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Where I Like to Go in New England for Cheap Seafood

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Markey’s Lobster Pool, Seabrook, N.H. (photo by Eric)

Don’t let seafood restaurants in New England reel you in with their nice looks and nasty prices.

Instead of falling hook, line and sinker with that  kind of bait and switch, do some research online and you’ll be amazed by the price differential for basically the same piece of fish.

While it is almost impossible to find a New England seafood restaurant with low prices on every item, many several seafood places across New England do a great job at keeping the prices own, overall, so that the customer doesn’t carp about the dining costs. Here are two of my favorites within an hour’s drive of Boston…

Markey’s Lobster Pool in Seabrook, N.H., satisfies the southern coastal New Hampshire, North Shore of Massachusetts and southern Maine crowds with exceptionally low seafood prices. A no frills dining room with indoor dining room and outside deck water views, Markey’s specializes in lobster, fried seafood, clams, mussels, shrimp and scallops, New England clam chowder, lobster bisque, and a raw bar with oysters and cherrystones. I’ve had a one-pound lobster as low as $10 (results will vary, depending on the time of the year and lobster availability) and a fried seafood plate that comes in at about $4 less than what you’d typically find at other seafood shacks. At this writing, a tasty, substantial tuna roll comes in at $4.95 and a crabmeat roll with real crabmeat at just under $10. A cup of clam chowder is still under $4.

I love the fun atmosphere here, too, with the long, picnic-like dining tables and an order-at-the-counter format where you get to choose your lobster from the tank.

Markey’s certainly isn’t a gourmet seafood type of place, but who cares? I’d rather have an four out of five star place that doesn’t rip you off than a five star seafood restaurant that jacks up the attitude and prices. Others apparently agree. While many self-perceived great seafood restaurants have come and gone over the past 30 or 40 years in New England, Markey’s has kept the seafood prices down since first opening in 1971.

Markey’s is located on Route 286, just of Route 1A in Seabrook, N.H. Tel. (603) 474-2851

Wood’s Seafood at Plymouth Harbor pleases on many levels — it’s an affordable seafood shack with dining room water views and a market on the premises, and walkable to attractions like Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower II and the Pilgrim Hall Museum. Wood’s mostly catches its own fish, so cutting out the middleman keeps the prices down. The seafood quality is almost always top-notch and, at this writing, a fish and chips plate goes for $8.95, broiled salmon $11.95, filet of fish sandwich for $5.95, and huge seafood platter for $21.95 (could serve two people). The lobster, lobster roll and fried clams are priced daily, but generally a reasonable value, too, and certainly better than most tourist seafood places you’ll find on nearby Cape Cod.

This is a terrific value and a crowd favorite — Wood’s was once voted Editor’s Choice for Massachusetts by Yankee Magazine’s Travel Guide to New England, based on insider recommendations

Wood’s Seafood is located at 15 Town Pier, Plymouth, Mass. Tel. (508) 746-0261.

Wood’s Seafood, Plymouth Harbor, Mass. (photo by Eric)

Do you have a favorite cheap seafood restaurant in New England? If so, please tell us and our readers in the comment box below. Thanks!

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