In a land full of lakes, but thousands of miles from a sea, gaining access to fresh seafood can be a luxury. However, thanks to exciting partnerships with small growers and an international shipping hub nearby, it's possible to get freshly harvested oysters all over the metro area. These restaurants serve sustainable salty, sweet bites freshly shucked, swimming in butter, or fried and stuffed in a fat sandwich — and all are worth seeking out.


The zinc-topped bar is the perfect place for a Parisienne-styled night out. Oysters are so beloved here that there's an annual celebration dedicated to all things oyster — including an oyster-shell-infused beer. On normal nights, it's better to just pick a few varieties off the chalkboard and allow the raw bar chef to shuck them all on the spot, before tucking each shell into a bed of ice crumbles on a silver tray. Hurry, though — the restaurant will take a post-holiday break from Jan. 1-19.

410 St. Peter St., St. Paul,

Mr. Paul's Supper Club and Po'boys

This ode to New Orleans serves oysters in all kinds of welcome ways. On the dinner menu, the boisterous and boho chic dining room serves them freshly shucked on the half-shell or bubbling in a generous amount of butter under a crackling crunchy breadcrumb shell straight from the grill. For those not up for nightlife, Mr. Paul's has a lunch-only sandwich shop that serves up gobs of deep-fried oysters coated in a gently spiced cornmeal crust and stuffed inside a just-baked demi baguette.

3917 B Market St., Edina,

Smack Shack

Now with two locations, Smack Shack is an ode to all the fresh goodness to be found in the icy coastal waters of Maine. Owner Josh Thoma makes the trek out to the East Coast to get to know the farmers who are restoring the waters through sustainable oyster farming. Back home, just ask for what arrived that day. Big spenders will appreciate the oysters tucked into an impressive seafood tower, where the bivalves are accompanied by a little tuna poke, jumbo shrimp and red snapper ceviche.

3801 Minnesota Drive, Bloomington, and 603 Washington Av. N., Mpls.,

Spoon and Stable

Gavin Kaysen's seven-year-old North Loop restaurant continues to be a top draw. The seats surrounding the bar are the best for slurping up oysters along with a tall glass of tonic or bubbly. Take in the full view of the elegant room and the snowy streets outside while letting the knowledgeable waitstaff fill you in on the daily selection.

211 N. 1st St., Mpls.,

The Farmer and the Fishmonger

This new suburban restaurant isn't just an alliterative name. There really is a Minnesota farmer and a New England-based fishmonger supplying the restaurant with small producers. That means these folks know exactly where each oyster came from, and which family business did the growing, harvesting and shipping. Order six on a lazy Susan and give them a spin for a dealer's choice slurp and swallow.

14883 Florence Trail, Apple Valley,

Cafe Lurcat

Dip inside this little corner of Loring Park for an intimate evening that kicks off with freshly shucked oysters. Adorned only with a little lip-smacking tartness from the mignonette or a little zip from hot sauce, these briny beauties disappear quickly. The pro move is to order them with a sparkling bottle of something special and an order of the famous fries on the side.

1624 Harmon Place, Mpls.,