Top 12 Best Seafood Restaurants in Boston

Last Updated on February 10, 2024 by Emily Johnson

From lobsters plucked fresh off New England fishing boats to oysters farmed locally in Massachusetts, Boston reigns supreme for savoring fruits of the sea. Upscale dining temples combine forces with casual harborside gems to provide mouthwatering takes on regional catches from cod to shellfish joined by global seafood as well.

Indulge in Boston’s bounty of briny delights with this curated list of a dozen restaurants sailing seasonal, sustainable succulence to tables through quintessential New England charm or modern preparations. It reveals renowned spots for celebrating special occasion dinners along with affordable hidden finds as well.

Restaurant NameUnique OfferingAmbiance/Note
Legal Sea FoodsClassic New England seafood, award-winning clam chowderOriginal location with a view of Boston Harbor
Yankee Lobster CompanyLobster rolls, fried whole belly clamsCasual with harbor views
Neptune OysterDiverse oyster selection, raw bar specialtiesIntimate, high-demand counter seating
Row 34Global seafood dishes, craft beersIndustrial-chic, near the harbor
Island Creek Oyster BarPartnership with sustainable shellfishing farm, fresh oystersSophisticated yet cozy
Daily Catch SeaportItalian seafood dishes, squid ink risottoColorful, family-friendly atmosphere
Pier 6 BostonSeafood platters, lobster rollsDining with dramatic views of Boston Harbor
Blue DragonAsian-infused seafood dishes, lively atmosphereMing Tsai’s restaurant, close to Fort Point Channel
Summer ShackSeasonal simplicity, Jasper White’s seafood conceptCasual with nautical vibes, overlooking Moakley Park
Oak + RowanRefined seafood and cocktails, intimate ambianceSleek urban enclave, below street level
Bastille KitchenEuropean styled, seafood and produce sourced locallyCozy, with a feel of Provence
Saint Clair SuperiorExquisite seafood plates, upscaleElegant, suitable for power lunches and special occasions

Chefs source exclusively from New England fisheries or prestigious seafood purveyors to craft menus fluctuating with the day’s premium selections.

Docksiders plate piles of steamers, mussels and whole lobsters with plastic bibs while white linen venues present lobster Thermidor in sherry cream sauce or North Atlantic monkfish and scallops plated like art.

Some spotlight staples done to perfection like quintessential fried clams or lobster rolls while trendsetters fuse regional catches into tacos and risottos or add Asian influences as well. Others focus on the source with oyster bars showcasing over a dozen expertly shucked varieties nightly.

Wherever you dock your taste buds in Boston, expect well prepared catches from local lobster to global exotic offerings blessed by sea and masterful preparation in unlikely yet satisfying culinary marriages. This list dives into our favorite dozen seafood sanctuaries spanning icons to hidden gems where divine fruits of the ocean seduce palates across Boston proper.

Legal Sea Foods

Name and Location: Popular New England chain Legal Sea Foods operates multiple upscale casual locations across the Boston metro serving wide-ranging seafood preparations with command of East Coast variety prepared professionally.

History and Significance: Since 1950 under founder George Berkowitz, Legal Sea Foods set out bringing top-quality fresh seafood and shellfish to diners with informed service. Their proliferation throughout the region secures a place showcasing proper New England cuisine through accessible fine dining concepts focused on ocean bounty.

What to Expect: From famed clam chowder in bread bowls to elegant grilled swordfish, pan seared salmon or steamed lobster, each menu covers the seafood gamut across multiple preparations from solid classics to chef-driven seasonal compositions using sea fare as canvas to showcase skill and regional ingredients.

Visitor Information: Dozens of metro locations provide handy access. Hours vary. Reservations recommended for dining rooms serving dinner daily while attached markets offer fresh seafood retail selections.

Nothing says classic New England seafood more than Legal’s original location among red brick warehouses steps from Boston Harbor. Their first restaurant opened over seventy years ago as a fish market cafe before expanding into dozens of East Coast destinations yet retaining humble fish house roots.

Legal’s greatest hits menu offers all the staples done right – lobsters, steamers, award-winning clam chowder – with simply prepared fish options as well from wood grilled salmon and swordfish plus buttery sea scallops. For those craving just a taste, the fried sampler includes local clams, shrimp, calamari rings and scrod delighting every seafood fancy. With such a varied yet affordable menu staring down Boston’s working harbor, Legal Sea Foods remains a cherished taste of home.

Yankee Lobster Company

Name and Location: Yankee Lobster Company operates a bitsy retro-style seafood diner and market along Boston’s Fort Point Channel specializing in fresh shellfish plates, lobster rolls and fish sandwiches in steamy-windowed digs with outdoor picnic tables overlooking the waterway.

History and Significance: Founded by the universally respected Berkowitz hospitality group in 2006 shifting focus toward casual concept streaking bivalve joy focusing on lobster and oyster preparations in a cozy environment equally suited to enjoying treated shellfish by the pound (or off a roll) on newsprint watching the boats glide past like a proper New England seafood shack should ideally feel.

What to Expect: From overflowing lobster BLTs to a rotating raw bar selection served dockside, Yankee Lobster distills summer nostalgia through hot-buttered bites and cold beers under strung lights as the salty breeze off Fort Point Channel carries sounds of a commercial waterway staying productive atop which diners bond in the timeless communal spirit such spaces foster by design.

Visitor Information: Open 11am for lunch/dinner daily. Raw bar closed Mondays. Accessible seasonal patio space beside parking lot with validated discounts at nearby garages. Call (617) 338-5100 for current updates.

For lobster rolls worthy of summer in coastal New England, Yankee Lobster Company hits that coveted balance of split-top bun cradle, chilled sustainable lobster meat either pure naked or lightly mayo dressed, and perfect crunch fresh from the fryer for their famed whole belly clams.

Double-decker and jumbo lobster roll upgrades exist for die hards while non-seafood items still shine – particularly the wine bucket steamers dripping in broth, garlic butter and grilled baguette for dipping. Picnic tables watch the harbor action and sunset colors paint the sky in one perfect alfresco lobster roll respite.

Neptune Oyster

Name and Location: Discreet raw bar Neptune Oyster serves impeccably fresh shellfish alongside composed seafood preparations within a cozy subterranean dining room in Boston’s vibrant North End neighborhood just off the Freedom Trail.

History and Significance: In business over two decades starting since the mid-1990s, Neptune flies under the radar without website or signage befitting their daily crowds lining up for a few precious stools and tables supplying briny oyster varieties, composed lobster rolls and crudos matched by impressive wine selections drawing devotees as regulars return through rotating seasons.

What to Expect: From sinfully plump East and West Coast oyster selections demanding decisions to European imported specials announced via social media or whiteboard, partaking feels privileged, knowing full well such quality gets rationed to the few at hand across tin ceilings darkened from decades of candlelight meals beside wainscoting where bigwigs once conducted business.

Visitor Information: No reservations. Cash only. Closed Sunday/Monday. Prepare to wait but make friends in line! Validated parking available at nearby garages when open 4pm-12am otherwise only North End street parking remains (good luck).

Hiding in Boston’s North End, tiny Neptune Oyster packs impressive fruits of the sea between white subway tile walls, copper tops and framed vintage ocean liners. Their staggering daily selections of a dozen oyster varieties merit multiple visits to taste diversely briny, creamy cups from both coasts and Canadian secret spots. Beyond expertly shucked raw delights, grilled oysters spin with chili garlic butter or casino toppings while fried AND stewed oyster preparations further tempt.

Exquisitely fresh crudo stars hamachi tuna or tender sea scallops plated elegantly among seaweeds. With coveted counter seats in high demand and extraordinary bivalves ending meals on the ultimate high note, Neptune Oyster remains Boston’s supreme seafood insider find.

Row 34

Name and Location: Modern industry-chic seafood destination Row 34 offers a casual upscale oyster bar and dining experience sourcing prime catches from regional waters alongside craft beer and affordable wines near Boston’s Fort Point Channel downtown.

History and Significance: Founded 2011 by East Coast hospitality vets, Row 34 honors Boston’s once bustling working wharf heritage from inside a converted 19th century warehouse featuring a comfy rustic atmosphere with exposed bricks/ducting, nautical decor touches and spectacular channel views through tall factory windows as patrons slurp briny Kilkeel oysters chasing them with frosty pints from rock star chef James Beard award-winner Jeremy Sewall.

What to Expect: Pairing selections from a daily rotating seafood menu always begging return like sugar kelp noodles, lobster rolls and whole fish options with dozens of specialized craft brews, the experience celebrates honest New England fare among friends at communal tables sharing dockside spirit indoors anytime but especially at weekend brunch watching the tides slide past the expansive windows.

Visitor Information: Open seven days serving weekend brunch plus lunch/dinner daily. Accessible location with validated parking at nearby garages off Congress Street. Call (617) 553-5900 or book online.

Industrial-chic dining hall Row 34 wows with seafood stars from the raw bar plus globally inspired dishes courtesy Chef Jeremy Sewall. Oyster devotees obsess over dozens of expertly curated varieties beckoning beautifully presented on crushed ice. Beyond pristine shellfish, kitchen creativity dazzles through pan roasted Portuguese octopus to Singapore spiced lobster and clam risotto kissed with saffron.

Even cheeky pot pie gets classed up by swapping chicken for plump sea scallops and Maine lobster meat capped in flaky, buttery crust. With craft brews and whiskey cocktails washing down some of Boston’s most vibrant and sustainable seafood presentations just steps from the harbor, Row 34 ranks among New England’s best new generation icons.

Island Creek Oyster Bar

Name and Location: Island Creek Oyster Bar brings elite farm-to-table ethos to pristine shellfish showcasing the very best of New England’s seafood bounty through multiple Boston concepts helmed by each location’s raw bar backed by one of America’s model sustainable aquaculture producers situated just 45 minutes south.

History and Significance: Founded 2011 in Hotel Commonwealth expanding to Fenway in 2018, the Island Creek brand interlinks exemplary dining concepts championing the namesake oyster farm through student farms initiative partnerships supporting future stewards – today the well-oiled hospitality machine retains devotion to celebrating fresh regional ingredients transformed by culinary artistry.

What to Expect: From just-shucked oysters arriving daily to composedshare plates equally wowing like lobster arancini, crudos and whole fish, the kitchen skillfully utilizes premier products from land and sea in inventive preparations diners eagerly return for amid a casually elegant scene equally welcoming to fine dining devotees beside Fenway faithful.

Visitor Information: Reservations highly recommended either via website or phone with validated parking at both locations. Signature in Kenmore open daily, Fenway serves dinner except Monday. Enhanced raw bar experiences available to book.

Sophisticated yet cozy Island Creek Oyster Bar sustains more than just bodies but environments and communities through partnership with the sustainable shellfishing farm of the same name. Their extraordinary Nantucket bay-raised oysters merit high praise indeed alongside pristine New England seafood preparations like pan seared dayboat scallops with bourbon carrot purée and tempted lobster with uni butter.

Menus fluctuate with seasons but creativity astounds across plates like cider steamed mussels, whole roasted fish and iptables of shareable raw selections. Almost Cape Cod casual in vibe yet still refined enough for special occasions, Island Creek Oyster Bar makes responsible indulgence in impeccably fresh regional bounty a true joy.

Daily Catch Seaport

Name and Location: Daily Catch Seaport serves Sicilian-inspired fresh seafood meals embracing pasta perfection and composed fish plates within Boston’s bustling Seaport district from an intimate cafe filled with old world flavor.

History and Significance: Founded 2011 by third generation owner Paul Turano, Daily Catch Seaport brought honest family recipes to the emerging area focusing on housemade pastas paired with pristine proteins speaking to generations cooking Sicily to Boston – today their arancini and linguini signatures anchor Seaport dining engaging diners with effusive hospitality.

What to Expect: From garlicky shrimp over bright squash noodle pasta to expertly cooked seasonal catches nestled alongside cannellini purees or perched atop lemon-wine risotto, the kitchen coaxes oceanic sweetness forward through thoughtful composition using finessed technique devoted to pasta excellence culminating in tender desserts like homemade cannolis children of Sicily would approve.

Visitor Information: Open daily for lunch and dinner. Advance reservations recommended via website or phone call. Accessible Seaport location offers area parking validation – ride shares also convenient.

Colorful Daily Catch locations started in Italy’s fish markets before arriving stateside for serving seaside cuisine with Calabrian soul. Their Seaport outpost by Boston Harbor keeps dishes true to Italian roots from sweet juicy shrimp hiding in golden fried fantasies to tender squid ink risotto and linguine tangled with mussels, clams or frutti di mare mixes.

For traditionalists, skip specials and stick to straight forward grilled options, zuppa di pesce seafood stews or shareable antipasti fritto mistos mounded with lightly fried calamari, scallops and melt-in-your-mouth shrimp. Friendly staff feel like family by evening’s end when desserts like tiramisu and lemon sorbetto sweetly seal satisfying meals steps from sea spray.

Pier 6 Boston

Name and Location: Upscale event/dining concept Pier 6 overlooks Boston Harbor delivering fresh New England fare with well-edited wine lists from a renovated 19th century mahogany warehouse hosting outdoor deck seating during warm months.

History and Significance: Assisted by partner Ken Oringer of acclaimed Clio fame, Elliott Davis and lead investor Roger Berkowitz transformed tired Pier 6 into a destination venue including covered year-round interior brasserie plus sprawling tiered exterior harborside patio quenching summer thirsts through unified vision elevating the site as a crowning jewell toward enhancing Boston’s maturing waterfront.

What to Expect: From Faroe Island salmon in the timbered interior year-round to Whole Pearl Oysters downed dockside when the weather allows, Pier 6 polishes seasonal New England concepts thoughtfully through cuisine simultaneously sophisticated yet approachable keeping crowds returning across golden hours filled with the flitting possibility burgeoning anew each subsequent spring.

Visitor Information: Reservations recommended via OpenTable. Valet parking offered plus area lots accessible. Closed Monday/Tuesday off-season. Call (617) 531-6868 for seasonal hours/events.

Dramatic views of Boston Harborreward those venturing away from downtown to Charlestown’s Pier 6 for eating Dockside or upstairs in glass walled dining rooms. Generous seafood platters present lobster tails, clams, mussels and corn on the cob ready for cracking and dipping drawn butter paired beautifully with rosés and sunset watching.

Simple preparations allow pristine ingredients to shine across lobster rolls and steamers while fried trawler catches like scrod or sea scallops confirm why this thirty-five year legacy still packs locals in with tourists as well. Enjoy cocktails and music on seaside patios in season or request window tables indoors year-round for soaking up the atmosphere through authentic New England fare done right.

Blue Dragon

Name and Location: Hip dumpling den Blue Dragon in Boston’s Fort Point district spotlights exotic Asian-fusion share plates made for lingering over inventive cocktails across an ever-lively scene inside mingling old brick character beside modern energy.

History and Significance: Ming Tsai of acclaimed Blue Ginger fame joined forces with sports marketer Tom Kershaw opening Blue Dragon in 2010 focusing on anime-inspired gastropub refinement sending edgy pan-Pacific small plates complimenting house libations across a motto “dumplings and cocktails” making weeknights feel celebratory through enduring hospitality concepts crossing into mainstream.

What to Expect: Under exposed ducts dangling colorful glass globes behind the glowing blue dragon presiding over the bar, pairs playfully navigate menus of curated sakes, hyper-local brews and cheeky signatures cocktails alongside orders of plump dumplings, wok-seared meats and composed bites equally engaging groups snacking or coupling up more intimately across distressed wood tables.

Visitor Information: Hip late-night scene. Reservations accepted but walk-ins common earlier. Validated parking at nearby garages off Summer Street. Open daily from 11:30am, later kitchen/bar hours apply.

Ming Tsai of PBS television Fame infuses coastal New England ingredients with Asian essences at Blue Dragon just off historic Fort Point Channel. His signature sizzling seafood and noodles at the table allure along with Thai chili glazed Atlantic Char and tempura fried lobster claws kicking up familiar foods a few decadent notches.

The energetic open kitchen adds exhibition flair to enjoying cocktails and inventive shared plates like lobster guacamole, tuna tataki on garlic crostini and wok fried mussels with chorizo and scallions that keep lively conversations flowing as often as indulgent bites. For zesty global fusion beside Boston’s waterfront, Blue Dragon by celebrity home chef Ming Tsai delivers adventure and satisfaction through familiar flavors made exotically enviable.

Summer Shack

Name and Location: High-energy seafood sensation Summer Shack imports Chowderhead spirit from Boston export Jasper White to Las Vegas hosting New England boils, lobster rolls, fried platters and sumptuous sweets across two draught beer-fueled levels pumping each night beside slick casino attractions.

History and Significance: Legendary Boston chef Jasper White chose Mohegan Sun to transplant trademark Summer Shack concepts beyond Northeast borders in 2015, breaking Vegas convention through double-decker graffiti-splashed spaces evoking Revere Beach memories dishing heaping platters staying faithful to authentic recipes debuted decades prior at his beloved Boston original anchoring the brand’s longevity.

What to Expect: Upbeat rock fuels fast pacing suited for hungry tribes sharing fresh raw platters and lingering over sour beers and comfortable cocktails alongside petite lobster rolls packing mighty flavor or award-winning chowders bridging New England tradition to the Mojave through White’sOTO hospitality insights portal diners straight to the breezy Atlantic coastline 4,000 miles east.

Visitor Information: Open daily 11am-late serving non-stop snacks, lunch and dinner. Reservations accepted but walk-ins accommodated at tables or bar. Valet parking at Mohegan Sun Casino entrance. All major credit cards accepted.

Boston beloved celebrity Chef Jasper White lands his Summer Shack seafood concept along the harbor overlooking Moakley Park’s emerald green expanse dotted with sailboats. Expect staples from the sea like lobster rolls and award-winning clam chowder prepared through a lens of seasonal simplicity with the integrity Chef White’s fans admire.

Oysters shine on their own naked merits or dressed up with schmears of bacon jam or spicy ‘yang’ granita. Share your table’s markets catches elegantly blackened or wood fired for letting impeccable sourcing sing. And save room for nostalgic desserts from fruit crisps to chocolate cream pie amid nautical New England vibes inside, waterside tables out or window counter seating with skyline views.

Oak + Rowan

Name and Location: Oak + Rowan enlivens Boston’s bustling financial district with vibrant wood-fired seafood sharing plates anchored by an oak grill and wine program tailored for unwinding in style across moody lounges glow.

History and Significance: For their downtown debut, prolific Boston chef Michael Schlow partners with restauranteur Eamon O’Sullivan on this upscale-yet-cozy downtown venue fueled by a sustainably-sourced open fire menu seated beside a central island bar designed to bring relaxed energy inspired by coastal getaways inland energizing downtown.

What to Expect: From the elegant crudo bar to plush leather banquet nooks, Oak + Rowan channels luxury hospitality through flavor built upon simply grilled fish, shellfish and farmer’s pick ingredients matched by a global wine selection and bespoke hand-crafted cocktails equal to any power lunch conference yet conversational enough for date nights to unfold stylishly over burrata toast and wine-dashed cavatelli absent standard business district formality.

Visitor Information: Open daily at 11am for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended via Resy app or phone with validated valet parking available. Side entry off Franklin Street, elevator access inside lobby to second level venue.

Oak + Rowan hides up an alleyway off Congress Street disguising an unexpectedly sleek urban enclave for refined seafood and cocktails below street level. Once down the iron steps, dramatic wine displays in a glowing glass cellar backdrop the granite raw bar presenting regional oysters and small plate delicacies.

In dim dining rooms flickering with candlelight, whole fish choices tempt along with divine crustaceans from lobster to plump sea scallops atop lemon ricotta gnocchi in brown butter glaze. Equally artful gin cocktails and a global wine list wash down discrete indulgences through late night menus perfect for sealing a luxurious date deal or toasting special milestones in sophisticated intimacy steps from downtown’s bustle.

Bastille Kitchen

Name and Location: Modern French bistro Bastille Kitchen introduces Fort Point diners to casual Parisian cafe classics like escargots, duck confit salad and irresistible sweets aided by stellar wine selections across an animated neighborhood destination equally comfortable for rendezvous or family gatherings.

History and Significance: First opened in 2018 by chef Adam Gendreau and wife Jane Zimmerman, Bastille Kitchen tapped into long-dormant desires for accessibly priced, authentic brasserie fare drawing after-work regulars, special occasion diners and residents craving a quality neighborhood fixture equally at home for singles at the bar to larger festive gatherings celebrating Bastille Day herein.

What to Expect: From plats du jour announced onboards daily to staples like onion soup, waterzooi stew or a tarte flambee emerging blistered from the ceramic-tiled oven, diners feast eyes upon artful presentations before fork tucks into the Paris-worthy substance behind each conceived by Gendreau and team classically training in France.

Visitor Information: Dinner from 4pm daily, weekend brunch, closed Mondays. Reservation or walk-ins welcome. Nearby parking garages available off Farnsworth Street. Call (617) 742-6461 for special event bookings or updates.

Restauranteur Seth Greenberg may source seafood and produce from Boston’s docks and regional farms for his European styled Bastille Kitchen, but Provence feels present in mood, music and vibes within cozy red tiled walls. Daily blackboards and fish displays guide decisions on Norman cuisine with Portuguese touches through dishes like line caught hake or half lobsters chargrilled simply to let texture and flavor peak.

Nightly bastilles feature rotating coastal catches from local fluke and tuna to barramundi and trout prepared whole for tableside service and dramatic plating. With exceptional wines and aloof yet warm hospitality, Bastille Kitchen transports through romantic Old World evenings best enjoyed slowly over crisp rosé, crusty breads and seafood prepared passionately as across the Atlantic.

Saint Clair Superior

Name and Location: Distressed-chic Union Square restaurant Saint Clair Superior supplies seasonally conscious shared plates and desserts alongside natural wines within an intimate modern Victorian carriage house setting.

History and Significance: First opened 2018 from Bar Mezzana veterans Cummins and Davis without prior restaurant experience, Saint Clair Superior follows sustainably sourced ingredient inspirations crafting global fusion small plates for grazing across a modest 30-seat dining room aided by natural wine curation and cozy throwback environ channeling bygone secret society appeal in a postmodern update.

What to Expect: Ever-changing bites riffing on diverse flavors and preparations stimulate the senses as much as naturally funky Rieslings, sparkling Gringet or organic Cab Franc playing perfect supporting roles across an adventurous slate less intent on perfection than deliciousness created inside an open kitchen inches from linen-covered community tables intimating 19th century clandestine gatherings utterly alive in 21st century Union Square innovation.

Visitor Information: Reserve via website or call (617) 714-5307 to guarantee tables at this tiny hotspot. Self park at nearby garages off Union Square’s irregular alleyways. Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday only to start.

Hiding upstairs in Back Bay, Saint Clair Superior’s discreet elegant dining rooms welcome power lunchers by day for pristine raw seafood towers and composed seafood salads. But at night under twinkling ceiling strings of bulbs, stars emerge through exquisite plates like foie gras stuffed squid over oxtail ragout, scallop crudo with white truffles and pasta, and venomous lionfish catch.

With an elite raw bar and progressive seafood preparations, Saint Clair Superior shines brightest through understated personality in contrasting its cutting edge cuisine. For discreet high power dining or next level special occasion splurges, their stellar seafood seduction excels across the menu.

Conclusion

Seafood reigns supreme across Boston where Atlantic bounty seduces palates from historic hotels to converted warehouses now home to remarkable raw bars and grill concepts. Upscale and casual venues unite through guaranteed fresh regional catches guided by chef creativity taking quahogs, cod, halibut and lobster to new heights matched beautifully by craft wines, beers and cocktails.

Beyond expected staples like buttery lobster rolls and bowls of clam chowder, barrier breaking kitchens fuse global techniques and ingredients to create award winning flavor marriages with flaky Atlantic hake or Nantucket bay scallops. Whichever concept catches your fancy, sink into a seafood feast showcasing Boston’s abundant gifts from New England waters through talent driving one of America’s top emerging food cities today. Some spotsSource daily from nearby docks and harbors. Others challenge perceptions of familiar species through preparations becoming fast favorites. Together these dozen seafood sanctuaries swim together in maintaining Boston’s esteemed reputation for both classic and cutting edge catches.

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