A Food Lover’s Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boston
Sometimes when you are hungry, you can’t think clearly. And since the number of options for eating out in big cities such as the capital of Massachusetts are enormous, it is easy to step into the wrong one, especially if you are new in town. We’ll show you all the fantastic restaurants in Boston, also known as Beantown, which already tells a lot about how much this city is into food. And, aren’t we all?
A Word or Two About Boston
Before we jump into the lists of all the places where you can find the most amazing tastes in the capital of Massachusetts, let us tell you something more about the most populous town in this state. Founded in 1630, this is one of the oldest municipalities in the US, and today it represents an important harbor, cultural and educational center, as well as a manufacturing hub.
Today, this city is the most known for its baked beans, hence the nickname, Beantown. But did you know that Boston is the home to the first public park, first public school, and the first subway in the US? Many more firsts occurred in this town, but today we know it for its famous annual marathon and plenty of leisure activities for a healthy lifestyle. At any time of the day, you can spot locals running, biking, or walking around parks, which is not a surprise since they have to burn all those calories and carbs after visiting some of the amazing lunch spots in B-town or after moving to this big city.
Forget about the fear of relocation depression, house-hunting stress, and anxiety about moving to another town, and treat yourself with a meal that soothes. As the name says, a comfort meal is there to make you feel better. Comfort meals do not ask questions or count calories, but it should not replace your regular meals on a daily level. Allow yourself to indulge occasionally, and try specialties that are soulful, whether it is fried chicken or a pie.
Sweet Cheeks Q– If you enjoy watching kitchen chef battles on TV, then it is time to try eating some of the specialties that made them famous. A bucket of biscuits with honey butter for $10 quickly gained reputation and became an iconic dish on B-town’s culinary scene.
The Tap Trailhouse– Pumpkin whoopie pie tastes even better than it sounds. This pie dessert with autumnal vibes is served with a local syrup made with Moxie and ginger. This syrup was one of the first soft drinks mass-produced in Massachusetts in the late 19th century.
Henrietta’s Table – If you are looking for home vibes and more traditional tastes, then this is the place for you. Farm-to-table approach and warm, country-inspired interior are additional reasons for visiting this place where you can enjoy one of their most popular dishes, chicken pot pie.
There is nothing that a piece of pie cannot solve
Where Are the Top Pet-Friendly Restaurants in B-Town?
If you are new to town, or you are moving with dogs, then you know how sensitive to location change pets can be. They, as well as humans, are creatures of habit. This town has around 130 eating corners that are pet-friendly and welcome pets in their outdoor areas. But to ease relocating with your pet, we have found some pet-friendly places in Beantown where you can go together with your furry friend and make friends together.
Lobstah on a Roll – This is a perfect place for everyone who considers themself as a dog person. They even have dog treats which you can give to your pet, but do not worry, their offer of meals is vast enough so you will find something for yourself, too.
Coppa– Looking for a great place to eat pizza or pasta, and at the same time to spend time with your beloved 4-legged friend? Coppa is an excellent choice. Your dog will get a bowl of water, and the friendly staff of this cute little eatery will take care that every guest gets equal treatment.
Moonshine 152– A great Asian fusion restaurant that welcomes puppies in its outdoor patio. The service and the vast choice of dishes will not leave you hungry for sure.
What is lunch without having your best friend around?
Where to Eat at Harvard Square?
Harvard Square is a place to be in Beantown, especially for those who are moving alone to another state and looking to make new friends. Back in the 70s, this area was a fav spot of poets, musicians, and location set for movies such as Good Will Hunting. Today, here we have banks, chocolate shops, trendy bars, and diners, so let’s take a closer look at them. If you are new in town, it is important to mention that Harvard square is not just a square, it became a synonym for the entire neighborhood that now counts around 70 diners, not including cafes and pastries.
Russell House Tavern– a place that serves great food and drinks, as well as local bears and seasonal wines. Their signature dish is a pork belly sandwich with special-made kimchi that never fails to satisfy even the most demanding foodies. Russell has six areas for dining, so coming to this place never gets dull.
Night Market– if you prefer diners that have interesting interior, and you are into Asian flavors, then Night Market is the place for you. The menu is oriented towards local street meals, and the chef gathered inspiration and ideas while traveling through Southeast Asia. We recommend trying glazed chicken hearts with some of their sake cocktails.
Park Restaurant & Bar– everyone’s favorite classics, such as patty meals, meat pies, and fried chicken are served in four different dining areas. From classic settings and homey atmosphere to vintage classroom with a chalkboard, sewing machine, and a typewriter, this place has something for every taste.
There is another eating spot just around the corner
The Most Instagrammable Restaurants in Boston
Is Instagram your platform for sharing daily activities, cute spots, and the foods you eat? Do you seek new places on Instagram or Google? Instagram has become so much more than just another shallow social network, it is the ideal place for promoting a business, and restaurant owners know that Instagram hashtags are working in their favor.
However, if you do not have the habit of going on Instagram and searching your next lunch spot, we gathered a list of places in B-town that not only serve food that tastes good, but it looks even better, and all that in an Instagram-friendly setting. No matter if you move during the holidays or some other time of the year, there are places that will always be Instagrammable. So, charge your phones, and prepare to snap plenty of likable pics in some of the following restaurants:
Terra at Eataly– among the vast number of diners at Back Bay, Terra at Eataly is a real gem for all the fans of urban jungle spaces who are into lush greenery and bright space. Glass roof provides enough light during the day and the view of a starry sky at night. If you are moving in together with your loved one, surprise them with a date here and make sure you snap a photo or two.
Yvonne’s – one of the Instagram-worthy diners in B-town is definitely Yvonne’s, with its elegant library lounge, full with books, paintings, ornate ceilings, gold details, and luxurious chandeliers at the bar, it looks exclusive and rounds up an ideal setting for a picture. And the bathroom does not lack behind, with its velvet couch and chandelier.
OUTLOOK Rooftop Bar– if you are looking for a perfect picture spot, you cannot go wrong with rooftop bars. Hence, we included OUTLOOK as the place that serves the most amazing views of B-town, by day and by night.
Let me take one for the ‘gram
Let Us Share With You Some of the Best Places in South Boston
A densely populated area in the south of B-town, also known as Southie, is home to some great places to eat and favorite neighborhood of millenials for hanging around. It’s also one of the best places to live in Boston for singles. Southie is a fast-growing and changing neighborhood, which is why so many places opened here over the past several years and transformed the eating habits of the south hood. When you unpack with the help of your photo inventory, check what Southie has to offer to foodie lovers.
Cafe Polonia – in the southwest area of Southie, you will find a European corner serving Polish cuisine since 2002. If you have never been to Poland, you will want to go after visiting this place. Treat yourself with some unusual specialties such as kielbasa, goulash, or potato pancakes. It does not matter if you do not know what these names mean, foodies language is universal, so you will be able to appreciate the flavors from all around the world.
Capo Restaurant & Supper Club– from Polish cuisine, we jump over to Italian because why not, it is an example of how diverse Southie really is. This cozy Italian diner makes its own gelato and prepares excellent pizza and macaroni. On weekend mornings, they offer brunch, and since the place has two floors, downstairs is their Supper Club, where guests can dine and watch a live comedy show.
Fat Baby– a cool spot for a cocktail or a glass of wine is Fat Baby, where you can find creative and innovative meals, great sushi with unexpected ingredient combinations, and specialties such as sriracha buffalo wings, or mushroom dumplings in a chili dashi broth. Contemporary interior with plenty of brass details and industrial vibes is perfect if you want to chill in Southie.
Where Can Bostonians Eat Like Italians?
Italian cuisine is by far one of the most popular cuisines, globally, and every bigger city has its offer of Italian eateries. Some like to keep it traditional and Italian, and others try to give a local twist to traditional Italian cuisine. But one thing is sure, anyone who is not into experimenting with local specialties, or oysters, for example, will easily opt for a pizza or pasta. So, let’s see where you can eat as if you were in Italy.
Carlo’s Cuccina Italiana– run by two former employees, Carlo’s continues to nurture a friendly atmosphere and excellent pasta that made them famous more than 40 years ago. So if you are looking for something traditionally Italian in Beantown, this is the most Italian you can find. They make their own fusilli, so if you want to play it safe, you cannot go wrong with Carlo’s.
Ciao! Pizza and Pasta– as the name says, pizza and pasta, and not any kind of pizza, but Neapolitan style thick pizza. Their macaroni are something different, and if chorizo bolognese or serrano-spiked shrimp with spaghetti do not sound tempting, then pies with fresh toppings certainly do.
Delfino– a trattoria that is packed every night so much that you have to wait for a table has to serve excellent dishes, right? The interior is warm, cozy, and the staff is welcoming, and the portions are not tiny, so if you are super hungry, this is one place where you will satisfy your appetite for sure. Bruschetta, pappardelle with arugula and shrimps, and many more are waiting for you in this trattoria.
Do it how Italians do it
Is There Something for Vegetarians?
Of course, there is, Bostonians love to eat healthily, and since the vegetarians are trending, it is no wonder that there are so many meat-free spots in town. But even if you are not a vegetarian, but you are tired of eating typical American meals at the house that include chicken or lamb meat, try going green for a day and plant a seat in some of B-town’s veggie diners.
By Chloe– Probably every American knows about By Chloe because the hype is so big, and it is not without reason. Bostonians can enjoy their amazing vegan meals on even three locations. Their entire offer consists of vegan options only, mainly salads and sandwiches, but their eateries in B-town include some exclusive local varieties such as lobster rolls and clam chowder.
Clover Food Lab– what started as a mobile van run by graduate students is now a chain of 12 eating spots all over the city, and their main spot on Central Square works 24/7. Each location has a rotating menu full of innovative options such as African peanut soup.
Life Alive– if you are into veggies and contemporary, quirky interiors, then this is the spot for you. Life Alive is also growing into a chain because currently, they have five locations in B-town, and are in the hunt for the next one. Every location offers different eating options, so you can visit all of them to try everything they have. Creative wraps, salads, and veggies bowls can be found in all of them, while non-alcohol cocktails and innovative CBD drinks are not served on every location.
Red White Japanese Vegan– run by a young and successful Japanese restaurant owner, this place offers the option to create your own, red, or white, healthy bowls of rice. Smoothies that include oats, brown rice, miso, and burdock, are something you have never tried before for sure.
There are lots of healthy vegan and vegetarian options
The Taste of B-Town – What Not to Miss?
Probably every town has something in terms of foods which became its trademark, whether it is a specific way of preparing a certain dish, or something traditional. So, what are Bostonians known for? They like to say, when you live in this town – the world is your oyster. We think that sums it up because oysters are everywhere, and you will hardly find a place that does not have at least one dish that includes oysters. Because they love them so much, Bostonians consider themselves experts when it comes to oysters.
In case you are not a fan of these shells or seafood, perhaps you should not say it out loud. Just in case. But, if you love them, or you are willing to give them a chance, here are some things you should know about Bostonians’ favorite shell.
How Are They Grown?
Most of the oysters are grown wild, but usually, the ones that are served in diners were farmed in cages or bags. Around the East Coast, most of these shells belong to Virginica type, but their taste can vary from one location to another, and it also depends on the technique of harvesting. Typically, these shells grow for around three years before they end up on your table.
How to Recognize a Fresh Oyster in Restaurants?
Although Bostonians would probably never try to mess with shells that are not fresh, it is useful to know how to recognize a good one because you can find them easily all over the country. So, a fresh one is heavy, full of plump meat, and it should also have a lot of liquid around. It does not have any particular smell, perhaps it is a bit salty, something similar to the sea breeze. If the taste is a bit dry and the meat looks shrunken, then it is probably not a fresh catch.
How to Eat Them?
If you do not like to touch food with your hands, you are not going to enjoy this, but it is not like you are touching the meat, just the shell. Sometimes you will get a small fork, but you do not really need it because all you have to do is to slurp.
In some New England diners, the shucker will detach the meat from the shell by separating the muscle that connects them. And if you love them, you can even find courses where they teach you how to shuck an oyster.
Can They Be Eaten During Summer Months?
This could be considered as one of the modern myths, but we have to bust it because nowadays, these shells are farmed in optimal conditions, so there is no difference in taste during the year. Before, it was believed that their taste is worse during summer months, particularly those months that do not contain the letter “R” in their name. Because shells live in warmer water during those months, so their taste changes. However, nowadays, there is no need to worry about that.
What Compliments Them Well?
This is a pretty simple dish, and many chefs agree that you should not really combine them too much with other foods. Perhaps a few lemon drops on top, or aside as a decoration, but if you want to feel the real taste, do not add anything.
The Best Oyster Bar in Boston
Bostonians love their oysters so much that we could not count the number of bars dedicated solely to this specialty. However, we tried to find the ones that have a good reputation and serve only fresh, delicious oysters.
B&G Oysters– this place offers a variety of fresh oysters from the East and West Coast on a daily level. Simple, fresh, and with a glass of prosecco, or any other wine you prefer. The staff knows their wines, and they will gladly help you pick the right one for you.
Island Creek Oyster Bar– this place farms its shells sustainably in Duxbury Bay, over the entire year. They have plenty of seafood options on the menu, but fresh and sweet oysters are their number one specialty. Be prepared that this place is always packed, but you can admire the rustic interior with oysters all over it while waiting.
Row 34– the team that stands behind our previous suggestion is also in charge and responsible for Row 34, in Fort Point, serving fresh seafood and shells from Duxbury, Wellfleet, Chatham, and Plymouth. However, here you will mainly notice people drinking beer with shells because Row 34 offers a selection of excellent local craft beers.
Legal Harborside– with three floors offering different dining experiences, you could easily get lost on your way to some of the tastiest oysters. Hence, we will tell you a secret, they are on the first floor. You can sit at the bar and watch how they prepare them, or enjoy the view of the harbor, and take some time to choose because they offer up to 14 types.
The world of oysters in one town
Our Top 5
It is obvious that B-town has plenty of excellent places to eat, we tried to cover the most wanted categories, but in the end, there are so many of them that we probably missed mentioning some of them. Now we would like to present to you our top five. Five places that are in a league of their own and that should be on the list of every foodie coming to this place.
A real foodie does not have the patience to take pictures before eating
1. Something Unexpected – Alden and Harlow
This eatery is serving American cuisine with an innovative twist, and their offer is constantly changing, so going there never gets dull. What stands out on the menu are small plates, creativity, and flavor-packed dishes. Invention and unexpected combinations are what Alden and Harlow is best known for. For example, their pickled corn pancakes with popcorn, peppers, and buttermilk are something we are sure you have never tried or heard of. Cocktails are also very interesting, but for all the late-night foodies, there is a special selection of courses that they serve after 11 PM, this menu even has its own hashtag, #AHlatenightmenu, so check it out to see what they are serving.
Imagine adding popcorns to pancakes
2. Open Kitchen Concept – The Table at the Season to Taste
If you prefer watching how your meal is being prepared and sensing all the flavors and delicious smells, then this small and intimate place with an open kitchen might be the ideal choice for you. Open kitchens are trending everywhere, whether it is a house or an eatery, everyone wants to interact and follow the process. Keep in mind that The Table has only 20 seats, so it is highly recommended to make a reservation.
Their chef relies on French techniques to combine international flavors and local, seasonal ingredients, and we know that French people have their way for everything. The restaurant offers a four-course menu for $99 per person, and it is always changing, so it is hard to recommend something, but you can hardly go wrong with anything at this place.
Watching a chef preparing your dish is half of the fun
3. Award-Winning – Celeste
How could we skip one of the most known and praised diners? The famous webpage boston.eater announces its annual awards for ten years already, and in 2018, the main award went to Celeste. It has been a while, but Celeste is not slowing down, their reputation is still strong, and dishes are impeccable. Located on the Union Square in Sommerville, Celeste serves a variety of flavorful Peruvian options. A friendly atmosphere and great service will make you feel at home while tasting ceviche with a glass of pisco.
Foodies know how to appreciate a 5-star service
4. A Place With a Story – Cafe Sushi
When a restaurant is open for more than 30 years, then they are probably doing something right. Their sushi is great and inexpensive, which is why all the B-town sushi lovers come to this place. But besides sushi, another treat that can be found in Cafe Sushi is the chef’s specialty, omakase. Depending on the type of omakase, for around $100, you can get a selection of numerous courses that go from traditional to modern twists and combinations.
Where the magic happens
5. Something New – Fox & the Knife
After mentioning a place with a long history, it is time to praise some of the newcomers on the eating scene. We entered 2020 with one more place on B-town’s foodie map, which is the first solo restaurant from the award-winning cook, Karen Akunowicz.
Fox & the Knife has a small number of eating options, and focuses on traditional specialties, and believe us, Southie is lucky to have this piece of Italy in its neighborhood. If you are feeling nostalgic about Italy, just stop by here to try their focaccia, traditional pizza, or tagliatelle. They also have traditional aperitivo hour and serve snacks and drinks.
in the end, a picture is worth a thousand words
Our Guide is Coming to an End, Feeling Hungry, Eater?
Whether you are looking for a lobster, lamb, oysters, or veggie, they have it all in Beantown. One thing is sure, locals know what good food is because their options for eating out are insane, and the wide variety of styles, locations, and cuisines, guarantees that you have fun trying out all the flavors in the capital of Massachusetts.
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