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Best Seafood in Boston - Casual

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My cousins and their bfs are visiting Boston from New Jersey easter weekend and I want to take them out for dinner on saturday night. Before I became chowhound-obseseed and really into food/restaurants, I took them to Barking Crab, which I thought was a fun experience. They want to go there agin, but I said I can prob find a place that has better seafood (they like lobster, crab, mussels, etc). I know Neptune/B&G has great oysters and Atlantic Fish co has great seafood...but I'm thinking of somewhere that is more casual. Any suggestions?

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  1. Would Daily Catch in the NE be too casual? I find that out of town visitors always enjoy it..so do I..:) I think a max of 6 maybe 8 people works fine.

    I'm not a fan of the Courthouse Daily Catch.

    4 Replies
    1. re: 9lives

      Never been there, but it doesnt look like its more casual than Barking Crab.

      1. re: kweesee

        But it is more casual than Neptune or B&G which is I think what the OP was asking.

      2. re: 9lives

        Daily Catch looks more italian...and it doenst have steamed lobsters, crabs, etc?

        1. re: kweesee

          It's Italian seafood. They always hava a lobster fra diavolo..which maybe they'd steam for you. Don't know about crabs.

          Much better food than Barking Crab..and the NE is nice to wander around after dinner.

      3. If you're willing to go to Somerville, Pescatore Seafood is casual, warm and inviting, and excellent seafood.

        1. I think one can do better than Barking Crab as well.

          Dolphin Seafood near Harvard Square is a good casual sit-down seafood choice with reasonable prices. If you really want to go slumming and cheap while still actually sitting down to eat, I'd suggest Morse Fish (South End), Yankee Lobster Fish Market (Waterfront), or Courthouse Seafood (between Inman and Lechmere Squares, Cambridge).

          7 Replies
          1. re: bachslunch

            because of location i looked at dolphin seafood and morse fish first...they look alright. are they better than barking crab? seems like the latter one doesnt have steamed shellfish?

            1. re: kweesee

              Morse Fish is really just an old-style counter (from the stains and scars - very old). You walk up, tell them what you want, and then (for many things) walk over to the fish display and pick out the piece of fish you want. It's not a restaurant with table service, or even plates for that matter (everything is in a styrofoam to go container). We're talking no frills whatsoever. It's good and cheap, but I'm not sure I'd take out of town guests there.

            2. re: bachslunch

              I'll second the recommendation of Dolphin Seafood in Harvard Square.

              1. re: Allstonian

                Third Dolphin: nice, simple, unpretentious, not that expensive, and quite tasty.

                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                  Dolphin, to my mind, is a little dull -- both in a room completely devoid of ambiance, and preparations straight out of the 1950s seafood playbook. It surely has the highest percentage of older diners of any restaurant in the neighborhood, and with reason.

                  1. re: dsmoxie

                    Retro does not necessarily equal without merit. I would rather have a well-prepared standby than a Hot New Thing that's crap. Yes, you know what you're gonna get at Dolphin, and it's probably not going to be the most exciting meal you'll ever have in your life, but if you're looking for a solid, inexpensive seafood meal, it's tough to beat.

                    1. re: dsmoxie

                      i really don't like dolphin. it's one of my least favorite restaurants in harvard square. i don't find any of their dishes inspired, be it fresh fish, shell fish, or fish and chips. it just all seems boring and pre-made.

              2. Summer Shack, great food, prices are a little up there, but the selection and quality of ingredients is outstanding. There is one on Dalton Street in the Back Bay, and also one across from the Alewife T stop.

                1 Reply
                1. re: FoodArt

                  Summer Shack sucks (IMHO, of course). If everyone's gonna order lobster, however, it'll be fine.

                2. This is the mandatory East Coast Grill response. Ultra-casual - lots of fish entrees - very "fun" experience. Also a very good raw bar. No lobster, occasionally crab leg appetizer, but more toward freshly caught swimming fish.

                  I like Pescatore, but it is a quiet place - no liquor license (yet) - so probably not what you are truly looking for.

                  1. The Daily Catch under the arches of the courthouse is a fabulous location, though it might not be warm enough to sit outside. Maybe they have heaters. Then you can walk around along the harbor over to Mike's....out of towners really like that experience.

                    The original Summer Shack at Alewife although not on the water has such a unique, big, noisy
                    space with all those lobster tanks etc. that young out of towners really like it, or so I found when my sons brought friends home.

                    The fish is ok at both but it's almost secondary to the overall ambiance for that age group.