We have nothing against Legal’s. It’s just that, once you’ve had their soup while waiting for a connecting flight to Cincinnati, it loses some of its magic.
At one point, Legal Sea Foods was so tied to Boston culture that a menu from Legal could have been hoisted on a pole and turned into the city’s flag. But those days are gone, and Boston’s seafood restaurants on the whole have become a lot more fun and innovative places where you probably won’t be sitting next to someone with a neck pillow. So, the next time someone suggests going to Legal, take them to one of these 10 places instead.
A big plastic pirate at the front door doesn’t automatically mean you’re in a great seafood shack, but it’s a great start. And when there’s also a big plastic shark hanging from the ceiling, a retail counter selling fresh cod fillets and oysters, and harbor views, you can be sure you’re in good hands. Belle Isle is the type of classic New England seafood shack you’ll find on your way to the LL Bean store in Maine, barely outside the town of Winthrop. When you take the trip, you’ll find one of Boston’s biggest lobster rolls, clam chowder, and a ton of fried seafood with barely a hint of fat. Places like this are what make New England great (that and, uh, maybe Rachel Dratch?)
You know that fun back patio that you don’t have? It’s here at B&G Oysters, an upscale seafood restaurant in the South End. Grab a glass of wine, a lobster roll and oysters, and pretend you’re at a fancy cocktail party for the evening. If it’s cold outside, the small underground dining room is still a good time, especially if you sit at the counter in front of the open kitchen.
As much as we love New England seafood, we love it sometimes when not everything on our plate is a variation of beige. For an entirely different (and much more colorful) seafood experience, head to Muqueca in Inman Square. This Brazilian place serves big seafood stews, curries, and whole roasted fish, and does so in a casual dining room with a bunch of regulars. And luckily, it’s almost always easy to get a table here, which is a bigger mystery than the Kennedy assassination once you realize how good the namesake moqueca is.