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best raw bar for oysters in Boston's Waterfront District...?

Any place in particular? I know the Union Oyster house is noted as a good place but are there any other establishments that share the honor for great oysters?



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  1. I'm not sure that Union Oyster House would get voted best place to go around here. There are two other great oyster places. One is B&G in the South End which might be out of your way if you're looking for waterfront area. The other is Neptune which is in the North End.

    1. I second Neptune Oyster in the North End.

      Had a fabulous dinner there (again) last Friday. The highlights were the Dabob oysters (part of a selection of two dozen beauties), the fried oysters and beef tongue (a board fav), and the sea urchin.

      The squid fra diavlo was really good too.

      1. Union Oyster House (OYSTER BAR ONLY) is fine for local oysters..in a historic bar/building. Don't sit or eat anywhere/anything else..cept raw clams.

        Neptune Oyster in the NE is maybe a 5 min walk and will offer a greater assortment, great overall food.

        Maybe warm up with a dozen at Union, then Neptune

        2 Replies
        1. re: 9lives

          So, two dozen oysters then? Good, sounds like a plan.

          1. re: Alcachofa

            It would be 2 dozen if the OP was by herself...not a crazy #..:)..especially for a CH

            I'm going out on a limb and guessing OP is a vistor. The oyster bar at UOH is great.Yes UOH gets a lot ot tourists but accusations of questionable cleanliness are BS...you get plain shucked, fresh Cape or RI oysters at a classic oyster bar..that's been there for 200 or so years...treat for a local or tourist.

            Want to get fancy..go to Neptune..more West Coast oysters. It's a far better restaurant; but doesn't have the same history.

            I go to both...and I won't spend any energy talking a visitor out of UOH..unless they want to go past the oyster bar..I strongly dicourage that.

        2. A recent Neptune visit had a dozen varieties of oysters available - a few typicals (e.g., Wellfleet); a few MA varietals? (each with unique flavors), and a few imported (PEI, west coast varieties. I don't know how Union stacks up against that.

          1. Neptune is great, as previous posts have mentioned, I also like Kingfish. Legal Seafood would be a distant third.

            1. Legal! In my opinion, when you are talking about something like fresh oysters, a place that buys a lot and turns over a lot is by far the freshest way to go. While legal does get packed most night, we have always had luck getting a seat quickly at the bar. The oysters are super-fresh and very well priced. Wine is also well priced and they have great drinks.
              While people on this board often put down Legal and rave about Neptune, we don't care for the seating at Neptune. No interest in being at the same big table as another couple.

              4 Replies
              1. re: gingersnap

                I agree with both your points, Gingersnap. I also find the space at Neptune to be uncomfortable. AND we love Legal Seafoods. I had some Chatham oysters - briny AND buttery - last week for lunch that were so good. My husband and I are oyster fanatics and Legal is a favorite (he works in Kendall Sq, and we have been enjoying Legal's incredibly cold and fresh oysters for 15 years!) For variety I prefer B&G as Legal usually has 3 to 5 selections at very tops. BTW, I had a very nice mignonette with our Island Creek's tonight at Great Bay - had chives and a very high quality vinegar. For any intrepid travelers, The Oyster Riot at The Old Ebbitt Grill (around the corner from the White House in DC) is happening November 16 and 17 - 25 oysters from around the country and oyster pairing wines competing as well. We started going when we lived there and now travel for it. A little far from the North End (to the original post) but worth noting for oyster lovers!!

                1. re: gingersnap

                  I've defended Legal Seafood here often, on average a very reliable place (chain no less) to find regional seafood choices, but I have to say that their oyster 'service' is quite variable - often there are only a few choices, occasionally they have very good oysters. I really like Neptune, my bias, and I have been happy when I've gone to Kingfish - McCormick and Schmicks also has oysters and I don't have any complaints there so far.

                  1. re: steinpilz

                    Wow...I gotta say you've given me some great tips...I loved the menu at Neptune's! We may just make a go at all of them! We arrive in Boston at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning, staying at Marriott Custom House until we leave for Coastal Maine on Saturday. Other than trying to get into Fenway Park on Friday night (bet we don't ; ) we have no plans but to walk around, eat and drink! Thanks for all the great posts...can't wait to start slurping!


                    1. re: steinpilz

                      i've laways had good oysters at legal's, but they usually only have 2 or 3 kinds. neptune and mccormick's both carry many more.