Where to Eat Spectacular Seafood around Boston

From no-frills fried-fish shacks to high-end omakase destinations, 19 local seafood restaurants you have to try this summer.

Seafood is practically synonymous with Boston: When out-of-towners come to visit, we inevitably get asked where to find the best lobster roll, the best chowder, the best fried seafood, the best seafood in general. There are countless options, whether you’re looking for a wallet-busting sushi feast or some crispy fried clams on a waterfront deck. For our June 2023 issue, we rounded up some of our current favorites across a range of Boston-area seafood experiences—a few newbies, a few mainstays, and everything in between. Take a look below, and fill your summer with the freshest catch.

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Seafood Restaurants for All Occasions

The lobster sandwich with butter at Puritan Oyster Bar. / Photo by Brian Samuels

Puritan Oyster Bar

Greater Boston has no shortage of oyster bars, but we certainly can’t object to a fun new addition to the scene dripping with caviar cones and buttered lobster toast. The sibling and neighbor to the always-enjoyable Puritan & Company doesn’t take reservations; just sidle up to the bar before or after your dinner at Puritan & Company for a drink and some oysters, or dig in to a whole seafood-filled feast at a table.

What you’re ordering: Crab rangoon dip, yellowtail tacos, and the smoked-bluefish melt are sure to kick off a festive evening properly.

1164 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge,

O Ya

This peaceful nook in the Leather District is one of the city’s most acclaimed spots for sushi, having honed its many-course omakase to perfection over the past 16 years. Settle in for an hours-long parade of gorgeous bites of nigiri and sashimi, as well as a handful of cooked dishes. There’s no telling exactly what’ll be on the chef’s-choice menu, but you might spot long-running winners like hamachi nigiri with banana-pepper mousse, zapped with a blowtorch, or luscious chawanmushi with urchin.

What you’re ordering: You don’t have a choice; you’re getting the 20-course omakase. (With 72 hours’ notice, you can request a vegetarian or vegan version.)

9 East St., Leather District, Boston, 617-654-9900,

O Ya. / Photo by Brian Samuels


Named for the invasive (and delicious) green crab, this refined Cambridge newbie comes from the team behind Italian stunner Giulia. Moëca takes a broader geographic approach, offering a tantalizing lineup of globally inspired seafood dishes, from Wellfleet clams in a coconut red curry to crispy Rhode Island squid with garum, a fermented fish sauce with ancient Roman roots.

What you’re ordering: The menu changes with some frequency, but keep an eye out for hiramasa crudo, Maine lobster spaghetti, or whole branzino with salsa verde—and absolutely save room for dessert.

1 Shepard St., Cambridge, 617-945-0040,

The Banks Fish House

Turns out the team behind one of Boston’s greatest steakhouses also knows a thing or two about seafood. The Banks Fish House, Grill 23’s sibling, fills a swanky two-story space in the Back Bay with a lovely ode to owner Chris Himmel and executive chef and partner Robert Sisca’s global fishing experiences—not to mention the seafood purveyors they’ve befriended around New England.

What you’re ordering: Go casual with fried whole-belly clams or the fried fishermen’s platter; fancy things up with a plateau of shellfish, lobster, crudo, and caviar.

406 Stuart St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-399-0015,


The prix-fixe menu at this elegant, seafood-focused Back Bay hideaway changes every so often, highlighting seasonal ingredients in beautifully composed, high-technique dishes. Acclaimed chef Carl Dooley always manages to sneak in some bold, surprising flavors, too, drawing inspiration from a variety of cuisines. Sit back, relax, and let him take you on a journey.

What you’re ordering: There’s no à la carte menu here; you’ll simply choose one dish per course from two or three (equally delicious) options. A recent menu included dishes such as spring vichyssoise with cured Arctic char; sherry-glazed unagi (eel) with almonds and snap peas; and steamed black bass with local clams, favas, and fermented black beans.

304 Stuart St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-917-5193,

Neptune Oyster

At this point, waiting in a long line to get into this no-reservations North End institution is pretty much an iconic Boston experience. Your patience will be rewarded with pristine takes on New England classics, from salt-pork-studded Wellfleet clam chowder to a smoked-bluefish-and-caviar-topped johnnycake. You’ll eat shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers in the loud, tight space—and you’ll love it.

What you’re ordering: The lobster roll is the best in town; we like it hot with butter, but cold with mayo is also available. The fried-oyster-topped burger, meanwhile, is a sleeper hit.

63 Salem St., North End, Boston, 617-742-3474,

The Barking Crab.

The Barking Crab

Nothing says “it’s 80 degrees outside” like sitting on a waterfront deck and sharing big helpings of fried seafood with friends while crushing an easy-drinking local lager. A downtown mainstay since 1994, the Barking Crab—essentially a clam shack in the middle of a city—fits the bill. The lively, no-reservations spot on Fort Point Channel is positively buzzing throughout the warmer months, and while the team is mostly keeping things rolling as it always has, longtime fans will be delighted to find a new shellfish tower on the menu these days, packed with lobster, oysters, crab legs, and more.

What you’re ordering: Anything fried—clams, scallops, shrimp, etc.—or a giant platter of lobster, crab legs, and corn on the cob.

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

Row 34

This seafood mainstay recently added a fourth location in Cambridge, spreading its elevated New England cuisine to even more enthusiastic diners. The original Fort Point spot, though, has been going strong for a decade now, pairing immaculate oysters and innovative fish entrées with an exciting beer list. In other words, it’s the kind of spot where you can dress up or down, from after-work snacks at the bar to a special-occasion outing.

What you’re ordering: Oysters, a lobster roll, and the heavenly butterscotch pudding for dessert.

Boston and other locations,

Nightshade Noodle Bar

Want to treat yourself to one of the most thrilling dining experiences in Greater Boston right now? Head north to Lynn for Nightshade’s tasting menus, which plot a seafood-filled course through Vietnamese- and French-inspired flavors and techniques, introducing you to prehistoric-looking percebes (gooseneck barnacles) and a variety of caviar options along the way. Save room for a creative cocktail or two.

What you’re ordering: You’ll mostly be at chef Rachel Miller’s whim, but you can put in a request for a specific dish or two. Ask for the lobster glacé or any sea urchin dish if available (the menu changes frequently).

73 Exchange St., Lynn, 781-780-9470,

Eventide Fenway. / Photo by Brian Samuels

Eventide Fenway

This casual offshoot of a Portland, Maine, institution has been a Fenway favorite since it opened in 2017. Fresh off an early-2023 revamp, it’s now re-emerged with a full liquor license and table service, with globally inspired seafood dishes such as tandoori-style skate wing and lobster empanadas making for a perfect date-night experience.

What you’re ordering: The famous brown-butter lobster roll is still on the menu—and still pairs extraordinarily well with the brown-butter soft-serve with maple candied pecans and bourbon caramel.

1321 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston, 617-545-1060,

Saltie Girl

Since its splashy 2016 debut in the Back Bay, Saltie Girl has expanded to far-off destinations (L.A., London), but it remains rooted in all that’s great about New England seafood (think: fried Ipswich clams and classic lobster rolls). And then it turns that all on its head, stacking the menu with over-the-top, internationally inspired treats: octopus empanadas! A Mexico City–inspired grilled whole branzino! Burgundy snails! Take someone who likes to share.

What you’re ordering: We’ve been fans of the torched salmon belly since day one, and you can’t go wrong with a New York–style smoked-fish platter or the fried lobster and waffles. Don’t forget the French bread, served hot with sea-salt butter.

279 Dartmouth St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-267-0691,

Saltie Girl. / Photo by Brian Samuels

The Winsor House at Island Creek Oyster Farm

If you’re a Boston-area seafood lover, you already know that Duxbury’s Island Creek Oyster Farm is tops for shellfish. But did you know that, as of late 2021, the team also operates an exemplary seafood restaurant adjacent to the farm, inside a lovingly restored historic inn? It’s cozy, it’s nautical, and it’s full of clever dishes highlighting fresh fish sourced from Scandinavia to right down the street.

What you’re ordering: Start with small plates like springy swordfish-and-pork meatballs or crab toast with beef tongue; move onto bigger options like local, line-caught grilled tuna or Island Creek’s own surf clams with chorizo.

390 Washington St., Duxbury, 781-934-0991,


Looking for a sophisticated, white-tablecloth seafood spot for a business dinner or special evening out? From the always-reliable Columbus Hospitality Group (Mistral, Sorellina), the nearly decade-old Ostra may be your spot. The Mediterranean-inspired menu—complemented by a deep wine list—offers ample raw-bar selections and caviar alongside elegantly prepared and presented entrées. Bonus points for the always-seamless hospitality.

What you’re ordering: The showstopping salt-crusted branzino for two takes 45 minutes, but it’s worth the wait; the broiled Maine twin lobster is another winner.

1 Charles St. S., Back Bay, Boston, 617-421-1200,


There’s no traditional omakase available at Japanese gem Uni these days, but if you opt for the chef’s-choice family-style meal, you’ll be taken on a dizzying adventure through top-notch sushi as well as cooked dishes that draw inspiration from Japan and other Asian cuisines. Reserve a seat at the sushi counter for the best experience at this high-energy izakaya, and be sure to try the unusual—but tasty!—cocktails. (One whiskey-based drink, for example, includes brown butter, carrot, and dill.)

What you’re ordering: The Maine uni spoon is a signature item here for good reason. If you’re looking for a break from seafood, don’t miss the Wagyu beef dumplings with tingly mala oil.

370A Commonwealth Ave., Back Bay, Boston, 617-536-7200,

Select Oyster Bar. / Photo by Brian Samuels

Select Oyster Bar

After years at the helm of Neptune Oyster, chef Michael Serpa struck out on his own to open Select Oyster Bar in the Back Bay in 2015, using his vast seafood knowledge in brilliant new ways and drawing a bit of influence from the Mediterranean. Fast-forward eight years, and Serpa now operates three excellent restaurants, each focusing on fish with a different spin. Select, though, remains a favorite for its casual feel coupled with impeccably fresh, high-end dishes, from herb-dressed whole roasted sea bream to delicate crudos.

What you’re ordering: Start with something raw, like the Faroe Islands salmon crudo with togarashi, pistachio oil, and lime. The bouillabaisse is a top entrée pick.

50 Gloucester St., Back Bay, Boston, 857-239-8064,

Woodman’s of Essex / Photo via Instagram

Love Shacks

Summer isn’t summer in New England without fried clams in a paper boat. These casual seafood joints take it to the next level.

Belle Isle Seafood

We don’t know why the lobster pie here is called a pie—it’s essentially breaded lobster with melted butter—but we do know it’ll keep you coming to this decades-old Winthrop restaurant and market again and again.

1 Main St., Winthrop, 617-567-1619,

J.T. Farnhams

With gorgeous Essex River views, this North Shore spot is one of several in the area known for fried clams (more on those below), but don’t miss the seafood chowder, jam-packed with clams, shrimp, scallops, lobster, and haddock.

88 Eastern Ave., Essex, 978-768-6643,

Tony’s Clam Shop

Something about eating fried seafood while looking out over the water just feels so right. As the name suggests, this seasonal Wollaston Beach staple is known for its clams (and other fried options), but you’ll also want to give the broiled seafood a try. And a frozen margarita, perhaps?

861 Quincy Shore Dr., 617-773-5090, Quincy,

Woodman’s of Essex

Open since the early 1900s, the birthplace of fried clams (at least as we know them today) is still going strong. Order the “Chubby’s Original” fried-clam plate, which comes with fries and onion rings (naturally), and grab a seat at a picnic table out back.

121 Main St., Essex, 978-768-6451,

Go Fish

More of a DIY seafood lover? Stop by one of these local markets for the freshest catch.

Courthouse Seafood

With Portuguese roots, Courthouse has been going strong in East Cambridge since 1912, flying in fresh sardines and stickleback from Portugal alongside a rotating array of local catches. As of presstime, the market is for sale—maybe you could be the one to carry on its legacy?—but its adjacent restaurant will continue under the original ownership.

498 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge, 617-876-6716,

New Deal Fish Market

Just a few blocks from Courthouse is another stellar fish market that’s been around forever. Opened by Italian immigrants nearly a century ago, New Deal is now under third-generation ownership, with a knowledgeable team of fishmongers that can help even the most inexperienced home cook figure out a foolproof dinner.

622 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge, 617-876-8227,

Red’s Best

With a focus on sustainable seafood caught up and down the East Coast, Boston-based Red’s Best has built a thriving fish business with direct-to-consumer (including national shipping) and wholesale arms. At its Boston Public Market seafood counter, you’ll find ultra-fresh fish to prepare at home—not to mention some prepared goodies to eat on-site, like fish tacos and lobster bisque.

Boston Public Market, 100 Hanover St., Downtown Boston, 857-930-4831,

First published in the print edition of the June 2023 issue with the headline “Seafood Spectacular.”