About The Darling Oyster Bar

513 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
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The Darling Oyster Bar is a casual seafood restaurant and raw bar. The Darling's menu features fresh seafood and creative ingredients, served with an approachable style. The Darling Oyster Bar’s atmosphere promotes comfortable hospitality; with a lively, neighborhood feel.

Anchoring The Darling Oyster Bar is a stunning raw bar showcasing fresh, made-to-order seafood. Guests can enjoy the lively raw bar scene while overlooking historic King Street from The Darling’s iconic storefront. The Darling raw bar also offers full service dining.

Located in the heart of Upper King Street, The Darling Oyster Bar is housed in a 115-year old historic building that enjoys a storied past. A mix of the original 1900’s reclaimed wood, whole exposed brick walls, classic tile, antique molding, and nautical theme combine to create a setting that is all at once convivial, charming, and comfortable.

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Seafood

Hours of Operation:
Monday- Thursday, 4pm to 10pm; Bar open late
Friday- Saturday, 4pm to 11pm; Bar to 2am
Sunday, 11am to 10pm; Bar open late

Cross Street:
Morris Street

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(843) 641-0821

Website:
http://www.thedarling.com/

Parking Details:
There is a private lot for our customers

Executive Chef:
Joe Dimaio

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Smoking Area, Weekend Brunch, Wine

Restaurant Photos

  • The Darling Oyster Bar
The Darling Oyster Bar

The Darling Oyster Bar Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.5

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.4

service

4.4

ambience

4.5

value

4.1

noise

Moderate

92% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Seafood
South Carolina
Seafood
Charleston
Best Restaurants in Downtown Charleston ›

Fit for Foodies (106)
Hot Spot (93)
Good for Groups (66)
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Vibrant Bar Scene (65)
Neighborhood Gem (65)
Special Occasion (54)
Romantic (29)
Great for Brunch (25)
Great for Lunch (14)
Late-night Find (11)
Scenic View (11)
Notable Wine List (8)
Kid-friendly (5)
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137 reviews
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Not a good experience, except for being ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined 4 days ago

Not a good experience, except for being with the good company I came with. We had a very early reservation and there was plenty of seating in the main, seemingly well appointed, dining room the whole time we were there....but we and many others were seated in a dark, dreary sliver of a space, with overflow style seating, with a view of the capable and friendly wait staff going in and out of the kitchen. We aren't tourists and eat out very often and really I haven't had that poor of seating downtown in a upper price restaurant, ever. Service was as I mentioned capable and friendly. Food was just ok, drink a little better but neither were worth the price charged...and the awful seating made everything pale and made me feel ripped off. and I had been all set to like it.

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food2
ambience1
service3

We had reservations and they kept us wai ...

 
 (Philadelphia)
·Dined 5 days ago

We had reservations and they kept us waiting when there were plenty of open tables. Served warm water in drinking glasses, they did not time food well, My husband got his meal 10 minutes before me and I order a dozen oysters. We were also seated very closely to another couple who were loud. This restaurant came highly recommended but I must say it was entirely overrated. The food was good enough but entirely overpriced.

Tags: Late-night Find
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food3
ambience4
service3
value2

The service was lovely, the cocktails fa ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined 7 days ago

The service was lovely, the cocktails fantastic, but I could have made a better stew. It was the special of the evening and wreck fish is a delicate, tasty white fish. The salt completely over powered the dish and the okra was slimy and disjointed. I think this restaurant has potential but salt is not the only tool in the kitchen ...especially with delicate fish flavors. Between that and the slimy okra it was rather unpleasant. I would go again myself to Try again but at this point would not recommend it to anyone.

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food2
ambience4
service4

We were getting our daughter settled in ...

 
 (Washington DC)
·Dined on August 16, 2016

We were getting our daughter settled in at The College of Charleston and it was our last night having dinner before we left. It is a charming restaurant and the food is delicious. Good for a nice dinner.

Tags: Romantic, Scenic View, Vibrant Bar Scene, Special Occasion, Hot Spot, Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service4
value4

Shrimp and Grits were delicious!

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 16, 2016

Shrimp and Grits were delicious!

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food5
ambience5
service5

Raw seafood very good . Fried seafood no ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 15, 2016

Raw seafood very good . Fried seafood not so much, over cooked.

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food3
ambience5
service5
value4

Our server was awesome, very friendly an ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 14, 2016

Our server was awesome, very friendly and knowledgable.

Tags: Great for Brunch
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

The food was decent; however, I am going ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 14, 2016

The food was decent; however, I am going to be one of those people and complain about the service/our requests. I told our hostess and who I thought was a manager that we had two birthdays at our table, he acknowledged and said they celebrate them there. I thought this meant they brought out cake and what not. At the end of the dinner we were brought dessert menus and nothing was mentioned about the birthdays. I wanted to make the night special and they ignored it. It was also FREEZING and I asked two people to turn the air down (Yes, I'm sure restaurants hate that request) but it was completely uncomfortable in there. At least tell me "we can't because of 'x, y and z'" but they said that they would. Again, the food was decent, nothing to write home about. I'm glad I tried it and can cross it off my list.

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food4
ambience2
service3
value3

As soon as we walked in we were greeted ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 13, 2016

As soon as we walked in we were greeted with a smile and they actually had our table ready for us earlier than our reservation time! The drink list was amazing and our server was very sweet. We had fresh raw oysters, the spicy shrimp dip/spread (SOOO GOOD) and then shrimp cocktail. Everything was so fresh, super chilled when it arrived at the table and all the sauces were homemade. If we ever come back to Charleston, we will come back here! :)

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Vibrant Bar Scene, Special Occasion, Romantic, Good for Groups
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Mixed & Torn. There is a light & dark di ...

vip
 (Charlotte)
·Dined on August 13, 2016

Mixed & Torn. There is a light & dark dining room, go towards the light. Service was spot on ( they refold your napkin when you get up), I appreciate the details. Ambiance in the lighter room is very nice, I loved the lighting fixtures on the wall and above the bar , but the the florescent fixtures down the middle don't jive, seemed like office lighting and made me think of work. The raw bar is very fresh. My husband had the chowder and while he loved it, I thought it tasted very olive oily. The food is good but everything was little different than I had expected. Scallops and charred corn were spot on. Daughter's chicken seemed fatty?Maybe fried with skin on, oh well, that's what she gets for ordering poultry at seafood restaurant. The Fishhouse Punch is fantastic. I give the hostess a zero, we had an early 5pm reservation and she walked us by a booth that remained open the entire time we were there for a table on the back wall ..... for that reason, I wouldn't trust this place to bring important clients to in the future. The crowd was good and I'd go back for the raw bar and to have another punch. Our server was excellent.

Tags: Hot Spot, Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience5
service5
value5

Everything was great but one menu is lim ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 12, 2016

Everything was great but one menu is limited

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food5
ambience4
service5

We love our seafood & have been wanting ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 12, 2016

We love our seafood & have been wanting to try The Darling since it opened. It did not disappoint. We had the seafood plateau for four with sides of the snapper service, clam strips and a little extra shrimp cocktail because one wasn't a fan of oysters. Cheap, nope, but great seafood. Loved the 'draft' cocktails. We were sitting in the back part of the restaurant & probably would have preferred a more open location but it wasn't enough to fuss about.

We'll be back.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

We devoured the seafood platter in like ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on August 8, 2016

We devoured the seafood platter in like 5 minutes. It was delicious and seemed like a good value for the excellent quality oysters and stuff. Also, clam chowder poutine is a brilliant and tasty idea.

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food4
ambience3
service5
value5

My boyfriend and I live in Columbia and ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 7, 2016

My boyfriend and I live in Columbia and visit Charleston very frequently while aiming to try a new restaurant whenever we are in town. We decided to make a reservation at The Darling Oyster Bar for Sunday evening while we were in town for my boyfriends work conference. From the moment we walked in we were greeted by friendly hostesses and staff members and our original table was in what they call the lounge area. I mentioned to my boyfriend that I really wanted to watch the Olympics and the staff was very accommodating to switch us to a high top in the bar area so that we could watch. The restaurant is beautifully designed and you can tell that the owners did not skimp on the design and decor of the restaurant. Our server Katie provided us with some of the best service we have ever had. She was attentive and knowledgeable without hovering. All of our food came out in a timely fashion and her recommendations were spot on. We started with the creole shrimp appetizer and the baked oysters. My boyfriend loved his oysters and the creole shrimp was one of the best apps I have ever had. For dinner I wanted something a little lighter so I ordered the green salad and a half pound of the shrimp cocktail for my entree, and my boyfriend ordered the double cheeseburger with fries. My green salad had the most incredible buttermilk dressing and the shrimp cocktail was served with a housemade tarter sauce that complimented the shrimp very well. I normally hate tarter sauce but this one had a lot of fresh herbs and lemon juice in it. I tried a bite of my boyfriends burger and fries and they were incredible. The burger was juicy and tender and cooked medium, just the way he ordered it. We finished our meal with an order of bombolini, fresh doughnut holes rolled in sugar and served with berry compote and lemon curd. The doughnuts were hot and both dipping sauces were so fresh and flavorful without being too sweet. Overall great experience! Can't wait to go back!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Food: seafood platter was great. Ceviche ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 7, 2016

Food: seafood platter was great. Ceviche was partially raw and the flavor was off- unappetizing. The special was good as well as the chicken. The wine list is not great. Our service was not very good- we got cold coffee after dinner (obviously had been there all day) and when I mentioned it to our server, he told me no, he had poured it from the fresh pot. Ok? Then he said ok well I'll take it off your bill but didn't offer to make a fresh pot. I also barely touched my ceviche because it wasn't good and he never asked how it was. Pretty place with potential but overall disappointing.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene
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food3
ambience5
service2
value2

Food is good, but disappointed by wine ...

vip
 (Denver)
·Dined on August 7, 2016

Food is good, but disappointed by wine list. Needs an upgrade.

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food5
ambience4
service3

one of our favorite fun go to spots.... ...

vip
 (Seattle)
·Dined on August 6, 2016

one of our favorite fun go to spots.... great location, fun ambiance, awesome decor, great food - not a huge menu but they do their go to menu really well.

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food4
ambience4
service3

Service was great! Food was pretty good, ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 6, 2016

Service was great! Food was pretty good, spent a hundred dollars with just one drink each (2 people) and we both had to eat again in an hour. Probably won't go back just because there are so many other places you can go and get good food and be full.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value1

The entire experience was second to none ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 6, 2016

The entire experience was second to none! We had wonderful service, excellent super fresh oysters, the shrimp and grits was amazing! I've been living in Charleston for 11.5 years and I've been to a lot of the restaurants and I cannot wait to go back to The Darling Oyster Bar!

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food5
ambience5
service5

The Darling Oyster Bar is my new favorit ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 5, 2016

The Darling Oyster Bar is my new favorite in Charleston! They have a great happy hour, $1 oysters, $1 off beer and cocktails. The food is creative and very good! You must get the clam chowder fries!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
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service5
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Enjoyed our dinner at the Darling Oyster ...

 
 (Washington DC)
·Dined on August 3, 2016

Enjoyed our dinner at the Darling Oyster Bar the other night. Food and service was very good. Will be returning.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Neighborhood Gem, Late-night Find
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

The food was very good and the service w ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on July 31, 2016

The food was very good and the service was exceptional.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Romantic, Special Occasion, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

I loved the oysters, the best for sure. ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on July 30, 2016

I loved the oysters, the best for sure. The ambiance was great and the food arrived quickly. I would definitely recommend the place.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Romantic, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch, Hot Spot, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Food was amazing!!!! Service was helpful ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 30, 2016

Food was amazing!!!! Service was helpful and friendly and quick!!! Telling everyone to go there!!!

Tags: Good for Groups, Romantic, Scenic View, Hot Spot, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Good oyster selection and food. Service ...

vip
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on July 29, 2016

Good oyster selection and food. Service was a tad spotty, but overall good experience.

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food5
ambience4
service3

After trying the Darling's appetizers at ...

 
 (New York Area)
·Dined on July 28, 2016

After trying the Darling's appetizers at a local event, we decided to try the restaurant for dinner.

On a Thursday night, the restaurant was very busy. Fortunately we had reservations and were seated immediately. The service was good with the only problem being that I did not receive the entree I ordered. The waiter offered to replace the incorrect order.

The noise level is high, but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The staff is very efficient and promptly delivers the food.

The food was great and I look forward to many return visits to the Darling.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

The food and atmosphere were both fabulo ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on July 27, 2016

The food and atmosphere were both fabulous. Our waiter had no knowledge of the delicious oysters we ordered. We had ordered two of each kind and she couldn't begin to tell us which were which. She seemed flustered after this and tried to avoid our table.

Tags: Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot
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food4
ambience5
service3
value4

We enjoyed our experience here with frie ...

vip
 (St. Louis)
·Dined on July 25, 2016

We enjoyed our experience here with friends visiting from out of town. The oyster selection was good and they were definitely fresh. Our server, Katie, was friendly and knowledgeable. I only rated the ambiance a bit lower as we were seated near the main entryway in a wide hallway of sorts. The bar dining area with large windows overlooking King Street would be much more appealing and I would request seating in this area next time. We do plan to visit again soon!

Tags: Good for Groups, Hot Spot, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

Loved the ambiance in the bar - had drin ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on July 24, 2016

Loved the ambiance in the bar - had drinks/oysters at bar then dinner at table in bar area. Service was great - friendly, attentive waiters - w/ sense of humor.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

The Darling Oyster was so charming and v ...

vip
 (Chicago)
·Dined on July 23, 2016

The Darling Oyster was so charming and very, very good. Service could have been slightly improved at times, but food and ambiance were wonderful. Had a great time with friends!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Hot Spot, Romantic, Special Occasion, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience5
service3
value4

Adorable place and good food overall. H ...

vip
 (Cleveland)
·Dined on July 22, 2016

Adorable place and good food overall. However, because it's so popular, service felt a little rushed. The food came out a little too fast--- like they were just trying to shuffle us out to get the next table seated. Not exactly a relaxed dining experience, albeit lively.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Hot Spot, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

Wife and I ate here; coctails were above ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on July 22, 2016

Wife and I ate here; coctails were above average while my wife really enjoyed the shrimp and grits. Oysters had that deep clean sea taste that keeps you coming back. Best oyster shooter I ever had too! Big fan and will return!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Fantastic waitress! Food was amazing! W ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on July 17, 2016

Fantastic waitress! Food was amazing! Wonderful experience!

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food5
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service5

Wanted to try something new on a recent ...

 
 (Chicago)
·Dined on July 16, 2016

Wanted to try something new on a recent trip to Charleston. This meal was the highlight of our meals out (including some venerable and well known spots). We opted to order small plates so we could have a lot of tasting options. The baked oysters were amazing-we ordered them both ways and each were equally delicious. Also tried the clam strips, which are definitely not your HoJo clam strips of the past. First of all it's a huge serving. The flavors trend a little bit towards Asian and are deeply satisfying. The creole shrimp was a hit with my husband. It has a lot of bacon flavor, balanced by a hint of mustard. The green salad was a good counterpoint, but not very memorable. Dessert! Waiter tried to steer us to some local ice cream spots, but we are so happy we ordered the oatmeal cookie blondie with ice cream. Gooey, hot, delicious.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

Darling restaurant! Amazing food, great ...

 
 (Philadelphia)
·Dined on July 15, 2016

Darling restaurant! Amazing food, great atmosphere!

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Brunch, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem, Romantic, Special Occasion
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food5
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service5
value5

Cool place in the main dining room, that ...

 
 (Charlotte)
·Dined on July 14, 2016

Cool place in the main dining room, that is what differentiates this place.

We changed our reservations at another restaurant specifically because of the pics posted by others. Hostess took us to a dark hallway where there is constant server traffic. I requested to be moved to the main dining area where here were open seats but was denied. We should have simply left but the family was hungry.

The waitress was nice, food good, but the experience was ruined by eating in the hallway. When making a reservation tell them you want the main dining area so you can enjoy what you are paying for. Food not much different than 100 other restaurants in the area.

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food4
ambience3
service2

Party of 3 enjoyed 4 different menu item ...

vip
 (New York Area)
·Dined on July 10, 2016

Party of 3 enjoyed 4 different menu items--crab salad, dozen oysters, salmon cake eggs benedict, and fried oysters/shrimp combo---all delicious. Wonderfully smart decor in vintage building, excellent service, reasonably priced food and beverages. Delightful Sunday brunch fun. Local residents will definitely return.

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Brunch, Hot Spot, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Beautifully decorated. Awesome service f ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on July 10, 2016

Beautifully decorated. Awesome service from Evan and John. The food was outstanding especially the poutine french fries. The mimosas were inexpensive and delicious.

Tags: Great for Brunch, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

The selection of oysters is smaller than ...

 
 (Chicago)
·Dined on July 9, 2016

The selection of oysters is smaller than I'm used to however they were so delicious. The cocktails were unique and very good. The menu is small, but the food was amazing. The staff was very attentive and made great recommendations. We will definitely be coming back.

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food5
ambience5
service5

Great spot! Fun and lively, great seafoo ...

vip
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on July 7, 2016

Great spot! Fun and lively, great seafood, great service and a new and different place to go. Oyster spaghetti highly recommended.

Tags: Good for Groups, Hot Spot
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food5
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service5
value5

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