The 16 Best Restaurants in Boston’s Seaport and Fort Point
Here's where to grab a bite or a beer—from a hot new brewpub to clam shack-inspired neighborhood staples.
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Few Boston neighborhoods have changed as radically in recent years as the Seaport District. It seems there’s constant construction underway, with new condo and office towers sprouting constantly from steel girders. The dining and entertainment options in the area have similarly transformed, so allow us to guide you toward the best places to grab a bite or a beer—from hot new brewpubs, to a handful of clam shack-inspired holdovers from the Seaport’s storied past life.
The Barking Crab
The Seaport sure has changed since 1994, when the Barking Crab first propped up its famous red- and yellow-striped tent. But the boisterous seafood joint endures, serving up Old Boston character alongside its New England clambakes, lobster rolls, fish and chips, and of course, succulent crab claws with drawn butter. And even when the weather’s not warm enough to down oyster shooters and boozy lemonade on the open-air picnic tables, we can move inside by the cozy wood-burning stove. The loyal crowds aren’t going anywhere—and neither is the Barking Crab.
88 Sleeper St., 617-426-2722, barkingcrab.com.
This still-newish addition to our list of the top 50 restaurants in Boston is a bit of a destination; Chickadee is located within a marine industrial park that is removed from the rest of the neighborhood’s other, buzzy recent entrants. But make a point to fly by. Chef John daSilva marries New England ingredients to Mediterranean inspiration, yielding rewards such as vadouvan-spiced roasted halibut with honeynut squash, while cocktail guru Ted Kilpatrick mixes up eclectic libations like the Dream Weaver: gin with lemon tea-blanc vermouth and suze, a French aperitif made from gentian root.
21 Drydock Ave., 617-531-5591, chickadeerestaurant.com.
When a slew of Greek restaurants rolled into Boston a few years ago, Committee immediately came across as the most fashionable of the bunch: its industrial-cool interior is usually packed with pretty people mingling over inventive meze and creative cocktails like the Wingman, a foamy, flirty combo of lavender-infused gin and Crème de Violette. And you know what? The place still feels fresh—especially during our favorite boozy brunch service, when the breakfast gyros and Champagne trays are just a few of the extremely excellent reasons to roll out of bed.
50 Northern Ave., 617-737-5051, committeeboston.com.
Drink, Menton and Sportello
Forgive us, but in the context of their neighborhood, it makes the most sense to talk about esteemed restaurateur Barbara Lynch’s triumvirate in a single breath. After all, all three establishments were collectively influential in turning the once-sleepy Fort Point district into a small but mighty little row of restaurants. Drink and Sportello came first, in 2008: the former a menu-free pioneer in Boston’s then-burgeoning cocktail renaissance, the latter a spiffy counter-style setup for polished Italian plates. Menton, though, her fine-dining flagship, was her biggest gamble on the area’s nascent potential—and it paid off big-time with its 2010 opening, proving Bostonians were ready for some of the most elegant and exciting French-Italian tasting menus the city had ever seen. The trio remains an essential anchor to the area today.
You have to hand it to the crew at Big Night Entertainment Group. The hospitality bigwigs know how to create a certain kind of clubby restaurant experience. Consider Mystique and Memoire, their flashy pan-Asian restaurant and nightclub, respectively, at the Encore Boston Harbor casino—as well as several similar BNEG concepts at Foxwoods Resort Casino and elsewhere. Empire fits squarely within that dinner-and-nightlife mold, buttressing its Asian-inspired plates—from sushi rolls to Korean-style sirloin—with party-pumping weekend DJs. And if you need a full-scale dance floor, you’re only a few steps away from the Grand, their sprawling Seaport nightclub.
1 Marina Park Drive, 617-295-0001, empireboston.com.
Kings Dining & Entertainment
Kings’ succeeds by staying in its lane—and we’re not even referring to the 16 bowling lanes at its large Seaport location, which also has plenty of retro arcade games, pool tables, air hockey, and other diversions for adults unleashing their inner kid. Rather, we mean that the restaurant component plays to its main strength—fun!—by focusing on eats like pizza tacos, Buffalo chicken wontons, and a steaming crock of chocolate chip cookie fondue. The Seaport’s “Draft Room” is well-stocked with local craft beers, too. When it’s the grown-ups’ turn to indulge in games and grub, Kings takes the crown.
60 Seaport Blvd., 617-401-0025, kings-de.com/seaport.
The local-born Legal Sea Food chain’s Titanic-sized harbor outpost has a lot in its favor: a sturdy knack for nailing fresh-and-classic seafood, a prime waterfront location—and one of the best roof decks in the city, a third-floor expanse with a retractable, four-seasons roof. The horizon views are stellar, and the place draws—well, a scene. (A suburban shopping-mall Legal, this is not.) Most importantly, the food keeps up standard Legal quality—so, high—from the casual, oyster-bar equipped first floor, to the more elevated second, to that stunning top deck.
270 Northern Ave., 617-477-2900, legalseafoods.com.
Lookout Rooftop Bar and Outlook Kitchen
While we’re on the subject of rooftops, let’s not forget the equally awesome view from Lookout, perched atop the Envoy Hotel. This one is oriented more cityward, to a rare, gorgeous look at the harbor-front skyline. (In the winter, reservable heated igloos do the trick.) It’s more about the urban eye candy, wine and cocktails here—though there are some small bites available from chef Tatiana Pairot Rosana, a two-time Chopped Champions champion. Her full menus, though, are at Outlook Kitchen downstairs, where you might find yucca gnocchi with shrimp and saffron; or harissa-heightened lamb chop frites with feta-and-parsley fries.
70 Sleeper St., 617-338-3030, outlookkitchenandbar.com.
There are quite a few seafood-and-steakhouse joints packed into the relatively small footprint of the Seaport, offering (not exactly dissimilar) high-end chain experiences. They all scratch a certain power-dining itch, to one degree or another—but Ocean Prime might be the most reliable exemplar of the genre, thanks to all that excellent turf (prime filets enhanced with Béarnaise or black truffle butter) and surf (say, butter poached lobster tails with red pepper cream). Fine cocktails flow. Ah, the sound of the Ocean: clink!
140 Seaport Blvd., 617-670-1345, oceanprime.com.
This younger, Seaport sibling to Kenmore Square’s iconic Island Creek Oyster Bar is now a kind of veteran in its own right. Part of the first wave of restaurants that accompanied early, major new developments in the neighborhood, Row 34 remains a formidable force in its own austere-industrial-cool kind of way. The place still takes plenty of pride in its eclectic craft beer list, not skimping on categories like wild and sour ales. And chef Jeremy Sewall is still a master of seafood prep, whether he’s dealing with whole roasted fish or little, crispy oysters in lettuce cups—a longtime menu favorite.
383 Congress St., 617-553-5900, row34.com.
The Smoke Shop BBQ
Our reigning title-holder for Boston’s best barbecue is still growing its red-hot empire: chef Andy Husbands already has three full-service Smoke Shop restaurants (there are rumors a fourth may be coming to Harvard Square), and he’s about to open a small station at Hub Hall, a highly anticipated West End food court. (Can we reclaim that now-dirty word, courts, yet?) In the future, we might never be more than a rib-length away from the award-winning pitmaster’s juicy brisket, outstanding burnt ends, or extensive whisky selections. And oh, what a beautiful day that would be!
343 Congress St., 617-261-7427, thesmokeshopbbq.com.
Trillium Brewing Company
When Boston’s best brewery opened its Fort Point taproom, it probably could have coasted on the strength of its craft beers alone; Trillium’s rep pretty much guaranteed the place would be a hit. But the big brewpub hardly held back on the food: from duck gravy-covered poutine to house-made sausage boards, plus meaty mains like a bone-in strip steak with black garlic butter, there’s plenty of plates worth toasting. (If you can lift those glasses on the roof deck, even better.) Pro tip: don’t miss the fried chicken sandwich with green chili mayo and smoked cheddar, one of the best in the city.
50 Thomson Pl., 857-449-0083, trilliumbrewing.com.
Woods Hill Pier 4
This brand-new addition to the Seaport inhabits arguably the most storied address in the neighborhood. Once upon a time, after all, it was home to Anthony’s Pier 4, a decades-spanning restaurant where countless Bostonians celebrated special occasions (as well as a rare dining destination in a then-underdeveloped area of the city). Now the site is where you’ll find this spinoff of restaurateur Kristin Canty’s Concord hit, Woods Hill Table. The Pier 4 location imports the same devoutly farm-to-table ethos, though chef Charlie Foster’s menu is a bit more urbane—and offers a few nods to Anthony’s, such as an updated, large-format lobster newburg, as well as popovers paired with caviar.
300 Pier 4 Blvd., 617-981-4577, woodshillpier4.com.
This no-frills seafood shack is an area institution, not to mention a must-visit whenever you’re checking out a summer concert at the neighboring concert pavilion. The cold mayo-dressed lobster roll is a classic, the lobster bisque and clam chowder offer just the right amount of creaminess, and you’ll want to crack into the bucket o’ crabs for a fresh and flavorful communal feast. The 1950-founded joint also sells live lobsters, fish filets and more from its market, so you can take a taste home.
300 Northern Ave., 617-345-9799, yankeelobstercompany.com.