Union Oyster House, Boston

4 out of 5 stars 4 Stars - 20 Reviews

41 Union St., Boston, MA 617-227-2750

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  • Marianna77's Profile Photo

    Union Oyster House: You have to try the oysters!

    by Marianna77 Updated Dec 22, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The atmosphere is very relaxed. When you enter you'll think you're in a boat. The decor is beautiful (mostly wood) .

    Favorite Dish: The oysters at this place are always fresh and oh so tasty! If you want seafod, oysters in particular, this is the place to go. I've been to many seafood places in Boston over the years, and I think no other place compares to Union Oyster house.

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  • ViajesdelMundo's Profile Photo

    UNION OYSTER HOUSE: America's Oldest Restaurant

    by ViajesdelMundo Written Oct 8, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    We went here with a group, while attending a Viet Nam Reunion, so our dinner was in a back room and a set menu with choice of several entrees. All of it was good, the public part of the restaurant was full and looked to be a great place!

    see the history of this restaurant at: http://www.unionoysterhouse.com/Pages/history.html

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Historical Travel

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  • Kaspian's Profile Photo

    Union Oyster House: Union Oyster House: America's Oldest Restaurant

    by Kaspian Updated Apr 1, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Union Oyster House (2006)
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    "Daddy, they kill those lobsters! They boil them! Nooo...," a teenage girl, old enough to know better, wails by the lobster tank. "I know, honey," her father wraps a comforting arm around her shoulders. My companion and I burst out into riotous laughter and mock her attention-seeking melodrama and the father's gullibility to it. The pair scurry away in embarrassment. It is a seafood restaurant, after all...
    In fact, this is the oldest continually-run restaurant in the whole United States! It's been selling chow since 1826. Looking at the dishes served on the tables around me--fish, oysters, lobster, crab cakes, chowder, corn bread, my stomach growls loudly. I've never tried oysters before and since they're the speciality here, they're are a must.
    Our waitress is quick and chirpy; she brings drinks right away.
    The building that now houses the Union Oyster House has a long history. The actual year of its construction is unknown. Earliest records have it listed in 1742 as "At the Sign of the Cornfields"--an importer of dry goods and cloth from Europe. It also served as a printing press for American Revolution literature, a pay-station for troops, and a temporary home for the future King of France (Louis Philippe) in 1796. It finally became a restaurant called "Atwood & Bacon" when the pair bought it and installed the semi-circular oyster bar. President John F. Kennedy and his clan ate here often and there's a booth dedicated to him upstairs. Whew--boggling!
    I have no idea what oysters are supposed to taste like, so as I scoop the slimy mollusk down my throat, I decide it's "good but a bit bland", and I add more horseradish to the next one. Oysters must be an acquired taste. Next, is the clam chowder. I'd spent the morning at "Chowderfest", sampling chowders from restaurants all over Boston, but this is the best I've ever had.
    After a small delay, while the waitress searched the restaurant to find me some tartar sauce, I dig into my fish and chips. It's absolutely delicious!

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    • Family Travel

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  • kehale's Profile Photo

    Union Oyster House: Go for the Clam ChowDAH!

    by kehale Written Aug 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The oldest restaurant in Boston and "the oldest restaurant in continuous service in the U.S"!! No joke! The building definitely reflects it's age and though it looks small when you first walk in, they have more than enough seating! So many great finishings and details that highlight the history and age of the building.

    There's nothing like going in and enjoying any of the Sam Adams seasonal beers at the raw bar and ordering a plate of freshly shucked oysters!

    Favorite Dish: By far the best thing in the entire restaurant is their clam chowder (chowdah - as it's affectionately referred to by the locals) :)!! I can't resist ordering a cup or bowl any time we drop by for a meal, and we usually try to make that during any of our visits back to Boston!

    We actually love it so much that we've found the recipe and make it at home once in a while! If you're a seafood lover I would definitely recommend it - I mean, if nothing else at least you can say you enjoyed a meal in Boston's oldest restaurant :)

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  • risse73's Profile Photo

    Union Oyster House: Historically-relevant

    by risse73 Updated Jul 16, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    National Historic Landmark plaque
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    There's a lot of history associated with this very old restaurant in the heart of Boston. The revolutionaries met here and countless presidents have dined at this place. This was JFK's hang-out where he had their famous oysters at the bar.

    The food here is generally okay. I'd give them a lot of credit for their rich and tasty clam chowder soup, which I almost always have whenever I dine here. The little neck clams cooked Basque-style is superb. They also have lobster rolls and other seafood treats. Service is courteous, efficient, and pleasant.

    Overall, this restaurant is over-rated and touristy, but I'd still highly recommend it to any visitors in the area. Enjoy!

    Favorite Dish: Mix of seafood.

    Related to:
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    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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  • shohman's Profile Photo

    Union Oyster House: America's Oldest Restaurant

    by shohman Written Jun 20, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Union Oyster House

    The oldest continuously operating Restaurant in the U.S. The Oyster house has been serving Bostonians since 1826 non stop. I don't know anybody from Boston who hasn't eaten here at least once. I am hardly an expert on oysters, but friends tell me these are the best.

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  • Erin74's Profile Photo

    Union Oyster House: Yes, it's touristy. Go there anyway!

    by Erin74 Written Nov 4, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Union Oyster House, Boston

    Union Oyster House is probably the #1 restaurant tourists are told to visit in Boston. You might think this is an excellent reason to avoid it entirely... but I actually recommend that you bite the bullet and eat here. Why? Great food, good atmosphere and a real sense of history. Go for dinner, when there are fewer tourists standing around the lobby gawking.

    Union Oyster House was established in 1826 and is a National Historic Landmark. It's the oldest restaurant in continuous service in the USA. Trivia related to Union Oyster House:

    -- In 1771, from this site, printer Isaiah Thomas published "The Massachusetts Spy," the oldest newspaper in the USA.

    -- The restaurant once served as an official "pay station" for Federal troops during the revolutionary war.

    -- In 1796, the future King of France, Louis Philippe, lived on the second floor while in exile from his country.

    -- Daniel Webster used to dine here, as did John F. Kennedy (his regular booth is marked with a plaque).

    Favorite Dish: The cornbread here is fantastic!! Make sure you order some. I ordered the lobster ravioli (which the waitress claimed was the most popular dish served there) and it was amazing. Rich and buttery. They also have several lobster specials and a number of excellent fish dishes. If you're not a fan of fish, the Caesar salad and blackened chicken breast are just the thing.

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  • Rich62's Profile Photo

    THE UNION OYSTER HOUSE: AMERICA'S OLDEST RESTAURANT

    by Rich62 Written May 26, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    UNION OYSTER HOUSE
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    THIS IS THE OLDEST CONTINUOUSLY OPERATED RESTAURANT/TAVERN IN THE USA. It is located right along the Freedom Trail.

    I don't have any idea if it is true or not, but I am told that this is where John F. Kennedy proposed marriage to Jackie.

    Favorite Dish: I have never eaten here.

    Related to:
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    • Beer Tasting
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  • myrtle's Profile Photo

    Union Oyster House: Great clam chowder

    by myrtle Written Feb 7, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    JFK's booth at the Union Oyster House

    This restaurant was in a good location for us, and we really enjoyed the food. The service could've been better. We weren't sure if we just had high expectations since we're from the south. We thought maybe we were overreacting since our server was not so friendly, but I think our server was just rude. She was actually throwing our food at us & would run off before asking if there was anything else we needed, so we had a hard time catching her attention. This picture was taken in the booth that John F. Kennedy always sat at when he dined here.

    Favorite Dish: The clam chowder is wonderful!

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  • Phildagr8's Profile Photo

    Union Oyster House: Don't Miss the Fresh Seafood!

    by Phildagr8 Updated Apr 10, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Union Oyster House, established a long time ago
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    This place has the history and ambiance of America's Oldest Restaurant. This place is a National Historic Landmark. The walls of this restaurant has over 250 years of American history hanging inside. This building has been standing since before the Revolutionary War. It was around 1742 when the bldg contained a Silk and dry goods business.

    Even the bathrooms are small.

    They also have private function rooms, too, that can handle up to 250 people! It's all at the website!

    Favorite Dish: The Clam Chowder was fantastic. my lunch tasted great, the steamed clams happened to have had too much sand, and the waitress credited our check for them. The seafood was great. I can't wait to go back.

    This place has a gift shop on the first floor. I ate on the 2nd floor as it was incredibly busy. We didn't wait long, and it was worth the trip.

    The prices were about average. They had free postcards of this place. The placemats alone had great historical information, so being the tourist I am, I asked for one, and they were more than happy to oblige.

    Related to:
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Historical Travel

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  • grannypl6's Profile Photo

    Union Oyster House: Union Oyster House

    by grannypl6 Written Jun 16, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The oldest restaurant in the USA. You have to go. This was a favorite hangout of writers, politicians and historians.

    Favorite Dish: New England Clam Chowda------It doesn't get any better than that
    Lazy man's Lobster. Oh my gosh.
    This transplanted New England Native was saliivating over all the wonderful authentic dishes.

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  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Union Oyster House: Union Oyster House

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Dec 3, 2006

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Since 1826 the Union Oyster House has been serving customers, making it the oldest restaurant in continuous operation in the US. There are no records showing when the building was constructed, but there was a clothing store in this facility as far back as 1742.

    I only ate here once, it was one New Years Eve when freezing temperatures limited our time outdoors and huge cover charges at neighboring establishments ($50+) limited our time indoors. We ducked in here and had some calamari and other appetizers along with several pints of beer to warm us up. Seemed like many others in the crowd were doing the same!

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  • jenn5179's Profile Photo

    Union Oyster House: Go for the history, not the food

    by jenn5179 Written Jan 4, 2008

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The oldest restaurant in the country is wonderful to see and experience -- its has all these little rooms, narrow staircases, very charming.

    However, the food was mediocre at best.

    The chowder was the worst chowder we had in Boston - a place called Kennedy's Midtown (just near the main shopping area Macys, DSW, Filene's, etc) had chowder that blew the Oyster House out of the water.

    My crab cakes were two gigantic fried disappointments. The batter or something about how they fried them made them taste like they were frozen.

    The only good thing was the oysters

    Favorite Dish: The oysters were very good here, fresh, good size, etc, etc

    I would suggest stopping in for a dozen just to check the place out, but I would not go back there for an entire meal

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  • rids's Profile Photo

    Union Oyster House

    by rids Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Union Oyster House
    The oldest continuously operating restaurant in America has two big claims to fame: French King Louis-Phillipe lived over the tavern during his youth, and the toothpick was first used here (wonder how they know that?). The food looked good too, and there were a lot of people eating oysters, at what they say is 'one of Boston's best raw bars.'

    Favorite Dish: We didn't eat here, but I would have had clam chowder and raw oysters. We get great Gulf oysters in Texas all the time, and during happy hour they are only 25 cents each, so I wasn't anxious to pay $2.95 EACH.

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  • Union Oyster House: Best Chowder in Town

    by Perpetualtraveller Written Jul 12, 2006

    We went to Union Oyster House for dinner, and thank god we had reservations, wait time for those who did not was 90 minutes. Once inside, we were treated with the best service and food to match. Our fiesty waitress was great, and the whole staff is full of life. It was a real treat for us. Dinner was fantastic, the clam chowder was the best I have ever tasted. Dinner was good, although it was fairly pricy. Great overall

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