If you’ve got seafood on your mind, you’re probably thinking of popular, semi-swanky places like Great Bay or powerhouse Legal Sea Foods. But if you have a hankering for scallops, clam chowder, or a lobster roll, and have no intention of changing out of that ratty sweatshirt, head for Belle Isle. In essence, it’s the seafood equivalent of a barbecue roadhouse. On the tiny Winthrop Bridge is some of the best no-frills fish and lobster this side of Kennebunkport, Maine.
There’s a veritable laundry list to choose from, including sole, haddock, salmon, shrimp, and calamari. Have your fish how you like it, whether fried, baked, stuffed, blackened, or grilled. And the lobster roll ($15.99) is the star of the show: a behemoth mound of meat is barely contained by its hot-dog bun. The baked scallop dinner ($10.50) doesn’t skimp, either, and comes with sides of rice pilaf, coleslaw, tartar sauce, lemon wedge, and roll. The chowder ($1.99/cup; $3.75/pint; $6.99/quart) is clam-packed, creamy, and thick.
But no frills means no frills. Unlike famous Woodman’s in Essex, Belle Isle can’t really be classified as a restaurant, not even by "shack" standards. All orders are served takeout-style (regrettably in Styrofoam containers) for you to enjoy in the comfort of your home. Some folks, though, chow down right on the bridge and watch the neighborhood fishermen. If you need a seafood fix, Belle Isle is a city slicker’s dream.
Belle Isle Seafood, located at 1267 Saratoga Street, in East Boston, is open Monday through Thursday, and Saturday, from 10 am to 7 pm; on Friday, from 10 am to 8 pm; and on Sunday, from 11 am to 7 pm. Call 617.567.1619.