It has been a long time since I last lived in Boston, and a few years since I did some serious eating there. I will be visiting in April/May and want to entain a friend from Barcelona with American seafood. Not only is she from BCN, but her famaily is big in the fish business - so this lady knows her seafood. If it were 20 years ago, I suspect I would be thinking of Jasper White (or similar). What's good now ?
Actually, Jasper does have two great fish places in the area; the Summer Shack. One is near Alewife T station and the other is in the Back Bay next to Bukowski's. I have never had a dish there I didn't like and was particulary impressed with a bluefish dish served mexican style using lime. It was not overpowering yet remained full flavored, nor was it slide off the fork oily.
There are some great appetizers and somehow I never get out of there without doing an oyster shooter (can't really explain that one.)
As much as I despise chains and this seems to have become one, I don't think you can go wrong with Legal Seafood. It's a little overpriced and you are paying for the name, but I have always found them to be consistently good. There is one on the waterfront near the Aquarium, one in Cambridge and another in the Back Bay.
Summer Shack is controversial on this board. Many of us (myself included) think the place is just awful. Legal's is ok, but IMHO not where I'd bring someone who really "knows her seafood."
I'd bring your friend to B&G Oysters. I think it's the best primarily seafood place we've got in Boston.
Since the friend is so entrenched in seafood, maybe you want to go in a different direction here? Or go completely casual and take a trip to the clam shacks on the north shore (Clam Box, Farnham's, Essex Seafood, Woodman's). That's a different kind of American experience. Azure and Meritage have nice fish dishes for fancier stuff.
Oh Dear God. please do NOT bring your friend to the summer shacks or legal's. they are so not good examples of this area's best seafood places. search this board a bit and you will find a plethora of better options. i, for one, would have you look into East Coast Grill or any one of a number of places in Chinatown.
i do like the suggestion of a trip up to ipswich or essex. they are great local seafood places of a style that is not done, or rarely done well, outside of the North Shore.
I would pass on Jasper White's if your friend knows her seafood. I've never been particularly blown away.
It's tough to beat East Coast Grill when it comes to seafood restaurants in the Boston area. Neptune Oyster is also excellent.
I think the the Ipswich/Essex fried seafood idea is a great one. It would be a very New England type of experience.
If you had some great weather you might want to consider heading to Brown's in Seabrook, NH. You can sit outside and enjoy fried seafood (like fried lobster tails. mmmm) and steamers, mussels, lobsters, etc. There's a big deck and a lot of good people watching.