Like fruits and veggies, seafood tastes that much better when it’s harvested close to home. So just how fresh is the fish around town? Here’s a peek at the provenance of some of our favorite plates.
Turner Fisheries: Seafood Risotto
We’re willing to overlook the fact that not every morsel in this bountiful dish is locally sourced, because it’s just that good. The Laughing Bird shrimp, while grown using sustainable practices, are farmed in Belize. The lobster, however — a tail and a claw top the plate; the rest is used to make the risotto’s stock — usually comes from Louie’s Seafood in Burlington, but is sometimes supplied by Boston Lobster, a local company with a lobster pound in Nova Scotia. The sweet Taylor Bay scallops hail from Cape Cod, and are harvested daily. $35. Copley Place, Boston, 617-424-7425, turnersboston.com.
Bistro du Midi: Shellfish Bouillabaisse
Chef Robert Sisca serves two types of bouillabaisse — New England one with shellfish, and a Provençal version that contains only fish. We’re partial to his tasty take on the former, which includes monkfish, mussels, and Jonah crab from Maine, along with calamari from Point Judith, Rhode Island. The cockles come from New Zealand, but Sisca sometimes substitutes Rhode Island littlenecks. And he procures everything from suppliers such as American Mussel Harvesters in North Kingstown, Rhode Island; Wellesley’s Captain Marden’s; and Boston’s M. F. Foley Company. $35. 272 Boylston St., Boston, 617-426-7878, bistrodumidi.com.
Island Creek Oyster Bar: Jonah Crab Cakes
Flavored with onions, peppers, cilantro, lemon, and Tabasco, these cakes are quickly pan-fried to yield a perfectly crisp crust and feather-light interior. Chef Jeremy Sewall says the crabs he uses are usually brought in as bycatch from local lobstermen, making them an extra-sustainable option. They’re most often from Maine or Massachusetts, but always from the East Coast, and procured from area processors. $14. 500 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-532-5300, islandcreekoysterbar.com.
Atlantic Fish: Captain’s Platter
Atlantic fish? Well, mostly. The generous plate, a signature item at the restaurant, includes plenty of local finds, including fresh haddock from the Georges Bank, scallops from New Bedford, and clams from Bar Harbor. The jumbo shrimp, however, come from much farther away: Vietnam. All are hand-breaded; quickly fried; and served with house-made coleslaw, fries, and tartar and cocktail sauces. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice lends just the right amount of brightness to each bite. $28. 761 Boylston St., Boston, 617-267-4000, atlanticfishco.com.
The Barking Crab: Rockport Boil Pot
This indulgent feast, which includes chorizo, corn on the cob, and red bliss potatoes, is meant to be shared. The two whole Maine lobsters are sourced from Boston-based James Hook & Co. The pound of clams? They’re from Wellfleet, purchased through the Cape Cod Shellfish and Seafood Company. The farmed shrimp come from another Cape, though: Cape Canaveral, Florida. Still, the experience of tying on a bib and tucking into this giant pot is pure New England. $93. 88 Sleeper St., Boston, 617-426-2722, barkingcrab.com.
Mare: Linguini ai Frutti di Mare
This garlicky, tomato-laden pasta dish brims with local finds—which makes sense, given that Mare emphasizes local and sustainable seafood. The day-boat scallops come from the Browne Trading Company in Portland, Maine, and the chef can often tell you off which boat. Meanwhile, the Stony Island Seafarm in East Orleans provides the mussels, and the Maine lobster comes from Maximus International Foods in Weymouth. Belize is the source of the Laughing Bird shrimp, however. $23. 135 Richmond St., Boston, 617-723-6273, marenatural.com.
B&G Oysters: BLT with Lobster
It’s like a lobster roll, only porkier — and a variation we wholeheartedly endorse. B&G chef Stephen Oxaal gets his lobsters from two sources: Constitution Seafoods in Boston — which features New England lobster — and Snappy Lobster Delivery, an über-local indie operation run by two Scituate residents who catch and deliver their own lobsters. Oxaal piles the meat high on a crusty French baguette with thick bacon, cool lettuce, ripe tomato slices, and tangy lemon-pepper aioli. $28. 550 Tremont St., Boston, 617-423-0550, bandgoysters.com.