Legal Sea Foods - Charles Square

4.3
1312 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

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 1312 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.2
service
4.1
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
84% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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H
New England
7 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent venue, friendly & great food! The service is fantastic!

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o
New England
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Great place to bring out of town guest. We brought a cousin from Inidana, where fresh fish is always questionable. We ordered Artic char, pan seared and grilled. All enjoyed excellent preparation of quality seafood. Legal also had a nice wine paring with a Jester Shiraz. Polenta was deliciuos with just the right texture. We'll be back.

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R
New England
8 reviews
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have been to this Legal Seafoods many times and have always had a great experience. The staff is friendly and very accommodating if a change is requested when ordering a meal. I like the atmosphere. At Christmas the courtyard on which this restaurant is located is beautifully decorated and lighted. Over all it is a pleasure.

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N
1 review
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was incredible. They've converted me to sea food with the most incredible swordfish, tuna, cod. Also, they had the best lobster I've ever had. The portions were great and well-matched to the price. A large majority of the menu could be made allergy-safe gluten-free. I felt very safe and cared for as a person with celiac disease. They had the most fantastic gluten-free rolls. Everyone in my party was very very impressed.

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r
New England
2 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Appetizer and main course was great, but their dessert (key lime) was terrible.

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p
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The gold standard in seafood!

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T
St. Louis
1 review
Dined on November 27, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

I found the ciopinno rather uninspired, the service uneven (e.g. not bringing us the right utensils before food arrive, the timing of food, etc). I suspect the waiter was new.

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K
New England
4 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 1

Were seated right next to the bar, where some gathering of folks was underway who were incredibly loud and obnoxious. Service on the slow side. Food generally good, but nothing special.

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was especially delicious that night!
It was so jam packed busy that evening and our waitress said they did not expect it to be that busy.
Despite this, the wait staff and servers were professional and on top of everything. Thank you!

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HD
New England
22 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I always get the crab cake combo with scallops and shrimp. A little pricey but dependable. That plus a glass of Sancerre and a Cappuccino plus tip runs $65.

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OT
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

Not up to regular standard of service and food. Something has changed and the experience was very disappointing .

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B
New England
26 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 1

Service is typically poor at this location but was worse than usual. Two hours to complete our dinner with an almost nonexistent server. In addition, parents let their toddler scream for more than 40 minutes. Diners near us asked management to speak to that party and they declined. Made for an unpleasant experience for many diners. The location is also in desperate need of a makeover- consistently unclean too.

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M
New England
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

Our server really tried to take care of us, but she could not make up for the lack of quality food and preparation, especially in light of the price point. The pricing is more in line with white table cloth fine dining, but you get a casual experience on paper place mats. Our "market price" items were significantly higher than the entire menu.

Many of the dishes seemed incomplete: plain steamed broccoli, plain white rice... No sauces unless you read the fine print on the menu that "allows" you to select your sauce. The kitchen should take care of this, not the diner. Complete the dish!

Main courses arrived via food auction, not by place number/diner; terrible, especially at a "better" restaurant.

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JE
New England
15 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Great service, delicious food cozy for a family dinner on a holiday but overall a delightful meal and cheerful server.

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H
Los Angeles
18 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Thanksgiving dinner and perfectly happy we ate there. Had both the Seafood Casserole and the Ciopino. Great oysters, brilliant Ahi appy and perfect wine selection.

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4
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 2food 5service 5ambience 2

Great food and service but tables were placed too close together. We were practically sitting on top of neighboring patrons.

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OT
Los Angeles
33 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2018
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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KM
1 review
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Always delicious! Great atmosphere snd attentive staff!

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MG
New England
2 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

As always food was delicious and staff friendly and professional.

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KC
Cleveland
8 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2018
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 on November 14, 2018
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
10 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
5 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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