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Once you find tiny, no-frills Off the Boat Seafood (hint: It's in East Boston), you just might find yourself regularly speeding through the tunnel to feed your addiction. Lobster rolls and other standards are done well, with fresh fish at fair prices, but it's in the Italian dishes that the place really excels. Try the fusilli marchi, loaded with lobster, shrimp, and crab, and the zuppa Vincenzo, a bounty of clams, calamari, shrimp, scallops, and fish.

The Boston Phoenix

Outstanding room only
“What can I do for ya, my friend?” Chances are, that’s how you’ll be greeted at Off the Boat, a tiny but memorable take-out seafood spot just outside of East Boston’s Central Square. Unlike the ever-present fried-clam shacks that help define our region, this new, no-fuss place offers elegant dishes with a blue-collar vibe. The owners, who once helmed Angelo’s restaurant in the neighborhood, barely have enough room for counters and a soda cooler. Cramped interior be damned! It didn’t stop these guys from opening in November and turning out some pretty amazing Sicilian-inspired fare. There’s good stuff like grilled octopus, breaded tuna, baked swordfish, and spiedini (skewered, breaded shrimp). True, you can get all the New England mainstays: a stuffed-lobster roll, creamy clam chowder, and some of the best scallops around. But it’s the signature dishes that’ll really wow you. Mussels comes in your choice of tomato or garlic sauce. Fusilli Marchi is pasta tossed with loads of lobster, crab, shrimp, and a buttery secret sauce. But Penne Cantante gets the big nod. Clams, scallops, and lobster tossed with anything, much less with penne, is a big fat winner. Need a special order of cherrystones, littlenecks, or steamers? With 24-hours’ notice, Off the Boat has you covered. Serve up your favorite seafood, at home with a bottle of wine and crusty bread. Or, put a dent in that lobster roll with a postcard view of Boston at nearby Piers Park. Either way, this is eatin’ good in the neighborhood.

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