Where to Find the Best Seafood Restaurants Around Boston Right Now

From Mediterranean-inspired hotspots to old-school crab shacks serving New England classics.


Our restaurant scene is constantly evolving, but this is also a city steeped in tradition. So when we chose the best seafood restaurants in Boston, we cast a wide net. From a quirky little spot serving lobster sandwiches to a buzzy destination for crudo and cocktails, we’ve got you covered. So check out a few new options that are catching our eye right now, as well as our list of city stalwarts, updated with availability for the COVID era. [Updated: September 24, 2020]

B&B Fish

Okay, okay—we’re taking some liberties with including this Southern-inspired seafood entry on Massachusetts’ North Shore, which opens on October 8. But hey, it certainly deserves to be discovered, seeing that it comes from one of Boston’s most well-known chefs: Jason Santos, the blue-haired alum of food-TV shows like Hell’s Kitchen and Bar Rescue. B&B Fish plans to update New England classics with the kind of New Orleans-style twists you might find at Buttermilk & Bourbon, his Back Bay restaurant. Expect battered lobster tail, shrimp, or cod served with spicy Cajun remoulade, Carolina honey mustard, or Alabama white BBQ sauce; fried Louisiana crawfish tails; and landlubber-friendly sides such as honey-glazed biscuits, doughy beignets, and soft serve ice cream.

195 Pleasant St., Marblehead; 781-990-1739; bandbfish.com.

Dryft / Photos courtesy of 500 Ocean Avenue

Dryft

Cruise over to Revere Beach for this sleek, chic, Italian-inspired seafood spot that debuted last November. Since then, the place has been serving super-fresh raw bar selections (say, briny and buttery oysters dosed with pink peppercorn mignonette), sophisticated starters like grilled octopus with caramelized cauliflower puree and chorizo vinaigrette, and grilled whole fish like branzino with lemon preserve gremolata. Care for something more casual? Hit Dryft’s just-opened sibling and neighbor, Fine Line, a craft-beer taproom emphasizing sandwiches and specialty pizzas.

500 Ocean Ave., Revere, 781-629-1842, dryftrevere.com

Photo by Ran Duan

Ivory Pearl

For obvious reasons, new restaurant openings have been, shall we say, sluggish lately. And yet, August still brought us a highly anticipated project in Ivory Pearl, the latest from restaurateur Ran Duan (Brookline’s Blossom Bar and Woburn’s Baldwin Bar). Chef Ian Maschal oversees the seafood, which emphasizes local sourcing for its shared-plates menu: Maine sea urchin on nori tempura, split whole lobster laden with fennel and miso butter, and striped bass with garlicky greens are all on the agenda. Duan is a renowned spirits expert, too, so don’t sleep on the cocktail list, which highlights some wonderful carbonated concoctions—see: the Champagne Papi, vodka with koji rice, citric acid, and honeydew.

1704 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-487-5297, ivorypearlbar.com.

Summer Shack

We’ve yet to tire of all the ways  that legendary chef Jasper White’s Summer Shack restaurants manage to feed us lobster—in mac ‘n cheese, in a pot pie, in a roll (of course), and in White’s signature pan-roasted recipe with bourbon, chervil and chives. Now, though, there’s a brand-new spot for snagging those claws, plus plenty more seafood: a Harvard Square patio pop-up outside the Charles Hotel, where lobster will be served chilled with lemon-dijon sauce, as potstickers with ginger soy dipping sauce, and who-knows-how-else through the end of October.

50 Dalton St., Boston, 617 867-9955; 149 Alewife Brook Pkwy., Cambridge, 617-520-9500; 1 Bennett St., Cambridge,  summershackrestaurant.com.

The 19 Best Seafood Restaurants in Boston

You know ’em, you love ’em—and they’re back in action. Here’s our recap of the best places to find seafood in Boston, with details on the availability of takeout, delivery, and on-site dining. Watch this space for more updates!

The lobster sandwich at Alive & Kicking Lobsters. / Photo by Amy H. via Yelp

Alive & Kicking Lobsters

Status: Open daily for outdoor dining and takeout. 

It looks like a fish out of water in its residential Cambridge neighborhood. But that’s part of the cult appeal of this no-frills joint, where the small menu focuses on steamers, chowders, and a fairly famous lobster sandwich—don’t call it a roll!—of luscious, mayo-tossed meat on Italian-style scali bread. Gulp it down on the backyard picnic tables, or take some market-fresh fish selections home.

269 Putnam Ave., Cambridge, 617-876-0451, aliveandkickinglobsters.com.

Atlantic Fish Co.

Status: Open daily for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery.  

A Back Bay anchor since 1978, this old-school surf-and-turf still delivers. It’s a place to power-lunch over a shellfish-stocked Captain’s Platter, or close a deal over a dinner of linguine with clams, crab-crusted haddock, or filet mignon. When it’s time to celebrate, uncork something from a smart wine list that includes selections from the restaurant group’s own proprietary label.

761 Boylston St., Boston, 617-267-4000, atlanticfish.com

Bar Mezzana

Fresh crudo and kicky cocktails hook diners on Bar Mezzana, chef Colin Lynch’s ode to coastal Italian cuisine in the South End. / Photo by Adam DeTour

Bar Mezzana

Status: Open daily for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery.  

Chef Colin Lynch sets his coordinates to coastal Italian cuisine at this South End stunner, a showplace for tastings of super-fresh crudo, pretty pasta plates laden with mussels and lobster, and—when you’re not sipping brunch-time bubbles on the patio—cocktails making smart use of Campari and other apéritifs. The midcentury-style dining room is swathed in sparkling white with pops of blue, airy as a beach club on the Amalfi coast.

360 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-530-1770, barmezzana.com

The Barking Crab

The Barking Crab is like a year-round vacation on the Fort Point Channel. / Brian Samuels Photography

The Barking Crab

Status: Open daily for on-site dining and takeout.

You can’t miss that bright red- and yellow-striped big top tent on the waterfront. This Seaport fixture beckons with its boisterous crowds gathered for classic crab-shack eats: platters piled high with crustaceans for dipping in drawn butter, oysters for slurping, and Bloody Marys garnished with cocktail shrimp. The space is strung with lobster traps and strands of lights; it ain’t fancy, but it’s a lot of fun.

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

Barbara Lynch’s lobster roll at B&G Oysters. / Photo by Susie Cushner

B&G Oysters

Status: Open daily for indoor and outdoor dining, as well as delivery. 

Barbara Lynch, doyenne of Boston dining, is the captain of this seafood restaurant in the heart of the South End. Head to its adorably cloistered rear patio, then dive in to a wide-ranging raw bar selection, Mediterranean-inflected fish preparations, and elegant expressions of New England seafood standards. B&G even offers oyster-shucking classes, if you’re looking to be the half-shell hero of your next beach party.

550 Tremont St., Boston, 617-423-0550, bandgoysters.com

The Daily Catch

Status: Atlantic Ave. location open daily for indoor and outdoor dining, as well as takeout. Hanover St. location open daily for outdoor seating and takeout. Brookline location is temporarily closed. 

It’s all about Sicilian-style seafood at this family-owned North End restaurant, a decades-spanning institution that has branched off to locations in Brookline and Vermont. Check the chalkboard menu to find out what’s fresh, from clam and calamari swimming in marinara, to puttanesca with puréed olive and anchovy butter. The 20-seat spot is cash-only, but generous portions make it worth every dollar.

323 Hanover St., Boston, 617-523-8567; 65 Atlantic Ave., Boston, 617-772-4400; 441 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-734-2700, thedailycatch.com

Photo via Eventide Fenway

Eventide Fenway

Status: Open daily for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery.  

We were pumped when the James Beard Award-winning chefs behind Portland, Maine’s Eventide Oyster Co. decided to bring a fast-casual version of that seafood restaurant to Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. They did not underwhelm. The now-signature brown butter lobster roll, which uses a fluffy, bao-style steamed bun, is here; so are bowls of clam chowder flavored with kombu (edible seaweed) and hunks of salt pork. We’re so glad Eventide turned in our direction.

1321 Boylston St., Boston, 617-545-1060, eventidefenway.com

Photo courtesy of Island Creek Oysters

Island Creek Oyster Bar

Status: Kenmore Square location is currently closed. Burlington location is open Wednesday through Sunday for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery. 

This Kenmore Square restaurant’s fabulously-briny, namesake bivalves, harvested from a sibling farm in Duxbury Bay, are now found at every Boston raw bar worth its weight in sea salt. But head to the mother ship to find much more than oysters—including lobster roe noodles with braised short rib, a dish that earns its menu-mainstay status. Chef Jeremy Sewall is a master of his craft, and bar star Jackson Cannon’s beverage program makes for a very mighty match.

500 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-532-5300; 300 District Ave., Burlington, 781-761-6500, islandcreekoysterbar.com

James Hook + Co. 

Status: Open daily for outdoor dining and takeout. 

For decades, this family-owned seafood wholesaler has been serving fish-market fare out of its counter-service shanty by Boston Harbor. The lobster rolls are iconic, of course. But don’t snooze on the creamy, sherry-spiked lobster bisque, jumbo crab cakes, or double-stuffed clams. Here’s where to hook a simple but spectacular bite to take back to the office, or for a weekend walk along the waterfront.

440 Atlantic Ave., Boston, 617-423-5501, jameshooklobster.com.

Legal Harborside. / Photo by Chip Nestor

Legal Harborside

Status: Open daily for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery.

It’s hard to beat the harbor horizon views from this Titanic-sized offshoot of the Legal Sea Foods chain. The three-floor Seaport operation covers casual fish fare on the ground floor, more refined plates upstairs, and lounge-worthy bites and cocktails on the mast-high roof deck (which has a retractable glass covering, so you can enjoy the scenery whatever the weather). Stuffed to the gills with everything from iconic chowder to baked stuffed lobster, it’s a popular people-pleaser–and for good reason, thank you.

270 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-477-2900, legalseafoods.com

Sea bass at Mooncusser Fish House. / Photo by Brian Samuels

Mooncusser Fish House

Status: Currently closed, but Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood, its fast-casual sidewalk window, is open Tuesday through Sunday for outdoor dining and takeout. 

Chef Carolyn Johnson covers a lot of ground at this multi-concept seafood spot in Back Bay. The upper level’s fine-dining room offers elegant preparations, including an innovative nightly tasting menu of local fish. Downstairs is Moon Bar, a stylishly relaxed option for tucking away with delightful wines and sophisticated seafood snacks, like deviled eggs with smoked swordfish. And then there’s her fully-casual operation, Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood, which doles spectacular lobster rolls and other eats from a takeout window.

304 Stuart St., Boston, 617-917-5193, mooncusserfishhouse.com.

Neptune Oyster

Status: Open daily for indoor and outdoor dining, as well as takeout. 

We think the ocean king himself would endorse this North End favorite. Granted, he could probably skip the lines that form for the famous lobster roll, served covered in hot butter or tossed in cold mayo. But it’s still worth queuing up to get inside the relatively snug spot, where daily specials justify return visits: Spend Tuesdays with sea urchin bucatini, or wrap up your workweek with Friday’s squid ink risotto.

63 Salem St., Boston, 617-742-3474, neptuneoyster.com

The paella at Ostra. / Photo by Kristin Teig

Ostra

Status: Open Tuesday through Sunday for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery.

A posh Park Square-side offering from the local titans at Columbus Hospitality Group (Mistral, among others), Ostra looks to Mediterranean shores for its fine-dining seafood menu. Solicitous servers usher roasted monkfish with mushroom ragout, traditional Spanish paella, and caviar service to tables draped in crisp white linens. Wonderful wines are poured. There’s the tinkle of tickled ivories from the live pianist in the lounge. It’s elegant; it’s excellent.

1 Charles St. S, Boston, 617-421-1200, ostraboston.com.

Porto

Status: Open Tuesday through Saturday for indoor and outdoor dining, as well as takeout. 

Boston’s venerable chef Jody Adams brings Back Bay her expectedly marvelous musings on contemporary Mediterranean seafood. Think octopus a la plancha with yucca and orange; whole roasted branzino that gets a lift from lemon, capers and garlic; and seared scallops with pork belly and smoked tomato jam. Adams was recently inducted to the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who” list of legends. We can see, and taste, why.

1 Ring Rd., Boston, 617-536-1234, porto-boston.com.

row 34

Image provided

Row 34

Status: Open Wednesday through Sunday for indoor and outdoor dining, as well as takeout. 

The younger sibling to Kenmore Square’s Island Creek Oyster Bar has carved out its own distinct identity in Fort Point. Post-work crowds descend on the industrial-chic space for its eponymous oysters (named for their numbered racks on the sea bed), snacky stuff like crispy fish tacos, and entrées of fresh catch, including grilled salmon with sunchoke and brown butter. It’s all washed down with one of the best-curated beer programs of any restaurant in Boston.

383 Congress St., Boston, 617-553-5900, row34.com

Lobster and waffles at Salti Girl

Saltie Girl’s fried lobster tail and fluffy waffles is the anytime combination you didn’t know you were craving. / Photo provided

Saltie Girl

Status: Open daily for indoor and outdoor dining (seating is at its neighbor-sibling, Met Back Bay) as well as takeout and delivery. 

Let it be known that this Back Bay lass was an early local adopter of the tinned seafood trend; Saltie Girl is a wonderful spot to pair, say, a crisp white wine with top-tier cockles canned in brine. But Chef Kyle McClelland does wonderful work too–from toasts topped with smoked salmon, Greek yogurt and truffle honey, to smoked cioppino bucatini overflowing with prawns, mussels, and more. And there’s a quirky favorite to find in the fried lobster with waffles, served with spicy maple syrup.

281 Dartmouth St., Boston, 617-267-0691, saltiegirl.com

Select Oyster Bar

Status: Open daily for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery. 

Tucked inside a Back Bay townhouse, chef Michael Serpa’s seafood venture is really something special: polished but unpretentious, fun yet refined, inviting to neighborhood regulars but absolutely worth an Uber ride from the other side of the city. The Mediterranean-glancing menu features elaborate shellfish tiers, starters like Spanish octopus with chimichurri, and a standout whole sea bream that is roasted and served Greek “taverna-style,” with a sauce of parsley, mint and oregano.

50 Gloucester St., Boston, 857-239-8064, selectboston.com.

Union Oyster House

Status: Open daily for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery. 

It’s easy to turn your nose up at Boston’s more touristy restaurants, but hard to not feel fondly for Union Oyster House. The oldest continuously-operating restaurant in the country keeps to the classics: Oysters Rockefeller, lobster pots, and simply broiled Boston scrod are what it’s all about. (There’s actually a dish called, “Ye Olde Seafood Platter.”) But the storied spot still charms, especially if you dine in the “Kennedy Booth,” the favorite seat of J.F.K.

41 Union St., Boston, 617-227-2750, unionoysterhouse.com.

Yankee Lobster Co.

Status: Open Thursday through Monday for outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery. 

In a fast-changing Seaport, we’re grateful this lobstering family’s takeout-friendly institution stays simple and straightforward. Swing by the counter-service market for lobster rolls, lobster club sandwiches, lobster mac-n-cheese–oh, and other simple seafood classics, like whole belly stuffed clams and crab cakes. This is the closest we’ll ever come to saying it: We’re Yankee fans.

300 Northern Ave., Boston, 617-345-9799, yankeelobstercompany.com