Where to Dine on the Freshest Boston Seafood
Boston is all about fresh fish and shellfish. Discover where to dine with this list of the best, freshest seafood in the city.
Boston is basically synonymous with seafood. Many visitors to this great city come specifically for the freshest fish and shellfish around, and a trip to Boston just isn’t complete without getting at least one great seafood meal while you’re there. Of course there are dozens of places that serve fish in the city, and it might be a little difficult to pick the best of the best. You might wonder where to go when you want the best oysters around, or you might prefer to dine on fish pastas or clam chowder instead. Check out this list of the freshest seafood in Boston to help you prepare for your next meal in this classic New England city!
Book a table at Mare to enjoy the perfect combination of seafood and pasta. This Italian-style restaurant has been a part of Boston’s seafood scene for a long while, but has recently undergone some renovations that have spruced it up and helped to make it a little bit more modern. The décor is classy and refined, and the oyster bar is a great added touch that the restaurant was previously severely lacking. However, although the oyster bar is very good, Mare’s claim to fame is its Italian menu. If you do hit up the raw bar, be sure to save some room after your oysters for a full meal. You might be better off saving your oyster bar experience for one of the more prominent raw bars on the list, and instead devoting your attention to Mare's excellent entrees.
Begin your meal with one of many great appetizers, including the seafood meatball, which is made of shrimp and calamari tentacles with a cherry tomato parsley sauce, or go for the group-sized serving of whole belly fried clams with tartar sauce and lemon. For your main course, skip straight to the pasta section, and choose the classic linguine and clams in a white wine garlic sauce for one of the best dining experiences at this restaurant. Alternately, go for the gnocchi dumplings, toped with mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, and tomatoes. Finish off your meal with a traditional tiramisu, and you’re sure to be full and satisfied!
Mare is located at 223 Hanover Street in Boston.
Visit the Seaport District of Boston to grab a meal at Legal Harborside, the flagship property of Legal Sea Foods. This restaurant is a massive building with three floors and 20,000 square feet all located right on the water’s edge. Each floor features a different part of the dining experience. The first floor is devoted to an oyster bar and classic seafood dishes, while the second floor focuses on private events. The third floor includes a rooftop bar with cocktails, lounge food, and a fully retractable roof that can keep you comfortable rain or shine. This restaurant is truly a unique experience for all of its guests!
For a more casual meal, stick to the first floor, where you can begin your dinner with a tasty appetizer of crab and smoked paprika shrimp before selecting your main course. Choose one of the restaurant’s traditional dishes, which they have been serving up since the turn of the 20th century. The lobster pot pie with roasted vegetables is a real treat, and you can’t go wrong with the Portuguese seafood stew, either! For something a little lighter and slightly more affordable, choose the salmon burger or the grilled swordfish gyro.
Legal Harborside is located at 270 Northern Avenue in Boston.
You’ll feel like you’re really dining right on the beach with the laid-back atmosphere of the Summer Shack chain. This restaurant has a prime location right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city, and its casual style makes it a great place for families to bring even the littlest of the little ones without fear of being unwelcome. Grab a booth or a table, or plunk yourself down at the oyster bar for a delicious treat. No matter what you choose, you’ll be very pleased with the fresh food served at Summer Shack.
Start your meal with lobster wontons topped with sweet chili sauce, or order up some local calamari, fried and topped with a spicy sauce. Don’t skip the tasty soups at this restaurant. The clam chowder is great, but the lobster and pumpkin bisque is truly one of a kind! For your main course, try a crab cake BLT or a fresh fish taco, or opt for something a little more filling, such as a full-fledged clambake. This is also a great place to enjoy some roasted flounder that is fresh caught nearby.
Summer Shack is located at 50 Dalton Street in Boston.
Atlantic Fish Company has been an important part of Boston’s dining options for well over four decades, and it is still going strong today. This incredibly authentic New England restaurant serves up fish that is so fresh they can’t print the menus until they find out what they’ve got every morning. Grab a table indoors, or if the weather is nice, dine on the outside patio to enjoy the crisp air from the harbor nearby. Whenever you dine at Atlantic Fish, you can be sure that the food you are eating has been locally sourced by a family-owned and operated fishing business that works right there in the very same harbor.
Because the fresh catches of the day vary, it is impossible to know for sure what will be available when you visit Atlantic Fish. That said, if you have the chance to try the swordfish steak, be sure to do so. This is one of the most delicious fish available at Atlantic Fish. If you prefer seafood, go for the lobster fra ciavolo, which is served over linguine in a spicy arrabbiata sauce, or the locally sourced crab cakes with coleslaw. Sea bass is almost always on the menu, and you can’t go wrong with a hearty serving of this delicious fresh fish as part of your entrée platter.
Atlantic Fish is located at 761 Boylston Street in Boston.
Neptune Oyster is an upscale oyster bar located in the heart of the city. This restaurant has made big waves in the Boston area, and on any given night, the line is sure to be out the door with locals and visitors alike waiting for their chance to belly up to the best oyster bar around. The atmosphere is classy and sophisticated, with just an air of luxury that makes you feel like you’re dining in an expensive restaurant when, in reality, it is quite affordable. There are plenty of tasty non-bar menu items available at Neptune Oyster, but the oyster bar is the best part of this dining experience. By all means, give it a try while you’re there.
East and west coast oysters, cocktail shrimp, razor clams, octopus, and white anchovies, and littlenecks, cherrystones, crab claws, and sea urchins are all widely available at daily market price at the raw oyster bar. You can purchase by the piece, or opt for the Triton Plateau or the Neptune Plateau, which run $75 and $119 respectively and come with a vast selection of all of the raw bar’s offerings. However, if you do choose to dine away from the raw bar, be sure to try the seared George’s Bank scallops with pear butter and duck confit. This is easily one of the most delicious meals in the city, and since scallops aren’t available on Neptune’s raw bar anyway, you’ll be getting a great flavor experience unlike any other at this stylish, hip restaurant.
Neptune Oyster is located at 63 Salem Street in Boston.
Union Oyster House
No list of excellent seafood in Boston is complete without a visit to Union Oyster House. This is the perfect place for area tourists to visit, as the building itself is packed full of history as well as delicious food. Open since 1826, Union Oyster House has the distinction of being the oldest continually operating restaurant in the United States. When it first opened, the restaurant served up clams, oysters, scallops, and a few side dishes, and it quickly became a hit with the city’s upper class. Many celebrities and famous politicians have graced its doorstep since its initial creation, and this restaurant even claims to be the first place where a toothpick was ever used in the United States!
Just like Neptune Oyster, Union Oyster House is an incredible place to enjoy high quality raw seafood at the oyster bar. If you prefer to sit in the dining area, however, be sure to start off your meal with the hot oyster house sampler for two, which includes a taste of clams casino, grilled oysters, shrimp scampi, and oysters Rockefeller. You might also choose to order a half-dozen serving size of oysters on the half shell, cooked in one of many different available varieties, or order a cold seafood platter including cherrystones, shrimp, and oysters. Be sure not to leave without grabbing a bowl of real New England clam chowder. Although you can try this ubiquitous soup just about anywhere in the city, Union Oyster House does it best, and many locals would agree that their clam chowder is by far the most delicious and most authentic in the area. Finish off your dinner with a traditional Boston cream pie for a complete Boston experience!
Whether you feel like dropping a little extra cash on a traditional New England dining experience, or you just want some quick and delicious seafood without spending a fortune, you are sure to find the perfect restaurant to suit your needs in Boston. Try the best lobster, oyster bars, fish pasta, and more that the city has to offer at any of these fine eating establishments. The next time you take a trip to this beautiful old city, be sure to stop by at least one of the restaurants on this list, and enjoy incredible food you just can’t get anywhere else!
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