Tourists aren’t the only ones who appreciate a water view with dinner — so why do so many restaurants with water views feel like tourist traps? If you would like to enjoy some aquatic scenery while dining in the Boston area, without encountering cranky families having post-Freedom Trail meltdowns, lobster rolls that cost as much as an entire mortgage payment, or “chowdah” (shudder), you’ve got options. Here are some waterside restaurants to visit when you’re not a tourist (or just don’t want to feel like one).

Belle Isle Seafood

This super-casual, cash-only Winthrop standby isn’t a secret to out-of-towners: The New York Times named it one of the best restaurants in Boston a few months ago, and it is a convenient stop on the way to and from the airport. But it is, and feels like, a spot for locals. Chowder is made in house and spelled with a dignified “er.” The justifiably famed lobster roll is filled with a half-pound of super-fresh meat for $37.99 (or buy lobster at the seafood counter for $55 a pound and make your own roll at home). And don’t sleep on the fried seafood platters, generous and perfectly crisp and golden. Feast and watch the planes fly overhead as boats bob on the inlet.

1 Main St., Winthrop, 617-567-1619, www.belleisleseafood.net

Boardwalk Pizza

If you want to feel like you’ve retired to Florida for a hot minute (albeit with a cooling breeze), pay a visit to the Marina Bay boardwalk in Quincy. After you’ve purchased a new beach coverup, had your hair done (or removed), and pet a bunch of dogs, grab a slice — thin-crust or Sicilian — and stroll along the boardwalk. Return for a frozen treat from the adjacent Donato’s Gelato with its fabulous candy-colored chandeliers, then sally forth again.

332 Victory Road, Quincy, 617-315-4099, www.boardwalkpizzamb.com

Four Winds Pub & Grill

Unexpected waterside bliss by the shores of Lake Lynnapesaukee, a.k.a. Lynn’s truly magical Sluice Pond. Outside, Four Winds Pub & Grill looks like your average dive bar. Inside, it’s a beachy lodge with views of serenely rippling water, serving upscale pub fare: crispy avocado wedges with buttermilk dipping sauce, bourbon-black pepper burgers, fish tacos, and the unmissable candied garlic spareribs. Grab one of the reasonably priced cocktails and watch the sun set over the lake.

265 Broadway, Lynn, 781-595-5444, www.fourwindspub.com

Mida East Boston

Some things can’t be contained — like neighborhood Italian restaurants serving handmade pasta from an acclaimed chef. Thus Douglass Williams’s South End spot replicated, in Newton and East Boston. The last adds “view for days” to its list of charms, which include paccheri bolognese, gnocchi cacio e pepe, and smoked short rib lasagna. On a leisurely weekend, take the ferry over for brunch for the full on-the-water experience.

65 Lewis St., East Boston, 617-996-1224, www.midarestaurant.com


The patio outside the Royal Sonesta’s restaurant offers a grand view of the Charles River and city skyline. Formerly Dante, this space reopened in June. Now it’s Monteverdi, the latest project from restaurateur Seth Greenberg (Mistral, Serafina). Come for a contemplative plate of garlicky, lemony linguine vongole and a cold glass of Gavi, maybe stay for a turned-up weekend party with DJ and frisky international crowd?

40 Edwin H Land Boulevard, Cambridge, 617-806-4100, www.monteverdirestaurant.com

Night Shift Brewing

Night Shift beer and currently hot Detroit-style pizza taste even better when consumed beside Boston Harbor. You can have all that at this Lovejoy Wharf hangout right by TD Garden. Sample taproom-specific selections and a ’Roni, ‘Roni, ‘Roni pie (guess what it’s topped with) on the patio overlooking the water. Check the gameday schedule and plan according to your desires; if you aren’t up for crowds, you might visit one of Night Shift’s riverside beer gardens on the Esplanade or in Allston instead.

1 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston, 617-456-7687, www.nightshiftbrewing.com

The Raw Bar at Island Creek

The perfect summer party: beer, oysters, lawn games, music, and mingling. Bring the family. Bring the dog. Enjoy the view and the cooling breeze off Duxbury Bay. But most of all enjoy the fresh-as-you-can-get-them oysters, grown right here at Island Creek Oyster Farm. There’s also Island Creek’s own caviar and tinned fish, sushi bowls, and more. After you’ve won enough cornhole games, adjourn to the casually elegant Winsor House for dinner (and more oysters, of course).

403 Washington St., Duxbury, 781-934-2012, www.islandcreekoysters.com


We almost don’t even need to mention it: An annual visit to this Castle Island landmark is practically mandatory. An afternoon of hot dogs and soft-serve, followed by sunning and strolling, is priceless (but in the real world also happily affordable). The entire city is here, and in a festive mood.

2080 William J. Day Boulevard, South Boston, 617-268-5685, www.sullivanscastleisland.com


Gloucester is full of beautiful spots, and Talise is located in one of the prettiest of them all, Lobster Cove in Annisquam. The menu is stocked with ingredients sourced from local farmers and fishermen: Gloucester bluefin crudo, Rockport lobster, salads with vegetables from farms in Hamilton and Ipswich, grains from Hadley. Pasta, charcuterie, bread, and more are made in house. The bounty of the area is evident all around: water, water everywhere, and what seems like more boats than people.

33 River Road, Annisquam, Gloucester, 978-515-7814, www.taliserestaurant.com

Woods Hill Pier 4

Even when the city is dead, as on a long weekend in the summer, the Seaport is bustling. Somehow, this part of Boston makes everyone feel like a tourist. Amid the chains and hubbub, in the spot that was long Anthony’s Pier 4, find this locally owned restaurant that is consistent, delicious, and not as expensive as it could be given the scenery. Executive chef Charlie Foster stocks the menu with pasture-raised meat and other ingredients from restaurateur Kristin Canty’s New Hampshire farm, serving up steak tartare, house-made pasta, butter-poached lobster, and crispy lamb ribs to a Nantucket-chic crowd. Cocktails are very nice, too. Woods Hill Pier 4 makes a perfect stop before or after the ICA.

300 Pier Four Boulevard, Seaport, Boston, 617-981-4577, www.woodshillpier4.com

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