Casual Waterside Dining in Boston, Massachusetts
This past weekend, the hubby and I were “back East” for a wedding on Cape Cod. We previously lived in Boston but it’s been over three years since we left. So it’s always fun to go back and take a trip down memory lane. We strategically planned the weekend so that we had a little Boston time before and after the wedding festivities on the Cape.
When I lived in Boston, I thought they had a stellar dining scene. And they do. But living in Chicago I now know what it really means to have a stellar dining scene. Yes, I’m biased. But really, there are some excellent restaurants in Boston. You can’t throw a stone in the South End (or North End, for that matter) and not hit a great restaurant. After all, the city boasts Barbara Lynch’s impressive empire, which was a favorite when I lived in Boston.
But there are just as many hidden gems and casual spots as there are fining dining places. The Barking Crab has always been one of my favorites that fits into that category. It’s a really laid-back, casual seafood restaurant right on the water. Technically, it’s on the edge of Fort Point Channel but I always considered it just on the northern edge of Southie, I guess because I lived in Southie and it’s so close.
You can’t miss it driving north on Seaport Boulevard. It’s the crab shack-looking place with a red and yellow striped tent that resembles a circus tent over the patio in the back. Fittingly, the decor inside the tented patio is casual and kitschy, with crab baskets and other marine-esque paraphernalia hanging from the ceiling. And when I say it’s casual, I mean expect to share picnic tables with other diners and share the bottle of ketchup.
During warm weather months, the back patio is teeming with locals, young and old, enjoying seafood, drinks and the waterside atmosphere. It’s a great place to spend a lazy weekend afternoon enjoying beers and a bucket of steamers. Even in not-so-great weather, the place still fills up. When we were recently in town, it was grey, rainy and chilly but the patio was still pretty full for lunchtime on Friday. The overhead heaters definitely help!
Being a seafood restaurant, the Barking Crab’s menu has all of the essential New England favorites, including my personal favorite and the whole reason for our recent visit — the lobster roll. You can either have the traditional lobster roll with mayo (and it’s just enough to hold it together) or the Barking Crab’s “naked” version which is lobster tossed with drawn butter. I opt for the traditional with a side of sweet potato fries. But they aren’t your regular sweet potato fries. They are massive. They basically slice the fries the entire length of the potato, and you know how oddly shaped and big sweet potatoes can be.
Other favorites include the Barking Crab’s New England Clam Chowder, local oysters, steamed mussels and fish-n-chips.
Good to Know
- Menu items are pretty reasonably priced. Entrees range from $19 – $31 and sandwiches range from $12 – $29.
- Not a fish fan? There are plenty of non-fish items to choose from, like spare ribs, chicken and burgers.
- Take the kids. The Barking Crab is family-friendly and offers a small kids’ menu. Plus, it’s loud and sometimes even rowdy, so you don’t have to worry about inside voices.
- Parking is generally a cinch since the Barking Crab overlooks a parking lot (on the non-water side), but it’s a paid lot. Tip: there are about 15 or so free spots that run parallel to the front of the restaurant, if you can snag one.