PHLReview

photo credit: Gab Bonghi

Oyster House image
8.1

Oyster House

AmericanSeafood

Center CityRittenhouse

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCasual Weeknight DinnerClassic EstablishmentDining SoloDrinks & A Light BiteEating At The BarHappy HourLunchWalk-Ins

Included In

Oyster House. Ever heard of it? If not, welcome—you must have arrived in Philly five minutes ago. Otherwise, you’re already more than familiar with this classic seafood restaurant and oyster bar. After more than forty years, it’s still one of Center City’s buzziest spots for post-work drinks, big group dinners, and everything in between. 

Oyster House image

photo credit: Gab Bonghi

Oyster House image

photo credit: Gab Bonghi

Oyster House image

photo credit: Gab Bonghi

Oyster House image
Oyster House image
Oyster House image

Sure, Philly has lots of great seafood options, but we’re far from a fishing village, and great oyster bars are hard to come by. Oyster House has long been the city’s best, and the hour-plus wait for seats on a nightly basis is a testament to the longstanding quality and great service. This loud and lively place works for almost anyone and for almost any occasion, which is a whale-sized part of the restaurant’s charm. The marble bar overlooking the shucking station and wooden tables along wainscot walls are packed with bivalve lovers of all kinds—coworkers swarm the place for $2 oysters during Happy Hour, while groups of friends and couples share seafood towers late into the night. 

Oyster House image

photo credit: Gab Bonghi

But if you ask us, we’d recommend extending an invitation to the friends who have a gold star in sharing. Almost all of the plates work family-style. Of course you want a platter of oysters, but the smoked bluefish dip and roasted clams XO are also great starters. The New England-style lobster roll is lemony, mayo-y goodness, and the Maryland crab cake is reliably crispy.

There’s not a bad dish to be had here, though some are just okay. While they’re as pretty as the vintage oyster plates hanging on the walls, there’s no reason to get the undercooked scallops or the (very) under-seasoned clambake for two. 

Oyster House image

photo credit: Gab Bonghi

If waiting outside on Sansom Street on a weekend night is your version of a nightmare, opt for a bowl of New England clam chowder during lunch when it’s not crowded. But if you’re with a small group for dinner in Center City (and didn’t snag a reservation), this classic is worth the wait. 

Food Rundown

Oyster House image

photo credit: Gab Bonghi

Seafood Tower

This stunning tower comes with all the usual suspects—oysters, clams, lobster, and shrimp—along with scallop crudo, salmon rillettes, and mussels escabeche. We’d be just as happy with a straight oyster platter, but this is a nice change of pace and great for a group.
Oyster House image

photo credit: Gab Bonghi

Lobster Roll

Some lobster rolls are mayo-based, while others are all about the butter. Oyster House combines the best of both worlds—the generous hunks of Maine lobster are tossed in a well-seasoned, mayo-based sauce, while the toasty bun it’s served in is buttered. Always a great choice.
Oyster House image

photo credit: Gab Bonghi

Maryland Crab Cake

It’s crisp on the outside, light on the inside, and served with a tangy Chesapeake remoulade. Classic.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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8.1

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