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Boston Restaurants

Union Oyster House

Updated 11/13/2013

Fodor's Review

Established in 1826, this is Boston's oldest continuing restaurant, and almost every tourist considers it a must-see. If you like, you can have what Daniel Webster had—oysters on the half shell at the ground-floor raw bar, which is the oldest part of the restaurant and still the best. The rooms at the top of the narrow staircase are dark and have low ceilings—very Ye Olde New England—and plenty of nonrestaurant history. The small tables and chairs (as well as the

endless lines and kitschy nostalgia) are as much a part of the charm as the simple and decent (albeit pricey) food. On weekends, especially in summer, make reservations a few days ahead or risk enduring waits of historic proportions. There is valet parking after 5:30 pm Monday through Saturday. One cautionary note: Locals hardly ever eat here.

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Restaurant Information

Address:

41 Union St., Boston, Massachusetts, 02108, USA

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Phone:

617-227–2750

Restaurant Details:

  • Credit cards accepted

Updated 11/13/2013

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
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Jan 6, 2014

Did Not Meet Our Expectations

Went to Union Oyster House while visiting Boston as I had been there years ago. I was looking forward to having Oyster Stew and this is what I ordered. Was very disappointed that it contained so few oysters and the overall quality of the oyster stew was was below my expectation. I have had Campell's Oyster Stew which was as good if not better then the stew served at the Union Oyster House. When arriving at the Union Oyster House we were seated

in a room way in the back of the restaurant that was completely empty. After being seated in this area we decided we would rather sit in an area with other people dining. We were reseated in another room that was totally empty and was promised there would be more people arriving. The third time we were reseated in a booth in a room where others were dining. By the way there were many empty booths and tables in this room. My guest, who had never been to the Union Oyster House, ordered a Ceasar Salad and did not think it was anything special or tasteful. One piece of corn bread only was provided with one pad of butter. When asked for more butter it was provided but no addtional corn bread. Was going to order an entree but because of what was served so far along with the extraortinary high prices we chose not to do so and asked for our bill and left. In addition to the above we felt the service was not that great either. In summary we do not recommend the Union Oyster House as we felt it not to be a good dining experience both in quality of food and price.

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Dec 3, 2008

Absolutely terrible

It's the oldest restaurant in Boston, but also among the very worst. Awful and badly overpriced food, slipshod and unfriendly service. If you must say you ate here, do yourself a big favor and stick to oysters and beer at the bar (they have been known to pre-open oysters for table service). Otherwise, avoid like the plague.

By 1dino

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Aug 14, 2007

pricey,but worth it

This place is an experience because of the ambience and the history,but much to my surprise, the food was also outstanding.The place was packed, but the waite staff was efficient,attentive and very friendly. All in all, a very enjoyable experience.

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Jul 5, 2007

I would go back in a heartbeat!!!

My huband and I only stopped here for an appetizer - the dinner wait was over an hour and a half (although we were in town on the 4th of July). We had to wait about 15 minutes for a spot at the raw bar. The Oysters were amazing and the clam chowder was the best I've ever tasted! Service was fast. The atmosphere is great; the restaurant is filled with little historical tidbits. Definitely worth the stop!!!

By Marcia

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Jun 9, 2005

Not As Good As SC Seafood

We ate hear based on reviews we read. It was very crowded. The food was fine but nothing extra special. The chowder was missing clams. Being from South Carolina, it's hard for me to find seafood better than on our coast.

By John

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Jun 4, 2004

Good Food Lost in Tourist Trap

The service staff seems distracted at lunch, even when it's not busy. Took 25 minutes to get the check and another 10 to pay it. The seafood was fresh and classic New England. The place needs a facelift, especially the ducts in the ceiling.

By Erin

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Apr 8, 2003

One of the Best of Boston...

The Union Oyseter House is definitely one of the best seafood restaurants in Boston!! The food is awesome as is the atmosphere! Their prices are unbeatable for the quality!

By Kim

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Oct 14, 2001

Have to go at least once.

Union Oyster House is part of Boston's history. You have to go. Pretty good clam chowder and surprisingly good lobster ravioli.

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