100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

The bar at Pearl Dive, a 14th Street hot-spot. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

The good times roll at Jeff and Barbara Black’s Louisiana-loving dining room, where oysters are king, bottles of hot sauce sit on the tables, and the cocktails are strong. The bivalves—which range from creamy-sweet Kusshis from Washington state to brinier varieties from New England—are done up with bacon, chili butter, and other accessories, but they’re best chilled on the half shell. (On Monday, they’re half off.) Besides, you’ll want something to balance out standards like barbecue shrimp with garlic bread, duck-and-oyster or seafood gumbo, and brittle-skinned fried chicken (also available in to-go buckets). For dessert, go for one of the pies—boozy pecan, bracing Key lime, and ultra-rich cookies-and-cream. The upstairs bar, Black Jack, is a dark, loud den for indoor bocce and great BLTs.

Open: Monday through Thursday for dinner, Friday through Sunday for brunch and dinner.

Don’t Miss: Seafood salsa with tortilla chips; oyster po’ boy; fried shrimp; crabcakes; Fleur 75 cocktail, with sparkling wine, gin, and crème de violette.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.