Try 'Em at Home: Where to Purchase the Freshest Oysters in Town
Does watching Seattle’s master shuckers inspire you to try your hand at fresh oysters at home? If so, zip over to one of the neighborhood seafood markets peppered throughout our city, where friendly, knowledgeable crews offer the season’s best-tasting oysters from the waters of our beloved Hood Canal and Puget Sound, California and British Columbia. Many will demonstrate shucking techniques (thankfully) and even share their oyster smarts, such as homemade cocktail sauce recipes or which oysters are best for grilling. Need help from the experts on how to shuck an oyster? Watch this super helpful video on oyster shucking from our friends at Salty's.
Beacon Hill/Mount Baker
Stop in at Mutual Fish Company the beloved seafood market that’s been family-owned and operated since 1947. Seasoned experts can help you decide among their 10–12 oyster varieties during the winter season. Prices range from about $12.75 to $16.99 per dozen. 2335 Rainier Ave. S; 206.322.4368; mutualfish.com
Capitol Hill’s Taylor Shellfish at Melrose Market makes ordering your favorite oysters easy. Visit the store and peruse the varieties; you can slurp some down on the premises. Or simply call in your order before 2 p.m., and it’s ready for pickup any time between 5 and 9 p.m.). Prices range from $8.99 to $17.99/dozen. 1521 Melrose Ave.; 206.501.4321; taylormelrose.com
Magnolia & Queen Anne
Wild Salmon Seafood Market, located at Magnolia’s Fisherman’s Terminal and inside Queen Anne’s A&J Meats and Seafood, has been serving Seattle for more than 20 years, providing oyster lovers with tasty varieties, such as the firm and briny Penn Cove selects (available October–June) from the shores of Whidbey Island. Prices average at about $9.99/dozen. 1900 W Nickerson St., Suite 105, 206.283.3366; 2401 Queen Anne Ave. N, 206.217.3474; wildsalmonseafood.com
Pike Place Market
While playing tourist downtown, pick up a couple dozen kumamotos or Qulicines from Pure Food Fish Market and ask for a free sample of the Food & Wine magazine’s 2012 “Top Snack”: smoked salmon jerky ($34.50/lb.) to satisfy more immediate cravings (1511 Pike Place; 206.622.5765; freshseafood.com). Make your way across the street to Jack’s Fish Spot, which offers Hood Canal oysters for $9.99–$10.99 per dozen. Try the easy-to-shuck Sunset Beach oyster from Dabob Bay; its fatty meat is delicious raw or grilled, with a sweet aftertaste (1514 Pike Place; 206.467.0514; jacksfishspot.com).
University District Farmers Market
Make a point of visiting the Lilliwaup-based, family-owned and -operated Hama Hama Oyster Company’s booth at the University District Farmers’ Market for Hama Hamas ($10/dozen), blue pools, or sea cow oysters (both for $16/dozen), allowing you to compare the different textures and flavors of oysters from our Puget Sound waters. Don’t pass up the oyster company’s wood-handled, engraved oyster knife, a nifty shucking tool constructed with Pacific yew harvested from the company’s tree farm; the knife comes with a hand-crafted, waterproof leather sheath designed and constructed by Pike Place Market’s Cyclical Designs ($82 online; $72 at the farmers market). Saturdays. University Way between NE 50th and 52nd streets; hamahamastore.com
West Seattle’s Seattle Fish Company is a favorite for its pearly-white Judd Cove Shellfish oysters ($10/dozen), harvested from Orcas Island’s East Sound. Ask owner Jon Daniels about these palm-sized bivalves and he’ll tell you they’re the “best kept secret” in oysters; their lightly briny flavor makes for “a real treat.” Expect to see a whopping 20 oyster varieties during the high season, ranging in price from $8 to $18/dozen. 4435 California Ave. SW; 206.938.7576; seattlefishcompany.com