The 10 Best Places to Eat Seafood in Boston
From sushi to oysters to crab, Boston truly has no shortage of incredible seafood. Here's where to get it.
Boston's fortunate enough to have its own eponymous cream pie and baked beans, but more importantly, we'd argue, it's got chowder.
Luvva bowla chowdah. You can get a helluva lobstah in Beantown, too, and oystahs to boot.
OK—we'll stop pitifully imitating Boston's infamous accent now, as there are plenty of distinguished folk wandering its streets who would roll their eyes at this hyper-stereotypical lack of enunciation of the letter "R." But we won't stop talking about how Boston's a damn fine town to sidle up with a Sam Adams and a lobster roll—or a dozen oysters, or a bowl of seafood soup—and there are many places within city limits where one can engage in this life-affirming activity.
But for you, Boston visitor or curious local, we've rounded up a bunch of our favorites for our MUNCHIES Guide to Boston, and we hope that you'll enjoy trying them, too. Tie on your lobster bibs and ready those crunchy little oyster crackers.
The Barking Crab: For too long, the Crab was a lonely outpost on the Fort Point Channel. But as the area has exploded, the iconic seafood shack has become a stark point of contrast to all the gleaming new high rises. While the seafood options are bountiful—clam bakes and lobster and whole belly clams—and rich, you're definitely here for the boisterous, open-air dockside atmosphere.
B&G Oysters: Regularly recognized as one of the city's best, this South End favorite brings New England-style cooking together with the fruits of the sea. That means a bountiful raw bar, alongside entrees like roasted sable with cavatelli, watercress pesto, and manila clams, as well as vadouvan curried mussels with Castelvetrano olives, cilantro, and pickled red onions.
Saltie Girl: A beautifully designed small space in the Back Bay, every inch of Saltie Girl seems made for Instagram, down to the multitude of tinned fish options that make up a large part of the menu. Pick from exotic anchovy and sardine selections from around the world, or grab a more adventurous tin of eel, cockles, squid, trout, mackerel, or cod liver.
Neptune Oyster: A winner in the North End, Neptune Oyster was an early pioneer of elevating seafood restaurants in the city, and it remains a favorite. Choose from a couple dozen locally-harvested oysters paired with a wine from the restaurant's extensive, well-curated list.
Select Oyster Bar: This small Back Bay spot focuses on locally-caught seafood prepared Mediterranean-style; think things like Casco Bay halibut with roasted delicata squash, sweet peppers, corn, Tuscan kale, and cauliflower. The platters come in three sizes, peaking with the $245 Great Republic, a platter with 12 oysters, an eight-shrimp cocktail, scallop ceviche, peekytoe crab salad, lobster, smoked salmon, caviar, and tuna tartare—an order big enough to feed a whale.
Row 34: Proving a raw bar- and beer-focused restaurant doesn't have to do the dockside shtick, this glimmering Fort Point space is as good-looking as its food is tasty. Choose from dozens of oysters, smoked and cured pâtés and rillettes, and crudo to start, then move on to larger options like the plump Jonah crab cakes with jalapeño, corn, and cilantro. The beer list is impressive, too, with ample large format and rare brews to please the more discerning beer nerds.
Bar Mezzana: This isn't your parents' South End. Located at the base of the Ink Bloc building, a sort of one-stop gentrification hub of condos, shops, and restaurants, Bar Mezzana stands out for its simple, coastal-Italian dishes and impeccable service. The crudo options are vast and change daily, and the menu might offer something like Japanese bluenose with Meyer lemon, salted plum, and yellow chive, or langoustine with lime, pink peppercorn, and caviar. For the main course, you're getting one of the impeccable pastas, like the orecchiette with sausage, fennel, and radicchio. And, unlike so many Italian restaurants, they don't drop the ball on their amaro and spirit options.
haley.henry: This small wine and seafood bar is a downtown rarity, as it's precious and cute amidst a sea of boring restaurants. The wine program is extensive, and almost everything by the bottle can be ordered if you get a glass or two. The bites range from small-sized, like nuts and house jerky, to a entire jar of foie with blueberries and borage. Just make sure you order the speciality: tinned fish.
Island Creek Oyster Bar: This chic Back Bay seafood mecca is the perfect place to celebrate after a winning Sox game. It'll be packed, and it's not cheap, but the impressive wine list and lighthearted cocktail menu will make everything OK. Get the lobster roe noodles and fried oyster sliders.
Cafe Sushi: Follow the neon sign to this hidden Cambridge gem, where you'll find some of the best sushi in the area at a startlingly reasonable cost. Snag a seat at the bar for an omakase experience you won't forget.
For more amazing eats in Beantown, from coffee to cocktails to Irish pubs to fine dining, check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to Boston.
This first appeared on MUNCHIES in October 2016.