Guzzle them down at London's best oyster bars

To those of you who already love oysters - you know what all the fuss is about...

To the uninitiated, yes we concede, guzzling an oyster may appear to have little in common with fine dining and rather more in common with clearing your throat from the residues of something viral. But we implore you to stick with it...

After all, didn't you have the same nose-scrunching reaction to your first olive? Or, indeed, your first beer... and look how that's ended up.

To those of you who already love oysters - you know what all the fuss is about... refined essence of the sea topped with something tart or picante, or possibly au naturel - and it would be a shame not to knock one back with something fizzy.

London does refinery in spades and so there's a good selection of oyster bars in central London; we direct you to what we think are the best...

Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill
11-15 Swallow Street W1B 4DG
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Piccadilly Circus (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Grab a seat at the buzzy, marble-topped bar downstairs (there’s a more formal restaurant on the first floor) and sample native and rock oysters, along with an obligatory coupe of champagne. Once your appetite is whettedRichard Corrigan’s seafood-heavy menu has plenty of other delectable dishes to choose from.

  • OUR REVIEW 9/10
  • USERS 8/10
Wright Bros Oyster House
11 Stoney Street SE1 9AD
Region: Southwark
Nearest Station: London Bridge (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: The Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House at Borough Market and Soho’s Oyster House offer all kinds of fresh seafood from caviar to winkles, as well as a great selection of wine, ale, stout and Manzanilla sherry. The menu also features hearty dishes like beef, Guinness and oyster pie.

  • OUR REVIEW 7/10
  • USERS 8/10
St Pancras Grand
Euston Road N1C 4QP
Region: Kings Cross
Nearest Station: King's Cross St. Pancras

AIL Says: This Searcy’s venue above the Eurostar Terminal boasts the longest champagne bar in Europe. Snack on oysters or the seafood platter with cockles, prawns, lobster and crab meat; alternatively the restaurant menu has more substantial British dishes.

  • OUR REVIEW 7/10
J Sheekey Oyster Bar
33-34 St. Martin's Court WC2N 4AL
Region: Charing Cross
Nearest Station: Leicester Square

AIL Says: The elegant celebrity haunt that is J. Sheekey needs little introduction, and the dimly lit oyster bar is every bit as sleek as the main restaurant. As well as native and rock oysters there are appetising fruits de mer platters.

The Commander
47 Hereford Road W2 5AH
Region: Paddington
Nearest Station: Bayswater (0.3 miles)

AIL Says: Who said oysters had to be expensive? At gastropub the Commander you can order them individually from the display counter for just £1.80 each, plus every Monday their rock oysters are a bargain £1 each.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
HIX Oyster & Chop House
Cowcross Street EC1M 6BN
Region: Clerkenwell
Nearest Station: Farringdon (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: You’ll find Mark Hix’s oyster and meat eatery a short walk from Smithfield Market. There’s a classic marble bar in the smart dining room, where you can choose from British rock and native oysters, or go for a delectable oyster and chorizo pie.

Green's Restaurant & Oyster Bar
36 Duke Street SW1Y 6DF
Region: St. James's
Nearest Station: Green Park (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Owned by Simon Parker Bowles (brother in law to the Duchess of Cornwall) this restaurant has been a favourite of the late Lady Diana and Baroness Thatcher. Now with a second branch in the City, the menu continues to offer oysters alongside traditional meat and fish dishes.

Le Cafe Anglais
151 Queensway W2 4YN
Region: Bayswater
Nearest Station: Bayswater (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: The oyster bar menu at Rowley Leigh’s restaurant has British rock oysters as well as the sweeter Japanese kumamoto variety. Atasting platter of 12 is £24.

Bibendum Oyster Bar
81 Fulham Road SW3 6RD
Region: Chelsea
Nearest Station: South Kensington (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Bibendum boast a counter selling crustacea for you to take home, with staff happy to demonstrate how to prize open an oyster, among other things. Otherwise sit at the bar and choose from Loch Ryan and West Mersea natives, and Colchester and Fines de Claire rock oysters.

Lutyens Restaurant
85 Fleet Street EC4Y 1AE
Region: The City
Nearest Station: City Thameslink

AIL Says: This stylish Terence Conran restaurant has a mouthwatering seafood counter with West Mersea oysters. Aside from shellfish and ceviche the raw bar also does venison carpaccio and steak tartare.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10

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