It’s National Oyster Day: Our four favorite places to slurp ‘em down on California’s coast

A Pacific Gold oyster, raised in Morro Bay.

A Pacific Gold oyster, raised in Morro Bay.

(Morro Bay Oyster Co.)

If you love oysters, this would be the day to treat yourself to a plateful. It's National Oyster Day, a good time to slurp down these raw, live bivalves.

Some things you should know:

  • Pearl-bearing oysters are different from food oysters.
  • One type of oyster or another is found all over the world.
  • California's oyster farms primarily are in Tomales Bay north of San Francisco, Morro Bay and a few other spots.

Here are some oyster-centric things to do today -- or anytime.

1. Take a Tiki Boat tour

(Jenna Dosch)

The Tiki Boat, a little barge with a grass top and a bar, will take you on a tour of 130-year-old Morro Bay Oyster Co. as well as the back bay, sand spit and secluded beaches of Morro Bay. It costs $10 and leaves on the hour. Or you can take your own paddle board or kayak and head out on your own.

Info: For rentals or rides: Lost Isle Tiki Boat, (805) 771-9337.

2. Sample 'em all, even barbecued ones

Morro Bay Oyster Co. owner Neal Maloney at harvest time. (Morro Bay Oyster Co.)

Tognazzini's Dockside Restaurant in Morro Bay offers several ways to sample oysters: raw on the half shell served with cocktail sauce and horseradish or barbecued oysters on the half shell "swimming in garlic butter." Variations include oysters Rockefeller or fried oysters. Any which way, it will run you $11.95 to $13.95 for a fresh order.

Info: Tognazzini's Dockside Restaurant, (805) 772-8100

3. Go north, and shuck your own

An oyster bar mix at the Hog Island Oyster Bar in San Francisco. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

Visit Hog Island Oyster Farm, the big dog of oyster farming in Tomales Bay, north of San Francisco, in the town of Marshall. You can buy live, unshucked oysters at the "Hog Shack" at this oyster farm. You may have a DIY picnic on the grounds for $5 a person or buy whatever they're making at the Boat Oyster Bar. And you can take a land tour of the farm's operations for $15 a person.

Info: Hog Island Oyster Farm.

4. Go whole Hog in the city

Outdoor dining at the oyster bar at San Francisco's Ferry Building. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

Hog Island Oysters operates oyster bars in San Francisco in the Ferry Building, and in Napa at the Oxbow Public Market. "Slurp, sip, enjoy," the company says.

Info: Hog Island Oyster Farm oyster bars.


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