As if Boston couldn’t win my heart over anymore with all the spectacular sights, we were totally pampered by the extravagant food choices that would satisfy every refined palate on earth. As an avid foodie couple, Mr. B and I made it our quest to dive into the local gastronomy and check out a few of the top rated local eateries. Usually, Mr. B picks dinner spots while I look into breakfast (my fav meal!) and lunch options. In general, we thoroughly research our choices in advance, read reviews and facts about the restaurant of our choice. We’re not shy to splurge or experiment. This time around, shout-out also goes to our awesome friends who took us out to their favorite local places. Thus, we got to discover many special spots I cannot wait to share!

In general, some of Boston must eats and local specialties that you have to try include:

  • New England clam chowder
  • Lobster and/or lobster roll
  • Boston baked beans
  • Boston cream pie
  • Local Ice-cream and or frappe

Breakfast

Boston lives up to a famous slogan “America runs on Dunkin” with the famous coffee shop being available at every corner proudly serving doughnuts and brews to their East coast fans. Prefer Starbucks instead? Not a problem, cause you’ll have no difficulty finding it anywhere you go either. Having said that, however, if you truly appreciate coffee I highly encourage you to do yourself a favor, go off the beaten track and explore numerous coffee shops that serve truly high quality flavorful artisan roasts (in fact, this applies to any major US city!). Here are my two favorite Boston finds:

Pavement Coffeehouse

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I cannot rave enough about this place. The taste of their Spanish latte still lingers in my mouth! And I loved their artsy vibe and inviting ambiance.

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I guess Pavement has been included in 50 best coffee shops in the US for a reason. Together with their coffee try one of the house made bagel sandwiches. My choice fell on the bagel with scrambled eggs, jalapeño cream cheese & bacon. Perfection!


Thinking Cup

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Another gem I discovered in the historic part of the city. Their coffee is brewed using Oregon’s legendary Stumptown roasts and they use exclusively a house syrup. Honey cinnamon latte was heavenly! Also, go for one of their freshly baked extra-buttery croissants, pastries, macaroons or a wide variety of house sandwiches. A nice touch to décor – tables decorated with old editions of different newspapers to keep you entertained during your coffee break.


Something Sweet

Got a sweet tooth? Here are two great ways to satisfy your cravings:

Either opt for Ice-cream in famous J.P. Licks….


Or, check out famous Mike’s Pastry for their famous and mouthwatering cannoli.


Lunch/Dinner Options

Pho Pasteur

While visiting Chinatown do yourself a favor, look up this place on google maps and stop for a lunch. Our friends took us there and I cannot thank them enough! No high end dining or customer service, just a bustling, hot, cheap place and a hearty flavorful slurp-worthy bowl of pho. It is super affordable ($10 per person). Small advice: no matter how hungry you are, order a small bowl instead of big/medium one, because it is still HUGE! It was my first experience with Vietnamese food and it was outstanding!


Pizza

Because there is no life without pizza (or bacon for that matter!) here are two awesome pizza spots off the beaten track our friends took us to that I’d highly recommend:


Sacco’s Bowl-Haven by Davis Square in Cambridge

I am not sure it is your typical tourist destination, but if you have time on your hands and want to have a relaxing afternoon with friends head to this place. This old-fashioned alley features candlepin bowling & a retro restaurant with wood-fired flatbreads and beer. We had a blast!

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Pinocchio’s Pizza & Subs

When touring Cambridge check out this unassuming spot that offers familiar, quick-serve fare such as Sicilian pizza & sandwiches. It is not a touristy spot, instead it’s been frequented by Harvard students for over 30 years. Can you guess who was among them? Mark Zuckerberg!

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Got to meet the Chef!

Neptune Oyster

Out of all the great restaurants in Boston if you have to pick one, I’d highly recommend this place.

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I died and woke up in a seafood paradise. The bustling bar maintains an eclectic menu covering a breadth of raw and cooked seafood options.

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You get a separate menu + pencil to indicate your choice of bivalves.

For a starter, we swallowed our platter of dozen oysters as a whet.

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Oysters, oh those oysters….

I ordered a sea urchin toast as a second appetizer and had a local specialty – the Boston lobster roll – follow as an entrée. Well, a warm buttered bun filled to the brim with succulent chunks set nothing but fireworks in my mouth!

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Uni Toast
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No visit to Boston without trying a succulent lobster roll.

Mr. B went for a bowl of clam chowder and unfortunately it was a bit disappointing. It was very thin in texture, more reminiscent of a bisque and there was nothing particularly spectacular about it.

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However, for the main course he had a platter of seared scallops (which I also got to taste!) and it definitely had our tastebuds explode with excitement!

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Seared Georges Seared Scallops – d’anjou pear butter, Long Island duck confit, Brussels sprouts, Maytag blue

I loved how the place is exuding French Bistro vibe with globe-shaped fixtures hanging from a pressed tin ceiling and sconces flank mirrors with thick frames. The mad shucking of oysters and clams leaves a seashore tang in the air which captivates the customers in anticipation of their platter of bivalves.

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Don’t expect privacy, the place is tiny and packed. Anticipate to spend ~$60 per person. They do not take reservations and the place is insanely popular (for a good reason!). Based on the reviews, average wait time for dinner table is 2 hours (can be as long as 4 hours!!!). That’s why we decided to go during lunch. They open at 11:30 AM. We arrived at 12:30 PM and had to wait for an hour. Which is fine, because you can kill time while relaxing at a park, wandering around Blackblock district or sightseeing at Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market. All within a walking distance from a restaurant.


Toro Restaurant

One of the reviews of this place said if you want to experience sex on a plate you must visit Toro.

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Well, that’s exactly what happened. Mind blowing seared foie gras, yellowtail hamachi tapas and Mexican grilled corn. Corn… corn… oh, the corn!

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Please, order that corn!!! And then remember me when you devour it 🙂
Aceitunas - Marinated olives in bay leaf, orange and spices; Datiles con Jamon - Medjool dates filled with Marcona almonds and Cabrales blue cheese, wrapped in Jamon Serrano
Aceitunas –
Marinated olives in bay leaf, orange and spices; Datiles con Jamon –
Medjool dates filled with Marcona almonds and Cabrales blue cheese, wrapped in Jamon Serrano
Foie Gras y Duraznos - Seared foie gras with chamomile roasted peaches, lily bulb and chive blossoms
Foie Gras y Duraznos –
Seared foie gras with chamomile roasted peaches, lily bulb and chive blossoms
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Hamachi Crudo – Yellowtail hamachi with white soy, spicy cucumbers, blood orange and avocado
Empanada de Cabra - Spicy curry goat and potato empanada with cucumber, yogurt and cilantro
Empanada de Cabra –
Spicy curry goat and potato empanada with cucumber, yogurt and cilantro

Portions are small (tapas!), your average dinner will come to ~$60-$70 per person. They don’t take reservations, but we still managed to get a table right away at 6:30 PM.


Craigie on Main in Cambridge

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This bistro-style eatery specializes in French-inspired cuisine and offers exceptionally organic seasonal tasting menus that will satisfy sensibilities of any locavore out there. The atmosphere at Craigie is casual and inviting: high-end dining without the formality, where the emphasis is on the food.

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We opted for the 8-course tasting menu which was full of scrumptious heart-healthy surprises picked by the chef specially for us.

Trio of Amuse Bouches
Three Seafood Preparations
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Scallop sashimi
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Spanish duran a la plancha

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My favorite course – Vermont Lamb Three Ways: Roasted Loin, Merguez Sausage, and Slow-Cooked Belly. Spiced yogurt, pea hummus, chermoula.
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Sorbet to cleanse the palette

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I must point out that unfortunately their desserts are disappointing, so if ordering from a la carte menu skip it and go for one of their famous “inventive” cocktails instead. Expect to spend ~$150 per person with drinks. Cragie is also famous for their insanely good burgers and crispy-fried pig’s tails, both served only at a bar.


Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar

Again, thanks to our friends for taking us to this place. One word – cool! Expect a vibrant, trendy lounge offering fantastic Mexican-inspired eats & a lengthy tequila list amid Gothic dungeon-like décor.

Patrons at  Red Lulu a Tequila bar and Mexican Restaurant, in Salem.  JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE (The tip: Red Lulu)
Image of the interior borrowed from Google, since my camera batery untimely died 😦

Outstanding drinks (that margarita and sangria still on my mind!) and you get a little extra surprise in the end – huge sprinkled cotton candy that arrives with your bill!

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Image of the interior borrowed from Google, since my camera batery untimely died 😦

Well, I hope this was an appetizing read. 🙂 I linked all the listed places in titles so that you can look up their menus and locations. Leave a comment down below and let me know, what are your favorite places in Boston or Cambridge? As always I’m happy to hear from you!

Written by Nano @ Travel With Nano B.

Welcome to my site! I'm Nano, a serial expat trotting the globe to discover wonderful places and savor the gastronomic treasures of the world. Via Travel With Nano B. I'm spilling my love for travel and detailing my international culinary adventures one lil' blog post at a time. Currently based in Japan, I'm on a quest to explore this magnificent country and share my unique insight with you all. Worldly adventures, gourmet discoveries, cultural experiences, wanderlust photography, savvy travel tips - find it all on my page. Needless to say, I am thrilled to have you here reading!

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