk's NEON District.

Leona Baker
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Kristen De Deyn Kirk
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