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Louisiana on the Half Shell

Oyster Bars offer ice-cold serving of Louisiana delicacy

For many visitors to New Orleans, the oyster bar is the first stop to enjoying a gastronomical tour of the Crescent City. Placed on a bed of rock salt and shaved ice served raw in their natural juice, or “liquor,” Louisiana Oysters are fresh, plump and salty.

And, if Louisiana is for Seafood Lovers, oysters are the perfect starter. Louisiana waters supply 40 percent of the nation’s oysters, making it the top oyster-producing state in the nation. Four or five medium size oysters supply the recommended daily allowance of iron, copper, iodine, magnesium, calcium, manganese, and zinc, the element that is attributed to the oyster’s reputation as an aphrodisiac for its role in producing testosterone.

Oyster shooters—freshly shucked raw oysters eaten in one swift gulp with or without condiments such as cocktail sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, ketchup and hot sauce—satisfy many tourists making their pilgrimage to the Quarter. Due to their fragile shells and strong muscles, oyster shucking is a true skill that is served up with a dollop of conversation and showmanship at several well-known eateries in the French Quarter. Featuring the freshest local oysters are favorites Acme Oyster House, Crescent City Brewhouse and the Desire Oyster Bar & Bistro at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

Acme Oyster House, the French Quarter’s oldest oyster bar, has sent its top oyster shuckers to compete with the best and fastest in the nation. So well-known is Acme that a quick-moving line takes shape outside its doors on Iberville Street from morning until night. Acme underwent a $2 million renovation following Hurricane Katrina—but the restaurant still has that same “neighborhood joint” feel that attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Located at the corner of Bourbon and Bienville streets, Desire Oyster Bar & Bistro is one of the most famous – and most photographed – restaurants in New Orleans located in one of the most beautiful hotels in the French Quarter.

This casual street-side restaurant features black and white tiled floors, traditional tin ceilings, marble tabletops and a lively atmosphere. With doors that open directly onto Bourbon Street, Desire is a perfect location for viewing the action while enjoying true Southern hospitality. In addition to fresh oysters and shrimp from the oyster bar, Desire offers up Louisiana and Creole favorites such as po’boys, gumbo, red beans and rice and jambalaya accompanied by unforgettable crusty French bread.

The Crescent City Brewhouse, located on Decatur Street just two blocks from Jackson Square, complements its oysters with a full menu of homemade microbrews, including a golden Pilsener, a rich Red Stallion and a deep Black Forest, along with a monthly specialty brew.

Louisiana’s first brewpub, Crescent City offers live jazz nightly in a lovingly restored historic building with a 17-barrel state-of-the-art brewery. In addition to its Oyster bar, Crescent City’s menu offers an eclectic mix of flavors as well as traditional New Orleans cuisine.

If raw oysters aren’t on your itinerary, many of our restaurants have oyster specialties that will suit most any seafood-craving palate. The famed Muriel’s Jackson Square is celebrating a Louisiana Oyster Menu that benefits the Louisiana Seafood Promotion Board’s efforts supporting the recovering seafood industry.

Nearby Redfish Grill is consecutively recognized by locals as the best seafood restaurant around and offers a wide variety of seafood selections including Big Easy favorites like Hickory Grilled Redfish, BBQ Oysters and Redfish Court-Bouillon. And, at Deanie’s Seafood, one of New Orleans best seafood joints, dig into a seafood platter of fried oysters, shrimp, catfish, soft-shell crabs, and crawfish balls.

Whatever you’re craving, New Orleans’ culinary realm is your oyster.

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