A Local’s Guide To Boston For Foodies

If you are traveling to New England, you might be surprised to learn that Boston is a foodies’ paradise. Not only is it a great city for exploring historic sites, but Boston is also great for families, with a wide range of fun activities and diverse restaurants for every palate and budget. Having lived here for over twenty years, we have grown to love this city for its exceptional food and the variety of cuisine.

Often thought of for its lobster or clam chowder, Bean Town - as it is affectionately known - actually offers foodies a large variety of outstanding cuisine with influences from around the world.

Bostonians take food seriously, and you will find some seriously good eats in this fascinating and unique city. This guide to Boston for foodies explores the different Boston cuisines and will help you find the best food in Boston, the best Boston restaurants, the must-visit Boston markets, and Boston pubs. And the specialty dishes of Boston—everything from the famous Boston seafood to desserts, to beer! Everything a foodie visiting Boston will need!

A Guide To Boston For Foodies

Located on the Northeastern coast of the United States, Boston, Massachusetts is a historically significant seaside city. Often known for its world-renowned educational, research, and medical institutions, Boston is the site where key events that led to the American Revolution took place, and that led to the creation of the United States of America. Some of Boston’s most notable restaurants have been a part of this history.

Its proximity to both the Atlantic Ocean and to Europe has also influenced the Boston cuisine. And, as a very international city, home to many people from around the world, you can find quite a range of restaurants and food influences from all over the globe.

New England Clam Chowder is a must for foodies in Boston!

New England Clam Chowder is a must for foodies in Boston!

Boston For Foodies: Boston Cuisine

Boston cuisine is made up of different types of cuisines and the city of Boston is actually made up of many neighborhoods, each with outstanding restaurants. . Also, some of the neighborhoods are particularly famous for certain types of cuisines. So, when considering where to eat in Boston, of course, you should use our list of best Boston restaurants and specialties that follows below, but this overview of Boston’s cuisines will also be helpful.

Seafood—The Signature Food of Boston

Fresh seafood is plentiful in Boston. From signature oysters pulled from the North Shore of Boston like Ipswich to those caught from Wellfleet or Plymouth, oysters are fresh and a specialty of this waterfront city.

Of course, Boston is also known for lobster and lobster rolls, New England clam chowder, and New England clambakes which are always a wonderful experience.

A Boston foodie favorites—lobster rolls, crab cakes, and lobster grill cheese

A Boston foodie favorites—lobster rolls, crab cakes, and lobster grill cheese

Italian Cuisine—in Boston’s Little Italy

The city’s North End is Boston’s “Little Italy.” Countless family-owned Italian restaurants, from small mom and pop to finer Italian cuisine, dot the streets of this iconic Boston neighborhood.

Of course, no visit to the North End is complete without a delicious cannoli. Keep reading to find out where to find the best North End bakery for cannoli in Boston.

In addition to the North End, excellent pizza can also be found in some outstanding signature restaurants of famed Boston chefs.

The North End or “Little Italy” is a must in Boston for foodies!

The North End or “Little Italy” is a must in Boston for foodies!

Irish Cuisine—Especially in Charlestown & South Boston

The city also has a significant Irish population, and as a result many Irish pubs. Often associated with Boston’s Charlestown and South Boston neighborhoods, Irish influence is really all over the city. Traditional Irish fare, pub food, and of course beer can be found at many Irish pubs throughout the city.

The Bell in Hand Tavern in Boston (Right) is the oldest tavern is America!

The Bell in Hand Tavern in Boston (Right) is the oldest tavern is America!

American Cuisine—Burgers & Boston Colonial Food

Just like in most American cities, one of Bostonians’ favorite American dishes is burgers. You can find a great burger in the city at some excellent bistros, taverns, and restaurants. American food can also be found at classic, old fashioned American diners.

Boston is also known for baked beans and “colonial food,” or traditional New England fare, which includes Yankee Pot Roast and Chicken Pot Pie.

International Cuisines—From all around the World in Boston

Boston is a melting pot city, and so there are a variety of other cuisines visitors can enjoy from around the world. From epic Chinese cuisine in Chinatown to an eclectic mix of offerings in Quincy Market or the Boston Public Market, and in restaurants around the city.

Foodies visiting Boston should check out Quincy Market.

Foodies visiting Boston should check out Quincy Market.

Boston For Foodies: Boston Specialties and Best Restaurants

Now that you know what cuisine to try when visiting Boston, here are some of the best restaurants in Boston for foodies. Some of these are my personal opinion, and others are famous Boston restaurants. But one thing is true that no matter where you dine in Boston, you are sure to enjoy something special in this historical and vibrant city!

Seafood lovers should visit the Boston Oyster House.

Seafood lovers should visit the Boston Oyster House.

Best Seafood In Boston

If you are looking to eat oysters in Boston, the Union Oyster House right near Faneuil Hall is a must try place. A national historic landmark, it is known as Boston’s oldest restaurant, and it’s located right on the Freedom Trail.

For a Lobster roll, Lobster Mac n Cheese, and great New England Clam Chowder, try Boston Chowda Co. inside Quincy Market. There you can have your choice of one of these iconic Boston specialties.

There are many great seafood restaurants in Boston, but one of the signature spots is Legal Seafoods located right at Long Wharf or the Harborside location. They are actually a chain located throughout the city. But at these two locations, you can enjoy fresh, delicious seafood menu right overlooking the harbor. It is also one of the most kid-friendly restaurants in Boston.

One of the signature Boston restaurants, Legal Seafood

One of the signature Boston restaurants, Legal Seafood

Best Italian Food In Boston

The best Italian food in Boston is definitely found in the North End. But which one is best is really a personal choice.

For families, we love La Famiglio Giorgio on Salem Street. Other great restaurants to try include Ristorante Limoncello located right near Paul Revere’s house in the North End, and Prezza for a fine dining experience.

Pizzeria Regina is beloved by Bostonians as the best Pizza in Boston, and it can also be found in the North End.

We also love Figs by Todd English, located right on Charles Street on Beacon Hill and in Charlestown. Figs’s signature pizza is the fig and prosciutto pizza, which is a must try.

No visit to the North End is complete without a cannoli. The best of these can be found at Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry, both in the North End.

One of the best cannoli in Boston is at Mike’s Pastry in the North End

One of the best cannoli in Boston is at Mike’s Pastry in the North End

Best Irish Food In Boston

There are many great Irish pubs in Boston, but The Black Rose, located right near Faneuil Hall, offers both atmosphere and delicious Irish and traditional pub food.

The Kinsale Pub in Government Center and its’ sister restaurant, The Asgard in Cambridge, also serves tasty Irish pub fare with a great ambience and often Irish music.

Historic Faneuil Hall

Historic Faneuil Hall

Best American Food In Boston

It is hard to say where the best American food is in Boston, because there are so many restaurants to choose from. However, Cragie On Main in Cambridge has the reputation for the best burgers in Boston.

For a good old fashioned American diner experience, and amazing breakfast in Boston, Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown or Rosebud American Kitchen in Somerville can’t be beat.

For colonial food like a delicious Yankee Pot Roast or Chicken Pot Pie, The Colonial Inn’s Liberty Restaurant in Concord offers a scrumptious version Boston foodies love. Steak fans will love Grill 23 in the Back Bay. And for a true Americana food experience, enjoy a Fenway Frank at Fenway Stadium during a Boston Red Sox game.

Best International Cuisine In Boston

There are so many places to find a variety of international cuisine in Boston. But two places to start are Quincy Market and the Boston Public Market. From Greek to Indian and everything in between, foodies can really find a delightful range for every taste in these two places.

Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, not far from the Boston Common, is a great place to find delicious Chinese dishes.

Other famed restaurants beloved by Boston foodies include Uni for epic sushi and Oleana in Cambridge for Mediterranean cuisine.

The best Mexican food in Boston can be found at Lolita Cocina in the Back Bay, though Bostonian’s love a takeaway taco from Anna’s Taqueria.

Boston’s Public Market is a must-visit destination for foodies.

Boston’s Public Market is a must-visit destination for foodies.

Best Dessert and Coffee In Boston

Boston’s signature dessert is Boston Cream Pie. Created at the Omni Parker House , this special dessert is one not to miss while visiting Boston. Its history is fascinating and has ties to America’s first chocolate mill that opened in the Dorchester neighborhood in 1765.

Bostonians are also serious about their coffee - Dunkin Donuts coffee that is. Dunkin Donuts can be found all over the city and is beloved by Bostonians. Order yourself a “regulah” which means cream and sugar. Pair that with a Boston Cream donut, and you’ll be doing as the Bostonians do.

Best Beer In Boston

You can enjoy a meal and a beer at Sam Adams Taproom and Harpoon Brewery's Beer Hall. Bostonians take their beer just as seriously as their food and coffee. While these aren’t the only two taprooms in the city - Boston is home to over 200 breweries - these are two of the signature spots if you are visiting Boston.

Where To Enjoy A Picnic In Boston

There are many great places to pick up a takeaway and enjoy a picnic all over the city. Some of my favorite spots are across from the Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market near the waterfront and entrance to the North End, there is a large green space where you can enjoy your takeaway from Quincy Market.

If you grab and go from Charles Street or the Back Bay, you can set up a picnic in the Boston Common or even the Public Garden (right across the street from the Common).

Boston has many green spaces to enjoy one of the many eats you find throughout the city.

Green space for a Boston picnic

Green space for a Boston picnic

Final Thoughts About Boston For Foodies

Boston is a great city to visit for its history, culture, and activities, but foodies come to Boston for its outstanding food!

Tasting your way through Boston is sure to bring a delightful experience with a range of cuisine from around the world, at the highest quality. Boston is a foodie’s paradise.

Are you planning to visit Boston? What are you looking forward to eating? Tell us in the comments below!

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About the Author

Keri Baugh is a family travel blogger at Bon Voyage With Kids. Based in New England, she has lived abroad three times, has worked for Disney and an educational travel company, and travels regularly with her kids. She inspires families to enjoy the journey of traveling with kids, and using food as a way to learn about cultures around the world. Follow Keri on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. All images are courtesy of Bon Voyage With Kids and protected by copyright.

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