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 buzzy destinations for crudo and cocktails, https://shrimpshackchi.com/ we’ve got you covered.
Alive & Kicking Lobsters
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.
Atlantic Fish Co.
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.
The Barking Crab
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, fried-seafood standards—like Ipswich clams or Rhode Island calamari— for scarfing, and plenty of cold beer to wash it all down. 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, 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.
550 Tremont St., Boston, 617-423-0550, bandgoysters.com.
The Daily Catch
It’s all about Sicilian-style seafood at this North End-born, family-owned 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. Take note: The original 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.
It’s pretty impressive to pull off a restaurant opening in the middle of a pandemic, but that’s exactly what happened when restaurateur Ran Duan (of Brookline’s Blossom Bar and Woburn’s Baldwin Bar) launched Ivory Pearl in 2020. Then again, it helps when you have attention-grabbing offerings like a “tentacle hot dog”—octopus sidled into a split-top bun with sauerkraut, roe, mustard, and sliced green apple—as well as impressively towering raw-bar platters that overflow with uni, oysters, king crab legs, and caviar. Duan is a renowned spirits expert, too, so don’t sleep on the cocktail list, which highlights some wonderful carbonated concoctions inspired by seafood-friendly wines (see: the Champagne Papi, vodka with koji rice, citric acid, and honeydew).
1704 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-487-5297, ivorypearlbar.com.
James Hook + Co.
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.