Grand Central Oyster Bar- A Worthy Classic

Grand Central Oyster Bar

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Pants at a Glance
  • scene: Under the sea, under Grand Central; Quintessential old New York
  • sip: There are some wild martinis available, as well more classic options like wine and beer
  • savor: Oysters (duh); Fried clams; Oyster Pan Roast, everything!
  • sit: By yourself; with your parents, from out of town or in town;
  • spend: $$
  • address: Lower Level, Grand Central Terminal, 89 East 42nd Street
  • phone number: (212) 490-6650
  • website:

There is really no excuse, dear readers, for my negligence in seeking out this New York City gem sooner. The Grand Central Oyster Bar has a menu and atmosphere that is ambitious in scope, but not delivery.  Every element of the space is classic, and comforting, from the red and white checked table cloths to the waiters in white jackets.   There is something truly spectacular about sitting under the undulating arches of Grand Central Terminal for a seafood feast. It is a bit odd walking into Grand Central with a purpose other than catching a train to somewhere, and you must push your way past the travelers and office dwellers who use Grand Cenral Terminal as their food court, but the Oyster Bar is worth it.

Grand Central Oyster Bar

There are several different parts of The Oyster Bar, to suit any kind of diner or occasion.  There is a large dining room with lots of tables, which takes reservations; there is a waiting lounge with a bar and some low tables; there is another room with a large snaking counter as well as other counters that are perfect for solo dining; and a dark, real saloon feeling back room, that just oozes old New York.  Take your pick, and it is worth noting the counters offer some additional sandwich option. The menu at The Oyster Bar is absolutely enormous in physical size and scope, and includes every imaginable preparation of fish- soups, salads, stews, sandwiches, simply grilled, fried, raw, and anything I might have forgotten.   Day or night, summer or winter, tourist or local, Grand Central Oyster is a transporting experience, if not quite under the sea, under Grand Central Terminal..Oh, and land lovers need not worry, there are not seafood/shellfish options as well…

Grand Central Oyster Bar
Get in my belly, fried clam bellies

What we ate

Bloody Mary Shooter- Bottoms up baby…is there anything better than a spicy, briny shot of Bloody Mary with an oyster in it?  Didn’t think so…

Oysters – as many kinds as you can imagine, no way to list them without sounding like Bubba from Forest Gump…fresh and perfect

Fried clam bellies-I have a soft spot for fried clams, owing to growing up on the Jersey Shore.  These were perfectly nostalgia-inducing, not greasy, just crunchy on the outside and soft and plump on the inside

Grand Central Oyster Bar
Cue the porn music

Bouillabaisse- I bet you didn’t know that you can get to the South of France from Grand Central, did you?  The dish was overflowing with shellfish (so much  lobster) and flavor, I especially loved the rouille and crusty bread for dunking in that fragrant seaside broth…

Grand Central Oyster Bar
Oyster Pan Roast, trust me

Oyster Pan Roast- This is a dish that really defies explanation, so it really must be tried to be believed.  There are huge oysters floating in the rich, red sauce, anchored by the thick, spongey bread, it is addicting. It is not too creamy or intense, but definitely unique, and crave -worthy.

With the holidays coming up and all of the madness that comes with it, take a step under the sea and back in time, and go check out the Grand Central Oyster Bar.



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  1. I just ate there last night and totally concur that the place is a New York classic, though one must order carefully. We found the clam bellies to be listless and uninspiring (someone likened them to eating nuts of standard poodle!) and my bouillabaisse was actually a frightfully bastardized version of a Marseille fish soup, with stale bread and a poor attempt at a rouille. For my money, it’s all about the fresh oysters and the uber-rich pan roasts!