Call them the shellfish of love. Shooters d’amour. The mollusks of marital bliss.
Raw oysters are, well, about as obvious as food gets, when it comes to making your romantic intentions known. We’ll just leave it at that.
Here are six spots to plant that flag of love and throw back a dozen on the half-shell. The rest is up to you.
Glen Ellen Inn Restaurant: Tucked away in quiet Glen Ellen, the restaurant is romantically candlelit, offering a variety of oyster delights, including the Dirty Dozen–12 raw oysters with a Bloody Mary mignonette. After dinner head to the secret cottages for a dip in the Jacuzzi tubs and, well, whatever might happen next. 13670 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, 707.996.6409
Hands down, one of SoCo’s best bets for all things from the sea, Willi’s has an extensive offering of raw oysters, with the freshest up on the chalkboard daily. While you’re there, you might as well try one of their lobster rolls as well. Because hey, you’ll need that extra energy for later. Plus, terrific cocktails in a clubby, bistro-like space just begging for a little dinner-time romance. 403 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707.433.9191
Sonoma Meritage Restaurant and Oyster Bar
A bounty of seafood in Sonoma. Try the Drunken Angry Hog, a martini made with pepper vodka, a Hog Island oyster and spicy Mary float. 165 W. Napa St., Sonoma, 707.938.9430.
Take a romantic drive out to Valley Ford and the newly renovated Valley Ford Hotel and Rocker Oysterfeller’s Kitchen and Saloon. The restaurant uses local, seasonal foods (like the nearby Tomales Bay Oysters), but gives many of the menu items a Southern twang. Plus, rooms upstairs are a very reasonable $100-$165 per night. 14415 Coast Hwy. 1, Valley Ford. 707.876.1983.
Belly up to the bar, where a vast variety of oysters on the half-shell twinkle at you tauntingly. A favorite after hours haunt (ie: it’s open late) of Yountville chefs and other notable locals, you’re likely to find a little romance, should you hold be looking. Want to win over that cutie at the table next to yours? Order the Grand Plateau, which includes a lobster, 16 oysters, shrimp, clams and a variety of other sea-going goodies. Worth every bit of $85. 6534 Washington St., Yountville, 707.944.8037.
Not just for sushi, Cindy Pawlcyn’s new fish-focused restaurant has a bean oyster bar. Build your own shellfish platter with Fanny Bay, Royal Miyagi or Quilcene oysters, plus clams, prawns and lobster. Plus, and amazing wine and sake list. See BiteClub’s recent review. 641 Main St., St. Helena, 707.963.0700.
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