Boston’s a proud seafood town, with a well-deserved spot on the must-visit list for any seafood lover. Just look offshore and you’ll see fleets of boats trawling for your dinner – the fresh lobsters, cod, and oysters that local restaurants turn into dishes that have hooked locals and visitors for decades and made our reputation as a seafood mecca. When you stay with us at Newbury Guest House, you’re surrounded by some of the best, from casual seafood shacks to upscale restaurants, each serving up fresh takes on famous favorites.
Let’s start with the iconic lobster roll; no seafood tour of Boston is complete without one. That said, it can be polarizing. The basics are succulent chunks of fresh lobster meat, a mayo dressing, and a buttery, toasted New England-style hotdog bun. Opinions on serving it hot or cold, buttered, accessorized (or not) with tomato and lettuce diverge from there. Here are some of the spots known for their rolls:
Pauli’s sandwich shop serves them cold or hot, in three sizes, including the whopping 28-oz. “Lobstitution.” In the likely event of addiction, Pauli’s ships lobster roll kits nationwide. Tip: Be sure to have them include a couple of their whoopie pies for dessert.
Neptune Oyster’s lobster roll is generally thought to be the best in the city, and one of the least stingy with the goods. The massive, toasted brioche roll is non-negotiable, but you can opt to have it served hot and buttered or cold with mayo. Tip: Neptune is a favorite lunch spot and doesn’t take reservations, so prepare to wait in line.
When you virtually specialize in a single item, you know it had better be good – and Back Bay roll royalty Lobstah on a Roll and Luke’s Lobster do. Both sit within two blocks of our hotel and shouldn’t be missed; Lobstah’s oversized homemade rolls and Luke’s split-top bun and secret sauce put them consistently in the city’s top-10 roll rankings.
If you’re looking to elevate your roll just a bit, try Eventide Fenway. Their James Beard Award-winning chefs have carved out a delicious niche with their brown-butter lobster roll, served on a soft, fluffy, bao-style steamed bun. During the warmer months, they offer a New England-style seasonal special with herby dill-and-lemon mayo and a griddled bun. Tip: We think their cold version is the best.
There’s nothing better than savoring a luxurious, classic roll while taking in the scene on the Back Bay’s charming Newbury Street, and Little Whale Oyster Bar is just the spot to do it. Their excellent (and generous) lobster rolls can be served cold or hot. Tip: Be sure not to ignore the fries that come with it – they’re awesome.
And then, there’s chowder. To state the obvious, we’re talking Boston chowdah, the real deal in rich creamy broth with potatoes and onions, not that thin red stuff. You can find a warm, delicious bowlful almost anywhere in town, including these top spots:
Legal Sea Foods knows you just don’t mess with a classic. Their recipe, on the menu for nearly half a century, is thick with generous chunks of clam and potato and richly flavored with clam juice, salt pork and herbs. It’s so iconic that in addition to the restaurant, it’s also ladled out at Fenway Park and has been served at six presidential inaugurations.
Or spoon up your chowder in a national historic landmark. The Union Oyster House, on the Freedom Trail and just a short walk from Newbury Guest House, is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the U.S. Its award-winning clam-packed chowder has a satisfyingly sea-salt tang and has been on the menu since the 1800s.
B&G Oysters fancies up their bowls a bit while remaining true to the real deal. Bacon lardons add smoke, meaty top-neck clams provide the requisite chew and brine, white wine cuts the butter and heavy cream, and garnishes like paprika-coated puff pastry oyster crackers and chives heighten traditional flavors.
Oysters are a Boston seafood must, and if you’re looking for heaven on a half-shell, it’s just a two-minute walk from our lobby at Select Oyster Bar. Housed in a Back Bay brownstone, the cozy spot has one of the most impressive raw bars and a wine list to match. The vibe is casual, but their commitment to serving only the finest, freshest seafood is beyond serious. Which means that you should also make room for their crudo, ceviche, local shellfish, and Spanish octopus.
You’ll some of the finest French-inspired seafood right at our hotel. At French brasserie La Voile, chef Raphael Lambert offers authentic, mouth-watering southern French seafood dishes like loup de mer, Les St. Jaques (pan seared sea scallops and Maine lobster with roasted chestnuts, celery purée, oysters, and mushrooms) and Les Moules Frites (fried mussels with saffron or marinière sauce). Much of the décor is imported from the 1947 original Cannes location. La Voile offers an extensive French wine list to complement its beautifully prepared seafood, and a relaxed ambience that demands you enjoy them at your leisure.
If you have a tough time deciding between Boston’s vast seafood offering, Atlantic Fish Co. probably won’t help, because they do it all, excellently, and have a huge local following to show for it. They source straight from the harbor every morning and print menus daily to reflect the quality and freshness of their catch – from their iconic raw bar and chowder to some of the most deliciously-prepared swordfish, branzino, halibut and haddock you’ll ever eat. The good news: this high-end restaurant is steps from our hotel so you can return throughout your stay.
We’ll leave fish and chips for another blog, but Cusser’s and Horse Thieves Tavern are great picks for those who like their seafood battered and fried.
If our historic landmarks, legendary sports teams, universities, architectural wonders, and nationally renowned museums haven’t brought you to Boston yet, our seafood just might reel you in. Stay at Newbury Guest House and swim in an ocean of delicious nearby options. You won’t get through all of them in one visit, but we’re always delighted to welcome you back.