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Kelly's, Sullivan's, or Bell Isle ?

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If you were taking friends and family out for the day, which would you choose? Kelly's with Revere Beach, Sullivan's with Castle Island, or Bell Isle with Deer Island? I am looking for the best bang for the buck. Good food and somthing to do. The party will consist of adults and children 2-6 years of age? What do you Hounds have to say?

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  1. Kelly's for the North Shore roast beef sandwich, something unique to us, but only the Revere Beach original. The chain outlets are about as charming as a fancy Burger King. The fried seafood and clam chowder are both respectable, and the style of roast beef sandwich is genuinely peculiar to the region. It's an original, which is something.

    Belle Isle Seafood for the lobster roll, which might be the best budget version around that doesn't require a long drive up the Maine coast. Most of the fried seafood is really very good, too, and the prices are shocking ($6 for a fried smelt plate, hallelujah!), but the locale, despite the waterfront location, doesn't have a lot of charm. It's the pick for folks who are all about the food, not the atmosphere. My favorite cheap shore-food place within a 15-minute drive of downtown. There is no second-favorite place that meets those criteria.

    Sullivan's for the distinctive local flavor and atmosphere, plus a convenient location if you're in residential Southie. It's a one-of-a-kind old blue-collar Boston experience, but I don't think the food is extraordinary. Still, it's hard to complain: the prices are damned reasonable. I usually get a couple of hot dogs there. A lot of fun when the weather is nice.

    My vote would be Belle Isle / Deer Island. But the food generally drives such choices for me.

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    5 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Agree with Belle Isle, not pretty but, great. One time when I ordered the smelt plate, it was late, and they took all the smelts they had left and made a plate for me, wow huge! I'd take the chow and head to Winthrop and sit by the sea wall.

      1. re: MC Slim JB

        MC, I'm surprised you wouldn't include Tony's on Wollaston Beach on par, or sometimes better, than Belle Island. Equal distance from downtown as well, with better beach vibe.

        1. re: Science Chick

          Tony's is excellent, but probably better known than Belle Isle, actually. It's really a matter of which poison you prefer to take: the Southeast Expressway or other route to Quincy, or getting into la Eastie Profonde. Neither is painless except on weekend mornings.

          1. re: Science Chick

            I don't know Tony's first-hand, but I was sticking to the OP's questions anyway.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              @MC-Oh you must go! I thought the OP was also broadening his search to "best bang for buck" and "something fun to do".....didn't think he was only limiting himself to the things he initially suggested.......

        2. If you go to Sullivans you can enjoy castle island. There is a playground if there kids in your group. Figure out when the fort is open, it is quite nice to tour.

          2 Replies
          1. re: libertywharf

            I agree that Belle Isle has the best food, but zero atmosphere as far as I'm concerned, and unless I'm missing something, there's really nothing going on there except the food. Sullivans has okay food but is a classic Boston experience and just an all around fun spot. The beach, the walk around the water, the playgrounds for kids, etc. I suppose Kelly's would be somewhere in the middle. Depends on what you get but the food is good and at least there's a beach to walk around on.

            1. re: twentyoystahs

              And Kell's Kreme is north a block on Revere Beach. Best soft serve in the area.

          2. Another vote for Belle Isle

            1. Since you will have the little ones in tow I would say Sullivan's. CAstle Island is a great day visit with the kiddos, picnic tables, playground, & wide expanses of grassy hills to roll down! The tour of the fort doesn't take too long & the views you get are pretty cool. My little family LOVES a visit here during the summer - especially our dog!

              3 Replies
              1. re: citygrrll

                Ok. This is what we wound up doing. We started our day at Castle Island. Did the walk around. Watched people fish off the pier. Very nice time. When it came time to eat, we decided to skip Sullivan's. The line was ohnestly over one hundred deep. We decided to go to Kelly's. I hate to say this but Kelly's has gone way down hill on thir quality and way up hill on the prices. The clam plates were good but not $ 18.00 good. The roast beef was ok. It may just be me but, they are nothing like they used to be. The kids did enjoy the soft serve. There was a time that I would kill for a large roast beef and a small order of clams. After this last meal I don't know if I will be going back. It was not bad. I was just not as good as I remembered it. Thank you all for your input.

                1. re: josephlapusata

                  100 people at Sullivans = 10 minute wait. They are very efficient.

                  You had a bad meal at the original (Revere Beach) Kelly's? That's disappointing to hear.

                  BTW, Belle Isle is moving across the bridge into Winthrop (200 yards?) in the next few months. Hoping for a few more chairs and better parking!

                  1. re: L2k

                    Winthrop!!! going upscale and hopefully.... BYOB, hope they don't jump the shark.

              2. Update to this post. Sullivans pays a whopping $400.00 per month for rent. A long term lease granted by Billy Bulger. Another reason it can charge under ten dollars.

                1. So, drove to Belle Isle yesterday around 6 from Boston, traffic wasn't insane for some reason, so it was painless. Got there to see a sign in the case that due to the Memorial Day weekend, they were all out of fresh lobsters. Disappointing, but perfectly understandable. Decided to the fall back position of a crab roll, and with all apologies, I was informed crab and a number of other items were 86'ed.

                  As I was now fixated on the idea of a lobster/crab roll, I decided to save Belle Isle for another day and make the trek to Kelly's on the beach.

                  $47 for two lobster rolls, small onion ring and two large drinks. High, but expected.

                  Food was pretty weak. Rolls still served with the chips on the side, kinda odd. Sandwich was ICE cold, zero flavor but large pieces of meat. Salt and pepper from those 1/1000th of an ounce packets somewhat rescued it. Bun was fine, well toasted, buttery. Onion rings were seriously over coated, cooked in what I can only assume was too hot of an oil temperature, outside coating was almost like a bad tempura shrimp. Dark brown overall, inside still doughy and onions sliced too thick to ever cook. Soda's were 60% ice, probably appreciated on a hot summer day, although last night the beach was 62 degrees with a strong wind.

                  Overall, a solid 3, no more. I will call ahead to Belle Isle the next time. :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mikeinboston

                    Try Royal Roast Beef across from Constitution Beach in Eastie.

                    1. re: mikeinboston

                      The good news about Belle Isle, when they have it, it's fresh. Definately call ahead next time.