How do you feel about hanging out on some picnic tables at Point Reyes and scarfing down vast quantities of delicious, ultra-fresh oysters? For next to nothing? We’re talking, like, 50 cents an oyster. That sound good to you?

Go to Tomales Bay Oyster Company. Buy bags of oysters from them. A bag of 50 small oysters costs $25. Bigger oysters cost more; a bag of 50 jumbo oysters costs $50. But their “small oysters” are actually pretty big. Then go outside to their picnic tables and chow down. And they’re beautiful—briney, juicy, slightly metallic; in short, they’re perfect oysters, says OnceUponABite.

Please be aware, that Tomales Bay Oyster Company doesn’t provide anything—there’s no shucking knife, no eating utensils, no sauce. If you’re unprepared, you can buy terribly overpriced knives and utensils from them, but why not just bring your own? Also, Tomales Bay Oyster Company sells only one kind of oyster—the local Sweetwater.

Your other choices in the area are Hog Island Oyster Company and Drake’s Bay Oysters. Hog Island Oyster Company sells almost exactly the same Sweetwater as Tomales Bay Oyster Company, but they charge about a dollar more per dozen, says Zeldog. They also charge $8 for use of a picnic table (though they do provide knives and fixings and stuff). On the plus side, they have a wider variety of oysters. They always have Kumamotos, and sometimes have Atlantic and European varieties. The Kumamotos are more expensive, but completely worthwhile.

Eugene Park says that Tomales Bay Oyster Company has a milder tasting oyster, and tends to be more popular with the casual oyster eater, but he ever-so-slightly prefers the more forward tasting oysters of Hog Island, which tends to appeal to the ardent oyster eater. His usual solution is to pick up some oysters at Hog Island, head over to Tomales Bay, buy some oysters there, and then sit on their free picnic tables and do a side-by-side comparison.

Drake’s Bay Oysters, on the other hand, are absolutely vile, says Zeldog. “Ever handled a car battery and touched your mouth with dirty fingers?” That’s what their oysters are like.

Tomales Bay Oyster Company [Marin County]
15479 Highway 1, Marshall
(415) 663-1242

Hog Island Oyster Company [Marin County]
20215 Highway 1, Marshall
(415) 663-9218

Drakes Bay Oysters [Marin County]
17171 Sir Frances Drake Blvd., Inverness
(415) 669-1149

Board Links:Tomales Bay Oyster Company report

See more articles