Best Oyster Bars in Boston

Oh, Shucks! Boston's Best Oyster Bars Serve Up Briny Delights

Boston’s harbor-side location allows easy access to the aphrodisiac of the sea-oysters. Harvesting oysters happens all around Boston with many oyster "farmers" raising oysters in a sustainable way. With an influx of oyster farms, the number of locales specializing in theses salty sea creatures has increased allowing more opportunities for oyster lovers to enjoy.  

The 10best represent a cross-section of styles, from the veteran like the small reservation free Neptune Oyster Bar where their reputation for constantly high quality oysters often leave diners waiting for hours for a table to the newly opened Select Oyster Bar where a 20% gratuity is tacked onto your bill no matter your opinion of the service. 

Those who crave a reservation can take the easy road and make one at Island Creek Oyster Bar where you'll learn the reason that Island Creek Oyster Farm has such a great reputation. Their sister restaurant, Row 34, also taking reservations, has made a big splash in the oyster world in the Fort Point area where their oysters are often paired with beer.

If you're seeking an iconic oyster bar experience then Union Oyster House is a must because nothing says classic Boston than oysters at the bar of this historically significant seafood spot. 


Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Citizen Public House Website

Citizen Public House is something different on the oyster scene. This is a tavern complete with fried pickles and gourmet pb&j, it is not the place you'd expect to turn out delicious oyster. Somehow this combo really works. Located behind Fenway Park it perfect for a pre or post game snack. And even better when the Red Sox are not in town as the crowds are significantly cut down. Treat yourself to a dozen of their refreshingly filling oysters while socializing with those seated around you at this social oyster bar. With few options you can rest assured the oysters you order are tops.

Recommended for Oyster Bars because: The oyster bar at Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar is a simple spot to enjoy fresh oysters.

Jessica's expert tip: It would be wise to make reservations on game days.

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Mare lets you dine in the North End without a plate of pasta. This seafood restaurant's focus on sustainable fishing sets it apart from other area eateries. With a raw bar that stands up to other area options, and a menu filled with unique offerings, Mare serves the influx of visitors to the North End as well as locals who can't get enough of their fresh fish. Rock Crab Spaghettoni and Zuppa di Mare are favorites for those who want a taste of Italy alongside their seafood, while the Grigliata di Pesce and Pan Roasted Halibut showcase the craftsmanship of the kitchen staff. Dishes are simply prepared to showcase the seafood, yet beautifully presented. Large windows allow diners to watch the world go by in this minimally decorated restaurant. The clean lines of the decor reflect the clean flavors found in the food they serve.

Recommended for Oyster Bars because: Priding itself as an organic seafood restaurant, Mare serves some of the best oyster toppings in the city.

Jessica's expert tip: Request a window seat, and order the octopus salad as a starter; the unique preparation will impress.

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Summer Shack has consistently good food, excellent blackboard specials, stiff drinks and a seasoned wait staff. The laid back atmosphere is family friendly, but also offers a bar in another room for those looking to leave the kids behind. Excellent daily specials combined with a variety of classics make Summer Shack a place to return to over and over again. Not a seafood fanatic, the land lover's menu allows all an equally exciting dining experience, especially the fried chicken and corn dog. Kids are fans of Summer Shack as well, with crayons, write on table cloths, and special events on Sundays just for families (free Sundae bar and balloon animals while you eat), you can get your lobstah' fix while the kids are entertained.

Recommended for Oyster Bars because: Summer Shack brings the clam shack indoors for year-round enjoyment; and has a rotating selection of the freshest oysters to be found.

Jessica's expert tip: Family friendly, a perfect place for seafood with kids; the atmosphere is lively and laid back.

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Union Oyster House is a taste of Boston history. Opened in 1826, and holding the title of America's oldest restaurant, Union Oyster House still offers one mean oyster bar. Just outside Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Union Oyster House is the perfect place to start your tour. Sit at the first floor raw bar to devour your oysters, or step into the past and explore the rest of the place. Cozy booths line this relic and the smaller scale helps transport diners to a time when things were not so big. Wherever you sit just be sure to take the name seriously because Union Oyster House offers some of the best bivalves you'll find in Boston.

Recommended for Oyster Bars because: Union Oyster House is the oldest oyster bar in Boston.

Jessica's expert tip: Enjoy the oysters at the bar where you'll feel like a Patriot.

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Legal Harborside
Photo courtesy of Chip Nestor

Legal Harborside Floor 1 offers one of the best ocean views around. Floor to ceiling windows adorn the harbor-side of this excellent oyster joint. A raw bar sits near the center with seating that allows diners to watch the water change. In typical Legal fashion, Legal Harborside serves up super fresh oysters at reasonable prices. Not up for bar side seating, no problem Legal Harborside, Floor 1, has many tables, most perfectly placed to enjoy the view. Grab a seat, and watch as your oysters are freshly shucked, then dig in and relax because this restaurant will transport you to paradise.

Recommended for Oyster Bars because: Legal Harborside is the family friendly choice for oyster lovers.

Jessica's expert tip: Patio seating is hard to come by, request one when you make your reservation.

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Select Oyster Bar
Photo courtesy of Jessica Polizzotti

Select Oyster Bar is open 7 Days a week, offering Lunch + Dinner daily. Nosh on mane filled with local seafood offerings that are filled with mediterranean flavors. A creative wine program, craft beer offerings, and cocktail program featuring artisans spirits serves as an excellent counterpoint to the seafood menu. A true oyster bar, Select offers stunning plates filled with raw seafood including freshly shucked local posters, ceviche and crudo. Lunch "plates" are a mix of soups, snacks, and sandwiches, some of which can be found as appetizers on the dinner menu. Dinner adds a variety of main course offerings and both menus, big on seafood are short on meat.

Recommended for Oyster Bars because: Select Oyster Bar offers diners a relaxed atmosphere in the Back Bay for enjoying fresh oysters.

Jessica's expert tip: 20% Pre-Tax Gratuity is added to all checks at Select.

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B&G is a South End treasure by famed chef Barbara Lynch. Located below street level, B&G boasts a simple setting that allows diners to focus on the fabulous food. Oysters are the star here, so order up. The enclosed garden patio takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood and transports you into a garden sanctuary. Check off your favorites, or order new ones from the list that circulates; start with a dozen then explore further because these briny treasures should be icy cold upon consumption. Make a meal of your oysters or sample the other options from this South End eatery that's been drawing crowds for years.

Recommended for Oyster Bars because: B&G Oyster Bar offers a lovely outdoor setting in the South End where you could sit for hours enjoying plate after plate of oysters.

Jessica's expert tip: Order in waves, pair with a glass of wine and relax on the patio.

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Island Creek Oyster Bar does not exclusively sell Island Creek oysters (from Duxbury, MA). They open their menu to many other oysters from coast to coast. With such a large selection, this is an oyster oasis. Island Creek quickly secured its place as one of the best oyster bars around and has been expanding it's restaurants ever since. Island Creek does not sell oysters exclusively (although they certainly offer a lot of options), and is a place worth eating more than oysters. When you can't get into their Fenway location, make the trip to their newly opened Burlington location where you'll get a taste of the same high quality product that's kept it growing over the years.

Recommended for Oyster Bars because: The Island Creek Oyster Bar farmers' passion for osiers shine through at this Fenway area eatery.

Jessica's expert tip: Reservations are tough to come by, plan ahead or walk in

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Neptune Oyster is the oyster lover's oyster bar. Neptune's selection of east and west coast oysters are impressive. With sleek d├ęcor this no frills oyster bar is the perfect spot to sit and sip champagne while dozens of these fresh mollusks arrive before your eyes. A no reservation policy has served it well, creating hours long waits for diners who need a fix of their seafood. The oysters may be amazing, but Neptune does not disappoint with its entrees either. An award winning lobster roll, New England clam chowder and seasonal specialties bring this flourishing oyster bar to the top of its class.

Recommended for Oyster Bars because: Neptune Oyster has been the front-runner in oyster bars for years and maintains a reputation for fresh oysters from both coasts.

Jessica's expert tip: They do not take reservations, either arrive early, or be ready to wait.

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Row 34
Photo courtesy of

Fashionably simple, Row 34 in Fort Point Channel, within the Seaport District, has quickly made a splash in the restaurant scene. Serving simple, fresh seafood, Row 34 churns out plates of seafood to be eaten with enjoyment. Row 34 has a focus on pairing their menu items, including raw bar favorites with beer. Start with a dozen of their crisp, clean, expertly shucked, local oysters alongside a pint of a craft draft or bottle of beer for a coupling you won't soon forget. The main course selection consists of the freshest fish they can find and cooks it up in every way imaginable: pan seared, roasted, grilled, baked, battered and fried. All served with carefully chosen accompaniments that will have you returning for more.

Recommended for Oyster Bars because: Row 34 is everything that's great about an oyster bar: casual, fresh and they take reservations.

Jessica's expert tip: A raw bar order is a must and needs to be paired with their specialty beers.

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Meet Jessica Polizzotti

Born and raised in Boston, Jessica knows her city like the back of her hand.  Always looking to uncover something new, Jessica keeps up on the latest and greatest Boston offerings. 

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