FOOD AND DRINK
Where to Trawl for Boston's Best Seafood
Our picks for where to eat the most wicked awesome foods from the Atlantic Ocean
You can’t embark on a New England culinary adventure without seafood – especially in Boston. While in town, sample the best of what the Atlantic Ocean has to offer. Local specialities include cod, crab, lobster, scallops, clams and oysters.
There are plenty of pricey waterfront standbys, crowded with tourists and families. Meanwhile, it can seem as if almost every restaurant in Boston boasts a special take on local seafood delights. But below are the best of the best. These are the newest, hippest and most exciting places for the freshest fish in the city.
Island Creek Oyster Bar
Born out of a small oyster farming operation from Duxbury on the South Shore of Massachusetts, Island Creek has become the signature oyster of the city – an ambassador, even. After the success of their small farm, the team at Island Creek got together with local restaurateurs to create the premiere venue in seafaring fare in the city. Though the room is gigantic, it isn’t easy to get a seat. You can call ahead for a reservation, but it usually doesn’t take long for tables to turn. Obviously, Island Creek oysters are always available at the raw bar, but the ever-changing menu also includes a variety of East Coast bivalves and hard-to-finds like Belon oysters and other exotic varieties, some from as far away as New Zealand. Try the crudo, the fried clams and the seafood sliders. Finally, if you’re looking for something strong to compliment the fresh tastes of the Atlantic and beyond, let it be known the bartenders at ICOB are true mixologists.
500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, 617-532-5300
Neptune Oyster Bar
No matter what time of day, it seems as though there’s always a line at Neptune. With just 15 bar seats and room for 27 more in the cramped banquettes, you may find yourself packed inside the small waiting area like a can of sardines. Boston’s North End is traditionally known for its Italian cuisine, but Neptune is the area’s king of luxurious seafood period (some dishes are Italian, most are not). Known for one of the most decadent lobster rolls in town, the $29 sandwich can be ordered hot or cold, with butter or mayo. Neptune’s entrée menu is short – and anyway, the main attraction here is the unmatched raw bar. With a combination of East and West Coast oysters, not to mention hard-to-find razor clams and crab claws, the menu changes daily ensuring the freshest food around. Bonus: Filling out your own order card with a pencil is somewhat reminiscent of filling out a golf card. You’ll find a few beers on tap, but nothing complements seafood like white wine, and the selection here is hard to beat.
63 Salem St,. Boston, 617-742-3474
Courtesy Neptune Oyster Bar
Select Oyster Bar
If you’re not in the mood to wait in line at Neptune, head to the newest and hottest spot in the Back Bay. The owner is former Neptune chef Michael Serpa, so you know you’re in good hands. The oysters here seem to be a bit pricier than most places, so we recommend you start off your epic meal with the crudo and tartare. Select’s entrée selections are generally pretty hard to beat; go ahead and try the octopus, halibut, Maine lobster, whole-roasted sea bream or rich bouillabaisse.
50 Gloucester St, Boston, 857-239-8064
Courtesy Select Oyster Bar
The Daily Catch
This is what Sicilian-style seafood is all about. The quaint original location is in Boston’s North End and the newer, larger one in the Seaport; in either venue, the menu is stacked with fried, broiled and grilled selections, and there’s even a separate menu of black squid ink pasta options. Throw in sides of shrimp, calamari and/or scallops, and you’re starting to assemble quite the meal. Appetizers include clams casino, mussels siciliano and crab and lobster cakes, but it’s the monkfish marsala and lobster fra diavolo entrées that are true classics and will make an impression that won’t quickly leave your memory.
323 Hanover St., 617-523-8567
2 Northern Ave., 617-772-4400
Located in the up-and-coming Fort Point District of Boston, Row 34 is known as the best new restaurant in the area. Eight East Coast oysters, littleneck and cherrystone clams, and a half lobster make up the raw bar, but it’s the smoked and cured shrimp, salmon, scallop, bluefish, trout, uni and the unusual salmon pastrami and char lox that make the mezzes here especially unique. Add to that six different crudos and ceviches and daily fish collar, and you have a seafood selection unlike any other. Get the clam chowder, steamed mussels and baked cod to round out the leftover room in your belly.
383 Congress St., Boston, 617-553-5900