Affordable Boston Seafood Restaurants Plus Garden Tours
Fenway Victory Gardens
Please recommend several Boston restaurants, not high end, that are known for their excellent fresh seafood. Also, are there garden tours of any kind going on in Boston around June 19-22?
Thank you, Connie
Boston Discovery Guide's reply: Although Boston has lots of wonderful restaurants that specialize in seafood, almost every restaurant and bar in the city offers a few fresh seafood items on their menu. Our seafood restaurants do tend to be pricy (maybe due to the cost of throwing out any seafood uneaten by the end of the day - to be good, seafood has to be absolutely fresh) - but when you want a wide range of choices and expertise in preparation, they can't be beat!
If you haven't done so already, take a look at our guide to Boston seafood restaurants. On the somewhat expensive end are Union Oyster House, Legal Seafood, Summer Shack, B&G Oysters, and Neptune Oyster - all superb, but depending on what you order, dinner can become fairly expensive. One option is to opt for the less expense menu at Union Oyster House or Legal Seafood; Summer Shack is also less expensive for lunch, with casual options such as sandwiches, chowder, and salad. B&G's and Neptune's pricing is about the same for lunch and dinner, but you can still dine for a reasonable cost if you stick with appetizer-sized portions, salads, etc. Lobster rolls at any of these restaurants will typically be market price - currently around $25.
If a lobster roll is your target, you can get a delicious one straight from the source: James Hook Lobsters (also listed in our seafood restaurant guide). They're a top wholesaler and supplier to many of the restaurants, and sell a few carryout items from a trailer on the waterfront near the InterContinental Hotel - including which is probably the cheapest fresh lobster rolls in town - $12 for regular, and $15 for large. Definitely no-frills - but absolutely delicious.
For non-seafood restaurants with excellent seafood dishes at reasonable cost, two of my favorites are Petit Robert Bistro (Fenway and South End locations) and Jacob Wirth (Theatre District, near the W Hotel). Petit Robert Bistro often has an American bouillabaisse on their menu for not much over $20 (most items on their dinner menu are around $20, plus or minus a few dollars) that's absolutely superb. Jacob Wirth usually has a seafood dish as one of their daily specials, and that's almost always what I order there - whatever it is will be cooked perfectly. If you like Asian cuisine, most of the Chinatown restaurants just down the street from Jacob Wirth will have dishes featuring fresh seafood, and many have their own fish tanks so you know it will be fresh! They'll prepare the fish however you want it, as long as you want something that's Chinese-style (for example, steamed with some scallions and ginger).
On to the 2nd part of your question - garden tours. One of the best is scheduled within your dates - Open Gardens at the Fenway Victory Gardens on Wednesday, June 20. Check out my recent photos (2 days ago) on the Fenway Victory Gardens page! Be sure to also visit the Kelleher Rose Garden located in the same park (Back Bay Fens) - info about it is on the Victory Gardens page. Both are absolutely gorgeous right now. And speaking of fish, there's a terrific Japanese restaurant, Basho, on Boylston Street, about a block and a half from the Victory Garden - super sushi, sashimi, and tempura - prices at noon are so reasonable that we list it on our Cheap Eats page.
Have a wonderful time in Boston!