Famous for its Tea Party, neverending sports successes, universities such as Harvard and MIT, Dropkick Murphys, and Denny Crane, Boston seems like a natural place if you wish to move to the East Coast. No less famous are the restaurants in Boston.
Whatever your tastes may be, mild or spicy, deep-fried or raw, meaty or vegan, shrimps and seashells or roast beef – it’s all there waiting for you. All there is to do is step on the road and let your feet carry you where your nose guides them, following aromas from countless eateries.
Those joints are as diverse as the Olde Towne itself, from local cuisine to Thai and Vietnamese.Food can also be helpful in lots of ways, not least in overcoming the fear of moving that some people may feel around their relocation. By a small token, such as a taste of hometown, it can help with coping with anxiety that often comes with relocation to a distant town.
Eater Guide to Breakfast and Lunch in Some of the Best Restaurants in Boston
To go through a long and hard day, be it weekday or weekend, you need strength, both of body and of will. Good breakfast will do for both. No matter what part of town you live in, all your morning requirements will be met close to home.
In diners such as The Paramount and The Breakfast Club, you can start the day with a fine omelet or pancakes. The latter also has many special offers, honoring its namesake movie from the 80s. Can’t miss with their fine toast and many more snacks or dishes on the menu either.
If your path brings you to South End Buttery, expect top-notch pastries, sandwiches, and toast with cheese, while if you sit at Henrietta’s Table, you’re in for fresh eggs, malted waffles, or beef with biscuits. Henrietta’s is sort of special because all the ingredients are locally-grown.
To make matters even better, many bars serve breakfast all day. There, with a meal and coffee or juice, you may even enter a conversation with someone and maybe even make friends in an unfamiliar city.
If you’re more of a coffee kind of person, you’re covered as well. The town is brimming with coffee shops, such as 3 Little Figs, where you can take your morning caffeine intake along with a homemade muffin or some other pastry. Or one of a couple of joints held by award-winning expert George Howell. In case you don’t know the name, you might know his invention – frappuccino. One way or another, he can boast with some of the finest beans in the industry and his staff goes out of their way to introduce another innovative cocktail with coffee as the main ingredient.
Among the hip places where you can enjoy your morning cappuccino while finishing a book, or going through emails before work, the name that certainly stands out is 1369 Coffee House.And have no worries, if all else fails, Starbucks is not that far away.
Choose Your Lunch
These days, lunch is often downed on foot, and there are lots of bars and delis that provide for hungry customers in a hurry. Boston’s Public Market is where you can find some of those counter-services. Whether you crave a crepe, sandwich, shakshuka or tacos, you’re in for a treat. Be prepared for a large crowd at your chosen eatery, though.
Delis are probably easiest to find in town. Flavors are different, but the quality is universal. Let’s start with the Italian sort in Casa Razdora. They make truly great sandwiches but don’t miss on piadina or panini there, nor pasta, for that matter. You can choose between more than 25 different sauces. Who else can offer you that?
If you wish for a more American approach to making sandwiches, head to Sam LaGrassa’s. With the self-proclaimed No.1 sandwiches in the world, Sam offers classic chicken, turkey and beef sandwiches with cheese but also a variety of pastramis, of which traveler’s is the one being worth every praise you might hear. For those who enjoy spicier food, there is an entire section of the menu with chipotle sandwiches.
Among other places that you should consider visiting at some point are Foumami (Asian sandwich bar, as written above their door) and Chacarero, home of Chilean sandwich with green beans to accompany guacamole, cheese, and meat.
Another American staple are burgers. If in need of one at short notice, head to the Wheelhouse.
We’ll close the to-go list with a treat – lobster! James Hook & Company operate near the harbor, and you can be sure that crustaceans that enter your taco or roll have never been frozen. It is a bit more expensive, true, but you won’t be sorry.
Vegans can have their needs fulfilled at Oisa Ramen, a tiny noodle place with no meat and dairy, but with lots of ingredients that’ll make your head spin.
Those who prefer to take their time over lunch will surely find a proper joint for themselves. Merchant Kitchen & Drinks might be that place. On the other hand, if you are a fan of light dishes taken with one or more James Bond-esque martinis or a sip of some of the fancy wines, Marliave or Les Zygomates are your spots. The latter also often features live music.
And if you plan to move with pets, you’ll be pleased to know that many diners are pet-friendly, and some of them also offer delicious treats for your four-legged friends.
Tastes of the Old Country Will Never Fade
Show us a person who tells you that he (or she) doesn’t like pizza and pasta and we’ll prove that he (or she) is not being honest. Dishes that Italians brought along to the New World conquered America and Americans adopted them in practice. Fortunately, good old Boston suffers no shortage of establishments that sport that cuisine. Let’s make a quick tour through joints that didn’t make it to our top list but should be mentioned anyway.
First, Fox & the Knife. Lots of alcoholic beverages and cocktails to go with great pizzas and pasta, but also braised lamb, homemade ricotta and pistachio pesto. Certainly a must.
Next, Prezza, a combination of a steakhouse and an Italian restaurant.
Sportello, Bar Mezzana, La Morra, Benedetto… We gave you the heads up, but you may find a perfect place for you just around the corner.
Top Places to Have Dinner
The evening is the part of the day when folks go out and enjoy the outdoors. The logical next step is to enter a diner and order something.
Steakhouses are the most famous of them all, and for a reason. So head to places whose very names signal dedication and class – Abe & Louie’s, Mooo…, Smith & Wollensky, Boston Chops, Bogie’s Place…
Or, if you feel on the up, why not have a meal at Park Plaza, or Fairmont Copley Plaza, or some other hip hotel in the city.
There’s something for everybody, so to prove it, we move on.
Find the Best Oyster Bar For You
Clams and oysters are ever more popular, and restaurateurs listen to the audience. Some of the best places in the city serve oysters in this or that fashion, always with a bit more creativity than when you last visited. Neptune Oyster and Select Oyster Bar lead the pack, so don’t pass on a chance to try dining there as well. They most certainly have lobster in carte.
French cuisine is, in many ways, a real treat to the senses. Meat, bread and blue cheeses with various levels of foul smell are the finest examples. And it’s no joke with the smell. One French town prohibited by law the practice of bringing some of the cheese varieties into public transport or institutions. But fear not, places such as La Maison, Bistro du Midi, Menton or L’Espalier will cater to your tastes up to the finest details.
And if you moved for love, you can make the evening with your significant other even more special in some of the cozier places, for France doesn’t rhyme with romance by pure accident.
So, now that we ran through the basics, let’s get on with our top ten list.
This, in many ways unique restaurant, was opened in 2001, after its founder Ana Sortun came back home from Turkey. She brought along Eastern Mediterranean cooking – flavoury, fragrant, and with a lot of spices. Oleana puts faith mainly in small plates (mezes), both cold and hot.
Of course, all dishes are inspired with or come directly from Turkish and Greek cuisines. Olives, feta cheese, hummuses, mushrooms, potatoes, and yogurts are inescapable. Oleana is mainly a vegetarian restaurant, though meat-eaters can down a lamb dish or two.
The place is well known for its desserts, too, mainly ice cream and baklavas, which perfectly round up the patron’s Mediterranean experience.
Enophiles can enjoy a variety of European wines, mostly from Italy and France, but also from Spain, Portugal, and even Germany.
One of, if not the finest Italian restaurant in Olde Towne, Giulia offers wonderful homemade pasta in a friendly and quite romantic atmosphere provided by candles and brick walls. Owner and main chef Michael Pagliarini often traveled to Italy, from which he drew inspiration for most of the meals. Patron’s favorites are pappardelle with wild boar meat and popular spaghetti alle vongole.
Needless to say, wine from the Old Country goes perfectly with meals and desserts on offer. Cakes and gelatos make dinner at Giulia unforgettable for gourmets and casual eaters alike.Lest we forget, one of the special things about the place is the large table, used for making pasta during the day but converted to a dinner table in the evening.
#3 Cafe Sushi
Usually very high on these kinds of lists, Cafe fields out Japanese cuisine for 35 years now. Aside from sushi, it offers fresh sashimi, maki, and nigiri, as well as Japanese beers and carefully chosen wine. Also, you may choose between many sakes of premium quality.
If you are not a fan of traditional Japanese food, you may eat fish, be it trout, char, sea beam or some other, as well as a variety of seafood, including sea urchins.
#4 Table at Season to Taste
Here, it all revolves around different and ever-changing tastes. And no one is better suited to do that than Top Chef contestant Carl Dooley. His cooking follows an easily understandable philosophy: “Make delicious stuff.” In meals that come out of his kitchen, you may find influences of all great chefs that he apprenticed under, as well as techniques applied in Europe.
Meals on offer change regularly, but among enjoyable plates recently were Chilean red snapper stew, agnolotti with goat cheese and lamb shank bisteeya. A variety of high-quality French wines and beers go without saying. The main offer at the place is a four-course meal for $99, so you can experience as much of Dooley’s magic as possible in a single visit.
Toro is a tapas bar that hasn’t changed a lot since it opened some 15 years ago. In that time, its creators, chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonette, gained acclaim and even went international, opening joints in Bangkok and Dubai.
Toro still keeps its Spanish-style vibe with small plates. Among the most coveted tapas are simple grilled corn and duck sticks. Yet, it is not unusual to come in and find squids stuffed with wild boar meat on the menu, for example. Spanish hams, tortillas, and many many other plates will keep you well-fed and wanting for more.
Located on historic Harvard Square, Waypoint stands as one of the symbols of the neighborhood and go-to place for local residents.
The main offer and strongest point in this diner is seafood. Finely cooked oysters and clams are there, as well as shrimps, caviar, crabs, squids, and lobsters. Fish, too.
Aside from that, Italian cuisine is on carte as well, with emphasis on pizzas and pasta with ingredients that came directly from the sea. Lovers of a heavier bite are not forgotten either, for steaks and ribs are there too.
Land of the Green Fairy
Many stories are told of French writers and painters who frequented bars on Montmartre during the Belle Epoque, waiting for their muse to appear and bestow inspiration upon them. Judging by their work, muses were in abundance. One of the more modern (and more killjoy) explanations is that sightings of muses were induced by large amounts of absinthe.
Well, Waypoint has in stock the largest offer of absinthe if you wish to test the theory. We would advise that, for everyone needs inspiration now and then. But make sure to have a hearty meal beforehand.
Another establishment with Mediterranean and Middle-eastern influences, Sarma prides itself on small plates, mezes. Its founder, Cassandra Piuma, worked with Ana Sortun at Oleana before deciding to open her own place.
In Sarma, they consider combinations of spices and herbs the main reason why meals there are heavy with flavor but light on the stomach. It goes for everything they put in front of you, from snacks and mezes to pancakes, pies and other desserts.
Inspired by Venetian eateries, SRV (which, you probably guessed it, stands for the Serene Republic of Venice) specializes in seafood and homemade pasta in traditional Venetian style, but with a lot of creative touches when it comes to the serving and decoration.
Wines go perfectly with meals that SRV makes for you and there are many on offer, mostly (you guessed rightly again) from Italy.
And a special touch: you and your friends may opt for the Arsenale menu. That way, each of you will get a completely unique dish made as an homage to Venice.
#9 Grill 23 & Bar
Grill 23 & Bar is probably the most prominent of all Boston’s steakhouses. It boasts the highest quality and service, as well as beef raised in California. Source of beef, the Brandt family farm, raises animals on a vegetarian diet, without hormones and antibiotics. Grill 23 caters to private patrons but also organizes private dining, for companies and others.
There are also other kinds of meat, namely pork, besides other meals on the menu.
Another boon of visiting this great steakhouse is an opportunity to enjoy unique cigars. You’ll have to smoke outside the place, though.
There’s another cozy neighborhood diner for you. Pammy’s focuses on Old Country feels and tastes, but without any urge to conform to rules at any cost. Its owners, Pam and Chriss Willis, gave it a bit of a retro look, with a fireplace, and always do their best for known and unknown locals. Pasta is handmade, of course.
Patisseries That Kids and Adults Will Love
It’s hard to say no to good pastry, child or adult alike. If you are moving with kids, this aspect of Boston’s hospitality will not disappoint you either. Pastries of all kinds, donuts, cakes and ice creams will lure you from every street corner. Our advice is to give in, for resistance is futile.
And it’s worth it.
Some of the sweets you definitely shouldn’t miss are lauded ice cream with cookies at J. P. Licks and Neapolitans at Mike’s Pastry. At Mike’s, you can make no mistake, and cannolis are also particularly good.
When it comes to places where you can enjoy a sweet and crispy breakfast, the finest croissants and pastries are in abundance. For example, in the Caramel Patisserie in Salem, you can get a croissant-like pastry with caramelized sugar named “Kouign amann,” while Tatte Bakery & Cafe offers amazing almond croissants. For even sweeter experience, the Thinking Cup is a place for you, and Nutella croissants are their thing.
In the realm of donuts, multiply awarded Union Square Donuts rules supreme. Their handmade donuts are produced with ingredients that are always fresh and of the highest quality. This establishment keeps to traditional receipts for making donuts but is very adventurous when it comes to tastes.
The most spectacular cakes are to be found at the Modern Pastry Shop or Konditor Meister.
For the finest cookies, among other things, you should visit traditional Bova’s Bakery, while chocolate eclairs are the domain of the renowned Cafe Madeleine.
And to finish this part, whenever you feel in need of oriental sweets, Athan’s Bakery will provide you with lovely baklavas.
Rest assured, these are just the prime examples. So get on the move and find your favorite place.
Vegetarians and Vegans Will Find a Bar for Themselves, Too
Like all others, the hospitality industry has to keep up the step with changing times, namely regarding more and more people who opt for a vegetarian or vegan diet due to health or ethical reasons. And Boston’s eateries do so with flying colors.
Athens of America (one of the few nicknames that the capital of Massachusetts shares with Philadelphia) steadily improves its standing among the vegetarian-friendly cities. There are many bars whose menu entirely or partly caters to vegetarians, and their number is growing. Some even decided to open a separate venue dedicated to them. Veggie burgers are now commonplace in most of the diners, as are veggie soups, and many breakfast fares with toast and tofu. A number of dairy-free desserts are also on the up. The same is happening with vegan bars and menus, so the town is becoming a place that vegans want to move to.
Today, folks who refuse to eat meat or all animal-related products can choose not only between a variety of dining establishments but also between many different cuisines. Vegans with love for Asian cuisine can try meals at Zhu Pan-Asian Vegan Cuisine, My Thai Vegan Cafe or Red White Japanese Vegan. Taco Party, a restaurant that sprang from a food-truck, caters to vegans who fancy Mexican cuisine, while those who opt for more exotic stuff should definitely visit an Ethiopian establishment, Blue Nile. Those wishing for a more close-to-home approach can visit well-established spots such as Veggie Crust, Red Lentil, Life Alive, By Chloe, or Oleana, and enjoy grain bowls, veggie lasagnas, and pizzas, harvest stew or shepherd’s pie, as well as a variety of smoothies and juices.
Farmers’ Markets and Restaurants in Boston
Farmers’ markets are in abundance in the Olde Towne. And that’s just as good, for there you may find fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, honey, maple syrup, and much much more. Sometimes even the prized mushrooms native to the Boston area.
In the paths of marketplaces such as Copley, Haymarket (dating from at least 1820), or Arlington, it is not unusual to see a prominent chef checking up tomatoes, beans, and other fresh farm products. The fact that most of those are locally produced can only be seen as positive.
Even Harvard University set up its own farmers market as part of a project some 15 years ago and it still operates.
Share a Story of South End and Harvard Square Joints
Olde Towne is a place of much history and many stories. Some of the best neighborhoods in Boston are, too. Each of them has its own bars and watering holes. Some of the most emblematic in that regard are South End and Harvard Square.
The former is a locale of Victorian style housing and many parks, and very diverse in population. It is a very hip place with joints sporting any cuisine that you might think of, from the Americas to Japan and Thailand, all is there. Our recommendations go to Coppa and Myers + Chang, among many others.
Harvard Square, on the other hand, went through gentrification that destroyed many bars and establishments that residents still speak fondly of. Those that remained had to adapt, but the survival of eateries like Alden & Harlow or Harvest means that they passed the test of time and quality.
Improve Your Social Life Over a Meal
Adjusting to a new town is not an easy thing to do, but that can be softened by the magical powers of food. Since you left your old life behind, you’ll need new friends. So why not start with neighbors, and invite them to dinner. If chance has it that you haven’t brought your kitchen items with you, there’s no need to worry. Many of the finest Boston’s joints offer home delivery. In a relaxed atmosphere of your home, the talk will go smoothly over a bite and a sip. That way, you’ll be able to meet your neighbors and learn which ones you can click with.
Another truly American way to enjoy your time in the Olde Towne is hanging at the sports bars, which is actually one of the most interesting things to do in Boston. Bostonians are very proud of their city’s nickname of Titletown. It is notable that the name is recognized across the country. Celtics are holders of record-breaking 17 NBA championships.
The Red Sox won nine World Series. With six SuperBowls, Patriots (in this regard Foxborough Boston’s part) are tied with great rivals-who-shall-not-be-named. For now, at least. And yes, Tom Brady is the greatest QB ever! The Bruins keep pace with six Stanley Cups. But back to bars now.
There are many of them, all equipped with big screens and beer, the main ingredients of a fine afternoon. If the path brings you to The Fours, you’ll immediately be swept away since walls are almost entirely covered in memorabilia. Jerseys of all Bostonian teams are there in frames, signed photographs are all around as well as a good number of signed balls. There you may enjoy the game with a draft or bottled beer, and one of many snacks or burgers that goes along great.
There’s nothing better than being at Fenway Park during a Sox game, but being close to it is the next best thing. In comes Cask ‘n Flagon, an almost mythical joint in Fenway, where generations of fans come and hang out together. Snacks, fried chicken or cheese and beer, plus a Sox win equals a great time among like-minded people.
This shortlist has to be finished with McGreevy’s. That establishment is fully dedicated to the Red Sox and their more than a century-long history and ties to the local community. Finest pub snacks and beer are to be expected in a joint owned by Dropkick Murphys leader Ken Casey.
There you have it. If you are a gourmet, this little gastronomy guide might help you make up your mind about moving to Boston. If it does, then waste no time and get in touch with reliable and reputable Boston movers to provide you with professional moving services if you don’t feel that you’ll be able to pull off the relocation all by yourself.