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These oyster bars in the city do oysters right

These oyster bars in the city do oysters right

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  • Enjoying a fresh oyster in the city can raise a few brows—if you don’t know where to look, that is

There seems to be an ongoing oyster renaissance these days. Scrolling past your social media feed will likely prove this point. The prized shellfish known for its “natural aphrodisiac” properties has been enjoyed for centuries—but mostly in port cities around the world. 

These days, ordering an oyster raw can still be a bit of a gamble. While I’m personally never one to back down from a challenge, I have definitely been on the losing end of this situation. While Metro Manila isn’t landlocked, it’s still a challenge for us to access fresh seafood. It was one of my chief complaints after moving here for college a few years ago. 

Eating frozen fish and other seafood can be forgivable (but definitely not preferred), but oysters do not extend the same leniency. If you’re eating an oyster raw, it has to be as fresh as possible to avoid any unwanted results. Baked oysters can get away with a little bit more because it gets the heat treatment, but it’s still better to have any type of shellfish as fresh as possible. 

If you’re ever on the hunt for a reliably good oyster bar, here are a few options that won’t let you down. 

Oista Oyster Bar

Flossom Place, 187 N. Averilla St., San Juan 

Open daily from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. 

The recently opened Oista Oyster Bar is a good place to go if you’re from the north. Located in San Juan, the restaurant won’t make you travel too far to taste raw, grilled, and specialty baked oysters. 

Aside from serving the oysters raw and grilled, they also have specialty flavors such as “green goddess” or creamed spinach and parmesan, soy garlic, and spicy butter. All of their oysters are P50 a pop (which is par for the course due to location) and are harvested and put on your plates daily. 

The restaurant also serves dishes for sharing like its Oista! ala Mina, which is a fully loaded baked rice oyster with ebiko, and their signature miso based, dairy-free custard cream, and Oista! ceviche. 

2nd Street Oysters

Branches are located in Banawe, Quezon City, Makati, Elvia Lifestyle Mall, Las Piñas, and Kawit, Cavite

What started out as an oyster delivery service has finally manifested into a brick and mortar restaurant for 2nd Street Oysters. The popular restaurant has opened four different locations in the last two years: Banawe, Makati, Las Piñas, and Kawit, Cavite. 

2nd Street’s claim to fame is their flavored, baked oysters. They have seven specialty oyster flavors: aburi baked, three cheese, three cheese with bacon, oysters rockefeller, oysters rockefeller with bacon, smokey barbecue, and garlic overload. 

Instead of being sold in individual shells, these oysters come in an order of either six, a dozen, or 24 pieces starting at P285 for the six-piece serving. If you’re not a big fan of the baked stuff, they also serve fried oysters in three different ways for P450 a serving. 

For the oyster purists, you’ll be delighted by their selection of raw oysters. The restaurant serves oysters from the Philippines, Ireland, and Japan. You can get your local oysters either raw or steamed with a side of mignonette sauce.

They also offer single servings of jumbo Irish sterling Gallagher oysters for P310 a piece, which is only offered raw—as it should be. 

If you’re ordering the Hokkaido oysters, though, there’s room for more customization. The Hokkaido oysters come in either three, six, or nine pieces and you can choose to have it raw, baked, steamed, or even in tempura form. You can also order the Japanese oyster sampler (P2,250). The oyster sampler gives you a choice of three different types of oysters to enjoy and three pieces for each type of oyster. 

For the most discerning of oyster fans, you can also get the XXL Hokkaido oyster for P450 a piece. The XXL Hokkaido variety comes in either raw, steamed, or baked (which costs a little more at P590 a piece). It would be a shame to enjoy it any other way but as fresh as can be, though.  

Wantusawa

Branches are located in Poblacion, Rockwell, Makati, and El Nido

Wantusawa is what I like to refer to as the granddaddy of the city oyster movement. Prior to the pandemic, the restaurant was already alive, kicking, and living well in its original Poblacion location. Since then, the restaurant has expanded to a new site in Poblacion, an outdoor stall in Rockwell, and a new home in El Nido. 

Prior to serving, the oysters are alive and only shucked to be put on your tables. Their takeout oysters (which can be eaten raw!) are kept unshucked to keep them as fresh as possible. 

Wantusawa’s oysters are served either raw, grilled, or baked with their amazing cream sauce for P50 per piece—which makes it easy to lose track of how many you’ve ordered after a drink (or three). 

Even if you come for the oysters, the rest of the menu is something you should also experience. The restaurant also serves a full menu with appetizers, mains, and of course, dessert. One of its most popular dishes (which coincidentally happens to be my favorite) is the spicy scallop and crab fat yakiudon.

For dessert, the restaurant serves leche flan (or Pobla Flan as it’s written on the menu), which they source from local businesses in the neighborhood. 

If you’re planning on dining here, just make sure to call ahead. The dinner and after hours crowds especially love this place. 

Nolisoli.ph © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.

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