Best Oyster Bar (Venerable & Modest)

Anchor Oyster Bar

This snug spot, which seats only about two dozen people if all its tables and counter are full (which they always seem to be), offers only a few varieties of oysters — that way you're guaranteed that they're fresh and sparkling. (As is the décor, which boasts discreet olde salt touches.) But Anchor is also popular for its clam chowder (both New England and Manhattan varieties), its Caesar salad (which can be topped with shrimp, crab, or both), and most especially its inventive nightly fish specials, written on a board above the counter. We tried a lovely, sophisticated Italianate halibut with white-and-dark beans entwined with bitter greens, dotted with a pungent aioli. The garlic bread is the real deal. The place fills up quickly. There's a board outside where you write your party's name and number, and a bench to perch on and take in the charming neighborhood.

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