Photos and Words by Rochelle Li
Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved seafood. It doesn’t matter if it’s steamed, deep-fried, pan-fried, broiled or baked, I love all the creatures of the sea (in my belly). But there’s one treasure in the ocean that stands out from the rest for me and that is the mighty oyster.
Oysters, in my opinion, are some of the most interesting morsels to eat. To be honest, I didn’t like oysters the first time I tried one and for a while, was apprehensive about trying one again. My first experience with an oyster can be summed up in three words: slimy, briny and gross.
It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I learned oysters, depending on where they are grown and harvested, produce different flavors, sizes and textures. Unbeknownst to me, there was a whole world of oyster varieties to taste and explore! After I learned that fact, I embarked on a quest to find the best oysters (and dollar oyster special) restaurants in Boston! Lucky for me, there are a number of phenomenal restaurants that serve great oysters in the Boston area.
Here are my top three:
1. Neptune Oyster (North End)
This, by far, is the ultimate place to get oysters in Boston. It has a great variety of raw bar options and its menu is full of great Boston classics like Clam Chowder and Lobster Rolls. The clam chowder is not as creamy and viscous as typical chowder, but instead is a lighter, more soupy version. This allows the person eating the dish to taste the clams and flavors of the soup more clearly, since the meat is no longer hidden among the thick globules of the chowder. The lobster roll is also to die for. They have two options for preparation: hot or cold. I chose the hot option since it was cooking in butter and filled to the brim with delicious, warm lobster meat. If you want a full-out amazing seafood experience with oysters in the spotlight, Neptune’s is the way to go. Just make sure to get there early; you’re not the only one that knows about this gem.
2. B&G Oyster (South End)
B&G Oyster is a wonderful little restaurant located in the beautiful South End of Boston. When the weather is a little less frigid out, it has a quaint downstairs patio which allows the perfect amount of sunshine to light up your afternoon meal. The last time I went was in June of this past year and I enjoyed a number of great dishes on the menu. The oysters served were on point (of course, the place has “oyster” in their name). The oysters that we chose were smooth, meaty and had the right amount of brininess. In addition to the oysters, we also had steamed P.E.I Mussels, sautéed kale with pine nuts and rosemary French fries, all delicious!
Number 3: Island Creek Oyster Bar (Kenmore)
This restaurant is a lot closer to home (less than a 5 minute walk from 100 Bay State to be exact)! Island Creek is yet another wonderful place to fulfill your oyster fix. It has a great variety of oysters and a number of other raw bar options. My favorite oyster was actually in a slider. The dish was a fried oyster in a tiny burger bun served with red onions, arugula and a spicy aioli. Also, sources tell me they have a late-night menu with snacks that are $15 or less. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure the options are mouth-watering.
These three places are my favorite oyster restaurants to visit on occasion, but there are some occasions where I’m just flat-out broke (#collegelife), so what I settle for is $1 oyster specials. There are a number of restaurants in Boston that do weekly oyster specials, but you just have to visit them on the right day at the right time. Here’s a link to Eater’s Ultimate Guide to Every $1 Oyster in Town for Boston. (Just a heads-up: Eater’s $1 Oyster guide was created in 2012, so it might not be completely updated).
Well, I hope you enjoyed this somewhat makeshift article of a guide! Happy oyster eating and good luck on your ventures!
Neptune Oyster Address: 63 Salem St. Boston, MA Phone: (617) 742-3474 Website: neptuneoyster.com Hours: Monday and Tuesday 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.- -9:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday 11:30 a.m. – 10:30
B&G Oyster Address: 550 Tremont St. Boston, MA Phone: (617) 423-0550 Website: bandgoysters.com Hours: Monday 11:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Tuesday-Friday 11:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. Saturday: 12:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. Sunday: 12:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Island Creek Oyster Bar Address: 500 Commonwealth Ave. Boston, MA Phone: (617) 532-5300 Website: islandcreekoysterbar.com Hours: Monday – Saturday: 4:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.