The city of Boston is known for many things: enthusiastic sports fans, traffic jams and a unique American accent. But for some reason, Boston’s cuisine doesn’t typically make that list. But the city’s fare should definitely be a defining factor because it’s downright delicious! I’ve scoured the city for some culinary gems and put together this list of dishes and top spots your absolutely shouldn’t miss.
Savor some seafood
In the warm summer months, Bostonians take to the water. You can find them kayaking on the Charles River, sailing in the Boston harbor, and escaping to Cape Cod for weekends on the beach. The ever-present ocean leads to some of the freshest seafood in the country.
For your first course, slurp down some raw oysters on the half-shell at Island Creek Oyster Bar and crack some crab legs oceanside at The Barking Crab. Next up is New England clam chowder. This creamy soup (which is obviously far superior to the tomato-based Manhattan clam chowder!) is featured on most menus in the area. For a taste of the real deal, head over to Quincy Market and order your chowder in a bread bowl from Boston Chowda Co. Food always tastes better when you can eat what it’s served in!
To round out your meal, head over to the North End neighborhood and put your name on an hours-long wait list for a space at the small Neptune Oyster restaurant. Don’t like waiting? I promise it’ll all be worth it when you take a buttery bite of their famous lobster roll.
Enjoy the Italian
The North End isn’t just for lobster rolls. This neighborhood was where Italian immigrants first settled in Boston and boasts some of the finest Italian food in the city. The smell of garlic wafts through the narrow streets, adding a delicious charm to the quarter. Wait in line for a table at Giacomo’s for some of the best pasta dishes you’ll ever slurp, or head over to wait in line at Pizzeria Regina for a traditional slice of bread and cheese heaven. After your meal, wait in line (seeing a trend here?) at Mike’s Pastry to end your night on a sweet note with a traditional Italian pastry like a cannoli.
Residents of the North End love their food. And a good party. Throughout the summer, there are outdoor festivals celebrating a variety of religious holidays and figures. St. Anthony’s Feast is one of the larger celebrations, involving processions, music, carnival games, and of course lots of food. Hop from stall to stall to savor fare like arancini, calzones, sausages, and desserts.
Wash it Down with an Awesome Ale
For all the over 21-year olds out there, there are loads of after-dinner options in the traditionally Irish neighborhood of South Boston, including Murphy’s Law or L Street Tavern, where a scene from the movie Good Will Hunting was filmed. South Boston (affectionately referred to as “Southie”) is also a must-visit during St. Patrick’s Day, where people come from far and wide to watch the parade. The Harpoon Brewery (pictured) also hosts tours and very popular events during St. Patrick’s Day and Octoberfest during which attendees enjoy beer and music along with themed attire and activities.
Images by: from top: Clarissa Eyu, Flickr / Creative Commons, Massachusetts Institute of Travel and Tourism, Flickr / Creative Commons, Amy Gizienski, Flickr / Creative Commons, Dave Levy, Flickr / Creative Commons