Juicy and mouth-wateringly delicious, Bluff oyster season is finally upon us.
For the uninitiated, Invercargill's billowy ocean bounty has become world-renowned for a variety of reasons. Dredged from the icy Foveaux Strait during the months of March until early August, oystering first became commercially practiced on Stewart Island during the 1860s. However by 1879, depleting oyster beds caused dredgers to migrate from Stewart Island to Bluff, where deeper, plentiful oyster beds were discovered.
This season, we've made a conscious effort not to shuck around, rounding up the best oyster spots up and down the country where you can enjoy these magnificent molluscs.
From Auckland's Viaduct Harbour right down to the best on offer in Invercargill, here are ten eateries that we guarantee will satisfy your Bluff oyster fix:
1. Soul Bar, Auckland
Tipped as one of the best spots in the city to devour Bluff Oysters year after year, Auckland's Soul Bar and Bistro will again play host to the best oyster celebrations. Soul's celebrated All You Can Eat Bluff Oyster event is scheduled to kick off this Friday, March 3. For $175 per person, guests will be treated to a demonstration by professional shuckers Keith Lovett – reigning Bluff oyster opening champion for the past decade – and Maree Bradley, as they shuck their way through thousands of fresh Bluff oysters.
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Paired perfectly with a chilled glass of GH Mumm Champagne, Soul's annual oyster fixture is the perfect start to the season. See their website for more information.
2. Euro, Auckland
Boasting a variety of oyster celebrations, Euro Bar & Restaurant will kick off their festivities with The Great Bluff Lunch at midday on Thursday, March 2. Guests will enjoy a staggering seven-course meal and four flutes of champagne, including Cristal, for $250 per person.
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The annual Oyster Festival will also return to Auckland's Viaduct for the month of March, with eateries Euro, The Culpeper, Coley and Punch, The Crab Shack Auckland and Fish Restaurant all scheduled to celebrate a month of mollusc madness. For those with a penchant for oysters, Euro's delicious line-up of events are not to be missed. To have a look at this season's schedule or to make a booking, see here.
3. Seafarers, Auckland
Offering a spectacular vista of Auckland's port, a coveted spot on Seafarers' rooftop is unparallelled come sunset. This Bluff oyster season, Seafarers will be offering a number of events across their different venues throughout the city. From Ebisu to Ostro, Azabu to The Deck, look no further than Britomart to keep you well fed with bountiful Bluffies. For more, see their website.
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4. Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill, Auckland
Come Friday March 3 and Saturday March 4, Auckland's Harbourside will kick off their season of celebrating all things Bluff, with a delicious oyster banquet. Guests will enjoy the best Bluff oysters on offer, freshly shucked by a team of talented chefs at their award-winning restaurant. For $175 per person, guests will receive freshly shucked Bluffies along with battered, mornay, kilpatrick and panko-crumbed oysters with a flute of GH Mumm Champagne on arrival. To book, see their website.
ALL YOU CAN EAT BLUFF OYSTERS!! Coming to Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill on the 3rd and 4th of March!! See our Facebook page for details, tickets limited!! 🍴🥂#bluffoysters #ghmumm #harboursideauckland #bluffinmad #winnerbestrestaurant #oysters
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5. Bluff Oyster and Food Festival, Invercargill
It goes without saying that the best place to enjoy Bluff oysters is Bluff itself. This May, the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival will kick off in Invercargill. Offering some of the country's best seafood, specialty foods and wine, the Bluff Oyster Festival is well worth the annual pilgrimage down south. For more, see their website.
6. Shed 5, Wellington
For those based in the windy city, Shed 5 remains one of the best spots in Wellington to devour seafood. The annual Big Bluff Lunch will kick off at midday on Friday, March 3. For $150 per person, guests will receive four delicious courses and a glass of Bollinger Champagne. See their website here for more details.
7. The Oyster Inn, Waiheke Island
Sitting proudly on Oneroa Beach, The Oyster Inn will delight visitors once again this season with a beautfiul shucked-to-order Bluff oyster weekend. Scheduled to kick off on Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4, when guests order one dozen Bluff oysters, valued at $75, they will receive two flutes of Veuve Clicquot Champagne on the house. For more, see their website.
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8. Capitol, Wellington
Proudly serving Bluffies as soon as they're available, Wellington's Capitol Restaurant will be offering juicy and delicious oysters all season long. Be sure to book ahead of schedule to beat the hungry punters itching to get a prime spot in the sun. We suggest you pair this season's finest with a crisp glass of Momo Chardonnay. To book, see their website here.
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9. The Chippery, Wellington
Wellingtonians will already be well-across the fish and chip fanfare that surrounds Mt Vic Chippery. All year round, you can expect to see lines snaking around the bend, with locals forming an orderly line to get their fish and chip fix. This season, the team at Mt Vic will be offering mouth-watering Bluffies for those who would rather devour their oysters at home. See their website for more details.
10. Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters, Invercargill
Considered by oyster lovers as the "holy grail" of seafood, southerners can rest assured that Barnes Oysters will be serving their bounty as fresh as ever. Located on the corner of Spey and Bond Street on an unassuming spot in West Invercargill, Barnes have been delivering deliciously fresh, wild oysters for more than 55 years.
It goes without saying, that if you want the best oysters in town, you go to Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters. For more, see their website.
From Auckland's glittering Viaduct right down to Invercargill, here are 10 spots where you can satisfy your Bluff oyster fix.