Lobster Shanty: A User’s Guide
Local Seafood | Positive Press | Live Music | Eco-Friendly Practices | Dogs Welcome on Patio
Lobster roll tossed lightly in lemon mayo and diced celery, served on a buttered, toasted roll
New England-style clam chowder made with fresh chopped gloucester clams and house-smoked bacon
Pulled-pork sandwich smothered in a spicy, homemade barbecue sauce
Lobster-tini cocktail garnished with a chilled lobster claw
What To Expect: Tucked away in the heart of Salem’s Artist’s Row, the Lobster Shanty belies the divey nature of its rustic 30-seat dining room with a creative, upscale menu. Traditional lobster dinners, lobster rolls, and lobster rangoons abound, and you’ll even find a bright-red crustacean tattooed on the arm on executive chef and co-owner Diane Wolf. Wolf sources all of her seafood from local fishermen, meaning the menu is subject to change based on the day’s catch or Wolf’s culinary whims. Rounding out the menu is an expansive cocktail list that’s every bit as creative as the food.
Good To Know
An outdoor patio welcomes both diners and their dogs during the warmer months.
The Lobster Shanty doesn’t take reservations, so get there early because seating is limited.
It has its own house band, Vein. Ask nicely and they might cover “Rock Lobster.”
The restaurant closes for the season on January 15 and reopens April 1.
Rants and Raves
“Everything you’d expect in a New England seafood shack … and some things you wouldn’t.” — Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
“In a glass or on a plate, you can have your lobster any way you want … a hidden gem.” — The Phantom Gourmet
“The Shanty’s menu actually reflects creativity and quality not found in your standard pub food.” — North Shore Dish
Today, Victoria Station & Vic's Boathouse in Salem is unique—but it wasn't always. In 1970, inspired by the landmark Victoria Station in London, three Cornell Hotel School graduates created a restaurant with English touches, such as a bright-red phone booth and authentic train cars they'd turned into dining cars. They opened up in San Francisco, and the business grew. By the 1980s, there were almost 100 Victoria Station locations in the United States and around the world. Johnny Cash did a stint as their spokesman.
But the company filed for bankruptcy in 1986. Its rise and fall is documented in Tom Blake's book Prime Rib and Boxcars: Whatever Happened to Victoria Station? The waterfront Salem location was 99th and final location to open, and it's the only one left.
Today, the restaurant has gone in its own direction, drawing inspiration from both the restaurant's past and its current surroundings. Classic New England cuisine and old steak-house favorites mingle comfortably on the menu. The chefs coat haddock in a seasoned cracker crust to bake and serve with chardonnay and fresh lemon juice, and the slow-roasted prime rib that made the original restaurant famous still has a place on the menu. Diners can also order up house favorites, such as lobster mac 'n' cheese with five-cheese béchamel sauce and cornbread shallot crumbs, or they can opt for an Angus burger. The menu has earned the restaurant scores of accolades, including Best Waterfront Dining, Northshore Magazine, 2011–2013.
Vic's Boathouse, a bar and lounge at Victoria Station, opened in 2010 and has already earned the honor of Best Bar, North of 2012, according to Boston Magazine. Inside, diners can request a local or craft brew, order a martini, or pick from the pub menu. The bar hosts nightly live entertainment, including open-mic sessions, live musicians, and karaoke, which makes for lively evenings without the expense of hiring a DJ for family dinner.
Feeling hungry? Pick up some frozen food from here and enjoy a night snacking on all of your favorite items.
If you're looking for a quick and tasty side dish to go with your meal, check out these great canned food items.
Packed with plenty of "good" fat, fish of your choosing are on hand.
With a bottle of water in hand, it's easy to refresh and refuel. Grab a couple drinks from Bella Luna Cafe and stay on the go all the time.
If you like to use the oven, you're going to want to pick up some sweet ingredients in your next masterpiece. They adds that extra bit of flavor that makes your food delicious!
This fresh produce here is so tasty it will change the way we think about healthy eating.
From freshly baked pastas to packaged noodles, Bella Luna Cafe has all of your pasta necessities.
Make sure you always have a variety of beverages on hand, especially during the warmer months. This drink is sure to take care of business.
The cuts of meat here are tender and fresh. Pick up a selection of meats today and start your weekend off with a barbecue.
Dairy is packed with the essential nutrients your body craves, so help yourself out. Dairy products have everything you need.
A simple solution to long hours spent over the stove, a microwavable meal will trick your taste buds into thinking it was made from scratch!
If you're planning out your weekly meals, you will appreciate the assortment of snacks at Bella Luna Cafe.
When you're looking for a little tart flavor to add to your meal, you'll want to grab some vinegar. For something a little more savory, that definitely calls for oil. When you shop here, you can stock up on either to ensure your food is tart and savory in equal measures.
Whether you prefer coffee or tea, Bella Luna Cafe offers options for both the coffee enthusiast and the tea lover.
Skip the hassle of baking your own bread and pick up a freshly-baked loaf from Bella Luna Cafe.
A staple in every household, cereal is sure to please every palate in the family.
Grab any spices and seasonings you need to cook a gourmet dinner here.
There are many parking spaces available for customers.
Find delicious sandwiches at other American favorites at Salem Beer Works.
Help yourself to a healthier lifestyle at Salem Beer Works, where gluten-free and low-fat plates are the standard.
There are plenty of TVs in the bar to go around as well, so diners don't have to worry about missing out on anything.
Families will feel right at home at this restaurant with its kid-friendly menu and atmosphere.
Wifi is on the house at Salem Beer Works, so you can stay connected on your mobile device.
Warm weather, delectable dishes, and an awesome atmosphere make for a dream night out at Salem Beer Works.
Have a large group? No problem. Head to Salem Beer Works for easy seating.
The restaurant can get full to bursting on a busy Friday or Saturday night, so the safest bet is to call ahead for a reservation.
Wear what you like when you dine at Salem Beer Works — the restaurant has a chill vibe just right for casual dining.
For those in a hurry, the restaurant lets you take your grub to go.
Sidle into a space on the street or park your vehicle in the adjacent lot.
Salem Beer Works is home to many cyclists who appreciate the parking racks outside.
Taste the greatness Salem Beer Works is serving up with meals around $30.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served at Salem Beer Works, so come by whenever it fits your schedule.
The friendly staff at Salem Beer Works are ready and waiting to cook and serve your favorite American meal.
For a casual American classic, Salem Beer Works will serve you up a delicious meal in Salem.
So head on over to the highly-rated Salem Beer Works for some American eats and see what the buzz is all about.
For a beer above the rest, you'll want to head to Salem Beer Works' brewery directly.
Try a taco or opt for a burrito bowl — Howling Wolf Taqueria is a quick Tex-Mex favorite.
Grab the kids when you head to this restaurant — its family-oriented menu and ambience are perfect for the whole clan.
Gather up your friends, coworkers or family members and head to Howling Wolf Taqueria for a group meal.
Need to catch up on some work or the latest news? Get online at Howling Wolf Taqueria with their complimentary wifi.
The patio seating at Howling Wolf Taqueria is perfect for those warm summer days.
Those in a rush are better off dining here during the week, as the restaurant draws a crowd during the weekend.
This restaurant also offers delivery and carryout if you're in the mood for the restaurant's cooking but prefer to provide your own ambience.
Parking can always be a hassle. That's why we've done half the work for you. Parking available onsite for our guests.
Howling Wolf Taqueria is a prime location for cyclists to park their bikes and enjoy a bite to eat.
A visit to Howling Wolf Taqueria will set you back less than $30 per person, so you can make it a regular part of your schedule.
So take your stomach to Howling Wolf Taqueria next time you have a hankering for some of the tastiest Tex-Mex in town. You won't be disappointed.
For tasty and innovative Tex Mex fare, look no further than the highly-rated Howling Wolf Taqueria.
Come experience an amazing array of Mexican dishes when you try the highly-rated Howling Wolf Taqueria.
Stop in Howling Wolf Taqueria today and enjoy a Mexico-inspired meal in a casual setting.
When it comes to Mexican cuisine, Howling Wolf Taqueria has you covered. Visit the restaurant today and enjoy a tasty meal.
Featuring a laid-back vibe and traditional Mexican fare, Margarita's Mexican Restaurant aims to please its casual-dining guests.
Both low-fat and gluten-free options are available here.
Unwind with a glass of wine or cocktail with your meal — this restaurant has a wonderful selection of drinks to accompany your dinner.
Little ones are just as welcome as their parents at this restaurant.
Whether you have a large or small group, Margarita's Mexican Restaurant can accommodate both.
Getting online is easy with Margarita's Mexican Restaurant's free and convenient wifi.
Make plans ahead of time and reserve a table to avoid the wait.
The dress code is strictly casual at Margarita's Mexican Restaurant, so come as you are (and as you are comfortable).
The restaurant also offers catering if you want to bring the flavors of Margarita's Mexican Restaurant to your next party or event.
At this restaurant, you can work your arms a little. Pick up the food yourself and carry it out.
Just come to us and park. No tickets, no fees, just a free convenient parking lot from us to you.
Commute by bike to Margarita's Mexican Restaurant and find easy bike parking.
Take a break from the kitchen without breaking the bank! Margarita's Mexican Restaurant will fill you up with top-notch fare that s modestly priced.
Critics award the most brownie points to the restaurant's dinner offerings, but breakfast and lunch are also available.
So head to Margarita's Mexican Restaurant for some tasty Mexican fare.
Isn't it time to experience the taste of Mexican cuisine at Margarita's Mexican Restaurant's premier restaurant?
In Boston, a sunny day is not complete without a delicious meal or cocktail on the patio. Of course, man’s best friend loves the warm weather as well, but not every place allows pooches to hang out with the patrons. Here are three spots that have their welcome mats and doggie treats ready to go.
The Terrace at Tamo Bistro & Bar | 1 Seaport Ln.
All summer long, the Seaport Hotel’s Tamo Terrace welcomes furry friends for Cocktails and Canines, held on Wednesdays through August from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. They roll out the red carpet with plenty of fresh and organic dog treats, plus a delightful selection of human-only cocktails.
The Yard at the Liberty Hotel | 215 Charles St.
The Yard at the Liberty Hotel hosts Yappier Hour every Wednesday night from April through October. From 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., enjoy a cocktail from the full bar while your dog sips a pup-tini. A snack menu from Clink seals the deal, though the comfy couches certainly don’t hurt.
Flour Bakery + Cafe | 1595 Washington St.
Of course, it’s easy enough to create your own puppy picnic by taking advantage of the patio spaces all around Boston. Start the day off right with a latte and a sticky bun at the South End location of Flour, where dogs can sun out on the patio.
Still hungry? Check out Groupon’s latest deals on restaurants in Boston.
This article is part of Amanda Maguire’s Vegan Guide to Boston, which profiles Boston’s best vegan products and businesses.
One of the biggest concerns in going vegan is the prospect of having to give up your favorite comfort foods: the baked macaroni and cheese, the burgers with all the toppings, the old-fashioned milk shakes too thick to drink with a straw.
Fear not, because Veggie Galaxy Diner & Vegan Bakery (450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge) has you covered. Owned by Adam Penn, Veggie Galaxy serves up plant-based meals that will take you right back to your childhood. Well, assuming your childhood included delicious meals made from scratch, right down to the burger buns and ketchup. I paid a visit to Veggie Galaxy to chat with Penn about his epic diner food and what makes it so noteworthy.
GROUPON: What is Veggie Galaxy's best-selling menu item?
ADAM PENN: Our best-selling item since the beginning has been the Kendall Square Burger.
[Editor’s note: It’s a black-bean or mushroom-chickpea burger topped with beer-battered onion rings, roasted red pepper purée, roasted garlic mayo, and baby arugula.]
G: Could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind this dish and whether you initially expected it to be so popular?
AP: As a vegetarian/vegan diner, we knew from the beginning that there would always be some tension regarding … healthy food versus traditional comfort food. The Kendall Burger, topped with giant deep-fried onion rings, was our nod to the comfort food side of things, and it quickly became clear that that's what most of our customers are looking for. We still try to provide some healthy options as well, but most of our customers come to us because we're first and foremost a diner.
G: Are there any new menu additions you're particularly excited about? I noticed you offer Blue Plate Specials each week.
AP: Our most recent weekly Blue Plate Special is vegan chicken and waffles. It [was] a customer request a while back, and we finally got around to doing it. It's been more popular than we even imagined, so we extended it to a second week and are now planning to put it on our late-night menu. … We also recently added a Meatless Monday meatball sub, which is one of my personal favorites.
G: What makes Veggie Galaxy's food taste like home?
AP: Pretty much everything is prepared from scratch, including items that people at home would normally just buy from the grocery store, like our condiments, our seitan, and our burger buns. So, in our opinion, it's better than home.
G: Why did you opt to go plant-based with your menu and strictly vegan with your baked goods?
AP: The reasons for going vegetarian and vegan are pretty well known at this point, and it's not something we like to preach about. We're providing vegetarians and vegans the opportunity to enjoy classic diner foods without the meat. While we do have dairy and eggs on the menu, pretty much anything can be made vegan. We wanted to make sure vegans could enjoy our desserts, too, so we left the eggs and dairy out of those altogether.
G: What has been your best moment as a business owner at Veggie Galaxy?
AP: I don't know if I can point to one best moment. When we have a full dining room of happy customers, I can look back on all the effort that has been put in to get to this point and feel content in knowing that we're doing exactly what we set out to do.
G: When you're not making french toast stuffed with vanilla-nut vegan cream cheese, grilled corned-beef seitan reubens, and lemon meringue pie (my personal favorite), what are you cooking at home?
AP: Neither my wife nor I are really cooks. When we do cook, we keep it simple—herbed roasted vegetables over couscous is a favorite. I'm personally a big fan of pasta, so pasta and veggie meatballs are a favorite of mine. Though I have to admit that at home, as opposed to at the restaurant, we just buy the meatballs from the store.
Still hungry? Check out Groupon’s latest deals on vegetarian restaurants in Boston.
Photos: Aaron Scott
Though it had one of the quietest openings in recent history, Korean restaurant Seoul (156 Cambridge St.) is already making a name for itself. Its extensive menu of traditional Korean cuisine makes it a rarity for the area and a welcome addition to Beacon Hill.
Seoul has taken over the the space where Ma Soba used to be, and the owners obviously knew that major changes to the interior were just not needed. Still, the space somehow appears even larger than it did before, especially with floor-to-ceiling windows that push out to let in pleasant summer breezes. The decor is fresh and minimal, which keeps the spotlight on the food and its intricate flavors.
Seoul’s menu is divided into standard categories of appetizers and entrees, but it is written primarily in Korean with only the dish names translated into English. Luckily, the friendly, attentive servers are adept at guiding patrons through the menu and the different options available for each dish. To further customize each plate, banchan—a collection of small condiments—are delivered to each table and rotate for variety. My personal favorite was the kimchi, whose perfect blend of spice and tangy vinegar made it a great accompaniment to the already flavorful dishes.
To start, I had the scallion pancake, which was absolutely fantastic. Served on a cast-iron dish sizzling with heat, it was browned to perfection and chock-full of scallions for maximum flavor. The cake itself was light and not greasy despite its sizzle. The exterior was crunchy, while the insides were bursting with light onion flavor and gentle heat from the spicy kimchi that I elected to add. Personalization may be one of the best parts of this dish—you have the option to add different proteins or extra spice, if you so desire. I wanted to eat every single bite of this, and it’s enormous.
The japche quickly became another of my favorites here: vermicelli is stir-fried with lots of vegetables, soy sauce, and a bit of sweetness—and, in my case once again, some extra heat (though diners can also request it mild). As a spice lover, I thought it could have been a tad hotter, but it had a great kick that mingled with the umami and sweet flavors. The noodles were perfectly cooked and held the sauce well, whereas the vegetables and chicken (beef, tofu and seafood are also available) added textural contrasts to complete the dish.
With its large menu of traditional, customizable dishes, Seoul has been making its mark on the Boston restaurant scene as the new go-to spot for Korean food. Though it’s definitely still stretching its legs, I see great things for Seoul.
Fiona’s rating: 3.5/5 stars
Good for: date night, family dinner, lunch, spice lovers, adventurous eaters
Alcohol: beer and wine only
Outdoor seating: no
Photos by Fiona Coxe