what is a raw bar

If you’re a seafood lover, you’ve probably heard of a raw bar, but what exactly is it? A raw bar is a type of restaurant or section within a restaurant that specializes in serving fresh, chilled seafood. It’s a place where you can indulge in an array of delicious, raw seafood delicacies, often paired with tasty condiments and refreshing cocktails. If you’re looking to explore the world of raw bars, here are six chilled seafood staples that you simply can’t miss. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with these mouth-watering seafood delicacies!

What Exactly Is a Raw Bar?

One subset of seafood restaurants is the raw bar. These restaurants often offer raw oysters and clams. These and other seafood items are often served steamed or cooked at the restaurant. The raw bar restaurant might also offer crab legs, shrimp, and fish in a buffet or made-to-order.

A raw bar must adhere to food safety. It is important for raw bar owners to know the difference between shellfish and mussels that can be eaten raw. Relevant factors include how the seafood is stored, where it was harvested, and its age.

Restaurants must adhere to HACCP standards to ensure raw bar safety. This protocol governs food safety in different regions around the globe. To ensure that seafood is preserved and stored at lower temperatures, equipment must be maintained at certain temperatures. It is important to label and rotate aged food properly as needed.

The appeal of raw bars is partly due to fresh food. This idea is growing in popularity all around the globe. Raw food is based on the idea that vegetables and other plant matter are best consumed raw to get the maximum vitamins and nutrients. These ideas also apply to seafood and fish. Raw bars often include sushi, which is a popular type of raw food found in many countries. These eateries are more exotic than other types of restaurants. This is because some customers love raw seafood while others won’t try it.

6 Must-Try Chilled Seafood Staples

If you’re a seafood enthusiast, you know that fresh, chilled seafood is an absolute treat. From delicate oysters to succulent shrimp, here are six must-try chilled seafood staples that will leave your taste buds begging for more.

Shrimp Cocktail

Boiling shrimp is one of the most simple foods. A wreath of shrimp around a glass of tangy cocktail sauce — ketchup, dressed up with horseradish, pepper, lemon, or Worcestershire — became ubiquitous on appetizer line-ups by the second half of the 20th century. A shrimp cocktail deserves the spotlight if it is done right. The recipe starts with wild shrimp that are quickly cooked in a salty broth and then thrown into an ice bath. If the texture and flavors are spot on, the cocktail sauce is an afterthought–something to mix up flavors on the fourth or fifth bite.


These briny bivalves make raw bars shine. It’s easy to distinguish between Olympias from the Pacific Northwest or Belons from Maine. A good oyster doesn’t need an accessory. If you order more than a dozen, it is best to take your first one as nature intended. It’s not uncommon to enhance the oyster’s flavor by adding a mignonette, Champagne, or red wine vinegar with pepper and minced shallots. If the moment is right, you can drop an oyster in vodka, mix it with some cocktail sauce, and then slug it back shooter-style.

Clams and Mussels

These mollusks can differ significantly from one another. For example, littlenecks are small flavor vessels, while New England steamers can be large and salty. Mussels have darker shells and milder flavors that are often dominant in sauces used to cook. Clams are known for their light exteriors and use butter and white wines for cooking them. Although they are not as well-known as oysters in raw bar menus, both can be found on clams. You can have clams raw or smoked, depending on their species. Mussels, however, are best steamed and chilled.

Lobsters and Crab Claws

Lobster and crab are rarely ever served raw. The hard-shelled crustaceans, which are known for digging up the ocean floor and eating without much discretion, are often not allowed to eat lobster or crab. It’s safer to boil or steam them. Crab and lobster are often the star performers at raw bars when they’re chilled and cooked. Mignonette, cocktail sauce, and a mayonnaise-based sauce bagnarotte are all good accompaniments. A stone crab claw is a highly sought-after delicacy in the southeast United States. It can be harvested while the animal remains alive and regrow its limb. The northeast is home to lobsters, while Alaskan king crab legs are popular across the country. Flaky meat from some species, such as blue crabs, can be eaten as a dip or in a jumbo lump crab cocktail.


Crudo is an Italian word that means “raw” and can refer to various items at a raw bar. It could include pickled octopus carpaccio or cured scallops. You can also qualify for Japanese sashimi, Hawaiian poke, or Latin-American ceviche. You can either serve raw fish crudo sliced and unflavored or with flavorings such as garlic aioli and ginger, capers, and shallots. It can be served with chips or bread with a ponzu or mignonette sauce and is also prepared in vinegar.


Fish roe is most commonly from trout, whitefish, salmon, sturgeon, and carp. It deserves to be given delicacy status. The natural decline in the number of these species can be caused by the removal of fish eggs from the ecosystem. Today, almost all caviar is produced on farms and sustainably harvested in countries like Russia, Iran, and China. However, there are new American producers of caviar. Caviar is often added to dishes as an “add-on” or service because of its labor-intensive and meticulous extraction. These tiny, gelatinous spheres can add an incredible flavor to any meal and are a crowning jewel.

Where to Find the Best Raw Bar in Florida?

If you’re looking for the best raw bar in Florida, you’ll find no shortage of great options. Florida is home to an abundance of fresh, delicious seafood, and many state restaurants specialize in serving raw bar favorites. However, if you’re looking for an exceptional raw bar experience, there’s one place you can’t miss: Cap’s Steamer Bar & Grill in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.

Cap’s Steamer Bar & Grill is a local favorite serving some of the best seafood in town. Their raw bar is truly exceptional, featuring an impressive selection of fresh, chilled seafood, including oysters, clams, shrimp, and more. The quality of their seafood is second to none, and their skilled chefs take great care in preparing each dish to perfection. In addition to their incredible raw bar offerings, Cap’s also features a full menu of other seafood classics, such as crab cakes, lobster rolls, and fish tacos. With its casual yet upscale atmosphere and alfresco dining, Cap’s is the perfect place to sit back, relax, and indulge in some of the freshest seafood in Florida.

Book a Reservation Today!

Ready to experience the ultimate raw bar experience in Florida? Head to Cap’s Steamer Bar & Grill in downtown St. Petersburg and treat your taste buds to the freshest, most delicious seafood. With an exceptional selection of chilled seafood staples expertly prepared by skilled chefs, Cap’s raw bar is an experience you can’t miss. 

Don’t settle for anything less than the best – make your reservation at Cap’s today and discover the true meaning of seafood bliss!