Critiques

The Best Restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard: 19 Raw

19 raw oyster bar edgartown martha's vineyard

Heading to Martha’s Vineyard soon? Yep, us too. One question we get all the time is about this pressing matter: what are the best restaurants and places to eat on Martha’s Vineyard?  We’ll share some of our favorites from time to time. Without question, 19 Raw Oyster Bar in Edgartown is a restaurant that should be on your list of where to eat on Martha’s Vineyard the next time you’re there.

best restaurants on martha’s vineyard

There are so many great places to eat on Martha’s Vineyard that it’s impossible to have a single top pick. Where to eat on Martha’s Vineyard for any given meal has a lot to do with what you’re looking for. Outside or in, romantic or kid-friendly, Up Island or Oak Bluffs. You get the idea.

Join our community

For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter. And see luxury in a new light.

sign up now >

19 raw oyster barmartha’s vineyard: the setting

19 Raw Oyster Bar is located on Church Street in Edgartown.

best places to eat Martha's Vineyard

The best places to eat in Martha’s Vineyard: 19 Raw Oyster Bar, Edgartown. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

When it opened in 2017, this spot filled a surprising gap in the MV restaurant ecosystem: until its arrival, there was a distinct dearth of proper oyster bars on an island surrounded by – you guessed it – oysters.

Related Post

the sweet summer of joy of the fair on Martha’s Vineyard

read more >

We peeked at the menu and noted that it includes oysters from all of the ponds on the Vineyard. Plus craft beers – including one from the owner aptly named Wash Ashore. We were a bit skeptical – beer and raw shellfish are fine, but would anyone in the kitchen actually know how to cook? We decided to investigate.

19 raw oyster bar edgartown martha's vineyard

19 Raw Oyster Bar, Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard. Courtesy Photo.

19 raw oyster bar martha’s vineyard: the vibe

The first time we tried to visit 19 Raw, we couldn’t get in. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, it was a balmy, starry summer Saturday night and the place was jammed with swan-like women and sartorially sophisticated men spilling out onto the sidewalk.

The music was loud, the crowd was laughing and happy, and a string of little white lights added a touch of whimsy to the proceedings. Just our kind of place! But no go. We were relegated to staring wistfully at the fun, as if we were stuck standing outside the velvet rope at a hot Manhattan nightclub.

Of course this made us frantic to actually get in and see what all the fuss was about.

We achieved our goal a couple of days later during a picture-perfect golden hour late afternoon. And dear reader, 19 Raw did not disappoint.

Related Post

what are the best Martha’s Vineyard books?

read more >

The restaurant’s interior is rustic island-chic: reclaimed wood, industrial accents and vintage Edison light bulbs.

Because the weather was so fine, though, we settled in on the stone terrace with our fellow guests – two guys having a beer, a trio of women drinking champagne.

best restaurants 19 raw oyster bar edgartown martha's vineyard

The best restaurants and places to eat in Martha’s Vineyard: 19 Raw Oyster Bar, Edgartown. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

The cocktail menu is good fun – offerings include a Bloody Martha, a Tashmoo Sangria, and a Menemsha Mule. There’s a nice selection of sparklers and wine, too.

19 raw oyster bar martha’s vineyard: the food

Small plates abound on the menu, as many people clearly make this a drinks-and-snacks stop. We quickly decided to start with the New England Clam Chowdah (supplied by the MV Chowder Co.) If you haven’t had it, you owe it to yourself to do so as soon as possible. It’s life-changing. Seriously. No one ever gets the ratio of clams to potatoes right – they do.

best restaurants and places to eat Martha's Vineyard 19 raw oyster bar

The best restaurants and places to eat in Martha’s Vineyard: 19 Raw Oyster Bar, Edgartown. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

Oyster selections change by the day, and nearly all are from MV or the Cape (there was one on offer when we were there from Damariscotta, Maine, which brought back some very happy memories for us). There are also cold cocktails of shrimp and other shellfish; raw fish selections including tuna poke and tuna carpaccio; seaweed salad, smoked bluefish; and sesame noodle salad.

Related Post

the sweet summer joy of the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard

read more >

The most theatrical and photogenic appetizer option is “The Towers:” the wittily-named plateaus de fruits de mer. Eiffel, Empire State and Sears are the three choices, each larger than the preceding one. All involve oysters, shrimp, clams, crab claws, and a choice of poke, crudo or ceviche. The latter two also include lobster tails. 

best restaurants Martha's Vineyard 19 Raw Oyster Bar

The best restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard: 19 Raw in Edgartown. Courtesy Photo.

We sampled a number of these delightful options while sipping Chardonnay, and we’re giving them all the thumbs up. At that point in the process, we were totally full. Still, we pressed doggedly on to our entrée: butter poached lobster tails. 

The presentation for the lobster tails was magnificent: an over-sized indigo-blue glass bowl. Inside were 2 lobster tails – out of the shell, natch – nestled on top of “crustacean butter” and accompanied by grilled corn on the cob and roasted potatoes. Are. You. Kidding. Me? It was incredibly good.

best places to eat Martha's Vineyard 19 raw oyster bar

The best restaurants and places to eat Martha’s Vineyard: 19 Raw Oyster Bar, Edgartown. Photo Credit: Dandelion Chandelier.

You could also have roasted salmon, grilled gourmet sausages (rabbit, wild boar and venison), or herb-baked cod. You could even have Filet Mignon. We don’t know why you would do that if these lobster tails are on the menu, but hey, to each her own.

Related Post

the black culture guide to the best of Martha’s Vineyard

read more >

Toward the end of our meal, Chef and Owner Joe Monteiro came out from the kitchen to chat with us. The place has the feel of a truly local joint – you can be sure it’s hopping long after the summer crowds are gone.

Dinner al fresco at 19 Raw is a splendid way to end a day (or start an evening). There was a darling chocolate Labrador curled up at the feet of his dad while we were there, reminding us that the restaurant is really dog-friendly. Drop anchor here and you’re in for a fun time.

best restaurants on martha’s vineyard: 19 raw oyster bar 

We’ll keep sharing our recommendations on where to eat on Martha’s Vineyard. In the meantime, what’s your favorite? See you on the island.

join our community

For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier Newsletter hereAnd see luxury in a new light.

Forward This Article

Join our community

For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter. And see luxury in a new light.

sign up now >