London’s best oyster bars


There is a good reason London is home to an array of places to indulge in oysters. It’s partly to do with their natural proximity to the city, some of the finest coming from just down the road in Essex. It’s also partly to do with the oyster’s historic connection with London’s East End, where it sustained paupers for generations before transforming into the delicacy we know it as today. Of course, the fact that oyster connoisseurs are very much dedicated to their cause may also have something to do with it. When they see rocks on a menu, they find it nearly impossible to resist ordering a few – and, at up to £6 a pop, that’s a sizeable income for a dish that requires no cooking.

Of course, for true oyster lovers, there’s as much thrill in a Michelin-starred restaurant as there is in market stalls and authentic old-school eateries – the latter, in fact, serving some of the capital’s finest crustaceans. You simply have to know where to look. Here’s our guide to London’s best oyster bars.

The Seafood Bar, Soho 

seafood bar london oysters

“The world is your oyster” reads the inscription on a mirrored wall at the back of The Seafood Bar, which opened in Soho in 2021 as the eponymous group’s first location outside the Netherlands. If that wasn’t enough to tell you you’re in the right place, the restaurant sports a coastal design and relaxed, easy-going atmosphere, with white chairs, wooden tables, brick panels and decorative crabs adorning the walls.

Created by a fishmonger, freshness and quality are top of the bill, and the oyster menu begins with the crème de la crème of huitres: the French Gillardeau. You’ll also find the balanced Fine de Claire and the nutty Utah Beach, as well as locals Jersey and Maldon. For bigger appetites, the fruits de mer platter is an excellent choice for turning your dinner into a seafood feast. Be warned, it will feed many more than the menu actually suggests. But who are we to complain about too much of a good thing?

77 Dean Street, W1D 3SH, visit

Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill, Mayfair

bentleys oyster bar

Received wisdom is that oysters should be swallowed whole. The knowledgeable Bentley’s Oyster Bar staff, who have been shucking oysters since 1916, will happily gently disavow you of this notion. Just ask the welcoming oysterman charged with dishing up plates of the good stuff to patrons perched on the marble counter’s charming red leather seats. Be guided through the wonders of a rock selection that includes Cork, Jersey Island, Donegal, County Down and Pembrokeshire. Follow said instructions and you’ll be utterly rewarded.

11-15 Swallow Street, W1B 4DG, visit

The Oyster Shed, London Bridge

the oystershed london

Thanks to a gorgeous riverside location and a kitchen helmed by former Masterchef winner Natalie Coleman, London Bridge‘s Oyster Shed is so perennially busy that it can be a bit hit-or-miss. If you’re after its namesake crustacean, arrive early: they only order what’s freshest and demand means the selection may suddenly be reduced or disappear entirely. Which is a shame because, for those lucky enough to get their hands on some, the oysters here are delivered with one of the best dressing selections in town ­– salmon caviar, dill and samphire oil, as well as red wine and shallot.

1 Angel Lane, EC4R 3AB, visit

The Wright Brothers, across London

wright brothers oysters

For some, the best restaurants are the ones where you know exactly what to expect. They’re dependable, reassuring and can be counted on to deliver great service and good quality. For almost 20 years, the Wright Brothers have been shucking oysters and serving seafood at their relaxed, under-the-radar mini-chain, which has three sites across London in Battersea, Borough Market and South Kensington. Each location is fitted out with a good-sized bar equipped to sate oyster cravings, readily satisfied by a menu that features homegrown varieties alongside dressed options inspired by California, Mumbai, New Orleans and Tokyo.


Seabird, Southwark

seabird hoxton

Located on the 14th floor of The Hoxton in Southwark, this dedicated seafood restaurant boasts the longest oyster list in London. And it really is an impressive array, with oysters hailing from France, England, Ireland and Scotland served from an eye-catching raw bar. Wooden flooring, large plants and rustic décor gives Seabird an elegant ambiance, and, let’s be honest, it’s hard to beat watching a gorgeous sunset while enjoying a large plate of iced oysters and a glass of something chilled and sparkling.

40 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8NY, visit

Oyster Boy, across London

oyster boy london

East London’s fashionistas love to stroll around Broadway Market’s foodie stalls on sunny Saturdays and Columbia Road Flower Market on Sundays. And basking in the vibrant atmosphere means a mandatory pause at Oyster Boy. Typically, the deal is £2 per oyster or a plate of six for £10, which is a fair price for this hip treat. From its early street food and private hire beginnings to a bonafide restaurant, the company also offers shuckers for hire catering to weddings, pop-ups and events.


Richard Haward’s Oysters, Borough Market

richard hawards oysters london

Apologies to the oyster lovers who pride themselves on their home-shucking capabilities but nothing tops watching a real pro. The Haward family has been cultivating oysters around Mersea Island, Essex, for seven generations, and it’s been selling them at Borough Market since the early 2000s. The shuckers here are fast and precise, but demand is high, so expect a line of foodies and tourists keen to discover what all the fuss is about.

Try natives, which are large and have a woody flavour, or order cherry stone clams, with their distinctive texture. Look out for oyster deals, especially ones that include medium-sized rocks, which have the best balance between size and flavour. Wash them all down with sparkling wine in a plastic glass for the full market experience.

35 Stoney Street, SE1 9AA, visit

Furness Fish, Borough Market

furness fish oysters london

This Borough Market fishmonger’s stall is home to the most fascinating display of seafood in town, as well as an oyster bar tucked in the corner. The fishmonger will ask you for your preferences with respect to saltiness, sweetness and taste notes before recommending their choice from Furness Fish’s fine selection, which changes according to the catch of the day. This might include some unusual varieties, such as Utah Beach and Cocollos, while Gillardeau, a favourite among many oyster lovers thanks to its succulent flesh and rounded flavour, often sells out so arrive early if you want to try one.

6 Southwark Street, Borough Market, SE1 1TL,

Boisdale, Canary Wharf and Belgravia

boisdale london oysters bars

Scottish restaurant Boisdale is the perfect place to settle in with a large plate of Jersey, Mersea Island, Cumbrae or Lindisfarne rocks, served with a classic mignonette (shallot and red wine vinegar sauce) or Vietnamese dressing, and strike up a conversation with a fellow oyster fan. The oysters here are sold individually, so there’s no need to make sure your companions are on board, plus the decadent décor, low lighting, and extensive menu of brasserie classics give both Boisdale locations the vibe of a private members’ club. A classy night out guaranteed.


Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen, Covent Garden

Close your eyes and you could be at an authentic seaside restaurant. Open them again and you’ll be in one of London’s buzziest places to enjoy oysters. Oystermen opened in 2017 as a venture by friends Matt Lovell and Rob Hampton, and now boasts Sebastian Luisetto (formerly of La Gavroche) in the kitchen. Hunt out the blackboards for the constantly changing daily specials and rocks selection. The sweet and creamy Louët-Feisser is not to be missed but, for something really special, try the Oyster Martini cocktail: a hedonistic concoction of Oyster 44 vodka, Boxer gin and vermouth poured over a fresh oyster.

32 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8NA, visit

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