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Neptune Oyster or something like it? Recos needed.

I'm a Toronto CH and will be visiting Boston. I was hoping to have dinner at Neptune Oyster (lots written here, it sounds so good!), with 3 people on a Sunday night, around 8pm. I'm wary of the no reservations policy, though - we don't want to be waiting in line, hungry, for a long time. We won't have a car and will be in the North End (and don't know the city well) so easy to walk to is best, if we have to take the T-line that might be OK.

Is Neptune Oyster typically really busy at 8pm on Sunday? Are there other similar places (good raw bar, good, fresh, simple seafood, Bostonian) you'd recommend that are close and easy to get to? How does Kingfish Hall compare? (Not looking to go to Legal Seafood - I'd prefer a place that's not part of a chain). I'd go to Neptune in a heartbeat but am really worried about the no reservations thing. Thanks in advance.

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

Kingfish Hall
188 South Market Building, Boston, MA 02109

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  1. A Sunday night will be tough. On a nice night, even tougher. Neptune has very limited seating and it could be tight getting in at 8:00 without a wait. My favortie part of Neptune is to have a dozen or so of the oysters and several cold beers, then head to a good place for the main course (Tosca is one of my favorites). If Neptune is busy for that I got the Ye Old Oyster House for good raw bar and great atmosphere.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ljt064

      I'd vote a strong NO for Union Oyster House (**originally I read too quickly...too late at night and thought it was the same as Ye Old Oyster House...my apologies!**)...it's a tourist trap and have been rumored to pre-shuck oysters, unless you specifically ask (and then get attitude from servers who let you know it will be a wait)....I went once with out of town visitors looking for "typical New England" eons ago and never plan on darkening the doors again.

    2. Put your name in, leave a cell number, and take a walk around while you wait. It's worth it, and it won't be *that* long. Definitely try the fried clams, fish tacos (sunday special) and crab salad. Lobster rolls are good too. With 3 people you should be able to try a range of things.

      2 Replies
      1. re: purple bot

        Thanks ljt064 & purple bot! You two are making my mouth water with all this talk of oysters, fried clams, beer and lobster rolls...

        That is great feedback. We'll try for Neptune, and have someone get there a bit early to put our name in for a table. Much appreciated!

        1. re: purple bot

          I agree with Purple Bot ---if it were anywhere else it might be a big inconvenience to wait but the North End is probably the best neighorhood in Boston to people-watch and walk around in. Give them your cell number and then maybe grab a drink (and even an appetizer, if the wait seems like it will be really long.) It'll go quick --probably 1/2 hr -45 min max and yes, will be worth it.
          Second the lobster rolls, esp the hot ones. Though you really can't go wrong with anything on the menu. Enjoy!

        2. Mother's Day, College Graduation's. Celtic's at garden 3:30 PM, Yankees in town for Sunday night game......GOOD LUCK

          3 Replies
          1. re: sakeandgin

            I could not agree more. This weekend you need reservations, at least as a backup.

            Others disagree, but I don't care at all for Kingfish Hall. Had one of the worst dishes of my life there and I cannot stand the Disneyland touristy atmosphere of the area. Yuk.

            1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

              Do we know if the OP is talking about this Sunday? ('cause yeah, that could be tricky) It just says "a" Sunday night.

              1. re: purple bot

                No, not this Sunday, sometime in the next few weeks. Thanks for checking!

          2. What about B&G Oysters? They take reservations, and are (IMHO) similar in quality to Neptune. I know it has its detractors but I've always enjoyed meals there.

            1 Reply
            1. re: damneddemand

              Neptune has a better kitchen than B&G. And Neptune has a fry chef (a really good fry chef). And I think the atmosphere is better at Neptune. And the lobster roll is much better at Neptune. Not to say B&G is bad...it ain't. But Neptune is better. And, as another poster wrote, you can give your cell # at Neptune and take a walk around the North End. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

            2. Not sure what Neptune will be like at that time on a Sunday, but If there is a line out the door, I would try Kingfish in the Faneuil Hall area. Neptune is superior, but I wouldn't hesitate to stop and have a meal at Kingfish. They have a good raw bar, and I actually like their lobster roll better than Neptune.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Pegmeister

                i have had very good oysters at kingfish, with good shucking. the rest of the menu is very uneven and overpriced. neptune is worth the wait.