If you're planning on visiting Boston, there's likely to be at least one seafood pit stop on your itinerary. A city famous for its nautical cuisine, Boston offers an endless array of options when it comes to dining on fish, lobsters, clams, and any other kind of seafood you can imagine. In fact, Boston presents so many opportunities that a simple Google search might leave you dizzy. When faced with an overwhelming number of options, all claiming to be the best spot to eat, how are you supposed to choose? Not to worry: We're here with a local's advice to help break down which restaurants are truly worth visiting.
While a classic seafood menu speaks for itself, the contemporary restaurant landscape has a lot to offer in terms of unique dishes and fresh takes on old favorites. This list offers a diverse array of restaurants, from straightforward seafood options to more funky dishes inspired by other cuisines. Even Bostonians should keep reading -- chances are, you may not have tapped into all the best seafood the city has to offer just yet. While most of these restaurants are picks from a restaurant-loving local, others earned their place thanks to Boston-area ratings and media circulation. Get your forks ready -- we're diving into the best seafood spots in Boston.
If you're in Boston and looking for a straightforward, reliable spot to get seafood of any and all varieties, Saltie Girl is your best bet. Located in the heart of Back Bay off of famous Newbury Street, this restaurant is great for a shopping day lunch or a fun dinner with friends. Saltie Girl has all of the classic things you could ask for from a seafood place, including a raw bar, seafood towers, and even caviar service if you're feeling extra fancy.
Our personal favorites, however, are their seafood dishes with a bit of a twist. Chicken and waffles are all the rage, but try Saltie Girl's fried lobster and waffles plate and experience a uniquely sweet and savory combination. Other noteworthy dishes include the octopus empanada and the lobster Bolognese -- both inspired by other cuisines and packed with delicious seafood. The toast section of the menu is decidedly unique to this restaurant, boasting fresh bread topped with things like a heaping pile of snow crab; this makes for a delicious starter. Finally, if your go-to at a seafood place is a classic lobster roll, this one certainly will not disappoint, whether you get it served hot or cold.
279 Dartmouth St, Boston MA 02116
As far as high-end seafood goes, B&G Oysters is one of the best spots in Boston. It's located in the family-friendly South End, on a street corner near a cozy neighborhood. Inside, you'll find a modern take on an oyster bar. Visitors should go prepared to indulge and splurge. Owner Barbara Lynch is a James Beard award-winning chef with multiple successful restaurants and bars in the Boston area to her name; she opened this popular spot in 2003. Her sterling reputation is evident in every bite.
Do not miss out on the raw bar experience, which features a rotating daily oyster selection along with many other seafood staples. The menu also includes a caviar service, as do many high-end seafood restaurants in Boston. The fried options are endless, with fried oysters, calamari, and fish and chips on offer to satisfy any cravings for a greasy, finger-licking good meal. You really can't go wrong with anything on this menu, including its extensive wine list, which presents many perfect pairings.
550 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116
For a seafood dining experience that comes paired with a visit to Boston's historical Fort Point, visit Row 34. With multiple locations throughout the greater New England area, this one might be the most worth visiting. Located in a renovated warehouse, the restaurant will take your breath away with its gorgeous space alone.
Then there's the seafood menu. Heavily inspired by New American cuisine, Row 34's range of options seems endless -- almost too many to choose from, in fact. From the raw bar, we have to recommend the tuna crudo and ceviche tacos. The fish, which is fresh as can be, is sourced locally. If you prefer your fish cooked, however, there's no shortage of options from the lunch and dinner menus. Highlights include the lobster rangoon and the crab cakes, but you won't go wrong with any of the items on this menu.
Visitors are also particularly fond of the craft beer selection offered at Row 34, alongside its full bar menu. While it's certainly on the pricier side, we can assure you that it's worth treating yourself -- visiting Row 34 is a special occasion.
383 Congress St, Fort Point, MA 02210
If you ask any Boston local which seafood spot is city's most quintessential, Neptune Oyster will probably be their answer. A staple choice for upscale seafood, this restaurant is located in the city's historic North End and has consistently been named one of the best restaurants in Boston over the course of multiple years.
As a result, Neptune Oyster is notorious for having ridiculous wait times. The fact that they don't take any reservations exacerbates this further. But don't let this turn you away from some of the best seafood in Boston -- just be prepared to put your patience caps on. The oyster bar alone is reason enough to wait for a table at this place, as you might guess from its name. It's stacked with premium oyster selections from farms all across New England. If you're going to order anything else, consider the crudo plates. Fresh fish is definitely the way to go in order to get the most out of this restaurant -- especially if you're lucky enough to get a table on a busy day.
63 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113
Alive And Kicking Lobsters
You would hardly believe us if we told you one of the best seafood spots in Boston is hidden in the nooks of a quiet neighborhood, serving fresh crab and lobster out of a garage. But it's all true. Alive and Kicking Lobsters is the textbook definition of hole-in-the-wall, and the food is amazing. It also lives up to its name: Tanks of water offer customers the chance to see that the lobsters and crabs are indeed alive and kicking. Since there's no denying that the seafood here is just about as fresh as it gets, let us tell you what you should be ordering.
Everyone loves a classic lobster roll, but sometimes these delicious (and expensive) dishes are a little too roll-forward. We've all spent upwards of $40 on a lobster roll only to be disappointed by way too much bread and way too little lobster. Alive and Kicking Lobsters has found the remedy with its lobster sandwich. Filled to the brim with fresh lobster served cold between two simple slices of bread, you are guaranteed to get the most out of this sandwich. Even better, it's surprisingly affordable.
269 Putnam Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
Drawing inspiration from Mediterranean cuisine, Ostra has garnered a notable amount of positive press for being one of the hottest luxury seafood restaurants in Boston. Being on the pricier side, this spot is definitely perfect for a celebration or special occasion of any kind -- especially since it's known for its excellent service and gorgeous, open-concept space.
Then there's the delicious menu. It includes daily shellfish selections that come and go on a rotating basis and are, of course, sourced locally. Other popular raw bar hits include the tartare dishes, all of which are excellent. The most expensive and noteworthy thing on this menu is the salt-crusted branzino, a whole fish which can feed up to four people. It's worth both the price and the preparation time.
1 Charles St South, Boston, MA 02116
Eventide, located in the heart of the historic Fenway area, is what one might call a spin-off of its original location, Eventide Oyster Co., a more traditional seafood spot in Portland, Maine. It's one of the most creative seafood restaurants you can find in the city, bringing spunk and Asian fusion flair to the traditional menu.
While the original location is known for its oysters, this Fenway restaurant boasts a wide range of items we find far more noteworthy. The brown butter lobster roll, for example, is served on a pillowy bao bun. Another must-try is an ode to the original location, the Maine lobster stew. It's absolutely flavor-packed and includes plenty of chunks of delicious lobster.
If you're looking for more of a traditional seafood experience, Eventide has that too. Tartare, crudo, mussels -- you name it, it's present. There's a little bit of something for everyone, making it the perfect spot for a more casual lunch or dinner. Its central location also allows for plenty of activity in and around the Fenway area before or after your delicious meal.
1321 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02115
Sushi lovers, we've got you covered with this next recommendation. O Ya is a Japanese-inspired sushi and seafood restaurant that offers some of the best omakase in Boston. In fact, it's made its name known across the U.S.
If you aren't familiar with omakase, this curated seafood experience is all the rage. Omakase is basically sushi's version of a chef-chosen menu that typically includes 20 different selections of both cooked and raw fish options. The best part of this approach is that it never stays the same, changing to reflect the freshest fish of the season. O Ya does it exceptionally well. As a result, though, there's no menu to study here. But we can assure you that their selections never disappoint: O Ya consistently offers delicious fish that has been thoughtfully prepared in an elegant setting.
Open only for dinner, O Ya takes reservations on all days except for Tuesdays and Sundays. They book up fast, so make sure to secure your table if you're planning for a special occasion.
9 East St, Boston, MA 02111
Legal Sea Foods - Harborside
You may be familiar with the popular chain that is Legal Sea Foods, but Legal Sea Foods -- Harborside is a special location on Boston's scenic waterfront. You can't miss this restaurant, as it takes up three stories of a building on the water, including a gorgeous roof deck that's perfect for summertime dining.
Don't underestimate this place's menu just because it's a chain. There are still plenty of tasty options -- and there's a lot of them. The "fresh catch" menu includes a list of fish dishes of the day, boasting a wide variety of options from a range of locales. The clam chowder is also excellent -- there's no going wrong with a bowl of this New England staple from such an iconic Massachusetts brand. If you're feeling like sushi, Legal Sea Foods -- Harborside offers that too. You might assume it's subpar, given this isn't a sushi-specific restaurant, but in fact, it's surprisingly solid.
No matter what you choose from this extensive menu, you'll be enjoying it in front of a beautiful view. What could be better than fresh seafood, a glass of wine, and a sweeping waterfront vista?
270 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210
Want a quaint spot offering prime seafood that's a little off the beaten path? Ivory Pearl is the perfect place for you. Located in the Brookline neighborhood on a busy main street, Ivory Pearl offers a unique seafood menu with dishes that stand out from the norm, thanks to their New American twists.
Some highlights from the dinner menu include the tiger prawn toast and the lobster vodka fra diavolo, which are both creative and delicious. These dishes aren't just tasty, either -- they're beautifully arranged, which makes them perfect for active Instagram foodies. Ivory Pearl also serves up a tasty Sunday brunch menu. The menu itself is small, but full of highlights, especially the lobster benedict. The time-specific fun doesn't end there, either: Ivory Pearl offers a special late-night menu on the weekends, which goes until two in the morning. With a little bit of action for everyone, this spot is so much more than a simple seafood restaurant.
1704 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02445
Moeca might just be the hottest new restaurant to hit the streets of Boston (or, more specifically, Cambridge). This fresh spot was opened in 2022 by award-winning chef Michael Pagliarini. The menu is rooted first and foremost in Pagliarini's sustainability efforts, using fish that are sourced responsibly and locally and are strictly in season. What results is an ode to Italian-native seafood delicacies.
While the spot's ethos minimizes the array of fish, there is much to be said for its ability to get creative with what is in season. The raw menu includes many varieties of tasty oysters, tuna crudo, clams, and scallops. The Italian influence comes into play in the pasta section, which features dishes like a classic spaghetti with the added twist of fresh lobster. This restaurant might be new, but its team of professionals certainly knows what it's doing.
1 Shepard St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Select Oyster Bar
Select Oyster Bar is chef Michael Serpa's local success story. Sepra previously headed up the kitchen of the well-known Neptune Oyster, then took the leap and opened this local favorite in 2015. Located in the Back Bay neighborhood, Select Oyster Bar is the perfect spot for a date night or a high-end dinner with friends or family.
Whether it's fresh plates of oysters or seafood towers you're looking for, you're guaranteed to have the freshest seafood from this place. The menu's small plates, like the Spanish octopus, Romanesco cauliflower, and the beet salad, are also delicious. Vegetables have never sounded so good -- which is really saying something, as it's not the focus. An additional full menu is dedicated to bottles of champagne, which makes Select Oyster Bar a great place for a boozy Sunday brunch. Take note, however, that a plate of seafood -- particularly oysters -- is nothing short of a bank-breaker at this spot. We recommend bringing a big group and splitting the cost.
50 Gloucester St, Boston, MA 02115
This selection of restaurants was carefully created from the personal experience of a Boston local and word-of-mouth recommendations. Local news pieces highlighting these spots also played a role, as well as Yelp reviews. Most of the specific dishes recommended were based on a similar mix of personal experience and reviews of top-rated meals on Yelp. More general information about each restaurant's menu came from the restaurants' respective websites.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.