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5 of our favorite spots for slurping down oysters right now

Heaven is a half-dozen half-shells. Or a whole dozen. No judgement.

Heaven is a half-dozen half-shells. Or a whole dozen. No judgement. Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune

That old chestnut -- that one should only eat oysters during months with the letter ‘r’ in them -- is just a tad alarmist.

In fact, commercially harvested seafood, which is the stuff you’d buy in restaurants, is regulated by the USDA, meaning it’s safe to eat year-round. And oyster farms actually do more good than harm for their surrounding environments, which lets you slurp 'em guilt-free. Plus, oysters have been bred to grow faster and plumper than their ancestors, meaning eating them is always a go.

So let’s embrace the bivalves, be it January or June. Here's our list of some current Twin Cities hot spots where you'll want to savor the taste of the coast.

Octo Fishbar
Tim McKee’s eighth restaurant -- open since October -- is all about the seafood. In addition to smoked swordfish belly and clam bratwurst, you can, of course, find a selection of oysters on the half shell from both coasts. (Littleneck clams, too!) Save room for a seafood tower. 289 Fifth St. E., St. Paul

Martina
Martina, the #sohotrightnow Argentinean-Italian seafood spot in Linden Hills, serves their oysters on the half shell with horseradish and mushroom mignonette. The spicy and umami flavors are the ideal accompaniment to set off the brininess of those perfect morsels. 4312 S. Upton Ave., Minneapolis

Meritage
No list about oysters in the Twin Cities would be complete without Meritage. These are the folks who hold an annual oyster festival -- complete with oyster beer. What more convincing do you need to treat yourself to a dozen beauties on ice? Meritage’s oyster selection changes frequently, so stop back often to slurp up varieties from around the country. 410 St. Peter St., St. Paul

4 Bells
At 4 Bells, you have so many ways to enjoy oysters: individually, as part of their cold seafood platter, with the platter of a dozen oysters, or the ever economical oyster flight. For a cooked preparation, you can’t go wrong with the classic Oysters Rockefeller. 1610 Harmon Place, Minneapolis

The Lexington
When you take a seat in the bar of The Lex, that old-school glamour will begin to work its magic on you. You’ll feel like an Old Hollywood movie star, ready to offer someone a light or dress them down with a little old-fashioned fast-talking. Bask in the feeling, and order a half-dozen oysters with the cocktail of your choice. You deserve it. 1096 Grand Ave., St. Paul