If you're a fan of the clam shacks found in most areas along the New England coast, you'll want to head straight to the Barking Crab.
You'll find the best clam shack dining in Boston under red and yellow striped tent.
Never mind that this favorite local restaurant has "Crab" in its name rather than "Clam."
Clams, crabs, shrimp, mussels, calimari, and scallops, and other seafood take center stage here - but lobsters steal the show.
Other specialties include the New England clam chowder, crabcakes, and fried oysters.
To experience a taste of the "real" coastal New England, at least along the "South Coast" area of the western Cape and eastern Rhode Island, order the additively good stuffed clams ("Stuffies") made with chouriço and sweet Portugese bread.
Best of all, Barking Crab's convenient location on Fort Point Channel at the edge of the South Boston Waterfront puts it just steps away from Downtown Boston - so you get a shore dining experience without leaving town.
Crabs and clams are Lobster, clams, chowder, and shrimp are just a few of the yummy treats that await you.
If you're not from New England, you may be wondering, "What exactly is a clam shack?"
Traditional clam and lobster shacks dot the New England coast.
Traditionally, they were less-than-permanent wooden buildings - "shacks" truly describes them - that contain cooking and refrigeration facilities, sometimes as basic as just a deep-fat fryer and a few ice chests.
Modern-day "shacks" like the Maine lobster shack in the above photo tend to be sturdier.
A clam or lobster shack usually has a window where you place your order and pay, and some picnic tables and benches where you can sit and eat. Clam and lobster shacks serve whatever catch the fishermen bring in that morning, and once it's gone, there's no more until tomorrow.
What will you find on the menu? Typical New England coastal treats - clams (of course), lobster, mussels, scallops, shrimp (especially up in Maine), cod, flounder, and perhaps squid (calamari).
If the clam shack is slightly fancier, you may also find chowder, steamers (smaller clams), clam rolls, lobster rolls, stuffies (clamshells filled with chopped clams mixed with seasoned breadcrumbs), and corn on the cob and French fries made from produce grown in nearby fields.
And that's the type of coastal cuisine that you'll find (except for stuffies) at the Barking Crab, along with a few additional choices to round out of menu.
Best of all, the Barking Crab even feels like a clam shack. The shared picnic tables and water views provide the perfect setting for the seafood. Ordering lobster? You'll be given a rock to crack it open . . . just as though you were at a rustic clam shack along the coast.
In fact, you'll probably forget that you're dining in Boston unless you happen to look at the city skyline.
Unlike most actual clam shacks, the Barking Crab offers an outstanding beer list featuring local and New England breweries - including plenty of selections from nearby Harpoon Brewery.
Another difference is the live music, performed by local groups several nights a week, usually starting at 7-8pm. Once you finish your meal, give up your place at the table to waiting diners, and saunter over to the water's edge, gaze up toward the stars (being in the city, you can't actually see them, so use your imagination), and enjoy the music and perhaps another beverage.
Here are my top 5 tips for enjoying the Barking Crab:
Address: 88 Sleeper Street, South Boston Waterfront, near Seaport Boulevard, overlooking Fort Point Channel and Boston Harbor
Closest T station: Red Line/South Station
Meals served: Lunch, dinner
For more information: 617-426-2722
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