When you think about eating good food in Boston, Massachusetts, you might first consider the cod and the really tasty clam “chowda.” These dishes might be local favorites, but Beantown’s food scene has a lot more to offer in addition to these classics.
Beyond the crab shacks, there’s a wealth of inventive fine dining, authentic ethnic specialties, and fantastic watering holes. Explore the best eats in this historic New England town with these tips on the most popular Boston restaurants.
Just as you’d expect from a seaside city, seafood is hugely popular in Boston. From fine dining to more casual hangouts, there are plenty of great restaurants where you can find excellent New England clam chowder, oysters, and lobster.
Many of the greatest spots for dining out in Boston are famous seafood joints. If you want a mean plate of oysters, you’ll find one at Durgin-Park. A family-style restaurant that’s been in business since 1742, Durgin-Park is known as much for its seafood as it is for its waitstaff, a saucy group who are encouraged to backtalk the customers. Legal Sea Foods on the waterfront is another favorite. Here you can chow down on some of the freshest seafood in the city, including swordfish, cioppino, and fried oysters. If it’s fine dining that you want, then don’t miss L’Espalier in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. L’Espalier serves rich contemporary French fare in a romantic setting. Their lemon snapper dish with raisins, pine nuts, couscous, and Meyer lemon anchovy sauce is a special treat.
When nachos, burgers, or seafood just won’t satisfy, you can turn to a large variety of ethnic restaurants in Boston that serve authentic, homestyle dishes. If you crave Italian, Mamma Maria in the North End is an area favorite. It’s a friendly place offering mom-and-pop-style service where you can find mouth-watering osso bucco served over creamy saffron risotto and a number of other tasty Italian homestyle specialties. For Indian food, Café of India in Harvard Square is a sure thing. Their chicken dishes are standouts: the tandoori is juicy and saucy, while the tikka masala is tangy and flavorful. And on the coldest days, dining out doesn’t get better than a bowl of hot Pho, a special Vietnamese soup, at Pho Pasteur in Boston’s Chinatown district.
These are just a few of many notable ethnic restaurants in Boston. For more suggestions, see the Boston Globe’s picks for best ethnic restaurants.
After a delicious night of dining in Beantown, you might want to kick back a few rounds. There’s no better place to tie one on than in Boston, a city that’s known for its thriving bar scene.
Many tourists seek out a good Irish pub, as Boston is known for its large Irish population. Some of the most popular pubs are Ned Devine’s and The Black Rose, where you can enjoy proper pints of Guinness or Harp. If a standard American dive bar is more your style, then check out Sullivan’s Tap near the North End for $2 beers, or Sligo’s Pub in Somerville, where the beer is served in plastic cups.
If you’re looking for even more bar-hopping variety, head to Canal Street, Harvard Square, or the Fenway area of town.
Dining out in Boston is accessible thanks to MBTA, Boston’s public transit system, which is extensive and easy-to-use. Walking is another good option; the city has been rated one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the United States.
However you choose to get around in the city, make sure you’ve got a reservation before you head out to eat. The most popular restaurants are packed during busy hours in bustling Boston, MA.
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