HOME > Chowhound > Southern New England >


Need Oyster direction...

I am a California-based food writer who is heading to Falmouth next week to research oysters for a book. I'll be finishing up two days on the Cape with two days in Boston (already have reservations at Harvest), but know nothing of the lay-of-the-land or geography at all. I'll have a car and some friends have recommended I head to Wellfleet. Is that a good use of time if I'm based out of Falmouth?

Any direction on amenable farms I could visit and am definitely looking for restaurants that showcase the bivalve would be most appreciated!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: Prav

      Great idea and I would do it in a heartbeat if I had a spare $1k lying around!

    2. If you haven't read Shucked by a formerly Boston-based writer, definitely check it out. It will be helpful to you.

      Try Island Creek farm in Duxbury, their restaurant Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston, and definitely head to Wellfleet - try to make plans in advance with the (extremely nice and knowledgeable) Shellfish officer there to see the operations in the harbor and potentially meet farmers. You can enjoy the Oyster from the harbor in the Bookstore Restaurant across the road from Mayo beach at Wellfleet Harbor - stick to the raw bar only, not their food, and you'll enjoy it.

      Neptune Oyster is an amazing bivalve showcase in the North End in Boston - it is tiny and fills upon opening without offering reservations, so plan to stop in early, leave your name and the kill some time in the North End - it is very worth the trouble - their oysters are varied, pristine, and handled with extreme care. Dining there at off-peak times on weekdays helps in securing a seat if feasible.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rlh

        + 1 For Erin's book Shucked

        This areas loss was Nashville's gain

      2. Many of the oyster beds in on the south shore were shut down (including IC's I think). I do not know if they have reopened.

        Yesterday they shut down more on Martha's vineyard. I dont think Falmouth or Wellfleet are affected by I dont really know.

        "The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) today announced the closure of oyster beds in Plymouth Harbor, Kingston Bay, Duxbury Bay, Bluefish River and Back River in the towns of Plymouth, Kingston, Duxbury and Marshfield following an outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) tied to oysters harvested from the area. "

        1. Its probably way too far for you, but the most perfect place for eating oysters in our area New England is a sunny day on the deck at Matunuck Oyster Bar in southern RI.

          In Boston, Neptune, B&G, and ICOB are all good..

          I remember reading an article about the Mass Oyster Project (http://blog.massoyster.org/) trying re-cultivate oysters in Boston Harbor proper, to help clean the water. They can't be eaten - so they limit their visibility so people aren't tempted, but its a good story about how cool oysters are for a healthy ecosystem.

          1 Reply
          1. re: grant.cook

            Matunuk Oyster Bar is just excellent. I eat there year round. Also, it is one of most well organized, well run restaurants I frequent. That is why it is packed every day it is open.

          2. It's a good drive to Wellfleet; the Bookseller Restaurant farms there own ersters so ya can't go wrong.

            Check out Ocean and Bay side beaches for sheer beauty.

            1. Though many oyster beds on Boston's south shore and Martha's Vineyard south coast have been temporarily closed due to Vibrio, the beds on Cape Cod are still open. Island Creek's beds are shut down, but they and other Boston restaurants are serving oysters from other places. Wellfleet has many places that serve local oysters, but it is well over an hour drive from Falmouth (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours). The oyster farms in Dennis are also very good. You can sample them at the Oyster Company Restaurant, Chapin's Restaurant and the Sesuit Harbor Cafe, as well as many other restaurants. Dennis is about an hour away.

              1. Kevin Ricci nailed it regarding oysters on the Cape. The Cape has essentially 3 areas known for their farmed oysters, Welfleet is the most famous, followed by Cotuit and Dennis. Cotuit is the closest to Falmouth, anywhere for 25-40 minutes away depending on where in Falmouth you are staying. They wholesale and also sell to the public.

                1 Reply
                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                  Thanks - this is EXACTLY the kind of information I needed!

                2. Wellfleet is an excellent use of your time! How can you research oysters and NOT go to Wellfleet to enjoy the famous eponymous bivalves? You also need to try Quivet Neck Oysters (East Dennis, MA) and check out Jonathan Smith's oyster beds. Call Fin restaurant and ask the owner, Martha Kane, about her husband's endeavor (because I don't know how to get in touch with him, Jonathan...maybe some other CHers know how).

                  I agree that you should check out Island Creek in Duxbury, too. C. Hamster says he thinks they were shut down though...I hadn't heard that.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: ciclista

                    That was sort of my point... how can you NOT go to Wellfleet.? For 100 or so years the most famous name in American ersters.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      I'm going! I'm going!

                      Wellfleet it is.... Sending emails now trying to get appointments!

                      1. re: CarrieWas218

                        If you head out to Indian Neck on Wellfleet at dead low tide you will probably see various people working the flats and even driving out into the water with their pickup trucks to work.

                        Also, nothing to do with oysters, but if you've never seen the dunes on the outer cape, spend 10 minutes and hit one of the Ocean side beaches in Wellfleet at well. I am a particular fan of White Crest Beach (attached photo) but they are all amazing.


                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          Shellfishing at Indian Neck requires a ($75?) permit for amateurs, and is only OK on Wednesdays and Sundays at low tide IIRC - we did this last summer and learned that the town stocks the area with littlenecks in abundance - if you just watch where the boat dumps them a few days earlier - or look for the locals on their knees in shallow water harvesting them by (gloved) hand - it was amazing! There is a warden that patrols Indian Neck. Oysters of any size are few and far between, and legal sized ones are nearly nonexistent in that locale these days.

                          1. re: rlh

                            I was referring to the commercial farmers working on Indian Neck...

                            Who knew they stocked it with clams for the recreational folks.

                    1. I can't add much that hasn't already been said, but welcome to Cape Cod. I read many of your posts on the SF board in preparation for a trip last spring. Very helpful; thanks. I'm not sure of the specific focus of your book, but you should check out the recent oyster thefts, which were covered extensively in the local papers as well as the Boston Globe in July and August.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: lisaonthecape

                        Thanks, Lisa! The book is a "global history" and has to be very tightly written and cover a LOT of info in a relatively small context. And being a global history, I'll be delving into everything from the development of Chinese oyster sauce to the history of the bivalve as an aphrodisiac to its use in 16th century Flemish artwork... There will only be a smattering of recipes (it is not a cookbook) so those will have to be judiciously tested and chosen.

                        But this is my first step in research and I'm really looking forward to the exploration!

                        1. re: CarrieWas218

                          On this note, you may also find A Geography of Oysters by Rowan Jacobsen very interesting if you haven't already read it. Eager to learn when your book becomes available - love all things oyster and eager to keep learning!

                          1. re: rlh

                            I just searched for "Shucked" on Amazon and got "conned" into buying an oyster threesome including "Geography of Oysters". This is going to be fun reading.