Troubavore starts its journey in one of the fastest-growing food and drink cities in America. No longer is Boston associated merely with baked beans, cream pies, and the Cheers bar. Today, the city is full of celebrity chefs, culinary innovation, organic and sustainable farmers, and a wide array of ethnic communities that all contribute to an energetic, sophisticated, and constantly evolving food and drink scene.
Boston is a city in which I have spent many wonderful and memorable years. After completing graduate school at The Boston Conservatory in 2009, I lived in Boston off-and-on in between out-of-town gigs. Visiting Beantown today still feels like returning home.
Before I start rhapsodizing about where to eat and drink in Boston, it’s important to mention that this article focuses exclusively on the city of Boston and its western suburbs Brookline and Allston. A separate, extensive article will be written in the coming months about the vast treasures across the Charles River in Cambridge and Somerville.
Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s South End tapas restaurant Toro is among the best restaurants in Boston. Their Spanish cuisine features some of the tastiest, most inventive small plates made from some of the freshest local ingredients in New England. The restaurant is so popular that dinner reservations are not accepted and waits can last well over an hour, so arrive early and plan accordingly because it is absolutely worth it! (Lunch and brunch are just as good and easier to get into.) Traditional, simple dishes like Pan con Tomate and grilled corn with aioli, lime, & cheese are combined with rich, elaborate dishes like paella with rabbit and escargot and skirt steak with red onion marmalade and valeon butter. Their cocktails and Spanish wine selection are also great. For one of the most decadent and creative meals in Boston, look no further than Toro.
Mela is another South End gem that features some of the best Indian food I have ever eaten. Located across the street from the Boston Center for the Arts and the Calderwood Pavilion, this is a fantastic spot for lunch in between rehearsals, dinner before or after a performance, or brunch on a lazy Sunday. Everything on the menu is fantastic, but the two Dinner for 2 options (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) are a fantastic way to try a little bit of everything. Even better, for nearly a decade, Groupon has offered a fantastic deal for Mela diners.
Brookline’s The Publick House has repeatedly been on the “Best of Boston” list for its delicious Belgian and Belgian-inspired beer list and pub fare, as well as its warm, lively atmosphere. In addition to having the “Best Mac & Cheese in the U.S.", the Moules Frites and Fish & Chips are also personal favorites. It's always worth the long trip on the Green Line to get to The Publick House.
The neighbor directly west of Boston University known as Allston is known primarily for its mediocre restaurants and drunken college students. But Deep Ellum is a bastion of creative, well-made food, delicious cocktails, and a phenomenal draft beer list for daily brunch and dinner. Check out the Truffled Gorgonzola Fries, Kimchi Dog, and Root Beer Braised Pork Belly. In warmer weather, take advantage of their patio dining area in the back.
Named among the 10 Best Bakeries in America, Flour Bakery offers delicious freshly-baked cookies, cakes, pies, and other treats, as well as inspired salads and sandwiches, in their three locations around Boston. Pastry chef and owner Joanne Chang has published several well-known cookbooks and the bakery offers regular community classes.
If you have never experienced the comforting deliciousness of Chinese soup dumplings, Dumpling Cafe is a must. This unassuming Chinatown destination provides many affordable and adventurous meals (e.g. Soup with Pork Intestines and Blood Pudding), but it doesn’t get better or more simple than a couple orders of “Juicy Buns” and Scallion Pancakes.
Thinking Cup serves delicious Portland-based Stumptown Coffee in three sleek, cozy locations around Boston. Be aware that, in an effort to focus on quality beverages and quality conversation, public WiFi is not offered.
Across the harbor from downtown in the Fort Point warehouse district, Drink was among the first craft cocktails bars to emerge in Boston back in 2008 and has since become a beloved veteran in a city flowing with great booze. I fell in love with mixology at this underground speakeasy during graduate school. Their world-class bartending team famously create whatever drink you might be in the mood for based on classic Prohibition-era cocktails and without the resource of any printed menu. Every night at Drink is an adventure and I always keep coming back for more.
Other great places for drinks in Boston include Eastern Standard, The Hawthorne, and Silvertone Bar & Grill.
The Boston Public Market opened in July 2015 as the first year-round market in the United States devoted exclusively to New England food and products. The 30,000 square-foot building, which took over 10 years to design and construct, houses 38 local vendors and a kitchen classroom, Upon my first visit to BMC, I was reduced to a kid in a candy store as I passed through aisles of local produce, cheeses, meats, sweets, prepared foods, wine, beer, handmade artisanal crafts, and more. The Kitchen offers daily classes and events. This is a must for any passionate locavore!
1704 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02118
578 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02118
695 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02111
The Publick House
1648 Beacon St.
Brookline, MA 02445
477 Cambridge St.
Allston, MA 02134
12 Farnsworth St. 1595 Washington St 131 Clarendon St
Boston, MA 02210 Boston, MA 02118 Boston, MA 02116
(617) 338-4333 (617) 267-4300 (617) 437-7700
165 Tremont St. 236 Hanover St. 85 Newbury St.
Boston, MA 02111 Boston, MA 02113 Boston, MA 02116
(617) 482-5555 (857) 233.5277 (617) 247.3333
348 Congress St,
Boston, MA 02210
528 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
500 A Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Silvertone Bar & Grill
69 Bromfield St,
Boston, MA 02108
Boston Public Market
100 Hanover St.
Boston, MA 02108
Closed Mondays & Tuesdays
Troubavore provides traveling artists and performers with clear, reliable, and informed data about the best in local dining, drinking, and attractions. For additional information, CLICK HERE.