Waterfront dining in Boston will take your senses to the next level. Where else can you taste a buttery lobster roll while watching fishermen pull in their pots for the evening? Hear the waves lapping at the shore, feel the sea breeze lift your hair, and smell the fresh salt air it carries? And all this within sight of the city skyline!
But for a city that takes pride in its waterfront real estate and top-notch dining, it can be surprisingly hard to find a place that checks both boxes. So I’ve put together a list of my favorite waterfront restaurants in Boston to visit this summer. These restaurants are all located right on the water and have outdoor patios where you can dine al fresco with a view. So go ahead and treat yourself to the most scenic spots in the city to eat by the water. After the long New England winter, you deserve it.
75 on Liberty Wharf in Seaport
Located at the end of Fish Pier in the heart of the bustling Seaport district, 75 on Liberty Wharf is one of my go-to waterfront restaurants in Boston. With floor to ceiling windows and an expansive deck, there’s not a bad view in the house. It’s the perfect spot to sip summer cocktails while enjoying upscale American cuisine. Plus I love that I’m able to bring my dog Roscoe to dine with me thanks to the city’s new dog friendly patio policies!
The Barking Crab in Seaport
You might think this no-frills clam shack is a bit out of place amid the luxury high rises of downtown Seaport. But really, nothing is more at home in Boston than The Barking Crab. It’s the kind of place you take your friends from out of town to give them a taste of Boston. The seafood-forward menu is exactly what you’d expect it to be, nothing more, nothing less. But the experience of eating and drinking right along the historic Fort Point Channel can’t be beat. Barking Crab doesn’t take reservations and fills up fast in the summer. But you can put in your name and explore the Seaport while you wait for a text indicating that the table is ready.
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in Seaport
From its humble Boston beginnings, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse has since expanded to 11 locations across the United States. But its coveted waterfront location in the Seaport is still the ultimate place to see and be seen. It’s sprawling waterfront patio directly across from the Harborwalk Lookout Terrace is the perfect spot for watching the sun set. But even when the weather forces you indoors (as it often will in Boston), you can still enjoy sweeping views of the harbor from the comfort of the restaurant’s airy indoor dining room.
Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar in Seaport
Nothing says summer like sipping sangria in the sun. And at Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar‘s outdoor patio bar, you can enjoy ultra-modern Mexican cuisine and craft cocktails with views of the Fort Point Channel. Featuring lively music and a festive ambiance, scoring a coveted weekend spot at Lolita’s will make you feel like you’re at summer’s hottest party.
Mastro’s Ocean Club in Seaport
Prime beef meets prime real estate at Mastro’s Ocean Club in the Seaport. At this iconic Boston waterfront restaurant in Boston, views of the harbor offer the perfect backdrop to an elevated dining experience. I’ve had some hit or misses with the menu, but the extensive wine list, attentive service, and unparalleled patio experience more than make up for them.
Night Shift Owl’s Nest in Back Bay
Kick back, relax, and watch sailboats go by on the Charles River at the Owl’s Nest presented by Night Shift Brewing. This seasonal beer garden on the Esplanade is the perfect summer spot to hang after work, relax after a run, or catch up with friends. Bonus! Dogs are also welcome here.
Best Dog Friendly Breweries in New England
Discover even more great places to drink with your dog around New England.
Reelhouse Marina Bay in Quincy
The original Reelhouse in East Boston has become so popular, new locations have sprouted up in Quincy and the Seaport. All three have sprawling waterfront decks, yacht-inspired decor, delectable coastal cuisine, and unbeatable views of the harbor. But Reelhouse Marina Bay might just be my favorite. Since it’s a little off the beaten path south of the city in the sheltered community of Marina Bay, you’re more likely to be able to snag a coveted spot on their boardwalk patio. Plus you can make a day’s adventure out of it by taking the ferry over from Boston and working up an appetite at the nearby Squantum Point Park.
Rowes Wharf Sea Grille
As far as waterfront restaurants in Boston go, it’s hard to beat Rowes Wharf Sea Grille. This elegant spot in the Boston Harbor Hotel serves award-winning seafood dishes. As the name would imply, it’s located right on Rowes Wharf, where its seasonal patio sits right on the water. On weeknights in the summer months, the hotel hosts its outdoor Summer in the City series, with live music performed from a floating barge. Book early to secure your spot at one of Boston’s most beloved summer traditions.
Sullivan’s Castle Island in South Boston
On a warm summer day, there’s no better place to be than Sullivan’s Castle Island. As a Southie resident, I might be a little biased toward this one, but I’m certainly not alone. Folks have been flocking to Sully’s (as the locals lovingly call it) for generations. I doubt much has changed since its doors first opened in 1951. You can count on a no-frills menu, wallet-friendly prices, and casual atmosphere. Not sure what to order? Lobster rolls and raspberry lime rickeys are local favorites. If you eat at the waterfront outdoor picnic tables right outside the joint, beware of the pigeons who will try to swoop in to steal a fry. It’s better to take your order to go and enjoy views of the Boston Harbor Islands from atop nearby Fort Independence. Or simply stop by for a soft serve after walking the two-mile loop around Pleasure Bay.
The Tall Ship in East Boston
Looking for a unique waterfront dining experience in Boston? The Tall Ship is a 245′ vessel turned floating oyster bar moored on Pier One in East Boston. The ship itself features three custom built mahogany bars, built around the grand mast, where you can enjoy uninterrupted views of the city skyline and harbor. Or you can spread out on the adjacent pier with picnic tables, live music, lawn games, and food trucks. Take the ferry over from Boston and experience this ultimate summer hot spot.
Venezia in Boston
Although this multi-generation, family-run restaurant has been around for over 25 years, you’ll feel like you stumbled upon something yet undiscovered when you visit Venezia. Tucked away just south of Boston where the Neponset River meets the bay, this dining destination’s views of the city skyline across the water have earned it a place on Open Table’s list of the “100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America.” You can enjoy the view come rain or shine from a window spot in the spacious dining room. But on a nice evening, you’ll want to request one of the coveted tables on the restaurant’s waterfront patio, where you can watch the sun set as you tuck into generous portions of old school Italian meets modern New England cuisine.
Do you have favorite waterfront restaurants in Boston that are not on this list? Drop a suggestion in the comments below!