Steph Yiu

For Andrea: Seafood-ing in Boston

Lobsters for sale outside of Woodman's in Essex, MA.

Lobsters for sale outside of Woodman’s in Essex, MA.

Former VIP intern extraordinaire Andrea Zoellner pinged me on Skype recently to let me know that she would be visiting Boston! The conversation went something like this:

Andrea: Is it lame to get seafood in Boston?
Me: NO! OMG.
Andrea: I feel like it’s a must.
Me: So many restaurant recs. Can I write a blog post for you?

So this is that blog post :)

Here are the recommendations:

Island Creek Oyster Bar

Hands down, my favorite seafood place in Boston.

Good for: Date night, dinner with co-workers, parents, or a group of foodie friends.
What I love: To me, atmosphere is almost as important as the food. ICOB stands out in my mind because it’s beautifully designed, but still casual enough for jeans.
What to eat: The Island Creeks, of course. Also their lobster roe noodles are so unique, and their epic buttermilk biscuit on the side. They have an extensive drinks menu, so arrive early and enjoy drinks at the bar.

Dad loves this place as much as I do 😃

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Neptune Oyster

A tiny, delicious little place.

Good for: Putting your name in, and spending an hour or two wandering the cobblestone streets of the North End, and by the time you get hungry, they’ll call you for an awesome meal.
What I love: This place is really Boston, the food is delicious (and people say it’s “the best lobster roll in Boston”), and the location is great. It’s a long wait though, and the restaurant is tiny.
What to eat: The oysters are top notch, and, the lobster roll :)

Alive and Kicking Lobsters

In my opinion, the best lobster rolls in Boston, except it’s in Cambridge!

Good for: Sitting outdoors at picnic tables for a long conversation with a friend.
What I love: This is a no-fuss place. There’s a counter, you order, and then you sit at a shack outside. It reminds me a bit of the outdoor places in Provincetown, except this is in Cambridge.
What to eat: These are the largest, most generous, and most delicious lobster rolls in Boston, and it’s really more like a lobster sandwich. They won Best of Boston last year.

I call this the perfect New England lunch. (How did I not know this place existed in my neighborhood?!)

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Legal Harborside

An easy place to grab a seat and enjoy the view.

Good for: Large groups and a no fuss meal.
What I love: It’s easy. This is one of those huge restaurants that can handle any size group. I actually brought the VIP team here when they were in Boston. The view is amazing because you’re right on the water. Since it’s a Legal Seafoods, the food is definitely decent, but you might not like it since it can be pretty touristy.
What to eat: Nothing stands out in my mind, it’s all decent.

James Hook & Co

Delicious and fast. 

Good for: A lazy outdoors day.
What I love: All of the food is delicious, and it’s super low key. The last time I went, we actually ordered a mix of things and shared it among the group which is a good way to go. The seating is along the water and outdoors, so it’s a pretty quiet dining experience.
What to eat: Clam chowder, lobster bisque, stuffed clams.

A platter of awesome at James Hook & Co.

A platter of awesome at James Hook & Co.

Here are bonus recommendations:

Matt Murphy’s

It’s not a seafood place, but it has the perfect atmosphere, and free oysters.

Good for: An evening of drinks and long conversation.
What I love: This is probably one of my favorite bar/lounges in Boston. It’s off the beaten path, intimate and beautiful, and the food is delicious. They do free oysters on Monday night from 5-7pm, so all you need to do is order a drink and they’ll bring some to your table. And in my experience, they’ve been extremely generous with the oysters. Oh, also – they are cash only.
What to eat: Their fish sandwich is amazing, and it comes with homemade ketchup (crazy spices!) for the french fries. Their bread is also incredible, so any of their stews to dip it in.
Random: I’m actually in one of the framed photos on the wall (it’s a long story).

The Canteen

It’s not in Boston, but this place is chill and delicious. 

Good for: Eating oysters while people-watching.
What I love: This place is actually in Provincetown, on Cape Cod. It’s a 1.5 hour ferry ride from downtown Boston, and it’s located on the bustling main stretch. Every time I’m in P-Town I try to stop by because it’s easy, delicious, and the outdoor tables are facing the sidewalk, which makes for fun people-watching. Plus, you’re in P-Town, so you’re already in a good mood :)

And farther afield: Woodman’s, for a delicious (but expensive) treat after kayaking or antiquing up in Essex, MA, or Bob’s Clam Hut for what Food & Wine called the best lobster roll in America, up in Maine (I think Alive and Kicking is better).

Lobster rolls and a pile of fried things after three hours of kayaking. Heaven.

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Places to specifically avoid: No Name (it’s overrated), and any place in the Copley area (overpriced, and you prefer less-touristy things).

And for more fish and sea (but not to eat)… I’d definitely recommend checking out the New England Aquarium and going whale watching (if the season is right!).

A mom and a baby whale I saw while whale watching off the coast of Cape Cod.

A mom and a baby whale I saw while whale watching off the coast of Cape Cod.

Have fun, and don’t forget the Cape Cod chips! They are the best chips in America!

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