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Lobster near the docks?

My parents are going to be in town and (as midwesterners) feel that the thing to do is have lobster near the ocean in Boston. I don't want to disappoint them by not honoring their request, but I also want to find someplace that my wife and I can eat without feeling like we're surrounded by tourists. Any suggestions?

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  1. I like the Lobster Pool up in Rockport. Lobster in the rough, paper plates, picnic tables, BYOB, gorgeous view.

    1. anthony's pier 4 would prob fit the bill

      3 Replies
      1. re: joth68

        Except that they'll be surrounded by tourists. It's a tougher request than it should be.

        1. re: Joanie

          Considering that it is labor day, I think most places are going to be mobbed with tourists.

          If you don't care about ambience and don't actually need to see the water while eating than yankee lobster could be a good choice.

          1. re: joth68

            I like Yankee and stopped in today for some lobster bisque..Their chowder is good too..and it's located perfectly for my bike ride break..:) If I were coming from the Midwest, I think I'd be disappointed in the ambience and view of Northern Ave.

            I'd recommend NoName, Sail Loft (my new trick is to have them cut the "too thick" with clam broth), or barking Crab over Yankee.

            If you have the time to get out of Boston proper, Barnacle/Marblehead is a great spot..or Lobster Pool in Rockport or lots of the other Essex/Ipswich clam shacks.

            Chauncey Creek in S Maine is a 75 ish min drive but a beautiful spot..worth the trip if you have the time.


      2. If you are willing to drive, I'd say The Landing up in Marblehead out on the deck.

        1. If lobsta is the thing, then you have more choices than the usual Chowhound-approved ones. It's a simple meal that a decent kitchen can turn out, so places that otherwise have a challenge preparing more complex dishes can turn out a lobsta just fine.

          So for lobsta on a dock, Barking Crab fits the bill perfectly. It's a bit off the beaten path for tourists, and on a weekday night you're going to be surrounded by more people who work in the local offices. On a dock beats near the docks. And I think that their basic seafood preparations are pretty good.

          No Name is another restaurant that does the basics very well, on Fish Pier (is that dock-y enough?).

          Legal Seafoods at the Aquarium is more touristy at lunch. There are fewer around there later in the evening. Anthony's Pier 4 is also big with tourists (and not as good as the other options) but because of the size of the restaurant it should be peaceful enough.

          And for your consideration, the lobster roll at J. Hook & Company and a bench on the Harborwalk makes a pleasant afternoon. They'll also pack lobster to take back to the Midwest.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kbw18

            Well, we delayed a little to help avoid crowds and are all going to the Barking Crab tonight. I'll post here afterward on how it goes!

          2. The Sail Loft on Atlantic Ave serves lobster, and it's right on (over?) the harbor. I suspect it can be touristy, but it wasn't too bad the couple of times I've been there. The bar does become a meat market, so maybe an early dinner is a good idea.

            Not great food, but the lobster is fine and the view is nice.

            1 Reply
            1. re: erwocky

              The Sail Loft is actually a good rec, and one that I never really think of when I hear of lobster requests, but should.
              It is right on the water, and if you stick with the basics, lobster, fish and chips, chowder, apps, etc. the food isn't half bad. Plus they have free oreos in glass jars up at the bar (or they used to!) Plus, I don't think it's that touristy at all and it's a great way to see the waterfront area of Boston. In fact, I have a friend who grew up in Boston, and I always think about how when she went for a meal with her grandma (who also was a Boston-native), this is where they went...so more along the lines of a "boston institution" than "tourist trap."
              I also think the Barking Crab is a good rec, but it's more "lobster in the rough-ish" with picnic tables and very casual dining, less of a sit-down sort of affair. Sail Loft is not formal by any means but Barking Crab is a just a notch down. Depends what you're in the mood for. Both fine for what they are.
              Best suggestion of all would be to head out of Boston, somewhere on the North Shore. The previous rec of Lobster Pool in Rockport is certainly a good one, plus there are clam shacks in Essex like Farnhams, Essex Seafood, even Woodman's --that all have their fans. Again, just depends on what you're up for. Enjoy!

            2. What is a "tourist" anyway, in the context of a restaurant?
              If I hit a place a few times a month, I'm a sort-of regular. What if I go to a new place for the first time, even though I live less than 20 miles away?

              Anyhow, the terminology is annoying. I'm more concerned about kids out of control than whether the couple at the next table is actually from Indiana.

              A more valid concern is going to a place when it's over-busy with people from wherever and you have a 45 minute wait and then iffy service once you get seated.

              2 Replies
              1. re: TheWizard

                Hah! A great question, and you do a good job of pointing out what I was really concerned about, anyway. "Tourism" in this context refers to a restaurant overrun by holiday diners, be they from the local area or elsewhere. Thanks for bringing it up.

                1. re: drysil

                  This non tourist did 1 of Boston's most touristy things..saw Sharks at the Imax by the Aquarium....great. Fun to be a tourist in your own city..:)

                  To be chowcentric..breakfast was lobster bisque at Yankee lobster and lunch was 2 slices and an arancini at Umberto's..all great

                  I know someone mentioned the Hook's lobster roll..you can also have them steam a lobster and eat it at the picnic tables..not much in the way of sides..but you could make a picnic of it from things at nearby Sel de la Terre.

              2. if you have the time, taking the boat from around the Aquarium(not sure exactly where) to Nantasket and eating right next to the pier at Jakes Seafood might be a suggestion. In nice weather, they open up the wall of sliding glass doors in the diningroom and you're literally eating over the bay waters. Good food too. I stopped going to Anthony's Pier 4 because the last 2 times I was there both the food and the service was horrible. I think it's a real tourist trap. Maybe with so much competition opening in the area it will improve to where it use to be many years ago.

                1. How about the Barnacle in Marblehead. It is RIGHT on the water, in fact i have been there during storms and the waves smash into the windows!

                  1. Best on the Boston docks is Yankee Seafood. It also has parking, and a music venue next door if you want to take in a show. Good deal on twin lobsters also. I think it was $24. Great lobster roll. All the seafood is very fresh.

                    1. So we ended up going to the Barking Crab. We had a fine time -- they've started putting on the Sox games now that we're at the end of the season, and the volume was a bit loud, but the waitstaff realized it early on and had it turned down some. The food was good -- I had a pound-and-a-half lobster for $33 that was perfectly done, and our calamari appetizer was melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and came mixed with some surprisingly pungent banana peppers. They're in the midst of reworking their menu, adding a wine list and changing around the desserts, so some things currently on the menu aren't available (we ordered key lime pie only to find out it didn't exist).

                      My wife got a lobster roll and fries -- the roll was mostly chunk lobster with little mayo holding it together and just a bit of celery for flavour, not filler. I imagine I could get an even better meal for less if we went up the coast, but overall I was happy. Thanks, hounds!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: drysil

                        Glad you enjoyed it.

                        I like Barking Crab more than a lot of people on the board and my out of town guests that I take always really enjoy the experience.

                        1. re: drysil

                          I've always liked the calamari with banana peppers there. The marinara is mostly forgetable but you don't really need it anyway.