50 Things to Eat in Boston Before You Die
Boston may not be a huge city, but it makes up for its size with its food options. From burritos to doughnuts, Boston has it all. Since it can be more than a little overwhelming to pick and choose, we narrowed it down to the top 50 for you.
Now it’s on you to eat your way through this list. Trust us, you’ll want to try each and every place — you’ll regret it if you don’t.
1. Nut Boxes at Tatte Bakery and Cafe
These boxes made it onto BuzzFeed’s 25 Bakeries Around the World You Have to See Before You Die article, and for good reason. The nut boxes are so pretty, you’ll almost feel bad about eating them. Almost.
2. Gelato at Amorino
Amorino gelato is legit Italian gelato. It’s high-quality and made with carefully selected ingredients, so you can’t go wrong no matter what flavor you pick. And you don’t even have to pick just a single flavor, really — they allow you to fit as many flavors as you want into a gelato rose. Win.
3. Grilled Cheese and Truffle Fries at Roxy’s Grilled Cheese
This famous food truck has finally landed a permanent restaurant location in Allston, so now you don’t have to look all over the city to get your grilled cheese fix. Every sandwich here is serious #cheeseporn, and they always switch it up with interesting ingredients. From the classic grilled cheese to foie gras and peaches, there’s something for everyone. And get a side of truffle fries while you’re at it, because why not?
4. Chocolate Chunk Cookie at Blunch
Blunch has huge sandwiches that justify their name, as it’ll fill you up for breakfast and for lunch, but the star of the show here is really their chocolate chunk cookie. Like the sandwiches, it’s massive, and since it’s made with chocolate chunks instead of chips, the chocolate is spread out more in the cookie. It’s everything you ever hoped and dreamed of.
5. Sicilian Slice at Galleria Umberto
Boston is an expensive city, but at this hole-in-the-wall pizza shop, you can get a meal for under $5. With authentic Sicilian pizza at just $2 a slice, you won’t feel bad going back for more. There’s usually a line out the door and they close when they sell out, so get there early.
6. El Guapo Burrito at El Pelon Taqueria
Plantains in a burrito? Genius. El Guapo burrito is salty, sweet and and heaven in every bite.
7. Sticky Bun at Flour Bakery
Joanne Chang from Flour Bakery is something of a Boston legend. Who knew than an honors Harvard grad could make such perfect baked goods? These sticky buns are everything you want in your breakfast — warm, caramel-y, nutty and delightfully gooey. #foodgasm
8. PB & J Doughnut at Union Square Doughnuts
Calling all peanut butter addicts — Union Square’s PB & J doughnut is a must-try. It’s an interesting twist on a long-beloved classic, and besides you can never go wrong with any peanut butter-flavored.
9. Scotch Egg at The Gallows
Only boring people eat omelettes for brunch. At The Gallows, you can order anything from a pulled pork corn muffin to a sunnyside burger, but the real star is the scotch egg. It’s basically like a hardboiled egg inside a meatball, and they cook the egg so perfectly that you’ll have lots of opportunities for #yolkporn pics.
10. Lamb Cumin Hand-pulled Noodles at Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe
Gene’s Flatbread Cafe is tucked away from the typical hustle and bustle of Chinatown, but those who want authentic noodles know where to find it. Although they’re named after their flatbreads, their handmade noodles are really the star. For a chewy, glorious taste of China, leave Chinatown and find this little noodle shop.
11. Cookies ‘n Cake Batter at JP LICKS
Oreo ice cream. Cake batter ice cream. Easily the best of both worlds. And with every ingredient certified organic and easily purchased in your local grocery store, it’s no question as to why JP’s ice cream stores are as iconic in Boston as Fenway Park.
12. The 420 Burger at Boston Burger Company
There are burgers. And then there are artery-clogging, over-the-top monstrosities that don’t even fit in your mouth. This stoner’s dream comes topped with cheese, bacon, two entire mozzarella sticks, mac ‘n cheese bites and a full onion ring. Everything about this burger is incredibly addicting. But we almost feel bad telling anyone to eat it out of serious concern for their diet.
13. Regular Ramen from Yume wo Katare
Go for the experience. Yume’s servers give you the option to stand up and yell out your life dream. They also rate your eating performance (“Perfect!” for a finished bowl) for the whole restaurant to hear. But you won’t have any trouble eating all the ramen — their homemade noodles are second-to-none.
14. Cannoli from Mike’s Pastry
Mike’s Pastry is the emblematic jewel of Boston’s Italian North End. Every night, lines reach out the door as tourists clamber to get a taste of their famous cannolis. This title is well-earned; you might not think you like cannolis until you try their simultaneously creamy and crunchy delights.
15. Secret Burger from Alden & Harlow
The only secret about this burger is why it’s so mouth-watering. Everything from the godly 8-oz. stack of brisket, beef and short rib, to the crispy cheese wafer and secret sauce makes the burger one of the most sought-after in Boston.
16. Sea Salt Bagel from Bagelsaurus
Look. We’re not actually going to tell you what to order here, because every single bagel is unique and amazing. Even snobby New York bagel fanatics (I’m looking at you, freshman roommate) think they’re legit. But the sea salt bagel is perfect for any of the various toppings. Even so, we strongly recommend you try it with the honey rosemary cream cheese.
17. Massive Sub from Al’s Cafe
These are real sandwiches. Not the wimpy, cold things you get in your D-hall. A large is essentially two subs in one, so be prepared to eat more than you believed possible. The line for lunch is always out the door, but it gives you time to choose from the overwhelming selection of sandwiches, with everything from Italian’s Italian to the (almost) dainty Lady’s Cafe Special.
18. “Celebrity” Burger and Frappe from Mr. Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers
While it may not be the best burger you’ve ever eaten, the thrill in going to this burger joint comes from its history. Famous for its celebrity-named burgers, Bartley’s personality-filled interior is like a scene straight out of the 1960’s, when it was founded. You can get anything from a Tom Brady to an Obama, and don’t forget to order a frappe, which is a New England-style milkshake.
19. Ice Cream in a Cereal Cone from Emack and Bolio’s
Waffle cones are delicious. Waffle cones covered in sugary cereal with marshmallow coating is something worth going out of your way for. Add any of Emack and Bolio’s creative ice cream flavors — your pick of anything from salted caramel chocolate pretzel to space cake — and enter sugar heaven.
20. Açai Bowl from Jugos
If you have an Instagram account, you’ve probably seen one of these colorful creations on your newsfeed. Made with South American berries famous for their health benefits, Jugos’ bowls come topped with granola, banana and a whole other rainbow of good-for-you toppings.
21. Egg Fancy at Mike & Patty’s
Even in the snow, the lines are long for these amazing breakfast sandwiches. This tiny corner shop has only five seats so be prepared to fight for a seat or take yours to go (we recommend picnicking in the Boston Commons if the weather’s nice). #SpoonTip: Call your order in first and head over early to get a head start on the wait.
22. Lamb Gyro at Gyro City
What’s better than a freshly carved gyro? A freshly carved gyro that’s also stuffed with fries. Bring some friends to this Fenway spot that’s neighbor with other great spots like El Pelon Taqueria and Rod Dee Thai.
23. Paella at Toro
If you’re looking for a vacation without leaving Boston, head over to Toro (aka the closet you’ll get to Spain). Bring some friends so you can get the main dish, the paella Valenciana. Though it takes 30 minutes because it’s cooked to order, it’s definitely worth the wait. Munch on tapas and sip on sangria while you wait so you don’t get hangry.
24. French Toast at Mike’s City Diner
Mike’s City Diner has blessed us with french toast that’s literally larger than some your textbooks. It’s the perfect hangover cure — a French roll split, french toast-ified and topped with powdered sugar, butter and syrup.
25. Lobster Roll at Neptune Oyster
In a town full of lobster rolls, one stands out — the warm lobster roll at Neptune’s. Though you can choose for it to be warm or cold, definitely go for the warm one. This version contains no celery or other fillers, and is dressed with drawn butter aka heaven and is served with a side of crisp fries.
26. Burrito from Anna’s Taqueria
Warning: One lunch at Anna’s may raise your burrito standards too high to ever think of Chipotle in the same way again. The tortillas are hot and crispy, the ingredients are always fresh and it’s impossible to make a bad flavor combination.
27. Poutine from Saus
Not sure why this Canadian classic is so hard to find in the States, because it’s the perfect drunchie. Saus manages to make poutine that the Canadians would be proud of, and lets you add toppings like deep fried eggs and truffled mushrooms.
28. Liege Waffle at Zinneken’s
If you happen to spot the telltale pink of the Zinneken’s waffle truck when you’re in Copley Square someday, run toward it at full speed and immediately indulge in a soft and chewy Liege waffle. Or just go to their newly opened Cambridge location. With toppings like Belgian chocolate, Nutella, strawberries, bananas and cookie butter, you’ll want to leggo your Eggo for good.
29. Cheeseburger at Tasty Burger
Tasty Burger’s name is well deserved — these loud, graffitied, student-friendly dives serve up some deliciously simple cheeseburgers. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and served with addictive shoestring fries, a Tasty Burger cheeseburger is one of those simple pleasures that every college kid craves.
30. Crunchy French Toast at Johnny’s Luncheonette
When you’re faced with the daunting three-page breakfast menu at Johnny’s Luncheonette in Newton Center, just seek out the signature crunchy French toast — thick challah bread covered in granola, cornflakes and almonds, and served with butter and hot maple syrup on the side.
31. Clam Chowder at Boston Sail Loft
The Boston Sail Loft’s clam chowder is the perfect antidote to a cold Boston day. Use the breadbasket to soak up all the creamy goodness and you’ll have a remarkably filling meal. And the harborside views aren’t too shabby either.
32. Coffee at Thinking Cup
It’s the only place in Boston that exclusively serves coffee from Stumptown, a renowned roaster, so you know your money’s well spent. Make sure to peek under the lid of your latte to check out some gorgeous milk foam designs by the Thinking Cup’s award-winning baristas.
33. Boston Cream Pie at Parker’s Restaurant
Boston Cream Pie, also known as the official state dessert of Massachusetts, was invented at the Financial District’s Parker House, and many believe that the hotel’s restaurant still makes the best version around. It’s as beautiful as it is delicious, and indulge in a slice at JFK’s and Jackie Kennedy’s table (#40) for the ultimate Boston experience.
34. Cookie Monster at White Mountain Creamery
Admit it, BC kids — you’ve risked your life running across Comm Ave for a scoop of Cookie Monster at least once. Creamy vanilla ice cream, cookie dough, and Oreos… White Mountain Creamery’s signature flavor is the perfect combo to get you through those hot few weeks at the beginning and end of the year.
35. Croque Madame at MET Back Bay
You never have to look far to find a good brunch spot in Boston — but it’s hard to beat the plush brasserie vibe and the mile-long menu at MET Back Bay. There’s no better way to start your day than with a basket of truffle-oiled fries and the cheesy, eggy, bready masterpiece that is MET’s Croque Madame.
36. Lobster Ravioli at Rino’s Place
Lobster and Boston go together like Tom Brady and Gisele, but for most college kids, ordering a whole lobster at dinner is way out of their budget. Lobster ravioli, on the other hand, packs all the flavor of Boston’s favorite crustacean without the hefty price tag (or the embarrassing bib). Make sure to save some of the bread basket to soak up every last bit of the creamy pink lobster sauce.
37. Hot Chocolate at L.A. Burdick
Ever dreamed of drinking pure, melted chocolate? Say hello to L.A. Burdick’s hot chocolate. Choose between milk, white or dark chocolate and make your hot chocolate fantasies come to life.
38. Iced Coffee Horchata at The Painted Burro
The best way to cure a hangover? A pitcher of iced coffee horchata. You’ll forget how badly your head hurts the second your lips hit the straw.
39. Wood Fired Pizza at Coppa
Bone marrow pizza? Check. Calamari pizza? Check. Hangover pizza topped with an easy over egg? Check.
40. Falafel at Amsterdam Falafel Shop
Get it in a pita, crush your balls, add tons of toppings and make sure to get a side of fries along with all of their fantastic dipping sauces. Helllooo chipotle ketchup.
41. Pasta at Gran Gusto
Forget the North End. The pasta here comes in a huge Parmesan cheese wheel.
42. Spicy Food at Thai Dish
If you’re ever craving the most intense dish you have ever eaten, order the spicy 5 drunken noodles or any of the curries and be prepared to cry spicy tears.
43. Ice Cream Sandwich at Frozen Hoagies
When your Insta needs a boost, run to the closest Frozen Hoagie truck. Think thick, fluffy cookies stuffed with colorful ice cream in any and every flavor (including vegan!) you could ever imagine.
44. Aglio Olio (Squid Ink Pasta with Calamari) at The Daily Catch
The North End is full of good handmade pasta, but this handmade pasta with squid ink, sautéed in calamari crumbles and garlic truly stands out. It comes in a pan made for two, so bring a friend.
45. Roast Beef 1000 at Cutty’s
In-N-Out lovers will love the roast beef sandwich at Cutty’s. It’s made with piles of slow-roasted beef and Thousand Island dressing, which is the basis of In-N-Out’s “secret” animal sauce.
46. Frozen Nutella Hot Chocolate at Paris Creperie
There’s no such thing as too much Nutella. Or too much chocolate. The frozen Nutella hot chocolate at Paris Creperie is a milkshake, a hot chocolate and a thousand times your daily dose of Nutella in one. No regrets, though.
47. Double Awesome at Mei Mei
Mei Mei is another one of those successful food-truck-turned-restaurants, and for good reason. Their double awesome is like a grilled cheese made with scallion pancakes and oozy eggs. Cue drooling.
48. Lobster Benedict at North Street Grille
There’s no shortage of lobster items on this list, but we couldn’t leave off the classic lobster Benedict. This classic brunch place in the North End always has long lines, so make sure to get there early.
49. Stone Ground Chocolate at Taza Chocolate
Taza Chocolate is known for their quality handmade chocolates and has a wide range of dark chocolate, which is perfect for all those dark chocolate lovers out there. Their chocolate is all stone-ground, organic and ethically produced, so you can feel doubly as good when eating it.
50. B3 at Toscanini’s Ice Cream
You won’t find a “must-eats” list in Boston without Toscanini’s. Though Boston is full of amazing ice cream, Toscanini’s is famous for its unique flavors, especially the B3 aka the trio of all things good in the world — brown sugar, brown butter and brownie.
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