Jan 5, 2023 - Food and Drink

Seafood lovers find paradise at Center City's Pearl & Mary

A tray of oysters on ice with lemons and cocktail sauce.

The list of oysters vary from small to large. These were from Prince Edward Island. Photo: Alexa Mencia/Axios

I'm perpetually searching for the city’s best spots to share a plate of freshly shucked oysters. So I dragged the Axios Philly team to the new Center City oyster bar Pearl & Mary for our end-of-year dinner last month.

State of plate: At the corner of S 13th and Sansom Streets, the restaurant from Michael Schulson — of Double Knot, Sampan and Via Locusta — serves up a menu that seafood lovers dream of:

  • A raw bar with selections from lobster and snow crab to oysters from both coasts;
  • Decadent appetizers, such as deviled eggs and oysters topped with caviar;
  • And hearty entrees, including lobster rolls, tuna burgers, and grilled branzino.

Plus: There's a large, dimly lit bar fit for a quick bite or an intimate date night.

Three patrons sit on barstools at the dimly lit bar at Pearl & Mary in Philadelphia.
The hottest seats in the house! Photo: Alexa Mencia/Axios

The highlights: The hamachi crudo topped with potato crisps and ponzu ($12) packed a crunch, while the uni baked oysters with yuzu and aioli ($17) were loaded with flavor.

  • The steamed red snapper ($23) and the branzino ($24), served alongside lettuce cups and pickled veggies, were our favorites of the large dishes.
  • And I loved the refreshing twist on a mint julep, served with tequila ($12).

Hot take: Skip the shrimp toast ($17). A bit bland.

If you go: Open Monday-Tuesday 4-10pm, Wednesday-Thursday 4-11pm, Friday 4pm-12am, Saturday 11:30am-12am, and Sunday 11:30am-10pm.

  • Daily happy hour deals at the bar from 4-7pm
Steamed red snapper served on a white plate.
The steamed branzino. Photo: Alexa Mencia/Axios
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