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Let's Stop Sending Out of Towners to Neptune Ok

Went for raw oysters and a hot lobster roll yesterday and the wait was 2 hours. They took cell phone numbers and called you when your table was ready. Not too many 617 were given out. It was all tourists. Who can wait two hours to eat? Maybe we should keep it our secret ok.

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  1. DId you actually wait 2 hours? In my experience the wait is generally shorter than quoted, though I'd imagine a fall Saturday is prime time. Realizing there will be a wait we plan ahead and stroll the NE or grab a drink somewhere on the rare occasion we do go to Neptune. We don't show up at Neptune expecting to eat right away.

    Let's not keep places a secret and say we did.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gabatta

      It's worth noting that this weekend was not just *any* fall weekend - it's the weekend of Head of the Charles. So it makes sense that the North End, and Neptune, would be more crowded than usual. Probably one of the most busy weekends of the year.

      1. re: Gabatta

        I once waited 3 hours with no phone call ever ...

      2. what time did you go?

        1. i think that friday or saturday night will be horrible; i think that these boards are for posting information rather than hiding it. Mentioning that you will have to wait two hours on a Saturday night will deter many people including me.

          as yogi berra said, the place is so busy that no one goes there any more.

          1. I generally don't send visitors to any restaurant where they can't get a reservation. I hate standing in line, and don't wish it on others. I've very fond of the food at Neptune, Toro, and the original Regina's, but the crowds make me mostly avoid them.


            1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

            5 Replies
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              it's been nearly a year since i've been to neptune. even at "off-times" there is a line, so i've stopped trying to go. shame really. at least island creek oyster bar can fill that void now.

              as for tourists standing in line, some seem to think it's part of the charm of eating in the north end. me? no way. life is too short.

              and yes, it's head of the charles weekend. i'm lucky i didn't kill anybody on the t yesterday.

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Love Neptune. But it is time to stop recommending it. It is to seafood as Giaccamo's NE is to pasta. They were both great, but the complete transition to tourist destination has ruined what was the original charm. I cannot imagine recommending this place to a tourist with a small amount of time to experience Boston, and have them wait 2 hours only to be greeted by the owner on one of his 'bad' days when he makes it appear that it is a chore to acknowledge you never mind serve you. I still love to go when on off hours I can get a seat, but wait 2 hours -never.

                And I cannot imagine how that, phone me when my table is ready could possibly work. So you need to stay within a five minute walk? you just ordered an expensive cocktail at a neighborhood restaurant, and now what?

                Better to suggest Island Creek or Giacaomos SE which both take reservations.

                1. re: Bellachefa

                  It's funny that you say this because the hostess was sending people to ICOB. People were trying to make reservations for larger parties and we heard the hostess tell a customer to go to Island Creek Oyster Bar instead. They turned away so much business yesterday we could not believe it. People would walk in and sit at the bar only to be told to leave because they were on a two hour wait. The seats at the bar would remain empty until the poeple would get their phone call to come now. While the seats {5} remained empty waiting for the diners people would walk in and then be told put your name on a list and we will call you now get up. I will say that the young lady shucking oysters did a great job and she was fast with all of the oysters she had to open.

                  Island Creek Oyster Bar
                  500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                  1. re: cherrytomato

                    Well if it was a two hour wait, I'm not getting that they are turning business away. Although that kitchen can only handle so much before quality control would break down. I hope the shuckers get good money for treating oysters proper!

                    1. re: cherrytomato

                      No problem, I have never suggested this place.

                2. I went for lunch around 2:00pm and it was jammed all afternoon. I know the difference between local Bostonian vrs. out of towners and believe me when I tell you it was mostly tourists. It was not a saturday night but a mid afternoon lunch. I used to like it when it was easier to get into and the wait was not so long.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: cherrytomato

                    Were their Sox hats fitted or snap-backs?

                    1. re: cherrytomato

                      The last time I was at Neptune I saw a lot of tourists but it didn't detract from my meal...did it for you?

                      (then again, I'm a Somervillian, not Bostonian so maybe my local cred is in question?)

                      1. re: LeoLioness

                        no the tourists did not detract me from my meal. It was delicious. I say let's stop sending tourists so that the i can still get in there without waiting two hours. You should have seen the lines in front of mike's pastry. Thankfully that was not on my list yesterday but... I did stop at a place called lulu's sweet shop and had fantastic cupcakes. All different kinds. I especially liked the dark chocolate with salted caramel cupcake. It's a few doors down from Neptune.

                    2. dont care for the place, crowded, atitude and overpriced. that said, they just print money at this place. good for them, i will never set foot in the place ever again.

                      actually not sure i have EVER had food in a boston restaurant that was good enough for a two hour wait before you are seated.

                      1. My husband and I have been to Neptune twice this month. We always plan on doing our North End shopping before lunch. Our method is to check in at Neptune and get on the list. Then we head over to Salumeria Italiana and buy B&R style ciabatta, cheese, salumi and anything else missing from our Italian pantry.

                        Then, we check the time and decide if the Wine Bottega will be before or after lunch.

                        At about 20 minutes before the estimated time we walk back toward Neptune. If the call hasn't come spend a little while in Salem Street hardware. We almost always have something on our shopping list that we can buy there.

                        Then the phone rings and we say, "we're right next door and we'll be right there."

                        Now about those tourists.....

                        Earlier in October we had to take a table but a totally charming family (Mom, Dad and two twenty-something sons) were at the next table and we had great fun with them. We answered questions and they told us about their trip.

                        On Friday, we sat at the bar next to a Harvard Alumnus here for the football game, and his significant other. They were already engaged in conversation with the bartender and the couple on their other side when we arrived.

                        Is there anything better, as a Bostonian, than hearing how much someone loves your city? When we all slid down a space to make room for a threesome, this couple chatted with us. They love great food and were still searching for a hotel where they could become regulars.

                        We were happy to tell them about some of the places we like, and hope they will find the perfect Boston home at one of the smaller hotels we suggested. They were from Dallas and we talked about the food scene in both cities.

                        So for me, one of the great joys of Neptune is meeting visitors who love our city, have done their research here and on other credible sites, and are part of the fun of being there.


                        Salumeria Italiana
                        151 Richmond St, Boston, MA 02109

                        Wine Bottega
                        341 Hanover St, Boston, MA

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: BostonZest

                          Your plans sounds good. I bought a pair of cool shoes and that neat show store on Hanover street. Also I was so hungry I could hardly contain myself so I got a slice of pizza at Ernestos. Their pizza is delicious. I like what you had to say about meeting interesting people who share a love of our city and food. I just wish it was not so hard to eat there. Now I know to not come starved and get my name on the list stat!

                          1. re: BostonZest

                            penny, with regards to the tourists>>our experiences exactly! And what a glow they get on their faces when you commend them for coming there!(They're so pleased!) Barcelona, Philly, Argentina, Rome, Indiana- a world of places.And they love learning about CH as a dining resource, and getting food suggestions for other Boston spots.

                            My fav experience there was when I spoke w/ an older Southern gentleman who reminded me so much of my father. Turned out he was up for a Skinner's auction and shared my love of oysters, and was having a fabulous time with his antiquing friends at NO before returning to Charleston. I recommended kumomotos to him and he was delighted. After we were seated,at the opposite end of the room, our waiter brought me a dozen kumomotos that had been sent me from the gentleman's gentleman! what a fond memory.:-}