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Union Oyster House

Map & Directions
(43 Reviews)

41 Union St, Boston, MA 02108

(617) 227-2750

CLOSED NOW
Today: 11:00 am - 9:30 pm
Tomorrow: 11:00 am - 9:30 pm
192
YEARS
IN BUSINESS
BBB Accredited businesses follow the BBB Code of Business Practices and pay a fee for accreditation review and monitoring. Accreditation is not a BBB endorsement or evaluation of the business’ product quality or competency in performing services.

BBB Rating and Accreditation information may be delayed up to a week.
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General Info
America's oldest restaurant in continuous service, the Union Oyster House opened in 1826, and the booths and oyster bar haven't moved since. The food is tasty, traditional New England fare, popular with visitors walking on the adjacent Freedom Trail. The restaurant serves simple, classic preparations such as oyster stew, chowder, lobster and salmon. The Union Oyster House is designated as a National Historic Landmark. It is reputed that Daniel Webster drank many a toddy at the crescent-shaped bar in the restaurant s lower level. A plaque marks John F. Kennedy's favorite booth (number 18), where he often sat to read the Sunday papers. The Union Oyster House is one of Boston s favorite attractions.
BBB Rating
A+
BBB Rating and Accreditation information may be delayed up to a week.
BBB Accredited businesses follow the BBB Code of Business Practices and pay a fee for accreditation review and monitoring. Accreditation is not a BBB endorsement or evaluation of the business’ product quality or competency in performing services.

BBB Rating and Accreditation information may be delayed up to a week.
Hours

Regular Hours

Extra Phones

Fax: (617) 227-0904

Fax: (617) 227-2306

Payment method
amex, discover, master card, visa, all major credit cards, travelers checks, check, diners club
Price Range
$$$
Neighborhood
Downtown Boston
AKA

Union Oyster House, Inc.

Categories
Seafood Restaurants, American Restaurants, Bar & Grills, Family Style Restaurants, Restaurants
Other Information

Parking: Garage, Street

Wi-Fi: No

Bike Parking: Yes

Attire: Casual

Good For Groups: Yes

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Cuisines: Family Style, American, Seafood, Bar & Grills

Alcohol: Yes, Full Bar

Takes Reservations: Yes

Outdoor Seating: No

Specialties: American Restaurant, American, American Food

Price Range : Above Average

Reviews

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lucky 13

08/15/2011

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Not impressed

I found the restaurant extremely dirty. The servers do not clean the tables well. The food was not prepared well, and came to us cold. I did not eat the oysters because they were warm. The atmosphere didn't impress me either.

AndreaBB

08/01/2011

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Union Oyster - overpriced tourist trap - don't waste your $$

We brought my sister and her family here on Sat 7/30/11, as they were visiting from out of town. The food was TERRIBLE and OVERPRICED. We were HIGHLY disappointed in the restaurant taking full advantage of their 'oldest restaurant' status. So sad that this has turned into another TOURIST TRAP RIP OFF......It could be so much better as the character of the building should match the quality of the food. The calamari and seafood entrees were greasy, and nothing special, and the oysters were overpriced and presented terribly (not over ice - with only plastic container of cocktail sauce, no horseradish, mignonette or anything..) Very disappointed...I wouldn't waste your money here...it's too bad...

cocobora3

12/09/2010

Overall
Simply Delicious

I really enjoyed my meal at the Oyster House. The oysters were very fresh and the clam chowder was tasty! I recommend this place for a nice meal.

pabreu21

09/30/2010

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Great food is worth the long wait

The food was great. I went with some friends and we all had different seafood dishes and I was able to taste a bunch of them, they all were great. The prices are fair, the only downside is that there is a long wait if you go on weekends.

Alicia32

06/22/2010

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Mmmmmmm

This place is delicious. i went out here with my boyfriend a few nights ago and we had the best oysters ive had in a looong time. If you go get the, duh, oysters. or at least the platter with the oysters. Its also really cool how old the place is, like 1800 or something. The area is really fun to go out afterwards too, especially if your visiting Boston on vacation go check out the area, very Boston.

lori1nell

06/04/2010

Overall
Absolutely the worst seafood I ever ate

I clearly do not understand why this place is thought to be so good. The food is bland, the service is slow and horrible. There was one waitress in our dining room that was picking up the slack for everyone else. Don't go here.

Athena Chang

02/17/2010

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Must-Try Seafood and Clam Chowder

This is America's oldest restaurant and it has visitors ranging from politicians, historical figures to celebrities. With a great history behind it, Union Oyster House has been featured in Travel channel and Food Network. Therefore, it is one of my must-visit stop to Boston despite some mediocre reviews I saw.

It looks like this restaurant still keeps it old design and decor with some posters and photos of celebrities who came to dine here. They have a bar on the first floor and quieter dining areas and private party rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floor. After an hour or so wait, we finally got seated and our waiter was super friendly and nice.

Since I don't eat oysters, I have my boyfriend do the honor for me, ordering a dozen of the native oysters. We also shared a bowl of their famous Clam Chowder. For entree, he got the boiled Seafood Platter and I got the Seafood Newburg.

The clam chowder is very thick and creamy. They definitely add a ton of heavy cream in it and it is undoubtedly tasty. Honestly, I think they could add more clams. Oysters on the other hand, according to my boyfriend, are very fresh and contain little after-taste. I really like my entree, Seafood Newburg. It is consist of shrimp, lobster meat and scallops sauteed in creamy sauce with a cream puff and side of rice pilaf. They gave you a generous portion of seafood and the creamy sauce is just perfect.

The boiled seafood platter is amazing too. They gave you salmon, scallops, sword fish and shrimps with potatoes. My boyfriend and I were both stuffed at the end. What do we think of Union Oyster House? It serves pretty damn good seafood and just think about the fact that JFK, Sam Adam and other famous people used to dine here, I could say I have been here too!

bill oneill

01/20/2010

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Best sea food and atmosphere in boston

If you want a coke and a smile go to the mid-west. Your in an old dirty building on the east coast in a city rich in american history and Boston attitude. I eat there ever time Im in town and its always good.

Monica Jean Fox

11/24/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Gone Down Hill .... Expensive , Poor Service, Lousy Food

The group that owns the Union Oyster House does not compare to the Father and Son who owned it up until the mid 1970's... back then the food was great... the wait staff had been there forever and it was a career and not just an annoying ""job"". The management is uncaring--- after the buck-- and move on .... They do not know good old fashioned New England Cooking.... the owners are not familiar with this type of food ... maybe they should turn it into a spaghetti emporium, some kind of cookery they are actually familiar with. Go to any other Boston seafood eatery...

Kim BC

09/30/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Worst restaurant ever

Why this place was praised so much as a must come to see for Boston ? Besides, its history, I don't think the place and the food are worth the trip. The foods were awful and expensive. The drinks were bad, but still better than the food and you have to wait longer than 30 minutes to get to their tiny dining room upstair when they stacked people into isolated corner and you waited forever for the waiters to notice you are there, since they are not really busy.
My worst experience so far in a Boston's restaurant.

CarolD

04/15/2009

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Dirty

Not sure what all the hype is. Not traditional New England seafood . It's for out of towners.. that do not know where to get good New England Seafood. Anyone can get Chowder from a can, and through some clams in it!!!! Not worth the $$$$.

gelly88

11/18/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Go for the Chowda! It's the best and the original.

I have been here 2 times over the last year and stuck with the Clam Chowder and a Sam Adams. I've eaten at the bar every time. Based on the mixed reviews here, I haven't tried anything else. I want to keep going back here for the traditional New England Clam Chowder. It is made with the traditional ingredients and I haven't had anything else in Boston that comes close. It's thick and flavored just right. The clams have always been fresh. Note, the cornbread is downright horrible, so just stick to the basics of beer and chowda and you'll understand why this place is still around. Plus, the original side of the restaurant has some great history. Be sure to walk around. I love this place and will keep going back for the right reasons.

BostonTracey

10/24/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Historic place, must visit!

The Union Oyster house was one of the most interesting restaurants I went to on my recent trip to Boston. That it's filled with history goes without saying. The raw oysters were great, very meaty. Very reasonable priced and our waitress was funny and very attentive. Great experience!

lauram213

10/24/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
What a dump!

Located on a on a cobblestone street that smells of urine. Have they ever heard of a hose??? Waited 45 min. w/reservation. . Brought us to a table that hadn't been cleaned. Waitress came to clean it with a dirty rag. Floors /chairs were filthy. Thank god for my purell wipes!! The waitress had a horrible cold, and was blowing her nose. It was disgusting. We ordered appetizers, oysters (warm to boot) We didn't even touch them. The shrimp cocktail was soggy. Main dishes came out in two orders( there were 6 of us), and were cold. The waitress was obviously displease that we were not happy, and copped an attitude. We asked to see the manager, but she couldn't find her....Not really sure what all the hype is about this place, but it is clearly a dump! Don't waiste your time or money on this place.....

shoeex1

09/23/2008

Overall
Go to the bar

We arrived and there was an hour wait for a table, so we went to the bar. What a treat, the sevice was friendly, food was great. beer was cold and local. This is an A+ place to get good food with a smile.

erasure76

08/13/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Decent food but unacceptable service

We called too late to make a reservation, but were told if we showed up in the next 15 minutes we would have a half-hour wait for our party of 9. So we went ahead and put in our name, and ended up waiting 45 minutes. This in itself would have been fine, but once we were seated and had ordered, it took another 45 minutes to receive our appetizers, and then another 45 minutes after that to receive our entrees. All told, we spent about an hour eating and 2 hours waiting for service. This is ridiculous on a Tuesday night. On top of that, our waitress forgot one person's soda and we waited 30 minutes for that; she assumed that the child in our party would not want the cole slaw that came with her fish and chips; and the potatoes that were supposed to come with the Shore Dinner were completely missing. To her credit, when we asked about the potatoes and cole slaw at the end of the meal, she apologized and said she should not have assumed about the slaw, and offered to give us the potatoes to take home. These are small consolations for the obnoxiously long wait, though. The food itself was good, but nothing to write home about. Certainly not worth the prices nor the wait.

josh608

06/10/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
nice historic, unattentive seervice, BUT mostly poor food.

food was cold when served, steamed clams are not cooked enough this far south of maine,
chowder is too thick and can-like.

hlwong

06/10/2008

Provided by Citysearch - 
Overall
Great Fresh Seafood

We had Native Oysters (1/2doz.), Cape Cod Cherrystones (1/2doz.), bowl of Clam Chowder, grilled Native Swordfish, Sauteed Seafood Medley, and of course the corn bread.
FRESH FRESH FRESH yummy half shell, the clam chowder is creamy and chuck of clam, the sauteed seafood medley was full of tasty seafood big portion (tasty leftover for lunch tmw), and I want the recipe for the corn bread. The swordfish was over cook and dry, since the piece of swordfish that we have didn't have much of fat in it so it was tough to eat. Overall it was delightful and I would go back again and again.
Side notes on the service: I called to make a reservation 1 1/2 hour before (tuesday evening), and the reception said ""it's ok just come in anytime!"" so when we arrived we were told that we have to wait 20mins due to other reservation, so I'm guessing if you plan to eat here please make reservation a day in advance to avoid hungry tummy.

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