When you slurp an oyster from this hip dockside restaurant overlooking the harbor, it’s likely that the fresh, sweet bivalve was in that very same water just hours before. But it’s not just the oysters, of course, that earn Cru its title. The buttery fried clams, famous lobster roll, and jumbo cocktail shrimp all deserve recog- nition, especially when accompanied by a cool and refreshing “Crucumber” martini. One Straight Wharf, Nantucket, MA 02554, crunantucket.com.
Briny oysters are just the tip of the ice-packed platters here. Sure, restaurateur Kathy Sidell provides an intimate Back Bay port of call for passersby to stop and slurp expertly shucked bivalves—buttery, Duxbury-raised Merry Oysters, sweet South Bay Blondes from a multi-generation Onset farm. But there’s also super-fresh shrimp and crab cocktail, sea urchin spruced up with ponzu sauce from medicine droppers, and a list of bottles for washing them down in crisp waves of wine. 281 Dartmouth St., Boston, MA saltiegirl.com.
Citizen Pub is still pouring the same vertiginously deep rosters of rye, bourbon, scotch and Irish whiskey with the same precise connoisseurship, ambassadorial exuberance, and jaunty Japanese ice spheres as it did when it opened four years ago, back when vodka swilling still held sway. Welcome to the dark side. 1310 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2215, citizenpub.com.
The three-course prix-fixe menu is everything brunch should be: a selection of sweet and savory breakfast and lunch dishes and an assortment of chilled seafood (Wellfleet oysters, countneck clams, shrimp) with a Bloody Mary or mimosa to wash it down. Dine inside for a plush, low-lit and serene atmosphere or outside on the secluded patio. Start with roasted oysters with mascarpone, pancetta, and spinach; granola and fresh fruit; or a Caesar salad with—hallelujah!—white anchovies. Move on to crab cakes with perfectly poached eggs, hollandaise, and ossetra caviar; French toast with spiced apples and sausage; or a smoked-salmon sandwich on toasted French bread with tomato, red onion, and parsley-caper egg sauce. Then prepare to nap away the afternoon. 44 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA .
For those who like their bivalves fresh off the boat (literally), the new retail arm of the Island Creek Oysters empire is a must-try. Stocked with a rotating selection of seafood (look for razor clams, Nantucket Bay scallops, whelks, and, of course, the famous IC oyster), the tiny shop has fast become a favorite for local shellfish aficionados. 296 Parks St., Duxbury, MA 2332, islandcreekoysters.com.
The romance started with a rich local-oyster-and-bacon chowder with chive and truffle oil. Then came the scallops with oyster mushrooms, asparagus, pancetta, pea shoots, and chive béarnaise, and then the organic beef special with ramps and shiitakes. By the time the heavenly macademia-nut-and-coconut tart showed up, we knew for certain that this homey new spot from Brewster Fish House alum Martha Kane would be more than just a one-night stand. 800 Main St., Dennis, MA 2638, fincapecod.com.
The turquoise-and-orange Caribbean fantasyland that is the East Coast Grill plays home to an eclectic, winning formula of Nuevo Latino, barbecue, and fresh seafood dishes. Chef Chris Schlesinger has scoured the globe, not to mention the local environs, for the best purveyors of crustaceans and fish: Check out the blackboard of daily seafood specials to see what we mean. You'll find all manner of oysters, clams, mussels, and shrimp in addition to fish filets, including the point of origin of each. Favorites: barbecued oysters, house-smoked salmon, pepper-crusted tuna. 1271 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA eastcoastgrill.net.
Smoked oysters, mussels, pâté, tuna, cheese—all on a cart circulated through the room. Copley Square, Boston, MA .
This oyster-and-beer bar shines for the same reason its namesake bivalves do—it’s sleek, fresh, and always leaves you wanting more. 383 Congress St., Fort Point/Waterfront, MA 2210, row34.com.
Wegmans, shmegmans. This outpost of the local grocery chain offers pretty much anything city dwellers could wish to stow in their Sub-Zero fridges, be it Cockenoe oysters, Unicorn Kisses seltzer, or Dom P̩rignon. 8 Summer St., Boston, MA 02110, rochebros.com.
With a just creamy enough texture, generous potato chunks, meaty pieces of clam, and a house-made biscuit in place of the requisite oyster crackers, the Daily Catch's chowder is an exemplar of the form. 2 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 02210, dailycatch.com.
No watering hole is more welcome in Allston than this gastro-grunge newcomer. After all, where else could a Genny Cream pair so perfectly with $2 oysters, or a seasonally flavored margarita with a wobbly game of pool? 1277 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02134, hopewellboston.com.
Don’t be alarmed by the lack of signage: Finding this hidden gem is the hardest part. Ordering is easy, whether you’re in the mood for apricot-habanero chicken wings, a fried oyster po’ boy, or one of the juiciest cheeseburgers around. 567 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139, brickmortarltd.com.
The bar at Biba is a scene, with the local swells packing the place every night. They must be coming for the sensational bar snacks—especially the crispy scallion pancakes, and the oyster shooters with vodka. 272 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
Like an antique wing chair done up in a sharp new print, Citizen's spin on the Manhattan hews to tradition while freshening things up. The cocktail starts with the classic recipe (Maker's Mark, sweet vermouth, Angostura), then amps it up with a touch of the unconventional (St. Germain, grapefruit bitters). The final effect? True to the original cocktail's spirit, but tastier. 1310 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2215, .