The Hourly Oyster House

4.7
766 Reviews
$30 and under
Oyster Bar
The Hourly Oyster House is a vibrant and welcoming neighborhood outpost in the heart of Harvard Square, where guests can enjoy thoughtfully sourced and playfully prepared seafood and oysters from New England and beyond, as well as a carefully crafted selection of signature cocktails, beer and wine. With a focus on seafood, The Hourly serves up New England classics in a dynamic and airy space.

Support The Hourly Oyster House during COVID-19

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Contactless payment available
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
  • Contact tracing information collected
What 766 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.7
service
4.6
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
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OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Experience was really amazing. Clam chowder was some of the best I’ve ever had, service was great (Cameron was fantastic). Great ambiance and lighting—would come back!

TB
ThomasB
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Got there early and they were very accommodating …they let us sit at the bar where our bartender set us up with specialty drinks and oysters and then off to our table for great swordfish and scallops… awesome service and rose wine!! We will be back again soon!

SM
StephenM
New England
1 review
Dined on October 8, 2021
Overall5food4service4ambience5

Great quality seafood; traditional salade nicoise with salmon - a nice touch. The tuna tatare appetizer was small but delicious.

KC
vipKourtneyC
Richmond
6 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our server Cameron was FANTASTIC!! Great personality and excellent recommendations. These were by far the best quality oysters we have ever had. They were also shucked and prepared perfectly. Not once did we ever get a piece of shell.

2
vip2cats
New York Area
28 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Seafood is fresh and salad is very good as well as exceptional oysters and wine selection is excellent as well

MA
MAntonia
Nashville
8 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Fish and chips and clam chowder were great. Tahini bowl was pretty good.

RG
RachelG
New England
3 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Staff was amazing and gifted us two glasses of champagne for our four year anniversary. This is a special place to us because it’s where we first met on our first date. Thank you Hourly!

OT
OpenTable Diner
London
19 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely last minute lunch for our 46th anniversary. Limited outside dark seating lead us inside to the spacious airy, bright restaurant with booth seating, bar seating and oyster bar seating. Staff is enthusiastic and helpful but not hovering. Oyster presentation was spot on. Fried foods were crisp and not oily. Several uncooked based delicacies were offered. Strongly recommend.

GD
vipGoneDivingVA
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great restaurant experience. Service was great and the food was delicious. We loved the alleyway dining area. The octopus dish was excellent. Outside patio without being right near the traffic on the street.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
1 review
Dined on September 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great restaurant. Wonderful food and lovely service. One of our favorites and we try to go as often as we can. Highly recommend the Swordfish Steak and frites !

GC
GarthC
New England
1 review
Dined on September 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Outdoor dining was cozy and quiet. Oysters were great. Scallop entree was phenomenal. They handled our food allergy requests easily and the server was incredible. We will be back.

KR
KevinR
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 25, 2021
Overall3food2service5ambience5

Our server, Carolina was excellent.
Attentive and pleasant.
The calamari was rubbery and the octopus was mostly a bowl of potatoes with a few pieces of octopus.
Steak, however, was well-seasoned and cooked to my order.
Halibut sandwich was also fine.
Nicely appointed space, but disappointing overall.

GL
GeorgeL
New England
5 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We ate outside in September. Loud--city bus drives up the street on the other side of the barracade. But the service is attentive, good cocktails, great seafood!

JD
JayD
New York Area
1 review
Dined on September 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Let the numbers stand for themselves. Highly recommend for those going to Cambridge

PC
PatrickC
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great night out. Good food and reasonable. Nice location.

LE
vipLivetoEat
New York Area
43 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

The oysters, both raw and grilled were fresh and delicious as were the hush puppies. Entree portions were large without being obscene. We had the scallops with polenta and succotash, swordfish steak frites and a burrata salad for my wannabe vegetarian. A small error on the check was taken care of immediately. The only negative was when they had issues validating my parking- not a big deal, just a minor annoyance.

JB
JulieB
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2021
Overall5food4service3ambience5

If I had to only review based on the oysters/raw bar and Lobster Rolls alone, this restaurant is the cream of the crop and I’d wager a bet to say the very best in the Boston area. The oysters (I had the Spearpoint, Wellfleet and Cotuit, along with Littleneck clams) were super fresh and flavorful. No grit whatsoever. I HIGHLY recommend. The Lobster Rolls also did not disappoint. I’ve tried many and havent found one yet that compares as the cookery of the lobster was beyond perfect and the dressing was so light that it only enhanced the lobster itself. If you go to Boston, it is worth the short trip across the river to Cambridge for the oysters and lobster rolls alone.

If I’m being honest, I was disappointed in both appraisers we ordered. The smoked salmon appetizer was pedestrian at best and forgettable. Not enough smoked salmon so I guess the price was wrapped in the caviar. I’d advise getting it. The octopus appetizer was good from a flavor profile but it weakly lacked the correct ratio of octopus to the potato. The ratio should have been 60/40 in favor of the octopus and it was more like 70/30 in favor of potatoes. The cookery of the octopus was good but again, this appetizer missed the mark and I wouldn’t order again.

Come for the oysters and lobster rolls and you will be BEYOND SATISFIED!

M
Milly
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2021
Overall1food1service2ambience4

The oysters were not shucked properly, lots of grit and not released from their shell, the the waiter was confused about the menu, long wait in between oysters and apps to get food and one of the two dishes was burnt to a crisp. Very disappointed!

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on September 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The experience was great. The weather was iffy and we were trying to find covered outdoor space. The alley was perfect!

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
1 review
Dined on September 17, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Good vibe, Friday busy. Fun place good food

CO
vipCOB1
San Francisco
36 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Boston/Cambridge favorite. Great outdoor space and service is AMAZING. Loved everything from cocktail recommendations to food. Thank you.

JW
JessicaW
New England
2 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great date night. Such good food and fun atmosphere.

p
pigeonnumber3
New England
27 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Eating outside will continue to be tricky...windy and heater was a bit underpowered in the alley seats. Staff were friendly and efficient. Oysters were fresh and delicious, but due to price I only had 4 at $3ea. My "Battle of Starcourt" $12 cocktail came in a can labelled with restaurant name, and was good but not strong. Scallop dinner was delicious, came with polenta and succotash. Husband had rose sangria and fish and chips, which he enjoyed. French fries were very good.

B
Britt
1 review
Dined on September 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, great service, great atmosphere! TRY THE LOBSTER ROLL<3

AL
ArtL
New England
6 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Very good - definitely on the “return to” list.

IL
IselinLocal
Atlantic City
30 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great food. Everything tasted great!

EB
vipEmilyB
New England
19 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A wonderful place for fresh fish :-) especially love their “tower”.

TP
vipTeePee
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a must when we are in Cambridge. Cam, our server was fabulous-knowledgeable and attentive!

U
Urikhai
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2021
Overall3food4service3ambience2

Outdoor seating on the street was loud and not what we were expecting. The food is always great at hourly but the atmosphere this time was not what we wanted. Would have requested the “alley” or inside.

E
Edmosok
Los Angeles
9 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2021
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great place for oysters. Nice ambiance. Entree menu is somewhat limited.

CP
CarolynP
Atlanta
10 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was delicious - good selection of seafood. The server was also great - knowledgeable, friendly and kept us happy. Would definitely recommend.

KJ
KatherineJ
Houston
1 review
Dined on August 13, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Enjoyed it

RT
RichardT
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

From the moment the cold glass jars of water were brought to our table until the final sips of our drinks, this was an exceptional experience.
The oysters were fresh, there was a good selection, and they were tasty.
My wife and I had the clam chowder and both agreed, while not “traditional”, the temperature was perfect, the consistency perfect and the flavor outstanding. For our main meals, my wife had the salmon and I had the swordfish. Both cooked perfectly and accompanied with delicious sides. GREAT FOOD!
I had a vodka martini which was mixed perfectly and my wife had the mock tail which included watermelon and lime which was both refreshing and sweet.
The majority of the servers were friendly, helpful and responsive.
If there is a drawback, finding parking is definitely a chore, so plan ahead if you are driving. Next time, and there will be a next time, we’ll Uber.

The Hourly Oyster House
Responded on August 18, 2021

Richard, thank you for such a lovely review. I'm really glad you had such a wonderful experience. In terms of parking in the Square, there is a garage in the building directly across the street in The Smith Center that we offer validation for ($2 off total fee). We look forward to hosting you again soon!

Report
f
finny
New England
9 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Quick service, outdoor tables, and in the shade--just what I was looking for on a sweltering summer evening. The peach and burrata salad was a delight, as was the boozy milkshake.

k
vipkhakio
New England
25 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I always have a great meal and a great experience at Hourly Oyster. I enjoy the Tale of Two Oysters (we had four in our group last night and had a Tale of Four), and also like the Mexican seviche-like appetizer, mussels, lobster roll, lobster bisque -- pretty much everything I've tried. There's a delicious cocktail called Battle of Starcourt. Hourly is a great place to eat in the Square.

l
viplsullivan
New England
68 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Food and service were wonderful! Dined outside which was lovely, but I’ll never get used to being “on the sidewalk.”

PW
PatW
New England
9 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We dined outside on a lovely August evening. Our party of four ordered appetizers of shrimp cocktail and grilled octopus (both excellent) followed by entrees of grilled salmon, striped bass, fish & chips, and mussels. Everything was well-prepared and delicious. As we ate outside, I cannot comment on the indoor ambiance or noise level, but the food was great, the service friendly and efficient, and we were not rushed at all.

BS
vipBostonSoxFan
New England
17 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Excellent oysters and drinks. Burrata salad was fantastic!

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place SURPASSES the vibe check. First off, I don’t know who gave it the right to be that cute. It’s a mellow, but exciting mix of industrial and cozy. The drinks were delicious and they even can one of their own creations. (Wonder if it’s available for takeout purchase…) The food was exceptional; I’d go so far as to say “finger licking good” if I thought that was an acceptable practice. 12/10 recommend

JW
JimW
New England
2 reviews
Dined on August 4, 2021
Overall3food2service5ambience3

great service and good drinks but sub par food (terrible fried calamari, soggy tasteless octopus, ridiculously overpriced salmon nicoise for what it was). overall very disappointing.

FAQs

You can order delivery directly from The Hourly Oyster House using the Order Online button. The Hourly Oyster House also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (617) 765-2342.

The Hourly Oyster House is rated 4.7 stars by 766 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.

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