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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