Saturday, 18 November 2017

The best places to eat in Boston, USA

I’m smitten with Boston.

After a week of mooching, eating, walking and drinking in the capital of Massachusetts, it’s safe to say that it’s one of my new favourite places. The brownstone buildings are stunning, there’s heaps of history and culture to absorb and it’s possible to see almost everything on foot.

Here’s my list of the favourite places we ate at during the week (starting with my top picks first). From Italian to Chinese and American, there’s an awesome array of food to be eaten in Boston:

Alden & Harlow

The modern American food at at this buzzing subterranean restaurant in Cambridge was the most creative of any we ate during our trip.

A complimentary snack of sweet & tangy pickled runner beans were drizzled with first rate olive oil and sesame seeds. 

Dishes are medium-sized so we ordered five to share.

A ubiquitous kale salad made me fall in love with kale, something that I thought was impossible. Massaged with olive oil to the point of tenderness, the kale leaves were coated in a creamy and nutty pistachio dressing, flecked with fennel shavings and nuts, drizzled with honey and topped with crispy kale. 

A light chicken liver mousse was slathered across golden brioche toast and balanced by lightly pickled blueberries, fragrant fried sage and crunchy smoked hazelnuts. 

A breaded cuboid of intensely herby and meaty shredded rabbit was joined by creamy and cooling blue cheese sauce dotted with warming chilli oil. Pieces of refreshing celery, radish and apple balanced the dish’s richness. 

Regina Pizzeria

Regina Pizzeria have been serving brick-oven baked pizzas since 1926. A visit to their original branch in the North End feels like a quintessential Boston experience. 

We enjoyed a whopping 16 inch signature Giambotta pizza. This beauty was topped with oodles of fennel rich Italian sausage, pepperoni, salami, anchovy, onions, peppers, mushrooms, light tomato sauce and oozy mozzarella.

James Hook & Co

You can’t go to Boston and not have a lobster roll. Whilst the destination for the best lobster roll is up for serious debate, we were blown away by the example from James Hook, a little portacabin cafe. 

A warm soft toasted brioche roll was loaded with heaps of sweet flesh coated in light mayonnaise. 

Trillium Brewing Company

Trillium beers are frigging lush. Super hoppy and chewy, their IPAs and DIPAs are everything I look for in a beer. It’s well worth tracking them down at their takeaway brewery shop in Fort Point or their beer garden on the Greenway during the summer months.

Mei Mei

Mei Mei is cool AF. This sustainable Chinese-American restaurant that began life as a street food cart sources almost all of its seasonal produce from within 200 miles of Boston.

A double awesome lived up to its name. Crisp, flaky spring onion pancake was loaded with oozy cheddar, crisp bacon, gooey fried egg and vivid herb pesto. 

Crisp potsticker dumplings were filled with cumin-thwacked lamb mince and served on another vibrant herb dressing. 

Golden, light and cakey sweetcorn fritters served with warming sriracha aioli were a delight.

Monica’s Mercato

Italian-American deli sandwiches rock and the Italian sub from Monica’s Mercato in the North End rocks more than most. Every slice of prosciutto, mortadella, salami, and provolone is sliced to order meaning that you can be in for a bit of a wait for your sarnie. 

The huge quantity of protein is served in a crisp Italian roll and accompanied by a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic, a good shave of funky parmesan, salad and richness busting pickled cucumbers and hot peppers. 


The prize for best ice cream of our trip goes to the wonderful Toscanini’s in Cambridge. Adventurous flavours include goat cheese cherry and ginger snap molasses.

I went for the legendary B3, a distinguished combination of brown sugar, brown butter and brownie pieces. Mint choc chip cookies and cream was loaded with massive bits of dough. 


Like Will Hunting, Sullivan’s is a Southie (South Boston) institution. This seaside shack is famous for its $2 hot dogs which are served in a beautifully soft toasted roll. Uber-creamy clam chowder dotted with pieces of tender potato, clam and white fish was also excellent.

Sweet Cheeks Q

Massachusetts isn’t known for its barbecue but I had to get my fill of low and slow smoked meat whilst in the States. Winner of best barbecue restaurant in Boston for 6 years running, we were rather impressed with Sweet Cheeks Q. 

Warm biscuits served with whipped honey butter were phenomenal. 

Brisket was the best I’ve ever eaten; hyper juicy, beefy and smokey with a good bark. Ribs were good but lacked a little on the flavour front. Super tender and juicy shreds of smoked chicken were excellent.

Sides smashed it out of the park - red-skinned potato salad with a hit of dill, hyper-cheesy macaroni cheese with a crisp crumb topping and addictive broccoli cheese bake were all excellent. 

Flour Bakery

Whilst Flour Bakery serve a range of gorgeous looking cakes and sandwiches, it’s their sticky buns for which they’re famous. Essentially a pecan pie in brioche bun format, they’re light and sweet with the crunch of pecan and a sticky spiced caramel glaze. 

Row 34

Seafood and craft beer sounds like a great idea to me and that’s what the trendy Row 34 in Boston’s Southport district serve up. 

We inadvertently ordered a main to start but a pile of plump, crisp-crumbed oysters were served with crisp fries and a great malt vinegar aioli. 

A whole black bass was a beautiful beast. Tender of flesh and crisp of skin, it was served Asian-style with spring onion, soy and chilli and accompanied by spiced romanesco and cauliflower. A side of uber thin onion rings were coated in a crack-like super-savoury old bay seasoning. 

Eastern Standard

There’s a grand French brasserie vibe to this Back Bay restaurant and cocktail bar that also has a big range of craft beers.

Highlights of our meal included unctuous beef bone marrow served with crisp toasts. The dish’s richness was balanced by radishes, earthy hen of the woods mushrooms and the vinegary kick of sport peppers. 

A main of two huge pieces of crisp-skinned confit duck was served with lardon-flecked beans. 

Pavement Coffeehouse

I had a lovely breakfast at the Back Bay branch of this trendy small chain of coffee shops. Fragrant iced coffee and a crisp and chewy poppyseed bagel loaded with airy scrambled egg, crisp bacon and sharp melted cheddar all hit the mark. 


Okay, so I know Boston isn’t the place to expect authentic Mexican food but I couldn’t resist. Tenoch’s tacos were pretty good with the El Pastor, consisting of well-marinated pork and refreshing pineapple, being the highlight. 

Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe

This famous South End diner dates back to 1927 and pictures of celebs such as Sammy Davis Jr and Barack Obama adorn the walls. It’s the perfect place to go for old skool Americana and hearty breakfasts. 

Turkey hash (made with minced turkey, mashed potato, peppers and onions) served with country style potatoes, fried eggs and toast was a tasty yet unremarkable combination. 

Mrs G’s hot cinnamon spiced banana bread was a delicious choice.

Vietnamese Sandwich

I love a good Banh Mi and Vietnamese Sandwich in Chinatown serve up a fine example. A preternaturally light and crisp baguette was stuffed with flavoursome bbq pork, lightly pickled veggies and fragrant coriander and mint. 

The Pour House

This cheap and cheerful bar was just around the corner from where we were staying in Back Bay.

A breakfast of pumpkin pie pancakes was well-spiced with cinnamon but a touch bitter tasting. Thankfully, a good drizzle of maple syrup balanced them out nicely. 

Emack & Bolio’s

This Back Back ice cream parlour has a history that dates back to the hippy era of the 70s. The ice cream is good but rather indistinguishable from Ben & Jerry’s, another New England stalwart. Cake Batter was the highlight with bits of cake and chocolate flecked throughout. 

Mike’s Pastry

An institution of the North End, Boston’s Italian district, Mike’s Pasty are supposed to serve the best cannoli in the whole of town. I wasn’t blown away to be honest. A chocolate chip cannoli could have been crisper, the chocolate could have been better quality and the ricotta filling was a bit grainy.

Union Square Donuts

With an outpost in Boston’s funky Public Market, Union Square Donuts has a range of distinct flavours that include sea salted bourbon caramel and brown butter hazelnut crunch.

Give Quincy Market a miss and go to the gourmet Public Market instead
A maple bacon donut was super light and squidgy and topped with a not-too-sweet maple glaze. But, the crisp pieces of bacon didn’t work for me. Too fatty and too savoury, they tipped the donut too far in the direction of a savoury product. Mrs G of course disagreed.


  1. David
    Good spots you picked, I’m 35 miles north of Boston , so easy to get to , ,
    But still miss the Cardiff, Wales food scene

    1. Thanks! What do you miss about Cardiff's food scene? I love Cardiff's restaurants but I'd argue Boston has a better range of places to eat.