Legal Sea Foods - Charles Square

4.4
1294 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Seafood
The signature dish at Legal Sea Foods – really fresh fish. Located in the courtyard of the Charles Hotel, our restaurant evokes the simple style of the original Legal Sea Foods that was in nearby Inman Square, Cambridge. In warmer months our outside patio reels in those who choose the fresh seafood and fresh air combo.

We’ve received a boatload of accolades including “#1 Best Seafood Restaurant” (USA Today, 2013), “Most Popular Boston Restaurant” (Zagat, 2012/2013), “Best Seafood Restaurant” (Improper Bostonian, 2010), “Best Chowder” (Boston Magazine, 2010) and the honor of serving our legendary New England Clam Chowder at every presidential inauguration since 1981.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Seafood, Oyster Bar, Fish
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Hours of operation
Sunday - Thursday: 11am - 10pm
Friday & Saturday: 11am - 11pm
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Phone number
(617) 491-9400
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Elliot
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Parking details
Our validation will net you savings at two area garages. Park before 5pm for discounted rates and after 5pm for a $11 maximum rate at the adjacent Charles Square Garage. Or park for $12 before 5pm on weekdays and $8 after 5pm on weekdays and weekends at the nearby University Place Garage, 124 Mount Auburn Street.
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Public transit
Harvard Square (Red Line) "T" stop.
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Entertainment
Rock the boat at our downstream Terrace Bar in the lower atrium of Charles Square. It’s a popular lure in season, open daily mid-April to mid-October from 11am to 1am, with light fare available from 11am to 11pm.
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Special events & promotions
Celebrate a special occasion or host a corporate event at Legal Sea Foods. We customize every menu and finishing detail. Here at Charles Square, our semi private dining rooms can accommodate up to 50 people for special functions.
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Gift Card
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Specials

Thanksgiving Dinner Special Menus & Offers

Join us this Thanksgiving for everything from stuffed turkey to stuffed lobster! Reservations are recommended. Come celebrate the holiday with your family and leave the cooking to us!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Christmas Eve Special Menus & Offers

We're open and serving up yuletide cheer! Reservations are recommended, and private dining rooms must be reserved in advance.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Day Special Menus & Offers

Join us for a ho-ho-holiday feast! Reservations are recommended, and private dining rooms must be reserved in advance.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

What 1294 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.3
service
4.1
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
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OT
Los Angeles
33 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of three meals I had a Legal Seafood during my recent stay in Cambridge--I used to live there, don't anymore and miss it and Legal terribly. All the food was superb: my boiled lobster, swordfish and lobster roll were perfectly cooked. The lobster might have been the best I've ever eaten, and it was easy to eat, thanks to the chef's skillful sectioning. The swordfish was fantastic, and the lobster roll was a very generous, with a large amount of meat. Another thing I love about Legal is its large selection of wines by the glass, which are reasonably priced. The service was efficient and friendly; I never felt unattended or in need of anything. And although Legal accommodates groups of all sizes, I particularly appreciate the fact that single diners like me are treated well. Needless to say, I'll be back ASAP.

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KC
Cleveland
8 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Went for a family birthday. Large party but that did not impact our service at all. Waitress and staff very attentive. Food was good to very good with a dish or two great but at the price point would expect very good to great. ll that said, will definitely go again given, ambiance, service level and ability to host larger groups.

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ED
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great selection. We ordered crab cake with shrimp and scallops which was excellent.

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C
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food, reliably good. Not too noisy, so good for conversation.

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SL
New England
3 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a good time at legals, food was tasty and the legal sangria taste better every time. Waiter was very nice as well.

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MB
New England
3 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Probably our favorite Legal Seafood location. Seafood is generally excellent and the atmosphere is very comfortable - Good booths & bar seating is also great for informal meals.

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JC
New England
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Used to be better. Fried seafood is now heavier and saltier/ more seasoned. Quirky items unique to Legals are generally long gone (fried smelts, Shandong sauce, etc.). No longer offering choice of side dishes, though you can ask them to make substitutions and they'll do it happily. Service quite good and the room is appealing.

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SK
New England
1 review
Dined on November 5, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

I ordered a cup of lobster bisque. When it arrived the cup was just over 1/2 filled, there were miniscule its of lobster, no discernible sherry, and it was lukewarm. Definitely a disappointment and NOT a good value, especially since I had counted upon it and another appetizer to be my entire lunch. Disappointing. Also, I heard no 'raves' for the food from my 6 other guests. Bottom line: Not a showstopper of a meal.

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J
Denver
6 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Great service! Excellent location. Good food.

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I
New England
4 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 3food 1service 2ambience 3

Food quality was not consistent with Legal reputation!!

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c
New England
38 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

Legals in Harvard Square has been our mainstay, but of late the service is quite poor. Last visit, the woman continually interrupted a serious discussion with colleagues, attempting to be playful but instead was extremely irritating. Note to servers: we do not go out to dinner to find new friendships, or to be entertained by your chatter. Please simply do your job. This most recent visit we waited over an hour for entrees, and instead of fully clearing the table, the waitress was seen relaxing and chatting near the bar. It may sound picky, but the management should retrain the servers, to restore the previous high level of this restaurant.

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OT
Denver
30 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 3

This is the sea food chain, and it shows. Both clam chowder and lobster bisque were tasty but not great. I would rate as a B rather than an A. The muscles were small and dry, but not bad. Service was great, and our server and Dan was personable and efficient.
Overall impression B .

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t
New England
9 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Legal sea foods is one of my staples. Fish reliably fresh and delicious and it is conveniently located for me in harvard square area. I eat there often and happily

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OT
New England
25 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 2

Disappointing.
We opted for Legal, because we couldn't get a reservation at Henrietta's Table, across the way. Legal used to be pretty reliable, and maybe it is, for fish and chips.
Not for the Tuna Sashimi Poke Bowl-- the tuna was gristly, and the other ingredients were a literal hot mess, with no sense that they all belonged together. The kimchee was almost tasteless.
Definitely overpriced for the entrees. There was a very large group at the next table, and they seemed to be having a great time, so I think it might be a fun place to meet friends and not concentrate on the food!

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OT
Coahuila
1 review
Dined on October 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service!! The waitresses and all the Restaurant staff were very serviceable and kind, thank you very much!!

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m
Vancouver
13 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and great service. Fish was really fresh and loved how many options there were.

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LF
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

A gourmet seafood restaurant, with a well-deserved reputation. And yes, they can do desserts too.

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LS
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 3

Seated quickly, friendly and knowledgeable waitress, checked in to see that everything was fine, suggested items and quick with the check and deserts to go. Will def be back!

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EM
1 review
Dined on October 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The cioppino was very good. The wait staff were fun and accommodating.

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JM
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The seafood at Legals has generally always been very good, but once in a while you can have a mediocre meal. Not this trip! The food was all exceptional. There were four in our party and we had a baked medley of lobster, crab and haddock; a Caesar’s salad with salmon; clam chowder; and a shrimp dish. All were fresh and flavorful, and prepared nicely without excessive butter and oil.

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RI
New England
4 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

As always consistent , good service and well prepared food

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J
New England
4 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

WE HAD A LARGE GROUP. OUR WAITRESS WAS GREAT AND THE FOOD WAS DELICIOUS.

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M
New England
13 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

We went to legal after a concert, around 10PM and ordered jumbo crab cakes. They were pure bread and almost no crab at all.( this is not the first time we have problems a this location that we normally go because they are open until late). We called the manager and he offered to bring new ones The "new ones "were exactly the same.
It is way to expensive to spend more than 32 dollars each for such a meal.
My family and I are clients of Legal Seafoods since 2005. It is a pity that in almost all locations the quality of the food and the service is deteriorating.

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TL
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

It was very busy which was unusual for this usually quiet location. Unfortunately, they didn't seem to handle it well. Our food came out cold, another diner in our party received the wrong meal and then had to wait nearly half an hour for the replacement meal. They did comp the meal that was wrong/late. It was a special birthday dinner so I was disappointed it was so hectic, loud and our meals weren't hot. It's not a cheap night out either!

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T
New England
4 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Legal Seafoods manages to keep the menu fresh and interesting and the specials are great. The quality of the food is fresh and excellently prepared. They are very accommodating with any special requests or substitutions of side dishes. Their wine list is his quality and interesting.

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e
New England
25 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great Clam Chowder and sea food. Convenient location in Harvard Square

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D
New England
24 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 4food 2service 5ambience 3

My husband and I eat often at Legal Sea Foods. In this case, we specifically went for the Oyster Festival. My husband was satisfied with his meal: 3 raw oysters, 3 fried oysters, and a cup of clam chowder.

I ordered 9 fried oysters from the raw oyster menu. Legal permitted that if I was willing to pay individually for each oyster, rather than 3 for $10.00. Years ago, Legal had fried oysters on their regular menu and the oysters were large, succulent, and completely delicious. The 9 oysters I was served Sunday evening were as if someone had chopped a few oysters into small pieces and fried them. The eating experience was very disappointing.

That said, the service was excellent.

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KA
New England
1 review
Dined on September 29, 2018
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 2

The restaurant was mostly empty when we went for an early dinner, but the service was extremely slow. We finished eating and it took 25 minutes just to get our check. We came before an event and thankfully gave ourselves extra time. Most of the time, we saw our waitress up near the bar talking to co-workers. Not impressed.

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CS
Nashville
3 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great Free Seafood! Perfect environment for almost any occasion!

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R
New England
4 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2018
Overall 1food 3service 2ambience 1

In Prior years we liked this place very much. This time we had to wait at the table for the bottle of sauvignon blanc more than 45 minutes. The waiter told us this would be the last bottle and is not chilled. We ordered than a flight of vine, which took more than half an hour to arrive. Crab legs were served without an Cracker. Before we finished our meal the other tables and the carpet around were cleaned and vacumed at around 9:30.

In summary, the Food was good, but the Overall experience was very poor!!!!

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TS
New England
3 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 5

I’ve been coming to legal at the Charles for a long time , Good is always Delicous !
The service was terrible we waited 20 min before we got water or any help at all , the waiter stated they were training .
But I come here for the food !

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 3

This was supposed to be for a ladies night/bachelorette dinner...they were served one round of drinks, only 4 of the 5 water glasses were ever refilled!?!?! I have never been so humiliated in front of a group of friends because I picked the restaurant!! "It's close to Harvard, it will be high-end service"....I would have got better service at Burger King!!!!

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j
New England
5 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Wonderful as usual but the fish wasn't cooked as good as usual. (Anna's baked cod).

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NG
1 review
Dined on September 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A friend and I had lunch there on a Friday. It was quiet and very easy to chat, the service was great, and the food was just wonderful. The friend had a kale salad with shrimp (the best she's ever eaten). I had the lobster roll (done just right and straightforward). It made for a very pleasant time and exactly fit the our desire to catch up while eating well-prepared food.

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GA
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Food quality has not been what we remember of Legal from years ago.

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ED
New England
10 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I frequent many Legals, and, this is my favorite. The food, and service are tops-- much better than the other suburban Legals. We were able to sit outside on a lovely end of summer night-- another treat.

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S
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything we ordered was delicious, and the service was friendly and attentive. Legal sure knows how to do fish and chips, fried clams, and fried calamari; their fried coating has a light and crispy texture that is incomparable, for I have not had such a good version anywhere else. Great french fries, too. The hot lump crab dip served with Old-Bay shrimp chips is fantastic comfort food. I can’t wait to come back to Legal.

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MG
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

They ran out of salmon and halibut and swordfish... I had to order artic char instead.
The food was ao delicious!

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L
New England
8 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Very efficient and friendly waiter from Sweden!

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VT
New England
3 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

Service was subpar, wait staff did not offer bread during the longer than usual wait. The meal took a long time to arrive and the grilled shrimp was overly salty.
The manager was friendly and did a good job after I mentioned the meal being too salty.

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