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First trip to Boston - best seafood restaurants (central please)

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We are visiting Boston in October and have heard a lot about the legendary seafood (particularly lobster). I would love to get some restaurants booked in advance and wondered if anyone has any suggestions.
Thank you in advance!

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  1. Location? Price point? Atmosphere? Lunch? Dinner?

    The two most popular on the board are Island Creek Oyster Bar and Neptune Oyster. That said, hard to suggest anything without a little more info.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mkfisher

      Location: anywhere relatively central. We are staying in back bay but happy to travel.
      Definitely dinner
      No price point
      Not too worried about atmosphere.
      Have read about Neptune Oyster and looks good.
      Thank you very much for your help!

      1. re: WendyPhillips

        This thread has tons of good info on lobster rolls. My favorite so far this season was at Belle Isle.
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/897846

        I greatly prefer Island Creek to Neptune. The menu suits me a little better, and I greatly prefer the space.

        One thing I would keep in mind is that there are lots of great restaurants that serve great seafood, they're just not seafood restaurants.

    2. the seafood is good in Boston, but both ICOB and Neptune are relatively new.

      For good old-fashioned food, you should hit the clam shacks. You might try getting the pan-fried lobster at Summer Shack if you are not interested in traveling to Essex.

      If you like Japanese, then there are O Ya and Uni Bar as well as Oishi doing the Nobu thing.

      That said, there are plenty of restaurants such as Craigie on Main, Rialto, etc, that have seafood entrees without being seafood restaurants.

      1. Just be aware that, for finfish, the fabled fisheries of the Gulf of Maine have been relatively depleted for many years. Boston's reputation for *local* seafood is much more founded on shellfish than finfish (other than striped bass and bluefish caught in season in local migration) these days. IF you are here in late October, there's a sliver of a chance that the fabled local bay scallop season might have started in the waters off the Cape and Islands (Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, et cet.) - more typically, they start showing up on restaurant menus in November into mid/late winter (at which point, in good years, the Maine shrimp season has its brief heyday - though there wasn't much of one this past winter). Oysters and lobsters will be good choices in October, and since it's after the peak summer demand season, one might actually have a better shot at local clams than during the summer.

        If you have car and appreciate lightly fried seafood (courtesy of the Portuguese influence in coastal communities here, the same influence that begat tempura when the Portuguese met the Japanese in the 16th century), driving up to what has been called by some as Clam Shack Nirvana along MA Route 133 between Essex and Rowley is very characteristic for local seafood in a way that places in Back Bay won't be.

        1. I still think that Oceanaire serves some of the best seafood in town despite being part of a chain.

          I am greatly anticipating the opening of Ostra which will be located on the Back Bay. It is scheduled to open sometime this fall, but maybe not be in time for you.

          1. Saturday we got to Neptune at 3:30 and there was a 90 minute wait, ouch!! They don't take reservations.
            It's small and everything looked good but we had tickets to Fenway and wanted to get there early.
            We walked a few doors down to Rabia's. The front of the restaurant was open and people eating there said it was excellent. It was! We kept it simple and the 4 of us shared a couple dozen assorted oysters which were outstanding. Next we got some excellent NE Clam chowdah and lobster rolls. The lobster rolls were big and meaty with lots of tail meat.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Motosport

              Atlantic Fish for dinner.
              For great chowder and fish and chips try Yankee Lobster on the edge of the seaport district and the marine industrial park.

              1. re: Motosport

                Love Rabia. They do have a racket, but it's a good one! I have never been disappointed there.

                1. re: Motosport

                  We had a very similar experience at Rabia's, and a very satisfying meal, last year.

                2. City Landing on Long Wharf near the Aquarium is putting out some great seafood.

                  http://citylanding.com/

                  1. One of my favorites is Atlantic Fish Co on Boylston st near the Pru center accross form the Lenox Hotel. Very consistent
                    with food great protions and a very well informed staff.

                    1. By all means Island Creek Oyster House - they take reservations in advance, but it is huge and the wait is not usually horrible for high tops in the bar for small walk-in groups - and you can wait next door at The Hawthorne with spectacular cocktails. Lobster is great but overpriced everywhere in the city that I am aware of, including ICOH. Summer Shack also does expensive lobster extremely well.

                      1. I think Island Creek Oyster Bar is fabulous but if you have time and can rent a car, take a trip up to Rockport and get lobsters from Roy Moore's shack.