100 Very Best Restaurant 2016: Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

Pearl Dive dishes up pork belly huevos rancheros and a bottomless drink deal. Photograph courtesy of Pearl Dive

With its chipped-paint walls, this weathered dining room looks as if it’s been here for decades. In fact, it’s only five years old, but when it comes to the rapidly changing scene along the 14th Street corridor, that practically makes it a granddaddy. The menu hasn’t changed much along the way—the barbecue shrimp are as buttery as ever, the frying for po’ boy fillings is expert, and the boozy pecan pie remains the best around. True to the place’s name, oyster fans will find much to like. The list culls the best varieties from both coasts (including sweet Kusshis from British Columbia and bracing Beavertails from Rhode Island) and serves them on ice and in decadent preparations such as the Tchoupitoulas, with tasso ham, corn, and crab.

Don’t miss: Wedge salad; mariscos de campechana, a ceviche-like mix of seafood; duck-and-oyster and seafood gumbos; fried chicken; fried-shrimp dinner; Eggs Pontchartrain (brunch only); Key-lime pie.

See what other restaurants made our 100 Very Best Restaurants list. This article appears in our February 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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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.