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Best Seafood in The Hub?

OK, stupid question. But I haven't been to Boston in several years since moving out west and don't really want to go to tourist traps like Legal Seafood or Jimmy's Harborside.

So what does the group suggest for 4 adults on a Friday or Saturday night? We're already planning on going to Neptune, and was hoping for something a bit more upscale that will take a reservation.

Thanks in advance.

P.S. I'd be more than happy to trade some good tips on where to dine in Seattle, if asked.

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  1. Jimmy's Harborside is no longer, it was torn down a few years ago to make way for development in the new "Seaport" district. I would recommend Great Bay in the Commonwealth Hotel in Kenmore Square, they do take reservations.

    1. weirdly, boston cannot seem to "get it right" for seafood. i've only been underwhelmed by great bay and the oceanaire has gotten middling to mediocre reviews. better bet to go to a classic like hammersley's and order seafood. 2 summers ago there i had a lobster, chorizo and sweetbreads dish i still dream about.

      1 Reply
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        Agree completely. Really the only seafood-centric places that consistently get it right are Neptune and B&G. The two places have their similarities, but are different enough -- both in terms of the menu and atmosphere -- that I don't think it's at all redundant to go to both. B&G does take limited reservations on opentable.com, so if you can get one I definitely would go.

      2. McCormick and Schmick does a good job, and is always very fresh.

        1. The No Name does the best fish in the city - but it's not upscale.

          12 Replies
              1. re: Taralli

                Sorry, sloppy posting on my part - I should say I haven't eaten there in over 10 years -I always thought of it as the best then... but obviously has changed.

                Why am I posting about a place I haven't been to in over 10 yrs? Because I'm becoming an old fart who thinks "oh I was just there recently... it was like 1997 or something..." Again - bad post on my part (slowly backing out of the room smiling sheepishly)

                1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                  Don't back away just because your post got two shots across the bow! Maybe it hasn't changed and based on your personal taste it is still the best - that's the point of this board, not having people agree with you.

                  Sorry, I just don't like to see people who go against the "consensus" (or an individual's opinion) getting blasted by something like "YHGTBK."

                  1. re: StevieC

                    I agree, when I have the ammo to defend, I definitely do so.

                    But in this case, I called a buddy of mine who still lives in Boston (Alas I moved out 5 yrs ago). And he said that "it's become a tourist trap" So in this case I backed down because I think I could be posting bad info ... not because I was confronted with a difference of opinion.

                    But thanks for sticking up for me!

                    1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                      Sorry, SROF, didn't mean to shout: ygtbk. Just concerned that the unsuspecting not be misled.

                      1. re: Taralli

                        No worries, if we weren't passionate about food, then these boards would be a boring place.

              2. re: Spends Rent on Food

                While the No Name does have excellent chowder, I've been disapointed with just about everything else that I've ordered off their menu.

                1. re: joth68

                  When I went I was so turned off by the "atmosphere" and its dingy-ness that I didnt want to order anything seafood like at all- I wound up getting broiled mussels thinking that the broiling would make them safe. I didnt get sick, but I didnt have an enjoyable meal either. Actually- it was one of the worst Ive ever had.

                  Just my two cents

                  1. re: fmcoxe6188

                    My wife has been to the no No Name twice - each time during some sort of conference. She is truly a food snob: unimpressed by almost every restaurant in the city (vs. hype, pricepoint, etc) I haven't been, so I cant say, but she loved it both times. I feel like I should tell her she's wrong because of all the negative posts.

                    1. re: almansa

                      The plot thickens.... Maybe I need to go back soon to see if TNN has changed and gone downhill, or if I actually do disagree with Taralli (vengeance in all caps would be sweet).

                      Although if your wife was in town for a conference then it would stack up with my friend's comment of TNN becoming a tourist trap (no disrespect to your wife). But if the food is great... then I don't mind tourists - in fact Boston's changed so much in the past 5 years I'm probably considered a tourist now myself.

                      I'll be in Boston at the end of August, I think I'll squeeze The No Name into part of my trip and I'll report back ...

                      Regardless, as this relates to the OP - Please do not take my recommendation for the No Name since you're looking for an upscale place where you're not surrounded by tourists, and regardless of quality TNN fails to meet both of these requirements

                      1. re: Spends Rent on Food

                        Years ago, The No Name was among the last places I'd ever associate with tourists, but with the opening of the Seaport Hotel, new convention center, and the new Westing adjoining it--there are a lot more tourists in the area.

                        I'd also like to give them a try just for the helluvit. I haven't been there in about 5-6 years. My last visit there was just fine, not horrible, not fantastic.

              3. The Daily Catch in the North End is one of my favorites for seafood and it's pretty consistently good. The calamari is to die for.

                2 Replies
                1. re: lycheefloat

                  i like the daily catch too, and love love love neptune, but neither take reservations, nor is the daily catch upscale. it's a tiny shoe-box dying to turn your table.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    Oh thanks for the catch, I missed the "upscale" part when reading the original post.

                    I've also had a pretty good meal at Turner Fisheries in the Westin hotel. It's a bit more upscale and they accept reservations

                2. Atlantic Fish Co. would probably fits your needs

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: nasilemak

                    I would second Atlantic Fish. An out of town guest and I had lunch there a couple of weeks back and I was pleasantly surprised how good it was. I am not a big seafood eater so I haven't been to a lot of the places mentioned in this thread. I must say that it blew away the meals that I've had at Legals in both service, taste and quality.

                    1. re: Chrispy75

                      I used to eat there often several years ago but for no specific reason have not been back in ages. I recently read that they rolled out a new menu so I was hoping that people that have been recently might share what they have had.

                      1. re: mats77

                        I had the crab cake sandwich, which was full of meat and very tasty. I also shared the seared ahi tuna and it was seared perfectly. not overdone at all as I have had at other places. The tuna was very fresh too. I did have a couple of oysters (pei) that my friend ordered. I am not an oyster connoisseur, but my friend is and found them to be really tasty (he lives in TX so maybe he's desperate for them.) I thought that they were cold and tasted mild. Some that I've had in the past have been warm and a little funky tasting. The waiter was friendly and very attentive without being pushy or too involved in our conversation. The bloody mary wasn't that great, which I kind of expected, but I am hooked on 647's, which is hard to top.

                      2. re: Chrispy75

                        Id third Atlantic- Everything Ive had there has been fresh and delicious.

                    2. Upscale seafood can be found at Great Bay in Kenmore square. The clam chowder is amazing and no one else really does it that way in Boston. Every plate that comes to your table is beautiful to look at and taste. They have very nice cocktails, beautiful menu and nice service. I am surprised that they are not busier because their food is excellent. They are expensive but the food is great.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: macadamianut

                        Agree on the clam "chowder" at Great Bay - I put the word in quotes because it's so different as to really demand a different term. If they're still making it the way they did when I had it last summer, the bowl arrives holding a mound of what is basically a clam tartare, chopped raw clams mixed with bits of something crunchy (possibly celery and/or another vegetable), pepper, a bit of herbs and very distinct grains of sea salt.

                        Over this they pour what tastes like a heavy cream-based clam bisque - no thickeners, but very clammy flavor and unctuously rich.

                        The combination makes for a wonderful dish, but not what someone looking for "clam chowdah" would expect.

                        1. re: BobB

                          BobB perfect description! I could not have described it better.

                      2. I 2nd Turner Fisheries. Always impressive in all ways.

                        1. Tried Great Bay last night for the first time. Two of us shared 3 items: Crab Cake, Clam Chowder and Lobtster Roll and 2 of the 3 were very good. Service was very good and it was nice that they offered to split the chowder and lobster roll when they knew we were sharing. Chowder was quite good and unusual in that the contents come in a bowl (fresh clams, pancetta, potato, and a root veggie, might have been parsnip) and then they pour the broth over the contents; broth was quite good and they did not use a thickening agent such as flour as most do just a little cream. The Lobster Roll was also quite good and very large, quite enough for 2. The crab cake was the only miss, it was just average and the salad that came with it of black peas, mango and opal basil just didn't work, it might have had a vinegar in it that made it a bit too sharp for our tastes. I would definitely go back.

                          1. Great Bay is really the only "upscale" seafood restaurant around. The Oceanaire is more of a Legals or Atlantic dressed up (and certainly better,) but every decent fine dining restaurant in the area will have ample seafood choices for both starters and mains.