Best Oysters around the bay
My last two visits to Sea Salt I had oysters (Kumamotos and Effinghams). The second time was for a late lunch, so I was able to take advantage of their 4:00-6:00 pm $1 oyster special (they choose the oyster; this day it was Effinghams).
Both times I found the oysters to be excellent in terms of freshness and quality.
Happy hour at Hog Island in the Ferry Building and Foreign Cinema. If I'm broke and need just a few, the Friday happy hour at El Rio has free oysters that you stand in line for. They shuck them as you ask for them and tipping the shucker is expected so they're not really free. However, they have been way better quality wise then expected for free bar oysters, nice patio too.
I agree that Hog Island is probably the most convenient and most scenic spot for oysters for most Bay Area chowhounds. It's half a block from BART Embarcadero Stn, after all.
Zuni consistently has good oysters, and they often have olympias, which for many people are the oyster of choice to outdo kumamotos.
Last week, we had an assortment of oysters at Lulu. Lulu has a strangely unpleasant, factory-like atmosphere, but most of the food remains strong. The oysters were carefully prepared, with ample liquor in the shells.
On the Peninsula, Zibibbo in Palo Alto usually has good-to-great oysters.
Expect to pay prettily at all of these spots, including Hog Island.
I have a couple times bought a sack of oysters at Johnson's Oyster Farm in the Pt Reyes National Seashore. This is a cheaper route to osetral bliss, but you are limited to what they have on offer. And it takes a while to shuck or even to grill 100 oysters.
Hog Island Oyster Company, Ferry Building, Embarcadero at Market, S.F.
Zuni, 1658 Market, S.F.
Lulu, 816 Folsom, S.F.
Zibibbo, 430 Kipling, Palo Alto.
Johnson's (Drake's) Oyster Farm, Sir Francis Drake, Pt Reyes.
Last night's reception had a station set up by Hog Island featuring Sweetwaters, Atlantic and Kumamotos. Thought it worth mentioning that the Kumamotos were soft and on the bitter side now, even these tiny ones about the size of a 25¢ coin. The Sweetwaters tasted fine but were still a bit creamy. I thought the Atlantics were showing the best now. Maybe the hot spell has had an effect.