The Comeback on the Chesapeake
1. Ostra1 Charles St S, Boston
2. Neptune Oyster63 Salem St, Boston
3. Mare Oyster Bar135 Richmond St, Boston
4. B&G Oysters550 Tremont St, Boston
5. Atlantic Fish Company761 Boylston St, Boston
6. Legal Test Kitchen225 Northern Ave, Boston
7. UNI Sashimi Bar370 Commonwealth Ave, Boston
8. Island Creek Oyster Bar500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston
9. Pescatore158 Boston Ave, Somerville
Savor the flavor of your favorite seafood at this Mediterranean spot that uses fresh ingredients and light preparations to bring out the best in your briny delicacies, all in the comfort of swank surroundings (piano lounge, anyone?).
Bivalves are king at Neptune Oyster, a popular seafood counter in the North End. The menu is classically New England but a variety of seafood-based recipes come out of the kitchen, from cioppino and fried Ipswich clams to fish & chips and Basque-peppered Spanish octopus. Served two ways, the lobster roll is an award-winning signature, and though it's prepared the typical way with mayonnaise, the hot butter option is the way to go. Neptune draws hoards of seafood-craving hopefuls to its Salem St. storefront on weekend afternoons and evenings, so be prepared to traverse the neighborhood while you wait for your coveted seat at the marble bar.
Aiming to capitalize on the Hub's bivalve boom (beware of places peddling sub-prime oysters), the folks at North End's Italian fave Mare have hit the reset button, reopening Friday in the same but slightly revamped space (shucking station, more seats, etc.) as an oyster bar. The new menu actually includes the old menu (exhale, here), alongside hella more seafood like six to eight types of local half-shells, octopus salad, and even a massive tower of shellfish.
Barbara Lynch's tiny South End oyster bar is one of the most popular seafood counters in Boston. It stocks fresh seafood every morning, including six varieties of oysters from each coast, a selection of clams, and whole lobsters. The best seats in the house are at the long marble bar, where you can watch expert oyster-shuckers work their magic. If raw bivalves aren't your thing, don't worry, B&G also has a kick-ass lobster roll.
Atlantic Fish Company serves up seafood classics (lobster, chowder, pot pie) on Boylston in Back Bay.
Everyone knows Legal as the local chain with reliable food, but if you're a fan and want to try something a little different head to Legal Test Kitchen where you can sample a new menu of Legal experiments every six weeks.
Ken Oringer's crown jewel of a sashimi bar made a name for itself when it was tucked into Clio, the Back Bay French restaurant that used to occupy the Eliot Hotel. Once Clio closed, Uni expanded into the entire space. Aside from stunning raw fish dishes, the restaurant serves adventurous hot plates and a late-night ramen menu. All the fish is sourced from Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market or New England fishermen.
Everything about Island Creek’s modern, simple decor and comfortable atmosphere makes you think of an upscale coastal shanty, not to mention the shellfish is impeccable. The raw bar is the main draw here as some of the oysters are sourced directly from its farm of the same name in Duxbury Bay, but you can also get other local New England staples like, Chatham, Wellfleet, and Pearly White. You’ll find daily changing fresh fish options like, Maine Grilled Salmon with mustard spaetzle and apple purée, Falmouth Bluefish with delicata squash and chorizo, and Fried Ipswich Clams, plus brunch fare like, Salt Cod Cakes with house-made baked beans, a fried egg, and bacon.
This Somerville spot may not look like much, but it is terrific. Order the fried clams (voted the best in Boston) or any of the pasta and seafood combos, like the risotto pescatore or the spicy, garlicky zuppa di pesce.