Boston is a fairly big city, which means there’s a lot of options when it comes to eating out. In fact, Opentable has almost 11,000 restaurants listed for Boston – not as many as NYC’s 24,000 – but still, that’s a lot to consider! Here’s where we enjoyed eating when we were in Boston over New Year.
Stephanie’s on Newbury
We had breakfast at the popular Stephanie’s on Newbury on a Sunday. As we didn’t have a reservation, and it was so popular, we had to eat in the bar area (which was pretty full too). It’s definitely a spot where locals like to go, which is always a good sign. The food was yummy and the portions were big (with the price to match). The service could have been a bit better, however I put it down to being in the bar section and the fact that it was full. If you’re looking for a hearty breakfast (or lunch or dinner), try Stephanie’s.
Flour Bakery and Cafè
Flour Bakery and Cafè was only a short walk from our hotel and we liked the food so much, we had breakfast here three times. It’s really popular so you may have to wait a little while to get a table (it’s not table service, you order at the counter and then pick up your order when they call your name). There is a wide variety of food to choose from – from breakfast sandwiches to pastries and French toast, and the coffee was great. They also do lunch dishes, such as sandwiches and salads if you’re looking for a light (or quick) lunch.
Panera Bread is a US chain of bakeries, which also serve meals such as pasta dishes, mac ‘n cheese, soup and sandwiches for lunch. There are quite a few in Boston but we went to the one on Boylston Street for a light breakfast. There were plenty of tables to sit at, it was really clean and the staff were friendly. If you’re looking for an inexpensive breakfast where the portions are normal-sized, then this is a good bet.
If you’re a fan of oysters and raw seafood, then Row 34 is the place to be. We went for lunch, which had a fairly small menu and, not being a fan of oysters, it limited our choice even more. However, we loved what we ordered! We went for clam chowder to start, which was delicious. New England clam chowder really is different to the clam chowder you get in California, and I think I preferred it. We then had an apple, walnut and blue cheese salad, which cleansed our palate after the chowder, followed by a buttered lobster roll to share. Oh my, it was yummy. Row 34 has a great vibe, nice decor and the service was good.
My husband and I are big fans of Man vs Food so of course my husband had to Google where Adam Richman had taken on challenges in Boston. He came across Eagle’s Deli in Brighton and it has really good reviews – even our concierge said it was good – so off we went for lunch. Two things to be aware of: one, the deli is across the road from the tram station (about a 20 min journey from the centre) but there is nothing else to do in that area (that we could see anyway) and two, it’s a deli so don’t expect anything fancy. We didn’t partake in their challenge – which is 5 pounds of burger, 20 pieces of bacon and 20 pieces of American cheese – and opted for a sandwich and a wrap instead. The food was delicious and the fries were definitely some of the best we’ve ever had.
Hei La Moon
Boston’s Chinatown may be small but it’s definitely authentic. We had lunch at Hei La Moon, which was absolutely packed with local Chinese diners, and some of the staff spoke very little English. Carts with dim sum and other Chinese specialities, such as chicken feet, are wheeled around the restaurant where you can choose what you like. There is of course a menu too where you can order from a waiter. It was quite chaotic and not exactly fine dining but the food was good and really reasonable.
Mr Bartley’s Burger Cottage
A Harvard institution (no, not the university), Mr Bartley’s Burger Cottage has been a student favourite since 1960. It’s super quirky with posters and memorabilia all over, as well as signs saying ‘Al Pacino sat here’ – which is all true. Burger-wise, we’ve had better (it just needed a bit of seasoning and a sauce) but we still enjoyed it. We sat at the counter so we could watch all the action as the burgers were being made.
Situated in the Prudential Center, we had lunch at Eatly on our last day in Boston. I liked how it was laid out with different restaurants but a central menu. The food was very Italian and actually really good! The Aperol Spritz was excellent too. I’d definitely go again.
Bistro du Midi
We arrived at our hotel, The Taj, at around 8:30pm on a Saturday night after we landed and asked for recommendations of where to have dinner in the area (Back Bay). The concierge suggested Bistro du Midi, which was just around the corner, however their restaurant was full so we had to eat in the bar area. The bar area was really lovely actually – cosy and well lit, although slightly chilly. But then again, it was -11 outside! The food was delicious. They even make their own grissini,which was fabulous. The service was great too, although we were the only people eating in the bar so you would expect it to have been attentive. The server was very friendly and knowledgeable about the food and we had a great first meal in Boston.
Hands down, Duexave was the best meal we ate in Boston. The restaurant itself is beautifully designed and the food was really excellent. Our server was lovely too (she even hailed us a taxi to get home) and we couldn’t fault anything. No surprise then that on the way to the restroom there were framed reviews from the Boston Globe and others raving about the food. If you go to Boston, book a table here!
No. 9 Park
We had dinner on New Year’s Eve at Chef Barbara Lynch’s flagship restaurant, No.9 Park where we enjoyed a 7 course menu where every dish (bar one) was fabulous. If you’re looking for a fine dining option, then this is a sure bet. If you’d like the food without the flourish, take a seat in the bar area and order from the bar menu.
We went to see The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House (which was fabulous!) and needed a place for dinner after. Luckily, Legal Crossing was right across the street from the theatre. It’s part of the Legal Sea Foods chain, which are all upscale seafood bars or restaurants. The decor and lighting was great, the food was really good and service was excellent – perfect before or after the theatre.
Davio’s is a Northern Italian steakhouse in Park Square, Back Bay, which has been open since 1985. It’s an elegant restaurant with white table cloths and smartly dressed waiters but there’s a relaxed vibe too with an open kitchen and a great bar area. I really wanted to try oysters again while I was in Boston but I was a bit nervous to have them raw so when I saw crispy fried oysters on the menu, I had to try them. They were amazing! I’ll definitely be braver now to try an oyster raw again. The steak was really excellent too.
We were pleasantly surprised by how good the food was in Boston and we didn’t have a bad meal. If you’re heading to Boston, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out.