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Legal Sea Foods - Charles Square

Certificate of Excellence
$$$
American, Chowder, Seafood, Oyster Bar
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20 University Road, Charles Square, Cambridge, MA 02138 (Formerly Legal Sea Foods) (Elliot)
Harvard Square (Red Line) "T" stop.
+1 617-491-9400
Website
Today
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Open now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun - Thu 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri - Sat 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Reservations
Description: The signature dish at Legal Sea Foods – really fresh fish. Located in the...
The signature dish at Legal Sea Foods – really fresh fish. Located in the courtyard of the Charles Hotel, our restaurant evokes the simple style of the original Legal Sea Foods that was in nearby Inman Square, Cambridge. In warmer months our outside patio reels in those who choose the fresh seafood and fresh air combo. We’ve received a boatload of accolades including “Most Popular Boston Restaurant” (Zagat, 2012/2013), “Best Seafood Restaurant” (Improper Bostonian, 2010), “Best Chowder” (Boston Magazine, 2010), “Best Seafood Restaurant” (Boston Phoenix, 2009) and the honor of serving our legendary New England Clam Chowder at every presidential inauguration since 1981.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 153 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 56
    Excellent
  • 59
    Very good
  • 29
    Average
  • 8
    Poor
  • 1
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 stars
    Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
Another Outpost of an Old Standby

I've been going to various branches of the Legal Sea Foods chain since I was a student in the Boston area three decades ago, and I've found that one very good reason to keep going back is the comforting reassurance that I will always know what I will get on each visit. It had been several years... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed February 5, 2015
travelerhnl
,
New York, New York
Good for:
  • Families with children
  • Doing business
  • Local cuisine
  • Large groups
  • Entertaining clients
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153 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Abilene, Texas
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2015

Because so many people talked about Legal Seafood as being THE place to eat, I guess I was prepared for a transcendent experience and we simply did not have that level of a meal. It was good - not great. It was a pretty good value. I think I simply came here with too high of expectations.

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Edmonton, Canada
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2015 via mobile

we had to try their clam chowder buy where are the clam?. All 4 meals were yummy and large portions as usual! Our server misunderstood our order but they fixed it fast and all was well. Probably would not return because so many other great restaurants to choose from

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Traverse City, Michigan
Top Contributor
294 reviews 294 reviews
194 restaurant reviews
145 helpful votes 145 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2015

We stopped into the Legal Sea Foods on a slow Saturday afternoon. The day got slower as we waited for our order to arrive. Fortunately, the food was very good. Not outstanding, but well done. Strangely, however, the staff made no mention of the slow service--it took nearly a forty minutes for our meal to arrive--or for the lack of... More 

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Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2015

Like my title says this place is very much a chain. It's actually too bad its awful cause it was once good or maybe decent. Every meal I have had at this chains establishments has been subpar. Maybe if Roger Berkowitz spent more time in the kitchen and less in front of the camera touting his fast food chain seafood... More 

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Lincoln, MA
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015

Pre-theater meal mid-February. Adequate time. Delightful waitress. Couldn't retrieve the mediocre food. Attempted a mixed meal with spouse. She ordered fried clam dinner, I got the rainbow trout. Fried clams close to inedible. Leathery thick crust, clams could barely be tasted. Unpleasant. Trout unseasoned, uninteresting. Why bother. One side of veggies had taste. Decent beer. Left hungry. Not sure what... More 

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A TripAdvisor Member
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2015

I was looking forward to having a quality meal at Legals and was disappointed. I never even got to try an appetizer or drink. I sat at the bar and received the menu eventually and never saw anyone again. I hope this isn't turning into another McCormick and Schmick's where they are going under and becoming a horrendous Oceanaire restaurant.... More 

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New York, New York
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2015

I've been going to various branches of the Legal Sea Foods chain since I was a student in the Boston area three decades ago, and I've found that one very good reason to keep going back is the comforting reassurance that I will always know what I will get on each visit. It had been several years since my last... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Darnestown
Top Contributor
134 reviews 134 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
108 helpful votes 108 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2015

Walking along the carefully shoveled channels amidst the white field of snow that was the patio of the Charles Hotel Square, just hours after the latest blizzard, I found this Legal Sea Food restaurant and sat down for lunch. The salmon entree appealed to me and I ordered it along with a cup of clam chowder, an Arnold Palmer drink... More 

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Cambridge, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2015

We come here often. It's near home. Staff was cheerful, food good but neither the mahi nor the crab cake combo were generous enough to make a satisfying meal. We are not big people and we don't eat big meals, so you can rest assured that if it was skimpy for us it would be for you. The manager was... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
South Pole
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2015

I have dined here multiple times over the years and looked forward to it during my visits to the Charles hotel. My two meals this weekend were awful. The two dishes I had from the special Shrimp menu were either bereft of shrimp or tasted insipid. The place is tired with dirty floors, worn tables, a tired feel. There are... More 

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 20 University Road, Charles Square, Cambridge, MA 02138 (Formerly Legal Sea Foods)
    (Elliot)
  • Public Transportation: Harvard Square (Red Line) "T" stop.
  • Location: United States  >  Massachusetts (MA)  >  Cambridge
  • Phone Number: +1 617-491-9400

Price and Cuisine

  • Average Prices: USD 20 - 50
  • Cuisine: American, Chowder, Seafood, Oyster Bar

Restaurant Characteristics

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Good for: Families with children, Doing business, Local cuisine, Large groups, Entertaining clients

Description

The signature dish at Legal Sea Foods – really fresh fish. Located in the courtyard of the Charles Hotel, our restaurant evokes the simple style of the original Legal Sea Foods that was in nearby Inman Square, Cambridge. In warmer months our outside patio reels in those who choose the fresh seafood and fresh air combo. We’ve received a boatload of accolades including “Most Popular Boston Restaurant” (Zagat, 2012/2013), “Best Seafood Restaurant” (Improper Bostonian, 2010), “Best Chowder” (Boston Magazine, 2010), “Best Seafood Restaurant” (Boston Phoenix, 2009) and the honor of serving our legendary New England Clam Chowder at every presidential inauguration since 1981.
Open Hours
Sunday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Monday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Tuesday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wednesday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thursday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Friday
11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Saturday
11:00 am - 11:00 pm

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Legal Sea Foods - Charles Square staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?