I have some friends in town this weekend from Chicago, including one who has never been to Boston. They've requested that we have some good seafood (chowder in particular) and I'd like to go somewhere reasonable and casual (entrees under $16, say). Not a fan of super-touristy places or of long lines, so will probably avoid Neptune.
Would you recommend Courthouse Seafood? I live in Cambridge, so it would be convenient, at least!
I can't seem to find too much about it on the board.
Thanks in advance!
I've never had Legal's chowder, but supposedly it's very popular. Legal's harborside has some awesome food at very reasonable prices on the first floor. You could get entrees here for under 20, or even under 16 (fish and chips, various sandwiches) if you are selective and a mug of chowder for 6.50. Parking isn't bad in that area if you go early and don't mind walking a bit. Chart House has aweomse chowder, however would be very expensive for dinner. You may want to do lunch there with chowder? They were my favorite at last summers chowderfest.
Courthouse is very, very casual. As in neighborhood-corner-pizza-shop casual. It's not anything close to fine dining. Formica booths, etc., What's good about it is that they're a spin-off of the fish shop next door, so the fish is fresh and of good quality. It's also pretty cheap--they do a decent fish 'n chips for like $7. What's bad is that, yes, they close at 6, except on Friday. On Friday they close at 8.
Legal's chowder is ok. It is not made on location but cooked in a central location, put in plastic bags and shipped to the restaurants. Yankee
Lobster has the best chowder around.
Went to Courthouse Seafood last night for the first time with friends. It is corner-pizza-shop casual, but the fish was excellent and the staff very friendly. It is open till 7 Tues-Thurs, till 8 on Fri, and till 6 on Saturday. We had an outstanding fishcake to start. I had broiled swordfish which was slightly overcooked, one DC had the classic baked scrod with breadcrumbs, which was very good, but the standout was the other DC's fried sole filets, which were amazing. I think fried is the way to go here. We all ended up getting some of those fabulous fishcakes to go and I can already attest that they reheat beautifully. As I think has been noted on another thread, if you don't like what they have on offer at the restaurant you can go next door to the fish market and buy whatever you want and bring it back and they'll cook it for you. Good prices too. http://www.courthouseseafood.com/
Love Courthouse Seafood. Lived down the street from it for almost five years, and I try to go there whenever I get the chance, which isn't very often. Their fish and chips are a great bargain, with such huge portions of lightly fried, fresh, delicious, flaky fish that I find that I cannot eat the more potato-ey french fries after. They also serve haddock and chips. I am not quite sure which fish they typically serve for fish and chips though.
As someone else already said, the place is very casual. However, it's been a neighborhood establishment for so long and so many locals come by to have their dinner on Friday night. They do close early on other nights, similar to the fish market two doors down.
I do love the fish market too, and go there even more than New Deal as they have a wider selection of seafood, including sushi grade salmon and tuna. In the summer, the fish market offers soft shell crabs [which means the restaurant serves yummy soft shell crab rolls], and occasionally, they will also offer a whole crate of uni [sea urchin] already deshelled.
I highly recommend that you do check out Courthouse Seafood, but more as a casual night out rather than bringing visitors. Neptune is better suited for bringing visitors as you cannot go wrong there, but it will cost you. If you are looking for other restaurants in the Cambridge area to bring visitors, try Hungry Mother or Craigie on Main!