Neptune Oyster is a seafood restaurant in Boston’s North End neighborhood, offering foods such as their popular Maine lobster roll and johnnycake with bluefish and sturgeon caviar, as well as a raw bar featuring oysters and shellfish.
Overall Rating: ★★★ out of 5 stars
Address: 63 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113
Neighborhood: North End
Perfect For: Oyster lovers who don’t mind cozy seating arrangements
Hours: Mon – Fri 11am – 9:30pm, Sat – Sun 11am – 10:30pm
Links: Website, Menu
Cost: $50 per person (food only)
Neptune Oyster is a tiny restaurant with about five closely-arranged tables plus some bar seating. Given the limited seating and the lack of reservations (walk-ins only), it is not uncommon to wait over an hour outside the restaurant before you can be seated.
I came here on a Monday for lunch and the place was at about 50% capacity. I sat at the bar facing the street, which also gave me a great view of the well-organized oyster bar featuring a variety of oysters from the Northeast. The interior of the place has a “cozy upscale” atmosphere.
Besides oysters, Neptune offers a number of seafood dishes such as bluefin tuna, striped bass, prawns, clambakes, and fish & chips. I decided to order a Maine lobster roll and a swordfish dish with clams. I thought that service was very friendly and food was quick to arrive.
The lobster roll was served cold with mayo on a toasted brioche roll. I liked how there was a generous amount of lobster meat, but some of it was tough and chewy in addition to tasting a bit plain. The brioche roll was nicely toasted, but was too thick and I felt like I had to chew through many mouthfuls of 100% bread in order to make my way through the lobster roll. I typically don’t see such thickly-cut rolls used for lobster rolls.
The french fries that came with the dish were excellent. They are cut in-house and tasted very fresh overall, with perfect saltiness and crispiness. Definitely my favorite part of the meal.
The swordfish dish was served with Littleneck clams, capers, kalamata olives, and wild mushrooms. I was expecting an overall refreshing dish (something akin to my homemade swordfish recipe), but I was disappointed by the swordfish. It didn’t taste as fresh as my homemade version and its texture was almost a bit mealy. I also didn’t particularly enjoy the fregula (tiny 2 mm balls of wheat dough) scattered throughout the dish.
Overall, I won’t be returning to Neptune Oyster as the dishes weren’t particularly appealing to me. The high price tag and crowded seating makes the decision easier. This restaurant is better suited for tourists who don’t mind waiting long lines and paying high prices for the experience.