By staff writer, Sal Mannino
New Orleans is a city that is famous for its food. It’s the #1 reason visitors love to come to New Orleans and a big part of why we locals are so proud to call New Orleans home . The city is full of restaurants, Creole, French, Cajun, Italian...just to name a few. However, for locals and visitors alike, a popular tradition in New Orleans is the Oyster Bar.
The Oyster Bar isn’t like the fancier restaurants in the city. No reservations are required at this type of eatery and it is not unusual to have a wait in line before seats open.
Acme’s Oyster House and Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar are both timeless New Orleans establishments in the French Quarter along with the Desire Oyster Bar in the Royal Sonesta and the Redfish Grill. Uptown on Magazine Street, locals flock to Casamento’s. Ask five people which is their favorite oyster bar and you will get five different favorites.
The atmosphere is very basic in appearance...an oyster bar, bar stools and either tables with red checker tablecloths or black and white checker tile floors. Another reason oyster bars are so popular is the showmanship by the oyster shuckers...it’s like watching an artist at work with a sharp knife...quick with their hands using the sharp blades to pry open the oyster shells.
Then there’s the presentation. Either a half dozen or a dozen served on the half shell over ice, with horse radish, hot sauce and ketchup on the side to make your own cocktail sauce to your personal taste. Lemon slices and saltine crackers will also be included on your tray.
All of these Oyster Bars also serve a variety of seafood dishes such as fried oysters, fish, shrimp and soft-shell crab or, for bigger appetites, there's the seafood platters (a combination of all).
Growing up in New Orleans, it was understood that oysters were best eaten during months that had an “r” in it, that is, January, February, March, etc. However, with great oyster farms now and an abundance of seafood in Louisiana, oysters can be enjoyed year-round.
Raw oysters on the half shell...as “Naturally New Orleans” as Red Beans & Rice or Café au Lait and Beignets.
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