Established in 1826, this casual establishment is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the US and consists of a dark, pub-like dining room, oyster bar, restaurant, and drink bar. John F. Kennedy had a favorite booth here while practicing law in his early days, and you can now reserve it for parties of five or six. The place is said to serve the best clam chowder in New England, along with fresh seafood and excellent Bloody Marys. Oysters are delicious, and diners may choose to sit in cozy booths and order from the menu or find a perch at the popular raw bar.
Recommended for Seafood because: THe oldest continuously operating restaurant you'll find, The Union Oyster House is a must try for any seafood lover looking to mix history with dining.
Jessica's expert tip: Enjoy oysters at the bar before making your way to table where you'll get a blast from the past in their authentic booths.
A beloved part of the Boston dining scene since the late 1970s, Atlantic Fish sports an updated atmosphere these days. You'll find Atlantic Fish complete with an air of sophistication where stained wood, pendant lights, coffered ceilings and crisp white linens welcome you to their dining room. The menu, that has long been a favorite of Boston locals remains quite similar to that of its launch in the 1970's. Serving up kitchen timeless raw bar classics like shrimp cocktail, iced Littleneck clams and Blue Point oysters as well as clam chowdah', crab crusted haddock and lemon sole. Patio dining is available when the weather permits.
Recommended for Seafood because: Atlantic Fish offers diners classic entrees that focus on New England flavors in a setting that is elegant without being stuffy.
Jessica's expert tip: This Boylston Street restaurant is the perfect stop for an exquisite seafood lunch while shopping Back Bay.
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 Seafood because: Mare's modern digs in the North End give diners fresh seafood with Italian preparations like you'd find on the coast of Italy.
Jessica's expert tip: Request a window seat, and order the octopus salad as a starter; the unique preparation will impress.
With three distinct locations (North End, Brookline and Seaport) you can almost find the fabulous eats The Daily Catch offers wherever you are. Family owned and operated, the Daily Catch's focus is on Sicilian style seafood. This well-loved Boston eatery makes a killer Fra Diavalo, amazing monkfish marsala, famous black pasta, and fantastic fried everything. Servers are friendly and the atmosphere homey and inviting. When dining on the waterfront, secure an outdoor table on their covered patio where you are protected from a stray shower and are able to enjoy not only your food but the action on the Harbor.
Recommended for Seafood because: The Daily Catch serves Sicilian style seafood using fresh fish that's prepped to order; allowing you an enjoyable seafood feast with flair.
Jessica's expert tip: For outdoor, waterfront dining try the Seaport location.
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 Seafood because: When you're looking for a shack style seafood experience without having to worry about the weather you'll want to head to Summer Shack.
Jessica's expert tip: Very family friendly, a perfect place for seafood with kids; the atmosphere is lively and laid back.
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 Seafood because: Serving off the boat fresh seafood in a casual environment that is welcoming to all sets Row 34 apart from its peers.
Jessica's expert tip: A raw bar order is a must and needs to be paired with their specialty beers.
A sleek, stylish raw bar that owes its success to the visions of owner Barbara Lynch, who is quite the celebrity chef in the Boston area, is what sets B&G apart from the pack. The sub-level space is subtly (that is, unpretentiously) contemporary, featuring blue and gray tiles, stainless steel elements, and an open kitchen. The raw bar eats are fronted by fresh local oysters, clams, scallops and shrimp. Meanwhile, creative main courses like bacon-wrapped cod, wild striped bass with squid puttanesca, and Italian fish stew are themselves superbly done. Patio dining is available during the warm seasons on their own private oasis that is engulfed with greenery to make you feel extra special.
Recommended for Seafood because: B&G has been serving up incredible seafood creations for years without a hiccup, and continues to draw crowds to its South End home.
Jessica's expert tip: B&G's lobster roll is legendary and a must try for those who have never had it; start with an order of fried Ipswich clams and you have the makings of a perfect Boston meal.
Island Creek Oyster Bar has everything you want in a seafood joint: fresh fish prepared in creative ways while maintaining a connection to New England and the classic dishes Boston is famous for. You will find a mix of staples like seafood casserole and steamed lobster as well as a variety of seasonal seafood treasures. With a menu that changes daily, you know you are getting the freshest seafood available. Do not forget about the impressive oyster bar, with many to choose from be sure not to skip the Island Creek oysters --crisp, clean and briny these treasures and the Duxbury brand this restaurant is named for.
Recommended for Seafood because: Island Creek Oyster Bar offers diners the opportunity to enjoy their own brand of oyster, and other fresh, well-prepared menu items.
Jessica's expert tip: Book your table at Island Creek Oyster Bar well in advance; reservations are hard to come by.
Legal Harborside, located in the Seaport District's Liberty Wharf, is the flagship location for Legal Seafood and is three floors of fun: floor one is the "go-to" for fresh, well prepped seafood, floor 2 is a high end dining room with a menu as different as the setting, and floor 3 is a lounge offering light snacks and excellent cocktails that goes from indoors on cooler days to open air when the weather permits. Those seeking to enjoy Legal's like the locals do will love the floor to ceiling windows, outdoor patio and the casual, fun, family friendly (avoid prime times with a young family), moderately priced menu offered on floor one. The basic New England selection of seafood is complimented with flavors from other cultures to create a menu that brings the past of Legal Seafoods into the present.
Recommended for Seafood because: Legal Harborside is the quintessential New England seafood spot set directly on Boston Harbor offering dinner, or drinks with an amazing view.
Jessica's expert tip: Order the wild mushroom and lobster pizza, and the stuffed artichokes; they're quite different and tasty.
For the great seafood in Boston, head to Neptune Oyster. Home of an award winning lobster roll, served cold with mayo or hot with butter, Neptune does it right. Chunks of sweet meat cooked to perfection are served on a roll that is almost as good as what it holds. Beyond the lobster roll, Neptune offers a small menu of seasonal delights from the sea. Staples include Ipswich fried clams that explode in your mouth upon entry, and Steamed Wellfleet Littlenecks in the most magnificent wine sauce. The raw bar is impressive, serving east and west coast oysters, a variety of clams and other heavenly treats from the sea.
Recommended for Seafood because: Neptune Oyster has been drawing crowds to its tiny outpost for years for a good reason: they serve the best seafood in Boston.
Jessica's expert tip: Reservations are not accepted and seating is limited. Arrive early or plan a long wait-elsewhere as their is no bar for lingering.