Chowder, lobster rolls & more: 5 great Boston restaurants

I went looking for great clam chowder in Boston and I found it ... but the unexpected treat was the lobster roll, which I hadn't had before. I learned that there are two types -- the lobster salad roll and the hot & buttered lobster roll -- and that both are incredible.

Here are my five favourite Boston restaurants. If you're visiting, you can't go wrong at any of these. Bon appetit!

1. Atlantic Fish Co.: Prior to my visit, I asked my credit card concierge to compile a list of the best clam chowder restaurants in Boston, and Atlantic Fish was on the list. I'm pretty sure I'd eat here at least every other day if I lived in Boston. Don't be deterred by the white tablecloths; the vibe is friendly and you won't have to whisper during your meal. The New England clam chowder in a bread bowl was the best I had during my week in Boston, and I can't recommend it highly enough. I also loved the Maine lobster roll and the crab grilled cheese with king crab meat, cheddar and Muenster cheeses, tomatoes and scallions on grilled challah bread.

2. Luke's Lobster: This restaurant is a chain that can be found in quite a few U.S. states. In Boston, there are at least three locations in the downtown-ish area. Luke's is casual and self-serve, but don't think this means the food is of cafeteria quality. The chowder is very good, and the lobster roll is juicy and succulent. There isn't a lot of seating so be prepared to dash quickly from the order line if you spot a table being vacated, throw your coat on the chair, and then run back to the line. Or just go with someone.

3. Legal Sea Foods: Another great choice in Boston. I liked the lobster bisque here, but the clam chowder definitely takes marquee billing. I can also recommend the steamed mussels and the baked oysters. This is another restaurant chain with a number of locations in many states but it started in Boston.

4. Ned Devine's Irish Pub: Save Ned Devine's for the day you're visiting Faneuil Hall Marketplace and eat your lobster roll (served here on grilled bread) and chowder while people-watching at your outdoor table. You won't experience a more uniquely Boston experience.

5. Union Oyster House: Another great choice for chowder if you're downtown. If you're not downtown, you should make the trek. The chowder is very good and the restaurant -- the oldest in North America -- has a great ambiance. There will likely be a wait for a table but I think the best seat is at the bar, where you can watch multi-tasking staffers serve chowder and beer, shuck oysters and chat up the customers, practically all at the same time.

And one more: But wait ... You're not done! It's time now to head over to Parker's Restaurant at the Omni Parker House hotel, which is the country's longest-running hotel, for some Boston cream pie. This is where it was invented! We got ours to go, but it was no less delicious for having been eaten on the run.

Pahty time in Boston: 10 awesome things to see and do.
Where should I stay in Boston? Check out Marriott's Moxy Boston Downtown.

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