Legal Sea Foods - Charles Square

4.3
1418 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.
What 1418 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
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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PR
London
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was excellent and so was the service. Very friendly staff.

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LK
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Location is great. Parking very convenient. Wonderful to use when friends are staying at Charles Hotel. Greeter was very pleasant. Inability to book outdoor table through OpenTable is ridiculous.
I expect excellent seafood at Legal and all was, though halibut was waaaay overdone. Wine list was good.

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JA
New England
23 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

We have been fans of the Legal Sea Foods franchise, primarily for its consistently good food and service. Our last two trips to the Harvard Square location have delivered on neither expectation. Our dinner this past Tuesday was mediocre at best and the service was slow. We waited over 10 minutes for drinks to arrive (after waiting 10 minutes to order them), and only then did the waiter take our appetizer order, insisting he would come back for our entree order. As for food, the calamari was soggy and the clam chowder was luke warm - we sent the chowder back to be heated to an appropriate temp. My crab cake combo was very good, and my sons' meals (fish and chips and lobster) were also good, but my husband could barely eat his tuna (which came out at the wrong temp). We had a similar experience a month ago and thought it was a fluke, but unfortunately it seems to be a trend, at least at this location. Given there are so many other great seafood restaurants in the Boston area, I think we will be skipping Legal next time.

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P
New England
1 review
Dined on June 17, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

But, in a word: overpriced
If you charge 28.95 for salmon and slightly less for scrod, you should at least include a salad.
lunch for two with one soda water was nearly $60. And nothing else! Ridiculous.

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HD
New England
24 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

I have been enjoying Legal for many years and this was the first time I felt let down by the presentation of the food. The scallops and shrimp were literally thrown and scattered over my crabcake combo which I always order making for an unpleasant looking plate. My friend’s swordfish was accompanied with white wax beans and white mashed potatoes along with the white fish—very Unappetizing and she was never offered a choice of sides as was told they just come with the fish.

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EN
New England
10 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

All good. When made reservation said we were celebrating a birthday and was disappointed we were seated at what seemed to be a makeshift table. Waitress was very sweet and food great as always!

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LH
1 review
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 3

Food good. Service remarkably sloppy. One main course, at a table for six, arrived twenty minutes ---twenty minutes---before the other five , with a vague and slippery explanation.

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KF
New England
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

Service was very slow

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LC
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 2

I selected this restaurant as it is a favorite of my dinner companion, but I don't think that I would eat here otherwise. The menu items are fairly expensive for what you receive. The fried clams were not as tasty as I had hoped and tended to be rather mediocre and chewy.

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L
1 review
Dined on June 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

The only thing I was disappointed is the parking fee downstairs 28 dollars. I might not come back to that location because of that.

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OT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Staff was terrific in every way!
Good management shows!

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WT
New England
32 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The grilled fish was excellent! Our waiter was amazing and thoughtfully responded to our dietary requests for brown rice rather than mashed potatoes and sauce on the side. Manager was very friendly in asking guests if they were satisfied with food and service. Highly recommend this location!

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C
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Celebrating my daughter’s college graduation with extended family - 16 of us total! Outstanding food, outstanding service! Everyone, young and old, had a great evening and left very, very happy.

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DP
New England
1 review
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Service was great and the food was excellent. Really enjoyed the meal with my family.

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OT
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Such a wonderful end of a wonderful day (my Harvard Commencement) with my family. Food was delicious and plentiful (so were the stiff drinks). The staff was the cherry atop the cake. Highly recommended.

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BK
New England
1 review
Dined on May 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

We have eaten at this location of Legal Seafood many times. One thing that brings us back is its consistency. That has not changed. The food is very good, although the menu is getting a little tired. The service is fine, but could be a little better. It took a while for our drinks to arrive, although there weren't many other diners in the restaurant at the time.

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c
New England
1 review
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 2ambience 4

It was a quiet Friday afternoon yet service was somewhat slow and seemed unhappy about something. I did ask for a menu item on the dinner menu which I was told I could get which made me happy. It was baked stuffed shrimp which I was told csmecwith rice and carrots. When I received it, it was slightly burnt on the top, came with broccoli and no rice (I guess the wait staff had incorrect information). I love broccoli but it was questionable when the staff didn’t know the menu. Overall it was a nice time but for the price, I expected impeccable service and food.

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A
New England
22 reviews
Dined on May 23, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

The quality of the experience has been going down in the past few years. It is rare that there is a new item on the menu. For months there was no crab meat to go on the salad. Two rolls were offered to a customer, and this last time we got 2 rolls for two people. The prices have jumped. The worst was that they did not honor a reservation we made. We stood for 40 minutes and, since there was no promise of a table for six, we simply left.

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JM
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 23, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Gazpacho, halibut excellent. Clams very disappointing: small, very few bellies, mostly strips. Good batter, though!

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HP
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on May 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Everything was just OK. Specials were nothing to rave about and coffee was lukewarm and terrible.
Final impression is most important and they blew it. I won't be taking guests there again.

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n
1 review
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Mussels fried calamari friend shrimp hot rolls and butter all excellent. Fish chowder was bland. Glass of Sancerre for 13.50 was overpriced.

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SA
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 4

A “ special occasion” as noted in the Open Table reservation , noted at check in and , later noted to the manager on duty. The location advertised welcoming “ Graduates” as it was college graduation week, the same reason we visited the location to celebrate our son for dinner on a Sunday.
There was no follow up of any kind on the occasion , no one asked what it was , or what they could provide. Yet advertising “ welcome graduates “.

Check # 4229 on May 19, at 7:00 pm for $240 plus tip.
Table 512/1

After asking 3 times I get charged for a dessert we did not select for $8. +

They were not busy, there was plenty of staff, it was a Sunday night and there was no excuse .
We go to Legal locations often, this was a huge disappointment and waste of money.

Given the management, worth avoiding this location.

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RP
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

We had a reservation at 7:30 for 11 people for a graduation celebration. We were seated after arriving but NO bread was brought until I requested it 90 minutes after being seated. Champagne was served 45 minutes after ordering it. Glasswear was dirty and replaced with inappropriate glasses( wine glasses instead of champagne glasses.). Steamed clams were served; our serving included a spoiled clam which smelled terrible (it could be smelled across the table) and was unfortunately chewed then spit out by one of our party. (We were not charged for these.) Three of our group ordered and later were asked to reorder as their entrees were not available. We did not receive entrees until nearly 2 hours after arriving at the restaurant. The waiter did not know menu so had to make trips to kitchen to ask about food ingredients( one of our party is lactose intolerant.). All in all the meal was less than satisfactory, especially considering we spent $800 on what should have been a hassle free delicious dining experience, which it definitely was not!

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DM
New England
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We needed them to accommodate us earlier due to our schedule change. They accommodated us and allowed us to put more people at a smaller table to make it work. It wasn’t easy for them or for us but it all worked out perfectly. Very much appreciate the manager working with me!

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NP
New England
17 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Excellent food. It was packed and a little noisy, and service was a shade slow,
but I enjoyed the evening

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OT
New England
30 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 3

Legal Seafoods is our old standby when we feel like seafood. Usually we go to the one at Chestnut Hill, but this time we were near H Sq so we decided to go to this one. Therefore it was impossible not to compare the two. The first most apparent thing was bigger portion sizes in Cambridge. Nice! But then ... not so nice. The food here is worse. My sole was swimming in its butter sauce - not what you are looking for when thinking of fish as a healthy meal. I left feeling like Ugh - that was much too rich. The spinach side dishes at both places are also as different as night and day - nicely sauteed baby spinach in Chestnut Hill, but large cooked spinach unadorned and bad tasting here, like something out of Popeye. As I said, the portions are big and there were leftovers which we took home, but I didn't even want to look at them the next day.

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J
New England
8 reviews
Dined on May 15, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 1

Noisy. Bad service...handed very hot plate to customer, almost burned. Fried clams were dry, seemed old.

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JX
New England
3 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Truly bad waitress. Food was long time coming. When my request was not honored it was noted with no apology or offer to fix it. She reached across me to clear dishes. Truly not even diner quality waitress service.

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d
San Diego
6 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

My fiancé and I took our Moms to Legal Seafood for dinner on Mother’s Day. Very crowded and noisy. Drinks took 15 minutes. Food came out in waves so that meals got cold while we waited for everybody to be served. Both the fish and clam chowder had little flavor or seafood content. This used to be a good spot. Maybe it was a bad idea to eat there on Mother’s Day.

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A
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 1ambience 5

The food and wine were absolutely superb! But our waitress was not. For example, we had to wait a very long time (over 35 min?)for our order to be taken. I understand it was Mother's Day and the place was packed but it's not a good excuse as you can hire more helping hands. Anyway, we were never served rolls until asked and served from another waitress. Our waitress attitude wasn't pleasant either. While my husband started ordering, she rudely interrupted him and said it has to be ordered from my son first. How ridiculous is that?! Also, when he asked of the sauce that's not to sour, she was rude and unhelpful and what was worst, when she served his plate, the sauce cup was knocked down on the plate and spilled all over the food. She told us the sauce has spilled. How unprofessional that was! We chose Legal Sea Foods over thousands of restaurant just to celebrate Mother's Day and yet had to endure such awful service! We will still go to Legal Sea foods but not to the one at Charles Square anymore. It is sad how a rude waitress could ruin the business. She did apologize afterward, but the negative mood has already been set. I appreciate the opportunity for me to express my concern.

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OT
New England
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Service was terribly slow. Food had to be sent back because it was stale /weird, and then it came out the same way. They removed it from our bill when we asked, which was nice. The atmosphere seems old and outdated. We love Legal Seafoods other locations. This one seems to be resting on its laurels and a stream of Harvard traffic.

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KC
New England
16 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I love their crab cake. It never disappoints you. Service was great.

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j
New England
7 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Legal Seafoods almost never disappoints. We like the location as it is close to the Regatta Bar, a great jazz spot in the Charles Hotel, and we like the food, and reasonable wine list. Where else can you order the white wine the French generally choose with fish: Muscadet. Everyone who works there is dedicated to serving and making your visit a positive experience. And sometimes the fish specials are super tasty.

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C
Tampa
62 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

Brian C. was a pleasant and charming server. We appreciated restaurant renovations - fewer booths, fewer banquettes, more individual tables. Our rolls were reheated from earlier in the day and were hard to break open. The crab cake appetizer was excellent, as always. My shrimp/salmon entree was disappointing, with tiny shrimp and small amount of salmon.

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CN
New England
4 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 2

Go from time to time for lobster. Hard to screw up a boiled lobster, but the sides have gone down hill - looks like "portion control," and the service was lackluster as usual.

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L
Orlando
16 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

Good service, but average food for the price paid. Dining room and restrooms need a refurbishment.

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m
New England
39 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Even though we were a party of 8 and had asked for as quiet a spot as possible, the waiter was so accommodating, patient and kind. He even gave us separate cks. The food was delicious.
Only problem was we were in 2 separate cars and even though we got our parking tickets validated, i was charged $32 and the other driver was charged $28 since she’d arrived a bit later than I. That was outrageous! On your website it lists a $12/car parking fee at the Charles Hotel garageb on a weekday before 5. I didn’t have time to go back in to complain but I am now.

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MT
New England
82 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

FOOD WAS OUTSTANDING. service was slightly below average. i had
kale salad with sweet potato, feta, grapes, almonds and oil and lemon juice. outstanding. and had the crab cake combo w scsllops and shrimp. again, excellent presentation and taste.

service wasnt poor. but not attentive. waited a long time for everything outside of main dishes we asked for and was not attentive to refills, etc. she was apologetic, and nice personality, just not the attention one expects at Legal Seafood. certainly not a bad experience. just a minor frustration of waiting too long.

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KW
Nashville
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food, service, and atmosphere!!! Will be back on our next visit!!!!

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M
New England
20 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 1ambience 5

So disappointed with our server. Everything a server should be and usually is, she was not. Her excuse was she was training someone. In fact she needed training, shadow training. She was not ready to be on her own.

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