Where should first time visitors to Boston eat if they only have a weekend in the city?Most definitely you have to try a lobster roll, clam chowder, and get some awesome east coast oysters at one of our several excellent oyster bars. My top choice would be Neptune Oyster (they have an incredible lobster roll as well as fantastic oysters). The biggest problem is that everyone loves Neptune Oyster. The place is quite small and they don’t take reservations.
So, if that uncertainty bothers you, I think my next favorite oyster bar is probably Island Creek Oyster Bar.
First of all, it’s in an awesome, oh-so-Bostonian location. It basically sits at the foot of Fenway Park, our storied baseball stadium.
Second, I love the space at Island Creek. The atmosphere is bright and airy, as tall floor to ceiling windows line an entire wall. A huge oyster bar sits along one of the corners, where you can choose from a huge assortment of oysters (from all over!).
And of course, the most important reason to come here? Amazing oysters, excellent seafood, and overall, just a really great place to eat.
Let’s start with the oysters. One of the owners, Skip Bennett, is also an oyster farmer from Duxbury. He helps supply the restaurant with super fresh oysters (which are fabulous, by the way). The restaurant always has a really good and interesting selection of oysters from all over, such as Maine, Prince Edward Island, and Washington.
One on occasion, we tried Island Creek oysters (of course), which were clean and briny. Moon Shoals were larger and sweet, but also saltier, creamy, and meatier than the Island Creeks. The Spring Creek oysters were lighter than the Moon Shoals but still pleasant. They were clean and less briny. Nausets had a much stronger “oceany” taste. They were quite salty and not one of my favorites. Finally, the Katema Bay, which was a very large oyster, was pretty sweet and also a bit “oceany”(again, not one of my favorites).
As I said earlier, overall the food is very good, and there are lots of seafood options. The Lobster Roe Spaghetti is one of their signature dishes. Chock full of fresh, New England lobster meat, this dish features fresh handmade pasta tossed with mushrooms and peas in a rich, buttery roe sauce.
The Seared Halibut we had one night was excellent, crisped beautifully on the outside yet still soft and tender on the inside. The accompanying gnocchi was deliciously chewy and served in a beautifully flavorful sauce.
Fried Monkfish Cheeks were paired with a bold sauce that was sweet, savory, and spicy all at the same time.
And then there are the little things that are cool – like the fact that the house made sparkling water is complimentary, or that the menu has items at all different sorts of price ranges.
Overall, this is a great place to visit if you want to experience great New England sea food in a contemporary casual setting. It’s not surprising that this place is extremely popular. If you do some, definitely make a reservation.
And be thankful that you can.
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