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Raw oysters in Charleston

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I will be traveling to Charleston this weekend and while I have noticed a lot of posts that speak of fried or roasted oysters, I have not seen that much on fresh. Any suggestions on the best place in Charleston for raw oysters? Price or atmosephere are not a concern, just freshness.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Hanks downtown has an oyster bar, and Bowen's island on the way to Folly is a great place just to go & has lots of oysters. I think the Charleston Crab House has them, too but I'd recommend the 1st 2 places. Hanks is a little more "uptown" Bowen's island is rustic & on the water & fun.

    1. If they are still in business, AW Shucks ( just off the market ) once had good raw oysters. however, anywhere in Charleston will most likely have gulf (Apalachicola) oysters, which will be no better or no worse than what you can get anywhere. Bowens Island may still have locals. Someone from Charleston can clarify.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tee Crenshaw

        It's been a couple of years, but a very proper Bay Street Charlestonian used to bring us Bulls Bay oysters by the bushel when she came to visit in Atlanta. Don't know where she got them, I'll ask. Also, AW Shucks usually had Bulls Bay oysters in season. btw: In my experience, the oysters and the deep-fried crab-stuffed shrimp are the only 2 items to order at AW Shucks; and be sure to slip the guy behind the oyster bar his generous tip BEFORE he prepares the oysters and shrimp.

        Also, I don't hear very much about Bulls Bay oysters outside of the immediate area, but they are simultaneously both the briniest and sweetest I've had. Any input on these oysters as well as the oystermen and their oyster beds?


      2. Check this out! The annual Charleston Oyster Roast is this Sunday at Boone Hall Plantation! It is a blast- a few mile sup Hwy 17 through Mt. Pleasant on your left. It features a lot of bands, contests and is a lot fo fun, but you may need to get your tickets early if you want to go. It really has a LOT of steamed oysters, but I couldn't imagine not findind raw. It also has other foods from local restaurants. It's very popular, and is only once a year. Check it out:
        (this is last year's but I'm sure a google search will land you in the right place or you can call)

        1. I really like the raw oysters at Amen Street, on the corner of East Bay and Cumberland. They serve them with a delicious, straightforward mignonette sauce. Not local oysters but not your basic Apalachicola oysters either. Local oysters are just now getting in season and you are most likely to find them on menus steamed, as they are a pain to shuck raw.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jessica Laurel

            We have local oysters now in Charleston. I like Amen too. For $7 steamed buckets I like Locklear's in Mt. Pleasant.

            1. re: Sue in Mt P

              Local SC oysters are usually in clusters,are really hard to shuck,with shells often breaking and never willing to properly lay in groups of 12 on serving plate,beyond that they are only the best tasting oysters on the face of the earth!

              So,get a good knife and a cooler,go down to Crosby's at Folly,buy twice as much as you think you can eat,a whole bushel is only $20,get a six pack and you are set!


          2. Abe's in Mount Pleasant usually has oysters from down around Beaufort. They are some of the best i've ever had. Ten times better than any Gulf oyster (from my experience). They also tend to be tastier, to me, than the more local Charleston variety.

            Best oysters ever? Right now, my money lays on Chincoteague, VA.

            1. I know it's not the season but are there good oysters available now? Like to go to someplace that is down and dirty.

              8 Replies
              1. re: ibew292

                Amen St. is not down and dirty but they have good oysters. They're just not local.

                1. re: Sue in Mt P

                  Their oysters were very good. The Tuna was great. Also went to Hanks and had a great meal. Love Charleston ...

                2. re: ibew292

                  We were just down in Chucktown a couple of weeks ago and did an "oyster tour". We had local oysters (Carolina Cups & Carolina Capers) and blue points at many different places. Our favorite place was Pearlz, followed by Amen St., Shem Creek Bar & Grill (Mt. Pleasant), and The Rooftop Bar @ The Vendue a distant 4th. We really enjoyed sitting at the bar at Pearlz and watching the guys shuck the oysters. Our favorite local oysters were the cups. Amen St. had a nice sampler dozen which was fun to compare and contrast the oysters. They also had a great variety and an awesome bartender (Angela?). Enjoy!

                  1. re: lynnlato

                    Lucky you! If you were here 2 weeks ago you made in just under the May 15 cut off. Was Albert at Shem Creek? He is a local legend.

                    This year is a bummer. Usually shrimp season starts right when oysters go out. But th shrimpers can't start work until June 6. So it's grouper for now.

                    1. re: Sue in Mt P

                      We were in heaven, Sue! We couldn't get enough oysters. I don't know if Albert was at Shem Creek - nobody mentioned him and we sat outside. I did get a surprise on one of my Carolina Cups oysters - it was a tiny, yellow crab. I had never seen one inside an oyster. The server took it and maybe asked Albert if it was okay. He said it was fine, but they gave us another oyster just in case we were skeeved out by it. Ha!

                      Why can't the shrimpers start working until 6/6? Now you have me craving some fresh Carolina shrimp - another one of my favorites. Good thing I'll be back down your way mid-June to Kiawah. ;-)

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        hey, lynnlato,
                        So glad you had fun and you got here before the oyster cutoff. Did you try any softshells while you were here? They've been amazing.

                        I got a surprise in an oyster one time too- a teeny pearl. I am not kidding!

                        Albert is really big. He's the bartender in the back by the creek.

                        I don't know why they can't start til 6/6-something about cold weather and time to get going. When you get here let me know-I'll hook you all up with a guy who will bring you shrimp straight from the boat. Bring your cooler. Kiawah is lovely.

                        Another thing that might interest you: in winter months the Sullivans Island Fire Department has monthly oyster roasts and they are FUN. I'll be there with my special cocktail sauce.

                        1. re: Sue in Mt P

                          We did have some softshell crabs - I love them. My mother was a huge fan and they always remind me of her. She used to flour them and pan fry them up. Mm, mm good.

                          Thanks for the offer of information. I will definitely check back with you about shrimp guy. Fresh shrimp off the boat is a must whenever we head to the beach. Nothing like some Carolina shrimp.

                          I think we will have to come down for the oyster roast - that sounds like something we would love.

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            Remind me in the fall and I'll get the dates of the SI roasts for you. I will even share my special cocktail sauce.