Best of Boston

2002 Best Seafood Restaurant, Affordable

The Barking Crab

We’re suckers for any patch of down-home coastal life dropped smack in the heart of downtown Boston. But, even if we weren’t, the Barking Crab would still be the best catch in its category. Cheap, straightforward seafood—fragrant steamers, crab legs so big they’re architectural structures, and cod that flakes in moist, white chunks—is the draw. Don’t expect to write home about the service: This place is on island time. But, somehow, the meal, the kitschy breeze-blown fishing nets on the walls, the salty air, the creaky wooden floorboards, and the ice-cold beer evoke the kind of sunburned day that loosens our standards—and our belts—a little. And isn’t that, after all, the very definition of clam shack chic?

88 Sleeper St., Boston, 617-426-2722,