How and When to Buy Fresh Oysters in New Orleans

October 6, 2022 at 10:00 PM

Oyster season in New Orleans is a special time. From the day after Labor Day clear through to the end of April, the city is brimming with oyster dishes, happy hours, and festivals all devoted to this magic mollusk. Knowing when to buy fresh oysters in the Big Easy is critically important whether you like them raw, broiled, or out of the shell. For worry-free oyster enjoyment, follow these tips to snag the freshest oysters in the city.

Is this “fresh” oyster fresh?

You can (and should!) ask your fishmonger when and where the oysters for sale were harvested, but you should also do your due diligence. First, pick up an oyster — it should be cold to the touch and have a fresh, ocean-y smell (vaguely salty and briny are just fine!). The flesh of the oyster should be plump, tan, and glossy. If you see meat that is dry, shriveled, or has a strong odor, steer clear! These are not the oysters you’re looking for.

Where can I eat fresh oysters in New Orleans?

New Orleanians take pride in serving oysters at their very best. Now that you know when to buy fresh oysters (hint: the months with an “R”!), we’ll let you know where to get the best oysters throughout the season. Here are our local favorites:

  • Dragos

Famous for being “the single best bite in town”, Drago’s charbroiled oysters are grilled to perfection and topped decadently. Smothered in butter, melted cheeses, and generous seasoning, these garlicy oysters are dangerously addictive.

  • Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar

Felix’s doesn’s mess around with oysters, and the proof is all over the menu. From oyster rockafeller to oyster pasta, you can find fresh oysters here almost any way you like. Don’t overlook the simple beauty of their raw fresh oysters on the half shell; they’re the customer favorite for a reason.

  • Domilise Po-Boys and Bar

If it’s a local favorite, you know it must be good. The fried oyster po-boys at Domilise are legendary for their soft bread, lettuce, pickle, hot sauce, mayo, and of course, a toppling pile of freshly fried oysters.

  • Seaworthy

Seaworthy carries perhaps the most important distinction of all: their seafood is fresh, and responsibly sourced from the gulf, and both the east and west coasts. Come for the incredible oysters, stay to support a restaurant going the extra mile in conserving American oyster and seafood populations.

Where can I buy fresh oysters to eat at home?

When it’s time for fresh oysters in New Orleans, head to the market. Whether you’re ready to clean, and shuck the oysters yourself, or want them cleaned, on the half shell, and ready to go, fresh seafood markets like P&J Oysters and Market Seafood have the catch. New Orleans seafood markets are vibrant and busy. Wend your way through the shrimp stalls and you’ll find some of the freshest oysters available daily.

How can restaurants buy the freshest oysters in New Orleans?

Restaurants seeking the freshest oysters and seafood can depend on Tommy’s Seafood. We proudly fish only the American waters of Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou Bienvenue, and the Mississippi River. We process all of our catches in New Orleans, where we also keep a finger on the pulse of pricing, seafood populations, and customer tastes. We’re proud of our sustainable practices and superlative quality seafood. Get in touch with us today to chat more about ordering our sustainable American seafood.