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One night in Boston

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We are coming to Boston for one night, my birthday, it is on a Friday. We want a great restaurant, we love seafood. We'd like it to be special with some atmosphere. Neptune Oyster? Any thoughts?

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  1. Neptune Oyster is a great choice. It's hard to go wrong in my opinion. From there, you can walk through the North End and stop for an espresso or dessert.

    1. I love the food at NeptuneOyster and have celebrated a birthday of my own there, but it really depends on what you mean by "atmosphere". It's a very small place that is very popular, so it does get pretty crowded/tight. If you were hoping for dimly lit and quiet....this isn't it.

      6 Replies
      1. re: LeoLioness

        No I mean not dimly lit, not quiet. Is it hard to get in if it is small? I don't think they take resos. Do they have a bar there?

        1. re: Alica

          Neptune Oysters essentially is only a bar--a long, attractive wooden bar with a half dozen-tables against the opposite end of the room. Cramped, in a cozy continental Europe sort of way.

          They serve up excellent oysters and lobster rolls, as well as fantastic second courses including great pastas and crudos, in a lovely European-esque bar.

          I'm not sure, however, that Neptune Oysters is what you are seeking. It is more akin to your favorite place once you move here. Plus, it gets crowded, they don't take reservations, and the best seats are at the bar. I am not sure that adds up to the night you are looking for.

          In lieu, I'd recommend Craigie on Main. Excellent, and they are great with seafood. It will also be crowded, but they have space and take reservations. The atmosphere is lively, with a great bar and open kitchen. Do make a reservation.

          You could always start the night early at Neptune with a plate of raw oysters and a crisp glass of Chablis, then taxi over to Craigie for main course and dessert!

          1. re: rlove

            What about Oceanaire? It's right at Government Center & is "seafood centric". Maybe Joanie can give some insight / menu recommendations there since I haven't been there yet. If it's a nice night, you could always stroll thru Faneuil Hall (it's very pretty with the trees lit) & head to the North End for desert - Cafe Vittoria has great coffee & pastries.

            1. re: southie_chick

              Oceanaire does indeed have some great seafood. Fish choices change daily depending on what they get in. I had Hawaiian big eye tuna that was simply grilled in olive oil that was amazing, and also pricey $38 plus $6 for a side of cole slaw. It was worth it. I do feel, however, that Neptune, despite it's small space offers an atmosphere that IMHO feels special. Depending on the time the OP would like to dine it may still be doable. I find if you dine early (5:00) you generally can get a seat at the bar, which I actually prefer. The table space feels too tight and the bar space seems just more intimate.

              1. re: southie_chick

                I've only been to Oceanaire twice and had crab cakes both times, plus the awesome hash browns. 2nd time split a bunch of apps so also had a wonderful spinach/bacon salad and good chili shrimp. The room is amazing so it could work for this occasion but as noted, pricey entrees. I think Neptune is nice and a fun atmosphere if you can deal with the cramped quarters and no reservations, would serve the purpose if the OP knows they've got items they want to eat. Some people like Pigalle which would be a short walk from your place on Charles St. Or Hamersley's in the south end.

              2. re: rlove

                Thanks so much, great advice!!!

          2. Are you planning to spend the night in the City. If so what area/hotel. There are mant good options out there.

            8 Replies
            1. re: hunterboston

              We are staying on Charles St. I just looked at the Craigie menu, it seems to be alot of meat and only a few fish choices. It there a restaurant maybe in Cambridge that has more seafood to choose from?

              1. re: Alica

                Oleana, which is Mediterranean, has an excellent vegetarian tasting menu and otherwise a menu with great variety and plenty of seafood (in Cambridge on Hampshire Street).

                1. re: Alica

                  I would check out Rendezvous in Central Square.

                  1. re: Alica

                    I would say to head to Oceanaire. They take reservations, the food is very good (salads, sides, desserts are large enough to share) attractive room, good service. I have never had a bad meal there.

                    1. re: Alica

                      Craigie, while perhaps better known for meat, really shines with their seafood, and I have been more and more going the fish route there rather than meat. Rendezvous is also quite good for fish/seafood.

                      1. re: jajjguy

                        My favorite way to eat at Craigie is the six course blind tasting. It is generally 3 seafood courses, two meat courses and dessert. It's always outstanding.

                        1. re: kimfair1

                          Craigie'll do a "pescatarian", no meat, seafood only, tasting menu if you ask. Not as heavy/rich as the meat dishes tend to be.

                          1. re: justbeingpolite

                            If you want to eat in Cambridge, I think Craigie on Main is a great choice. Rendezvous is really nice too. But if I had to pick one spot in Cambridge that is truly my favorite, it'd be Hungry Mother. It's a casual restaurant with amazingly delicious food --appalachian/southern focus cooked in the classic french style. It can be cozy and romantic and though it's not fancy by any means, I always feel like it's a special night out when we dine there.
                            I am not a huge meat eater either and you can find excellent seafood/vegetarian dishes at any of these spots. Enjoy!

                  2. So far, plans are Neptune Oyster at 5:00 on Friday then off to The Donkey Show in Cambridge after which looks fun! I might need some lunch or cocktail ideas. Lunch will be light of Friday, more of an event on Saturday. Sounds crazy but I have always wanted to try Pizzaria Regina on the North end. How about any must see gourmet shops or great shopping areas? What is the cheese shop, Formaggio? Thanks all!