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“Neptune Oyster - Fantastic!”
Review of Neptune Oyster

Neptune Oyster
Ranked #13 of 3,206 Restaurants in Boston
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $21 - $60
Cuisines: American, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Neighborhood: North End
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
146 reviews
127 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Neptune Oyster - Fantastic!”
Reviewed May 10, 2011

Located on Salem Street in the North End, an area famed for its Italian restaurants, Neptune Oyster stands out as one of the most famous and talked about seafood restaurants in Boston. People flock to Neptune nightly for the raw bar, more specifically, their oysters and their famed Lobster Rolls!

Last night I met Kathryn and Beth for a trip over to the North End to enjoy some oysters, wine and a good old girlie gossip (highly intellectual conversation!)

We arrived around 6.45pm and were told we had an approximately 30-45 minute wait. Not surprising as this is exactly what I expected. Neptune's does not take reservations and no-one seems to mind waiting. We decided to go for a cocktail at Lucca's on Hanover Street while we waited for our phone call to say the table was ready. One mini bottle of Moet Chandon (each) later and we were back at Neptune's.

Neptune's is a small restaurant of about 8-10 tables with a long bar that seats about 22 people. White tiled walls, whitewashed floors and a huge mirror all along the bar-side wall covered with choices for the raw bar written in white paint. I think they have had the same staff since the place opened, who are always welcoming, efficient and friendly - no muss, no fuss, just business. Everyone seems to be squashed into the dining area and no-one seems to mind. There is a great, happy vibe about the place. This is not a place to go for a quiet dinner, ever!

We were seated at the back of the restaurant alongside a young couple who I was practically sat on top of. I hope they were not on a romantic date as our "highly intellectual" conversation may have somehow affected their evening of romance :).

So, on to dinner. We started, of course, with oysters. We decided to have one each of the Island Creek, Beach Point and my favorite, Kunimoto. All were fresh, delicious and just easily slid off the shell! No need for cocktail sauce or mignonette in my opinion.

For my entrée, I was tempted to go for the Lobster Roll but I have tried it so many times, hot with butter and cold with mayo, and felt it was time to try something new. I opted for the Roasted Striped Bass and was not disappointed at all. Flaky, melt in your mouth white fish over English fava beans, which were creamy and buttery perfection and maitake mushrooms. This dish was absolutely delicious.

Kathryn could not resist and decided to go for the Lobster Roll, hot with butter. She did end up asking for a side of greens instead of fries! All of us tried a piece of the Lobster and it was AMAZING. Chunky, buttery, meaty pieces of lobster on a toasted bun.

Beth had the tuna tartare on toasted baguette with avocado and salad with fried artichoke and white anchovies. Again, high praise!

After dinner we were contemplating some more wine when our waiter asked is if we would give up our seats for more of the waiting crowd. The kitchen shuts at 9.30pm and there was still a line waiting. Of course, we obliged and were each given a glass of dessert wine and a seat at the bar overlooking the oysters and a view to Salem Street.

Neptune is fun and noisy and the food is outstanding! A must for locals and tourists alike - you will not be disappointed. Don't be put off by the long lines, it is worth waiting for. Go have a drink and they will call you when your table is ready.

Visited May 2011
Thank LifeFoodWine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Long Island, New York
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Poor and Misleading Reception”
Reviewed April 28, 2011

My wife and I and our daughter and 12 year old grandson came to the restaurant prepared to wait as we knew the reputation of this place. The receptionist told us that there would be a 1 hour and 45 minute wait and took my cell phone number so that we could explore the neighborhood while we waited. This was perfectly reasonable. After more than an hour, we stopped by to check on our status. Again we were told "an hour and 45 minutes. Wait for the call"! We gave up and went to another restaurant down the street, RABIAS which was very good. By the way! THE CALL FROM NEPTUNE NEVER CAME!!.

Visited April 2011
3 Thank RachelHarryBrooke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
49 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Cramped atmosphere adds to the charm”
Reviewed April 26, 2011

After reading the reviews, I ventured out for a solo lunch. Yes, $50 for a lunch of one lobster roll, 3 oysters and one glass of wine is a little expensive. But it was worth every bite. The lobster roll was decadent and guilt-ridden and worth every bite. And the oysters were fresh and delicious. And, in my opinion. the "cramped" atmosphere of the joint simply adds to its charm. Even though they had the front door wide open to let in the cool, April breeze, the place felt completely cut off from the outside, fast-paced world. It was like a little respite from an otherwise busy day. And even the "slow" service was kinda nice and cozy. I would definitely go back and spent the entire amount again!

  • Visited April 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank OneThirdMontreal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
646 reviews
439 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 595 helpful votes
“One of the best seafood restaurants in Boston! Delicious from start to finish!”
Reviewed April 14, 2011

If you look up seafood restaurants in Boston, you may come up with over 100 choices in downtown alone. However, not all are what they are cracked up to be. Bring in this place, so small you may miss it walking by in the crowded North End. One thing you won't miss is the line sometimes outside the door to get in.

The place may look small, and there isn't much to it and it is always crowded, but it is probably some of the best seafood I have tasted not only in Boston but all of New England. The menu contains an array of raw bar choices and delicious appetizers and creative entrees. Plus it houses a spectacular wine and beer list. You may have trouble getting a seat, but sitting at the bar is just as good. We ordered this Neptune Plateau Platter, which offered samples of lobster, crab, oysters, littlenecks, clams and shrimp. Everything tasted perfect and top it off with an order of fried clams which was out of this world! The staff moves quick here and is helpful and attentive. Plus for what you get, the prices are not bad. It is a close quarters vibrant place but that adds to the charm and they do not take reservations so I recommend getting there early. Highly recommended and a place I will return to in the future! Simply put ....awesome!

  • Visited April 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank lip89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
20 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Oyster heaven”
Reviewed January 27, 2011

I love oysters. Since I moved to Boston, I eat East Coast varieties regularly. I finally tried Neptune on a cold Saturday night (40 minute wait for two people, had drinks at the bar at Rabia while we waited). The high point of the meal was definitely the oysters and clams. I think we tried 6 types of oysters (both coasts) and it was fun and delicious to see if we thought the taste matched the description provided.

We also had the blue crab salad (very good), Neptunes on piggyback (excellent), and the hot lobster roll (excellent). I am not a lobster roll person because I don't like cold meat mixed in mayo (also don't like chicken salad, tuna salad, etc) but the hot lobster roll was fantastic. Very buttery.

It is really crowded, the service was okay (we were at the bar). When I asked if a certain bottle of wine was good, the bartender said "we wouldn't serve bad wine." Hmm. Ok.

All in all, it was expensive but a good value for what you get. I would not want to eat cheap oysters. For anyone who loves oysters this place is a mecca (although for people who do not like seafood it might seem more like hell - crowded, expensive, etc). I will definitely be back.

  • Visited January 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank fsp269
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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