Public Fish & Oyster
Public Fish & Oyster

Public Fish & Oyster

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.publicfo.com/
  • Phone: 434-995-5542x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Tuesday-Thursday: 5:00pm-9:30pm, Friday-Saturday: 5:00pm-10:00pm, Sunday: 5:00pm-9:00pm
    Brunch: Sunday: 11:30am-2:30pm, Happy Hour from 4:00pm-6:30pm Tuesday through Sunday
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Seafood, Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Donnie Glass
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Wine, Wine Bar

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 6th St. NW
  • Public Transit: Bus line and trolly service right outside our door.
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Parking is available in our shared lot adjacent to the restaurant. In addition there is ample street parking and a free city lot a block away in the Ambemarle Hotel lot.
A word from Public Fish & Oyster
Public Fish and Oyster serves only the freshest and responsible sourced seafood. We believe in the complete dining experience and our knowledgeable staff is eager to provide you with the best dining experience Charlottesville has to offer.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
Public Fish & Oyster reviews from OpenTable diners
70 reviews since June 4, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.7
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
97% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (56)neighborhood gem (42)special occasion (30)great for outdoor dining (30)hot spot (18)notable wine list (16)romantic (13)vibrant bar scene (10)good for groups (7)late-night find (4)great for brunch (2)kid-friendly (2)great for lunch (1)Show More
  • Great food / wonderful Staff
    DonnieBravo
    Dined on 9/24/2014
    My wife and I had our third wonderful meal here two nights ago. Outstanding dishes creatively prepared and served. Caroline our waitress was terrific and Chef Donnie personally came to our table as did the manager to make sure we enjoyed our meals:Thai Ceviche, Scallops Veronique and delicious PFO Pan Roast (Seafood Stew chock full of fresh seafood)--Oh, and don't forget the dozen assorted Oyster with Champers--BRAVO Donnie!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food but tables too close!
    MoinVIP
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    We had a wonderful meal here....the salad, soup and grouper were all outstanding. Unfortunately, our table was so close to another, that the waitresses who negotiated between the two, on their way to and from kitchen, had to turn sideways in order not to bump into us. There were probably 15-20 such trips, and I am certain they did not enjoy it anymore than we did. We also could not help but hear all of the conversations at the tables behind and beside us.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • on the half shell
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Great oyster selection! Very nice. We loved it. Went for fresh oysters on our anniversary. Filtered with shared mussels dish. Excellent! Rich creamy sauce
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic
    CharlottesvillianVIP
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    Our second dinner at PFO - every bit as good as the previous one... The place is a bit claustrophobic and the tables are small, but the food is outstanding and the service great. Best of luck! Great job!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Our date night "go-to"
    KDLauter
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Fantastic as always! We have a babysitter for a date night, usually once a month and for the last three months we have chosen to come to Public Fish and Oyster. The food is wonderful, the atmosphere is romantic and it is within a short walk from our home. Perfection!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • dinner for a friend
    dolly
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    My friends dinner was very good. I had the mussels with fries. It was a large bowl if mussels; but only about a 1/4 of flesh. The soup I had was a chilled corn. It needed more body to it. Basically corn flavored milk. The dessert we both chose was the limoncello Tiramisu it was fabulous. I would probably go back but try something different. The noise level was horrible. We had to lean into each other or shout.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We loved it!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    My wife, son and I were in Charlottesville overnight when visiting Monticello. we picked this restaurant out of the listings in Open Table. Everything was phenomenal. Very good quality food. Try the cheeses for dessert. They were outstanding.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Best in Town!
    VickiSSVIP
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Dined here for my birthday; my family are all 'foodies', my daughter is a Chef. This is the best place we have found for dinner in C'ville. Oyster Happy Hour runs until 6:30, and the owner helped shuck all 4 dozen we ordered, to get them to us quickly. Our server was friendly, thoughtful, and efficient. Highly recommended! We'll definitely return on our next visit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • BobbyVVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Great resturant! Selections oysters awesome. I eat mussels with curry sauce- outstanding. Service is great. New Orleans feeling!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Have the Grouper
    SteamedPorkBunVIP
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    The grouper was a delicious dish - served with pan roasted gnocchi in a rich sauce. Nicely done. Loved the atmosphere and enjoyed the fun and energetic service team. Felt like I had been going there for years even though it's a new place and I'm from out of town.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent first visit
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Wonderful meal. Great service, terrific selection of oysters. Entrees - crab cakes and scallops were both very good.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • joanjay
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    I've visited Public several times for oysters only so this was the first time I tried their "regular" menu. Delicious food, skillfully prepared and artistically displayed. Very classy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Fantastic!!!!
    CharlottesvillianVIP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    This is a great new addition to the restaurant scene in Charlottesville. The focus is on seafood and specifically oysters, so teh menu is not overwhelming, bur everything is great and you have certainty that the food is fresh. The dishes are designed with creativity and freshness, or simplicity (as oysters) that spells elegance. Service is outstanding. The place is small - this is not a spot for a romantic cozy dinner - but the noise is not a killer, because the volume is limited by the max number of guests. The wine list is great - very suitable for the menu. We dine out a lot - we are likely to migrate to this place often - everything was just spectacular!
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • It's nice to have a higher-end raw
    Belmontian
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    I went out here on a date. Our 8 p.m. reservation table was not ready upon arrival - about 8:15/8:20 sit down time. Oysters very good; other food wonderful. Service was a tad slow, especially post-dinner rush, but that helped to make the date longer (a good thing in this instance :-)). First drink, some prosecco-based cocktail the name of which I forget from their menu, was quite yummy. The kir royale I had afterwards had too much cassis in it - it was a darker red color rather, and too sweet, than the blush-color that is classic, and less sweet. Still drank it, though. Overall positive, and I would go back here again.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Lovely
    lovethesea
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    The restaurant is small but well thought out. Clean lines but warm and inviting. They have a great selection of raw oysters if that's your thing. We opted out, but instead started with mussels. They have four different styles, all served with fries and aioli. We chose the banqok style- red curry, lime, and I believe coconut milk. Fantastic! The service was friendly and professional. We will be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Mixed experience
    Luv2dine
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    The food was variable. Some dishes were great, but others were not. The frog legs had zero flavor, but the scallops special was delicious.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great neighborhood eatery!
    2foodsnobs
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    From beginning to end, a wonderful dining experience! If you love seafood as we do, this is your place in Charlottesville.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful everything!
    GoodSoutherncookin
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    No reservations about this spot (altho we did reserve our table!!). If you are hungry for excellent seafood, you will not be disappointed with the wide array of choices you will have. The types of fresh oysters in their offering is mind-boggling. The crab cakes were among the best I've ever tasted. The mussels, clams, shrimp dish,served in a lobster sauce, along with superbly al dante hericot vert beans, was outstanding. We ate outside, enjoying the passing crowd, and could not have had a finer time. The owner came by, greeted me by name twice, and chatted about his efforts in raising this restaurant in the past 6 months; he has succeeded famously!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great service and food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Maitre d gave us the prime spot in the window after hearing that we'd been hoping to sit there. Food was excellent -- want to come back for more oysters!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Dining Experience
    Spitzie
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Another wonderful dinner! Their oysters are absolutely the best in the area - they provide more varieties than one can consume in a sitting. Each option has a full explanation of not only the type/location of the oyster - but the palette qualities. The crabcakes had to be one of the best we've had definitely in the area - but also in the recent past. Shrimp and grits were also fresh, creamy and had plenty of shrimp. Service is very friendly and helpful. We sincerely love this place.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Delightful experience; intimate,
    honspc
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    interesting restaurant. Food start to finish outstanding! One failing - the barkeep pours a very inadequately sized gin cocktail - the Tanqueray gin was splendid, as expected, but only three sips worth; the double which was then ordered yielded perhaps 5-6 sips. One of us ordered pre-dinner a Kir Royale cocktail, it was A-OK, but if you are someone accustomed to a nice pour of some good gin w/ lemon peel over ice before your dinner, you may be disappointed. Having rather extensively dined about Charlottesville, as well as the United States, Europe, etc. . . . the overall impression is that this is a top tier restaurant; the chef presents wonderful dishes and we will make a return visit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • WOW
    Cbkksk
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    To say Public is wonderful food is putting it mildly. Even the butter was great. Crab cakes with sucatash, cheddar grits, fish stew--all wonderful. Will drive back to Charlottesville to eat there!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Best Seafood in Charlottesville!
    Maverick
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    Outstanding taste, service and ambiance! Great selection of oysters on raw bar. Smart cocktails. Highly recommend the PFO Pan Roast.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wow
    dberry4
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    First dined here on a recommendation from a friend. We have driven here from 45 min away two more times since that first wonderful experience. That makes 3 times in the past 5 weeks. Been absolutely amazed with each experience. My fiancé and I travel for food all of the time. We have found a lot of really good restaurants but this may be our favorite. Everything is extremely fresh and the place is very clean. Great ambiance and even better drinks. Eat here, you will not be disappointed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Public Fish & Oyster first rate
    hungry
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    A first rate restaurant anywhere, and one of the two best in Charlottesville. Excellent oysters from both East and West Coasts, always fresh and always good. Alert and friendly wait staff, great bar tender, first or second best food in town. Quiet, especially outside. I have visited several times, never has disappointed me.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excited to go back
    Winendine
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    There are excellent restaurants where you always order your 'favorite', but after dining here, I'm excited to try so much more ... Oysters, ceviche, and seasonal soft shells! Food was great, presentation beautiful and friendly, helpful staff advising on menu and wine list. Reasonable prices.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    Excellent oysters with a variety to choose, but very expensive. Expect NY prices. We were 3 people and ordered 2 dozen oysters, an entree each with 2 drinks each - with tip the bill was $90 per head! Ouch!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good Start
    YaleGolf
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Tables for two at this cozy restaurant are much too close to other tables. Otherwise, the food, service, and atmosphere are all first-rate! Try the shrimp & grits...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very good
    Happydiner
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Delicious food and a dedicated staff. The bartender was a perfectionist in a good way.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Oysters and mussels
    foodsnobVIP
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    Awesome selection of raw oysters available, presented like fine wines with tasting notes, varying from mild tasting to very intense. We each had one from mild, medium, and intense and the differences were amazing. We also shared a bowl of the Bangkok mussels - a very generous serving. We order mussels at most places we dine at, and these were some of the best we have ever had. By the time our main dish arrived we were already full. My husband had the halibut and I had the shrimp and grits - both expertly prepared, but the stars of the meal were the oysters and mussels.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great oyster selectionr
    Dick
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Great oyster selection. Wide variety of plates, including lots of non-meat chooses. I recommend selecting a variety of oysters the first time or two to find your favorites. Try the martinis.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food/Fun Setting
    Court
    Dined on 6/24/2014
    Prior comments have it right the crab cakes are some of the best in Charlottesville. Great oyster selection. Nice portion size. oh and the desserts! your Pastry Chef is a gem. Wonderful flavors and presentation. Cant wait to return with friends. One of my new favorites in Charlottesville.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • lovely food, lovely service
    BigFatTummyParade
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    This was our third visit and we have loved it each time. I think they hit the perfect balance of adding panache to their seafood without overwhelming it. Even the salad (spinach, peaches, goat cheese) was exceptional.....and you don't want to miss the sweet/hot Bangkok mussels (or the frites!) On our last visit, our time was limited and our server did a lovely job of accommodating us.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Father's Day Brunch
    CvilleWestie
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    My husband and I are foodies but it is a bit hard to go out now that we have a newborn and a 3 year old so we have become brunch people. I must say that Public offered a wonderful environment, FABULOUS food and they were super accommodating when it came to the kids - especially as they have outdoor seating!! I highly recommend Public - I can't wait to go back for brunch (and maybe dinner without the kids!!).
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 36 ratings-only reviews submitted since June 4, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.5
    • Food4.7
    • Ambiance4.3
    • Service4.6
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 2 reviews are from the Public Fish & Oyster reviews archive.
  • A perfect evening!
    KDLauter
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    We live just a few blocks from this wonderful place and have enjoyed every time we have been. The food is fantastic, the service is excellent and it is our new "go to" restaurant when we have an evening out. Just perfect!
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful new restaurant
    SylCat
    Dined on 5/15/2014
    My boyfriend and I found this gem on Trip Advisor and booked the same night...what a fabulous experience. From the bread an seasoned butter to the oysters, rockfish spread, cioppino dish and moules frites a la Provencal, we were delighted every bite and sip from the great wine selection that we took. Finally, a proper seafood restaurant in Cville!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic