Top 6 oyster bars in London

The season is upon us – catch the pearls of the ocean in London glamorous oyster bars

Carrying the smell of the seashore, thick-shelled and juicy, bright and beckoning, their aphrodisiacal qualities guiding the head to the air as the rich scent of the ocean fans the nostrils, oysters are edible for every month in which there is an R, maturing around Britain's seabeds from September to April: the time is now ripe to visit one of London's sensational oyster bars. Look out for natives from Jersey, Colchester, West Mersea, Whitstable and Scotland and try them dressed Rockefeller, Catalan or Vietnamese style. Rock oysters mature for two years and are eatable year-round, while native oysters take four years to grow large enough to eat – it's these that are the pearls of restaurant menus. Rich in zinc and other minerals, oysters are high in protein, low in fat and best served with Champagne.

J Sheekey Oyster Bar

J-Sheekey-exteriorJ Sheekey Oyster Bar

Among the most sophisticated addresses in London, Josef Sheekey's remarkable pescatarian legacy today heralds sustainable and responsibly-caught fish and one of London's finest dedicated oyster bars. Grab a seat at the generous horseshoe-shaped counter and marvel at the open kitchen as you graze on a truly exceptional array of native oysters that are as expertly selected as the clientele. www.j-sheekey.co.uk

Wiltons

WILTONSWiltons

The quintessential English dining experience, Wilton's has been serving oysters to London since 1742, when it opened as a stall selling seafood in the Haymarket. Such is its pedigree that it even boasts a dedicated oyster sommelier to guide you through the beautiful bivalves plumbed among the pearls of the British seas, alongside a consummate selection of caviars and native fish. www.wiltons.co.uk

Related: 10 of the best beer gardens in London

Bibendum Restaurant & Oyster Bar

bibendum

Bibendum Restaurant & Oyster Bar

This Conran-championed Brompton Cross beauty is superlative from the sweeping mosaic Grade II listed forecourt to the beautiful bivalves dressed as angels on horseback. Running from September, Bibendum's Return of the Natives celebrates the pearls of the oyster season plucked from the shores of Scotland, Jersey and the Duchy of Cornwall's estate. www.bibendum.co.uk

Related: 9 of the best Sunday roasts in London

Chiltern Firehouse

Chiltern

Chiltern Firehouse

London's sceniest restaurant since opening in a magically transformed Marylebone fire station, the reimagining of which had much the same effect on its locale, the Oyster Cart here serves three types of natives alongside chef Nuno Mendes' specially concocted Ponzu and fiery sauces – best savoured with their inimitable and expertly-chosen selection of Champagnes and vodkas on ice. www.chilternfirehouse.com

Related: Experiential restaurants in London

Bentley's Oyster Bar and Grill

bentley

Bentley's Oyster Bar and Grill

Elegant as an Edwardian frock, Bentley's is a West End institution of comparable age: think rich red Chesterfield leathers, crustacea-themed artworks and an upstairs dining room that wouldn't be amiss in Regency Brighton. Pucker up at the original marble oyster bar and devour rich natives cooked in Catalan, Vietnamese and Florentine styles at this textbook British oyster experience. www.bentleys.org

Related: London's best cookery schools

Wright Brothers Soho Oyster House

WB-Soho-PWF-0608Wright Brothers Soho Oyster House

Having opened their fifth restaurant in South Kensington in June, seafood distributors Wright Brothers are the authority on oysters who import natives direct from their Duchy of Cornwall Oyster Farm. With a daily changing menu reliant on the day's catch, each oyster comes elegantly described, or for a comprehensive experience, request an oyster masterclass to truly get a handle on the finest natives. www.thewrightbrothers.co.uk

Related: London's best restaurants with a view

1 J Sheekey Oyster Bar
2 Wiltons
3 Bibendum Restaurant & Oyster Bar
4 Chiltern Firehouse
5 Bentley's Oyster Bar and Grill
6 Wright Brothers Soho Oyster House