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The best (non-tourist) seafood restaurants in Boston proper, please.

I'll be visiting Boston in a few weeks and I would like to know about your best (non-tourist) seafood restaurants in Boston.
I'm coming from Dallas (seafood deprived) and would appreciate your best recommendations.
Thank you.

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    1. To get the board favorites out of the way, Neptune Oyster and Peach Farm. For a very simple "authentic local" experience you might also want to try fried clams on the North Shore (e.g. Clam Box or Woodman's) or fish and chips at somewhere like Courthouse Seafood.

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      Peach Farm
      4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

      Neptune Oyster
      63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

      1 Reply
      1. re: Luther

        This is a really good idea. Get a car and take a drive up to Cape Ann on the N Shore...Clam Box, Farnhams's.

        You'll get great seafood and a really great taste of our area and the natural beauty.

        We can all suggest "in town" seafood spots and most are mediocro to very good but a triptothe N Shore is something you won't find at home.

      2. the best chinese fish in the tank restaurant; it is located in chinatown in downtown Boston.

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        East Ocean City Restaurant
        27 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

        1. I appreciate all your suggestions but, we're not looking for "Chinese" restaurants. We want to eat Boston's wonderful, locally caught seafood. Cod, scrod, halibut, flounder, etc, and whatever else is caught locally and simply prepared in the old Boston manner. Be it, broiled, sauteed or stuffed. And, which particular "old school" restaurants serving the Boston community that are best known for their seafood.

          8 Replies
          1. re: twinwillow

            What you're asking for doesn't really exist in Boston proper: there is little "locally-caught" seafood in Boston, because Boston is a shipping port, not a fishing port. The main fishing port nearby is Gloucester, about an hour up the coast on Cape Ann. There you can get locally-caught seafood. In town, not so much: mostly you'll get chains of the Legal Seafood/Summer Shack variety, who cater mostly to tourists who assume there must be a ton of old-fashioned seafood places in Boston.

            Myself, what I'd recommend is Dolphin Seafood on Mass Ave in Cambridge, heading out of Harvard Square towards Central Square. It's not touristy, it's quite old-fashioned, and it specializes in simple preparations.

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            Dolphin Seafood
            1105 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

              Also, aside from shellfish, much in the way of finfish comes From Away, due to the collapse of the fisheries in the Gulf of Maine and Maritime provinces of Canada. There is locally caught finfish, but not nearly on the scale there once was when Boston's Fish Pier was the greatest in the Western world.

              1. re: Karl S

                Yes - I can remember eating haddock as a kid that was JUST caught. So fresh & delicious -out of this world (sigh - we got it for free, too, since my uncle had a welding & forging place near where Jimmy's Harborside used to be).

            2. re: twinwillow

              One more after reading your note, Durgin Park is a famous old-school restaurant with decent seafood, also down by Quncy Market and so also touristy:

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durgin-Park

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              Durgin Park
              340 Faneuil Hall Market Pl, Boston, MA 02109

              1. re: steinpilz

                Thank you.
                I'm very familiar with Durgin-Park.

              2. re: twinwillow

                Haha what's with the scare quotes

                1. re: Luther

                  Where are the square quotes? Locally-caught?

                2. re: twinwillow

                  I take your point that you want french technique-taxonomy rather than chinese, but it's worth noting that these _are_, in many posters' apparent opinions, our restaurants that prepare food in the "old Boston manner." These restaurants have been around a long time and are part of Boston's history as much as, say, the Parker House.

                3. There are very diverse opinions about Legal Seafood on this board. Somehate it, others love it. Although tourists go there, they have several branches throughout the Boston area and I , as well as many people I know, go there regularly for a greeat variety ofthe freshest fish cooked in almost any way you want it-grilled, fried, broiled, sauteed etc. There is one near the Aquarium downton and another in Copley Place.Their oysters are pristine and most Legal Seafoods has 6 for 6 before 6 deal on oysters.You can also get a clambae, steamed lobsters, baked stuffed lobsters, and lobster rolls. Neptune Oyster is a board favorite and it is NOT Chinese (Peach farm is). Neptune is in the north End Italian section and is excellent but does not take reservations and has long lines. Now wait a minute for the Legal haters to tell you not to go there.

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                  Neptune Oyster
                  63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: emilief

                    Emilief, I'm with you on the Legal bandwagon. Particularly for what the OP asked for, solid, simple fish. Otherwise for seafood in Boston, most quality restaurants will have good seafood dishes on the menu. Eastern Standard is one which also has a strong raw bar (as well as cocktail bar), and a fun vibe. Wait till Island Creek opens next door, that may be the future best answer to the question (we all hope).

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                    Eastern Standard
                    528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                    1. re: emilief

                      Legals is ok for what it is. I've had some great dishes and some failed ones. I would probably opt for the Oceanaire instead. Although Oceanaire is also a chain I've had some fabulous simply grilled fish there.

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                      Oceanaire
                      40 Court Street, Boston, MA 02108

                      1. re: Pegmeister

                        We have an Oceanaire here in Dallas at the Westin Galleria Hotel. It's (arguably) the best seafood in Dallas and, my favorite.

                        1. re: Pegmeister

                          Thank you all so much! The recommendations and suggestions that were posted after my above post "clarifying" our needs have been most helpful. We're gong to explore all those possibilities and any others that will be posted along those lines.

                          1. re: twinwillow

                            But the funny thing is, your "clarifying" post seems to be asking for very touristy spots. "Non-tourists" know that you can get excellent seafood in most restaurants in Boston, since we are not at all seafood deprived. Frequently, it is actually better than most of the "seafood" places. Depending on how long you're here, you could have memorable seafood every lunch and dinner, and never hit a "seafood" place.

                            In fact, if you hit only seafood places, I would argue that your seafood experience here would be a lesser one, than if you purposefully avoided "seafood" places (except for Neptune).

                            1. re: Alcachofa

                              I understand exactly what you mean and, it makes a lot of sense. Actually, I got to thinking about the same thing yesterday. It's, Boston! We should be able to get excellent seafood in any good local restaurant! Right?
                              OK then, how about the names of some excellent (non-touristy) restaurants, please.

                              1. re: twinwillow

                                I wouldn't say you'd get good seafood in ANY restaurant - Boston has lots of restaurants, with some horrid ones along with the great. But the hounds here are great - we'll steer you in the right direction.

                                1. re: topwater41

                                  Moulton's freshness and quality at fair to low prices is unsurpassed - I love it and eat there regularly. That said, it is NOT Boston proper and it's bare bones at best with no tablecloths, limited beer/wine selection, and premade dessert options. With proper expectations, it can't be beat - get the lobster scampi or lobster pie!

                              2. re: twinwillow

                                We'd love to hear a report back! Non-bostoners particularly appreciated around here.

                          2. I agree on Legal Seafoods. They are a chain, albeit a small chain, but they started in Cambridge about 40+ years ago and their restaurants are still pretty busy just about every night of the week. I have dined ast Legal countless times over the years and have found that if you stick with what they do best, grilled, fried or baked seafood you can't go wrong. Sometimes they don't quite hit the mark with some of their specials but other than that if you want very fresh basic fish and shellfish nLegal is a good place to go. As someone else said, their raw bar is always impeccably fresh and they usually have a nice selection of oysters, both local and from around the country. My seconf choice would be Neptune Oyster too

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                            Neptune Oyster
                            63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

                            1. I'll support Neptune (a wonderful small restaurant in the "historic North End"), and Legal's or the Summer Shack (larger "full service" fish and seafood places), and the clam places on the north shore.

                              I'll also recommend East Coast Grill as a great Boston restaurant with local fish and seafood:

                              http://www.eastcoastgrill.net/menus/d...

                              Another place to try in the North End is the Daily Catch

                              http://www.dailycatch.com/

                              And Kingfish Hall also has good seafood, though it's more touristy being located in Quincy market.

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                              East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
                              1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                              Summer Shack
                              310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                              Kingfish Hall
                              188 South Market Building, Boston, MA 02109

                              Daily Catch
                              2 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: steinpilz

                                Re: Daily Catch. The menu makes my mouth water! As originally I grew up in NYC, I can certainly appreciate their style of cooking.

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                                Daily Catch
                                2 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                                1. re: twinwillow

                                  Ate at the Brookline location 10 days ago, and it was as good as ever

                              2. I'm sort of surprised that (as long as chains have been thrown out there), no one has mentioned McCormick and Schmick. Always fresh and high quality. They often have local catch and the simpler preparations have always worked for me. Been many times/never disappointed.
                                Enjoy,
                                CocoDan

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: CocoDan

                                  McCormick & Schmick have had a branch in Dallas for about 3 years now. I'd much prefer non-chains. But, thanks for your suggestion.

                                  1. re: twinwillow

                                    Not that I'm the greatest fan of McCormick & Schmick, but I have noticed that their menu here is radically different from their menu out west. They do take advantage of what's locally available.

                                2. I'd also add Moulton's Seafood in Medford and Pescatore Seafood in Somerville to the great suggestions so far. Reasonably priced, low-key and very fresh seafood at both places.

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                                  Moulton's Seafood Restaurant
                                  178 Winthrop St, Medford, MA 02155

                                  Pescatore
                                  158 Boston Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: bear

                                    Moulton's is great and a quick drive (you'll have a rental car, right?) with easy parking - super friendly, super-fresh, casual, and priced very right. Highly-recommended!

                                    I was in the Dallas area last weekend, so I feel your lack of seafood options - will have to get to your Galeria Oceanaire next time - Seaside Grill at Lakeside Village in the Plano area was highly-touted but pretty pricey for a storefront and not that great on the freshness or cooking front. Crustaceans in Deep Ellum had a couple of good fish options when I was there couple of years ago.

                                    1. re: bear

                                      Both are great places. Belle Isle Seafood in Winthrop/East Boston is great too.

                                    2. I agree with bostonrich.

                                      I think Lineage might be the best suggestion.

                                      1. Thanks Y'all. Lineage, Daily Catch, Moulton's Seafood, Pescatore and, Legal Seafood all sound very good. I'll rule out Neptune's Oyster because of the no reservations policy and the apparent long lines to get in.

                                        Thank you, Boston Chowhounders. This Dallas Chowhounder sincerely appreciates all your suggestions and recommendations.
                                        If y'all are ever headed to Dallas, just visit the Greater Dallas Chowhound board and tell us want you're looking for.
                                        We've got some pretty savy Chowhounds in Dallas.

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                                        Moulton's Seafood Restaurant
                                        178 Winthrop St, Medford, MA 02155

                                        Pescatore
                                        158 Boston Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

                                        Daily Catch
                                        2 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: twinwillow

                                          Don't totally rule out Neptune! The North End is great just to walk around and enjoy the area - you might be able to get in w/out much of a wait, depending on what time you got there.

                                          Boston is funny - we don't dress up much (compared to other parts of the country), and there are many restaurants where you don't need a reservation. I've yet to dine anywhere that I needed one, but I dine in casual places - and my price range is - cheap! Hounds here love their fried clams and oysters.

                                          Mmm - fried clams.. mmm...

                                          1. re: twinwillow

                                            Am perusing this thread because we will be in Boston in a couple of weeks. Had been to Neptune's Oyster about 3 years ago (I guess it was prior to the original post) and will definitely consider going back this trip. As we are early eaters, we didn't have to deal with a line. Agree with threedogs. The North End has so much to offer you certainly could make NO your destination.

                                            1. re: twinwillow

                                              I wouldn't go out of my way to go to Moultons in the burbs. I highly second Belle Isle seafood. NOT fancy. Paper plates, outside deck overlooking the water and large portions of incredibly fresh fish. Would definitely put that on your radar.

                                            2. I love Legal, it is a "chain" but a small one started in Boston and the food is always good. Before it became so popular there were more types of fish but you need to appeal to a broad base. Their fish and clam chowder is the real deal. For the real New England clam shack experience, head to the North Shore- where the fried clam was invented. It won't take long unless you try and go during rush hour. Woodman's is too touristy and pricey but in the same area J.T. Farnum's has great clams and Essex Seafood great fried clams, fish, scallops- it's fab. You can also look around at the many antique stores and ride up the coast. Good luck!

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                                              Essex Seafood
                                              143 Eastern Ave, Essex, MA 01929

                                              1. I'll jump on the Legal's bandwagon. I've never had a bad piece of fish there.

                                                I'll also throw out the No Name in South Boston, which nobody has mentioned yet. Very "old school" with great fish chowder.

                                                PS: FYI, The map that Chowhound automatically attached to my post is nowhere near the actual location of the No Name.

                                                -----
                                                No Name Restaurant
                                                151-2 Fish Pier, Boston, MA 02210

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: scratchie

                                                  No Name is officially terrible now.

                                                  I like Legal's but I have had a bad piece of fish there - very overcooked swordfish steak at Burlington Mall - which was promptly replaced with a more beautifully-cut, properly grilled piece - and dessert for 4 was comped - this was several years ago and I remain a Legal defender - the ones at Logan airport are also fine if you have time to kill and are hungry - at least Terminal B (Chris there is a solid, friendly bartender as well!) and Terminal C.

                                                  -----
                                                  No Name Restaurant
                                                  151-2 Fish Pier, Boston, MA 02210

                                                  1. re: rlh

                                                    Went a few months ago and the chowder is still amazing and worth the trip. Everything else was terrible. The way to do it is to get a cup of chowder at no name and then walk down to yankee lobster(or the other way to james hook)

                                                2. Summer Shack

                                                  Simple dishes, reasonable Boston area prices, nice selection of oysters, informal atmosphere

                                                  -----
                                                  Summer Shack
                                                  310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                                                  1. I'm surprised to see that no one has mentioned Turner's in Melrose. They have a great oyster bar and I've enjoyed everything I've ever eaten there. The steamers are exceptional. I just realized you said "Boston proper", but the drive would be worth it!

                                                    http://www.turners-seafood.com/

                                                    1. Call it what you want. But I'm a big fan of Island Creek Oyster Bar. The oyster sliders are amazing.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: starkvt

                                                        It's actually in Kenmore Square around the corner from Fenway Park in spite of what got listed with this post as an address

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                                                        Fenway Park
                                                        82 Lansdowne Street, Boston, MA 02215

                                                        1. re: starkvt

                                                          I am going to second Island Creek, it is what Legal's used to be. If you go to Legal's or Summer Shack I urge you to choose the simplest of preparations eg. raw oysters, steamed lobster, fried anything, if either of those places try to get 'creative' with anything it usually ends in tears. I might lean more toward Legal's if you are choosing between the two because they have a good wine list, and you will spend the same money both places, but at Summer Shack you will get a fake authentic experience complete with craft paper on the tables and a bucket of condiments, which is much more enjoyable on the north shore when you are wearing a damp bathing suit, sunburned, and crusted with salt. Island Creek Oyster Bar would without a doubt be my first choice tough.

                                                          1. re: suzysue2

                                                            *third*, seriously I can not believe it did not come up before now. Neptune - pretentious and difficult, Island Creek, seriously: damn near perfect unless you are willing to go to Portland. The real Portland, in Maine, in which case you should go to Eventide.

                                                            1. re: suzysue2

                                                              i love the pan fried lobster and the oysters at Summer Shack which are worth a trip there. I am not wild about the rest of the food.

                                                              I like the Daily Catch in the North End especially the octopus; I have been less impressed by their other incarnations.

                                                              I regularly eat at the fish-in-the-tank restaurants in Chinatown. My favorite is East Ocean Seafood, but there are plenty of others.

                                                              If you want oysters, check this blog for places that have oyster specials usually 1 dollar per oyster. I live in Harvard Square and so I hit Rialto on Monday nights where they have Island Creek Oysters.

                                                          2. Only problem is, Island Creek didn't exist when the OP visited Boston last May.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Carty

                                                                You're responding to posts from over 1.5 yrs ago.

                                                            1. Since Somerville has popped up in this thread, how is Out of the Blue in Davis Sq? I'm thinking about bringing my parents there this weekend and we have never been (they love Italian-style seafood).

                                                              -----
                                                              Out of the Blue Restaurant
                                                              215 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: digga

                                                                or Pescatore. Somerville is awash in good restaurants these days.

                                                                -----
                                                                Pescatore
                                                                158 Boston Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

                                                              2. Quite simply... Off the Boat Italian Seafood Restaurant in East Boston (26 Porter Street)--the BEST!!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: harddazeknight

                                                                  Since you're brand new to the board and I at least have never heard of this place, will you please tell us more about why it's the best - what are the dishes you love, are the prices amazingly low, is the service terrific - eager to know more about your experiences there that lead to the recommendation. Thanks!

                                                                2. Atlatic Fish Co On Boylston st just down form the Pru Center, always good.

                                                                  1. I'd love a refresh of this topic (I used to live in Boston, but only until about 2000...) Also I'd like to know what people's opinions are, even if the restaurant is expensive. Some posts here include "it's a great value" - but what if an expensive dinner were ok?

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: rishik12

                                                                      I know it's not quite as foodie as some others, but I recently had a stellar meal at the Oceannaire. Very expensive, but delicious.