629 Succotash Road, Matunuck, South Kingstown
(401) 783-4202
www.rhodyoysters.com

Opened in 2007 by oyster farmer Perry Raso, Matunuck Oyster Bar offers a range of dishes built around ultra-fresh, ultra-local seafood. How fresh and local? Well, just stand on the back deck of the Bar overlooking Potter Pond and you'll only be about 600 meters northeast of Raso's oyster beds. Much of what you'll eat at Matunuck Oyster Bar was in the water only hours before.

Raso has teamed up with other local aquafarmers to bring you the freshest shrimp, lobster, calamari, mussels, scallops, and Atlantic cod and salmon possible. The restautant even has its own land-based vegetable farm (at the north end of Potter Pond) for herbs and to-go-withs, and grass-fed beef comes from another farm in South County.

Oysters have different flavor profiles depending on where they were raised, the depth, salinity, and temperature of the water. This subtle difference of flavors is known as 'meroir,' the watery equivalent of 'terrior.' Yankee writer David Dadekian wrote that Matunucks, for instance, have a "distinct, briny crispness and lightly sweet finish, like a friendly goodbye." Belly up to the raw bar and test your own powers of discernment with M.O.B.'s sampler platter of twelve local raw oysters, including Matunucks, Moonstones, Bear Points, Cedar Islands, and Aquidnecks. Or go for Oysters Rockefeller, a fried oyster po' boy sandwich, fried oyster platter, an oyster and cream stew, or grilled oysters with garlic herb butter. Disappointed in the general lack of oysters in most cocktails? Try a Potters Pond Bloody Mary, which contains, yes, a Matunuck oyster "floater."

Local clams put in a number of appearances on the menu, as well. Choose between their Rhode Island or New England style chowders. M.O.B.'s stuffies are piled high with a nicely seasoned bread-and-clam stuffing, crisped on top and not at all gooshy in the center. Or perhaps pan-roasted littlenecks (with grilled chourizo in a garlic-white wine sauce) are calling your name? There are also whole-belly fried clams and Clams Casino.

Other menu highlights include boiled or baked lobster, lobster roll, fish and chips, Point Judith calamari, and Jambalaya.

Yelp reviews are overwhemingly positive, but also highlight a sad fact of foodie life: Excellent food, service, and atmosphere can equal crowds and a long wait. You'd do well to schedule your visit mid-week or in the off-season.

Want to visit the oyster farm? You can. Perry Raso himself leads tours of the 'facility,' which involves donning a pair of chest waders and walking across the shallow pond to the seven acres of oyster beds. Participants learn about local aquaculture, the Potter Pond environment, the life cycle of the oyster, and how oysters contribute to cleaner coastal waters.

Matunuck Oyster Bar is open daily from 11:30am. Closing time varies with the season.

Awards

Providence Phoenix Editors' Picks: Best Pond to Plate (2010), Best Seafood Restaurant (2013).
Rhode Island Monthly's Best of Rhode Island: Best Fish and Chips (2014).
Rhode Island Monthly's Readers' Poll: Best Waterfront Dining (2013), Best Restaurant in South County (2013).

What’s nearby

Distances between points are actual distances, without regard to oceans or swashbuckling penguins. Your travel distance will be longer.

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