100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 53 Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

A selection of oysters at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace in DC's Logan Circle. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Jeff and Barbara Black’s most laid-back dining room (they own six other restaurants in DC and Maryland) also thrums with the most vibrant energy, in both the kitchen and the mermaid-muraled dining room.

The Blacks love their oysters, and you can down a wide variety here, including sweet Kumamotos from the Pacific and big, briny Old Black Salts, their own custom-grown bivalves from Virginia. But beyond those icy platters, this is a place to forget about your Fitbit. There are good overstuffed po’ boys, bowls of tangy barbecue shrimp with garlic bread, and supremely rich pork cheeks over grits.

Don’t overlook the bookends of the meal: bracing cocktails, a breadbasket with corn muffins and glossy Addie’s Rolls, and a fabulous pecan pie, more bourbony than sticky-sweet.

Don’t miss:

  • Seafood with tomato-serrano salsa
  • Seafood and braised-duck-and-oyster gumbos
  • Fried chicken (available in to-go buckets)
  • Fleur 75 cocktail, with sparkling wine, crème de violette, gin, and thyme

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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.