City Guides

Best Boston Seafood and Where to Find It in 2024

Last Updated on Jan 10th 2024
Boston seafood

When you want to taste the purest, most authentic ocean flavors, look no further than Boston seafood. Tender, flaky haddock sandwiches. The briny chill of a raw oyster. And the luxurious bite of warm lobster that just took a dip in melted butter. No fancy spices needed. Boston seafood is a showcase of the ocean’s treasures in their simplest form. 

What seafood is Boston famous for? Where do the locals eat seafood in Boston? There’s more to Boston food than just chowder, and the dishes are very approachable.

You can also expect the seafood in Boston to be extremely fresh. And one of the best things about eating seafood in Boston is that the restaurants are as unpretentious as the food. Come as you are!

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Meet & Learn From Boston Seafood Chefs

Does Boston have great seafood? With a prime location on the Eastern seaboard, you shouldn’t be surprised that seafood is the cornerstone of Boston foods.

If you are not familiar with the types of fish and shellfish that are commonly found on Boston seafood restaurant menus, it might be a good idea to sign up for a class.

Cooking classes in Boston are taught by chefs who know their fish from albacore to yellowfin and everything in between. Gift cards for cooking classes also make perfect Boston gifts for foodies.

Boston seafood cooking classes with Boston chefs
via Classpop!

Boston's Most Popular Seafood

Maine is known for lobster, but what seafood is Massachusetts known for? Well, they’ve got lobster, too. But the most famous is probably clam chowder.

Thick and creamy, a little bit of salt pork, real clams and tender cubes of potato. There’s just nothing more quintessentially Boston than a steaming cup of clam chowder with oyster crackers on top. 

Not a chowder hound? No worries. Boston seafood restaurant menus will typically have fish and chips made with battered and fried flaky fishes like haddock or scrod.

The other delicacies that you’ll find at Boston seafood restaurants are raw oysters and clams. And while lobster is a must when visiting Boston, don’t skip out on opportunities to savor crab, too.

Boston Seafood Show

If you can, it’s worth timing your visit to Boston so that you can attend the Boston Seafood Festival. This annual event celebrates all things seafood and includes cooking demonstrations, competitions, live music and more.

Hosted by the Boston Fisheries Foundation, this show is a great way to support the local seafood industry and keep up with the latest and greatest foods.

couple eating lobster at Boston seafood festival
via Boston Seafood Festival

Boston Seafood Markets

If you want to know where to get the best Boston foods, you’ll want to know about the local seafood markets. Boston is located right on the harbor, which means commercial fishing boats unload nearby and some of the good stuff is sold directly to the public. 

The most popular is the Boston Public Market, which is located just outside of historic Faneuil Hall. It’s the ultimate Boston seafood buffet except you’ll have to do the cooking yourself.

If you don’t want to trek downtown, check out these other Boston seafood markets that will help you find the freshest catch near you.

Best Boston Seafood Restaurants

1. The Walrus and the Carpenter

If you are a fan of raw food, make sure to visit The Walrus and the Carpenter located inside Quincy Market. Have a bowl of their lobster bisque while you wait for your oysters and clams (called cherrystones) to be shucked and be sure to wash it all down with a Samuel Adams draft.  

the walrus and the carpenter oyster bar bowl filled with mussels
via The Walrus and the Carpenter Oyster Bar

2. The Boston Sail Loft

Where do the locals eat seafood in Boston? They grab a table at The Boston Sail Loft located right on the water just a short walk from Quincy Market.

Boston Sail Loft has won the local clam chowder cookoff so many times that it’s a wonder anyone else even enters the competition.

Pair their overflowing mug with a fried fish sandwich for the perfect lunch. This cozy and friendly Boston restaurant is a true landmark and not to be missed.

3. Union Oyster House

Union Oyster House is the oldest continuously running restaurant in the country and has been serving classic Boston foods since 1826. It’s not fancy, but it’s authentic.

Is your man a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy? Take him here for a traditional Boston boiled supper. Classic dishes like broiled scrod are also on the menu at this Boston restaurant, and their raw bar looks like it’s been around since the Revolutionary War (because it has).

4. Legal Sea Foods

Ask anyone where the best seafood in Boston is and you’ll probably hear about Legal Sea Foods. It is truly the OG even though it’s now a nationwide chain.

This family-owned institution is a go-to for a business meal when you want to treat someone to the best of seafood. You’ll find all the options here. Legal is a great place to tie on a bib and get buttered up with a whole lobster.

5. Wood’s Hill Pier 4

Wood’s Hill Pier 4 is another top 10 Boston seafood restaurant and has a coveted location in Boston’s Seaport district. According to research done by the Marine Stewardship Council, a growing number of consumers are searching for sustainable, ocean-friendly options to help feed their families. Wood’s Hill is a committed partner in that journey. 

The focus at Wood’s Hill is locally sourced and sustainable seafood prepared simply but elegantly. If you need date ideas in Boston, this is the winner. Dishes to consider are the potato-crusted cod and the black bass crudo.  

Woods Hill Pier 4 conch shell dish serve in couscous bowl
via Wood's Hill Pier 4

6. Barking Crab

Barking Crab is your perfect meeting spot when you need your fried seafood fix. The atmosphere is casual yet festive and they’ve managed to make outdoor eating a year-round sport. The Barking Crab roll is a highlight, as are the haddock tacos.

7. Neptune Oyster

They don’t take reservations, so get in line for a table at Neptune Oyster. This is one of the fancier spots for Boston seafood and one of the top 10 restaurants in the city.

Neptune Oyster is a seafood oasis located in the North End which is known more for its Italian eateries than for seafood-focused menus. They specialize in raw, but they also offer a traditional New England clam bake, which is a great option for a group.

8. Fenway Park

You might not expect to find great seafood at a baseball stadium, but you should if you’re at Fenway Park. If you happen to score a ticket to a Red Sox game, you can go with the Fenway Frank but you’ll also have the option for a very legit Yankee lobster roll and clam chowder.

RELATED: 27 Most Authentic Boston Foods & Where to Find Them in 2023

9. Little Whale Oyster Bar

One of the best places for high-quality Boston seafood is Little Whale Oyster Bar, especially if you’re not paying the bill. This trendy spot is known for its raw seafood towers and for having the most expensive lobster roll in the city.

Need the perfect place for team building activities in Boston? Let’s see how high your team can stack those empty oyster shells.

Little Whale oyster bar Boston seafood
via Little Whale Oyster Bar

There’s a place for seasoned, fried, Cajun-boiled or blackened seafood. But it’s not in Boston. Some people turn their noses up at Boston seafood and fault it for being too bland. But the true measure of quality is when you can serve up something in its most essential form and it’s simply delicious without needing anything but a pinch of salt and butter. 

For even more fun things to do in Boston, check out other experiences happening on Classpop!