Dinner Recs in Boston Seaport

Hey all -

it’s been a couple of years now (so strange to say but its true) since I’ve been out to a restaurant in Boston proper . . . wow . . . I have friends coming in to town and they are staying in the Seaport. I’d like to find a fun, not too fussy, place in the Seaport to meet up for dinner. I’d like reservations . . .

I have no idea what is even open still in the Seaport . . . any recommendations?

(my knee jerk with visitors would be Legal for the deck and view but I don’t think you can do reservations on the deck and this will be Halloween weekend . . . so might be chilly for people coming up from the south LOL)


Chickadee and Woods Hill Pier 4 are two great restaurants (not only for Seaport but Boston in general)


Agree with @honkman and will also throw Oak + Rowan in there. I have taken 3 sets of out-of-town visitors there and we’ve been wowed each time.


Thanks so much. Great ideas. I’d never known about Woods Hill. Glad the other places have survived the pandemic!!

Chickadee has been on my list for quite some time and I’ve never been there but have only heard good things about it from trusted friends.

Around the corner from Woods Hill, there is a newish staircase feature thing-y which has a public bathroom and also an oyster bar slated for the ground floor. The last time we were there sometime towards the end of the summer it was not open yet but there was a sign in the window. I can’t remember what it said. Wonder what’s going on there.

There’s also the Nantucket Lola Burger Seaport edition but I think that’s fast casual. We walked by it but didn’t look inside. I’ve eaten at the Nantucket location and I don’t see what the fuss is all those people can’t be wrong, can they? 75 Liberty has a nice location but when we ate there 4 years ago or so it was just OK food-wise, but my ultra-wealthy BIL from Greenwich, who has the palate of a 13 year-old, loved it. Last time we went to the Seaport this summer, we got take-out from Yankee lobster. Brown-bagged beer and wine on the seaplane dock. Because that’s how we roll. I’m pretty sure that would not work for you and your out of town guests.

The Seaport deserves better places such as the Chickadees / Oak + Rowans of the world.


Alright . . . so I tried my best - but apparently a “friend” of my friends says we should go to “Empire Boston” and my/our recommendations are getting . . . overlooked.

Anyone been? It has never been on my radar and never heard it mentioned.

sounds little “traditional americanize pan-asian”, not that I’m against that - just may not be my first choice for “in-door dining” since covid started . . .

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OMG. No. I’ve never been but I have walked by enough times to know that it is a cheesy club disguised as an Asian-y restaurant from the 1990’s when Buddha statues were all the rage, decor-wise. I can’t even believe that it’s still open.

No offense to your friend. And Buddha would not be pleased.


That’s really a shame, sorry to hear it.

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Have been once (company event) and was completely underwhelmed. Overpriced, average (at best) heavily americanized “asian” food. Some stuff you can buy better in the freezer at TJ (potstickers) or WF (sushi). This is more a place to bring somebody who doesn’t care about food but more the clubby ambience (kind of reminded me of a downscaled Tao in LV).


Ugh. Well that all sounds dreadful. I guess I’m going for the company - though now I also have to question the friends they keep. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Thanks for the intel. I’m going to work on changing their mind. I have time.


If the scene is more important than food, maybe Committee might be fun. We’ve never been but have observed the folks hanging out there, having a good time.


Well I wish I had great news to report . . . but the dinner happened at Empire, my powers of persuasion were low I guess . . . and it was as everyone described. It must turn into some sort of night club type bar at night, on our way out they were asking everyone entering for their IDs (it was also Halloween weekend so people coming in were in costume).

But . . . the company was great and I very much enjoyed seeing old friends. I don’t think I’ll be back on my own though.


Sometimes things beyond food are more important


The one time we went to Empire we were with a large party of about 12 people, all couples. The group split among men and women and really had 2 separate parties going on. Everyone was imbibing fairly heavily. Order after order of sushi and other food began to magically arrive at either end of the table. The waiter was telling one end of the table the other had ordered it when asked. Turns out, no one ordered a lot of it. They were just slamming food. The manager offered to make a small adjustment to the bill until we threatened to leave all together. It was as quite a scene. It seemed like a rehearsed operation that may not have been an isolated incident.

Some of the food wasn’t awful, but most mediocre and overpriced. The crowd wasn’t the best either.


Well that sounds horrible. Sorry that happened. Yikes.

I am curious about the food.

In a train wreck kind of way.

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Missed this thread the first time, but I guess my throwing in the same thought that Empire was decidedly meh for me too would not have helped dissuade your friend. I had a visiting friend too and she picked the place a few years ago. I read the description, and upon reading that there was a dress code (and I don’t mean fancy need a jacket and tie dress code) and I was already not impressed. The website came off as a this is a ‘place to be seen and we’re looking for the trendy, cool people who really want to party in our lounge’ kind of vibe. Some of the appetizers were decent, but yeah overpriced and the food was very inconsistent. Sorry you didn’t get to try a better place!

@digga - You’re not missing anything about the food. It’s the kind of place that thinks a ‘Japanese inspired tuna tartar’ with wonton chips is funky and modern, if that gives you a clue to the food.


I’m going to try to describe the food in as fair a way as I can . . . .

First - everything we had was edible and nothing was so bad that any of us said we just couldn’t eat it - which has happened at other places.

In general I would just describe everything as being “out of a jar or bottle” - which honestly would be fine until you look at the price points.

We started with a few appetizers - a chicken potsticker (deep fried with no real flavor to the filling), scallion pancakes (actually they were pretty good), and vegetable spring rolls (which had some type of vegetable mush for the filling).

Pad Thai - which was fine, nothing great, think of any pad thai you may get at a major chain type place.

Hong Kong spicy chicken - chicken, onions, tossed in a chili garlic type sauce - strangely bland for what it was

Some type of fried chicken - the person who ordered it liked it . . .given all the korean fried chicken available in the Boston area, I’d take any one of them over this

Tempura rock shrimp maki roll - grocery store style roll with pre-cooked tempura rock shrimp on top covered in a sriracha mayo

One person had some type of salmon, I didn’t try any of that but she was happy with it.

only 3 of us were drinking . . . The bill was about $370, left $80 tip (the waiter was actually pretty good) so $450 all in for the 5 of us.

I’d take any place in china town over this . . . but maybe I’m too old at this point to enjoy the “cool” factor that they are clearly working towards for the late 20 y.o. crowd . . . . and the out of town folks were happy and it was great seeing them . . . so its all good in the end :wink:


As a curiosity, did your friends, or your friends of friends, say they enjoyed the food?