Leo’s Oyster Bar has time-traveled to us from the fanciest days of the 1980s. We’re not talking scary, Donatella Versace’s Miami mansion, ’80s here. Leo’s is channeling the decade of excess in the best - and not overly excessive - way possible. And overall, we’re in on the seafood and swank that Leo’s has to offer, especially if we are using someone else’s money.
The space - with high-ceilings and mirrors and assorted hanging ferns - feels glamorous, not tacky. Imagine you’re a high-powered 1980s yuppie, and that’s basically how you use Leo’s: if you have clients you actually enjoy spending time with and they’re interested in meals not involving steakhouses, this is your place. The crowd is on the dressier side, and a vibe of potentially not being from San Francisco.
But the food is better than what you’ll get at your average client dinner. The cocktails are excellent, and the small plates (especially the crudos) are delicious and shareable. We’re less taken with the entrees, and portions in general are small - you need to get more than you think to fill yourself up. If you can walk out for less than $100 per person for a full meal and drinks, you have a smaller stomach than we do.
It’s clear by how crowded the place is every night that the Financial District was in need of a place that doesn’t solely serve pre-made salads of sadness and closes at 4pm. If you’re in the neighborhood and need to grab a drink and a snack, Leo’s is absolutely worth a visit. As much as we love the classy yacht vibes and crudos, we don’t have an Uncle Scrooge pool of coins to dive into, so it’s probably not going into our regular rotation.
Super fresh and high quality. The raw classics are some of the best around, and the specialty combo with tomato and horseradish also rules. Too pricey for an oyster eating contest, but very good for seeing how much money you can spend on shellfish.
Deviled Eggs with Fried Oysters
What makes deviled eggs better? A fried oyster on top. These are good, but we didn’t need to tell you that.
Rock Shrimp Toast
Just ok. The shrimp is fine, but there’s not quite enough and the alleged bacon doesn’t make much of an appearance. The buttery toast is a strong base.
Hot damn this is good. The fish is incredibly fresh, there’s a nice kick from the scallions and the charred avocado is a revelation. Get after it.
House Made Tater Tot
This dish is four little nuggets of deep-fried mashed potato cubes topped with a horseradish-y salt cod situation. Very tasty bites.
Lobster Roll and Fries
The bun is great - perfectly buttered and toasted - the lobster is good, the fries are excellent. However, there is not enough lobster (is there ever?) and paying $32 for this is a bit ridiculous. They do you the favor of cutting it in half if you’re splitting it, which just makes it look small.