Legal Sea Foods – Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

A Hallowed Haunt of Impeccably Fresh Fish

Despite Boston’s recent culinary hype, and despite a new generation of chefs that dismisses the city’s old-guard establishments as boring or bland, Bostonians cherish tradition and the tried-and-true, and that’s where Legal Sea Foods comes in.

It’s not the trendiest nor the most chic of Boston’s countless fish and shellfish eateries, but if you want freshness and quality, you’ll find it here – right out of the sea and onto your plate. (The restaurant’s motto: If it isn’t fresh, it isn’t Legal!) The family-owned institution has been around since 1950, first as a small fish market in Cambridge, then (in 1968) as a sawdust-floored restaurant. Things are a mite fancier today at the twenty-six Legal locations, but the menu has not changed radically. Its rich but not too thick New England clam chowder is arguably the best in town (constant queues stand testimony), and so are the fried clams.

Whatever looked like a winner at the morning’s market turns up on the day’s menu – broiled, baked, stir fried, grilled, fried, steamed, or in a casserole, with raw oysters and littleneck and cherrystone clam first courses among the most requested offerings. (Don’t worry: The restaurant is fanatical about testing its seafood for freshness and purity.)

Astonishingly helpful and friendly staff are visibly proud to work at one of Boston’s landmark restaurants, and the renown of their Boston cream pie does its part to bring in the crowds, too.

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