You may not know that Boston is one of the oldest towns in America. Home to 23 different neighborhoods, this place offers a variety of experiences. Whether you want to go sightseeing, walk around greenspaces, discover new cultures, or shop, there is an area suited to you. This is also a city of invention and a place that has pioneered many things that are well known today. For example, America's first subway system, first chocolate factory, and even the very first Thanksgiving dinner were created right here in Boston!
As you can tell, Boston loves its food and there are so many great restaurants, bars and cafes spread around the city. There are lots of options for vegetarian restaurants in Boston as well, and if you have some extra time we recommend checking out the best street food spots in Boston, too! It is fun to try new foods when you visit a city, and this one has some special treats that you need to taste while you are in town.
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Boston Food: Boston Cream Pie
Let's start our list with probably one of the most popular treats in the city; the Boston Cream Pie! This tasty dessert was the staple food of the city back in 1856 and is still a favorite dish around the world. Although you might be able to find replicas of the Boston Cream Pie in other cities, nothing can beat the original which is why you absolutely have to try it while you are in the city.
This delicious pie was created by Chef Augustine Francois Anezin at a place called the Parker House which is still around today, although it now goes by the name Omni Parker House and is still the best place to try it. Originally this dish, which is made of two layers of sponge cake drenched in custard and complete with rum syrup and chocolate topping, was called Chocolate Cream Pie. Make sure you order a fresh slice from Parker's restaurant.
Boston Food: Clam Chowder
Did you know that Clam Chowder is another famous Boston staple and has been around since the 18th century? This meal originated centuries ago from settlers who moved into the city. They were thought to be either Nova Scotian, British or French, but no matter where they came from we are glad that they brought this tasty dish with them! There are several varieties of this creamy soup but the one that is most common in Boston is the New England Clam Chowder.
This version of the soup has a distinct white color, thanks to the milk that is added, that makes it stand out from the rest. The complete recipe is made with clams, potatoes, milk or cream, onions, and oyster crackers that give the finishing touch to the thick soup. It is a popular dish and most restaurants serve it, but if you are looking for a good place the go the Union Oyster House or Legal Sea Foods are great choices.
Boston Food: Lobster Rolls
A tasty meal for lunch or dinner in Boston is the delicious Lobster Roll. This meal was first made in Maine but over time Boston has become a popular spot to try it as well. Some people debate on which city is the best place to eat it, but all we know is that the Lobster Rolls in the Boston area are delicious! They are on the list of signature dishes for the summertime, and there is no way that you can visit Boston without trying one.
Lobster rolls are typically made with tender and warm lobster meat, sometimes claw and knuckle meat, smothered in mayonnaise or melted butter. Put it all together in either a griddled or a buttered roll of bread and you are all set! You can find this meal in restaurants all over town but lots of people say that the go-to place is either Neptune Oyster or James Hook & Co.
Boston Food: Baked Beans
Everyone knows that the locals of Boston love their baked beans (the city is nicknamed Beantown, after all!), which is why you just have to try this treat to see what all of the hype is about. This food was first created right here in Boston back in the 17th century and by the 1900s it was a Boston staple and has earned a place in the culture of the city. Although it's not a real gourmet dish it is a classic and can be really comforting, even if you aren't a local.
Despite their name, the beans in this dish are not actually baked. Instead, they are stewed or boiled and later molasses is added to sweeten them. Most people like to have beans with a side of brown bread and sometimes salt pork or bacon are added into the mix. If you are interested in trying the famous Boston Baked Beans you won't have to search far, and places like the Beantown Pub will have it for sure. Even the Union Oyster House, which is found just a block away from Faneuil Hall, does a great job, so if you are already there to try the Clam Chowder order some Baked Beans at the same time!
Boston Food: Fenway Frank Hotdogs
Sure, hotdogs aren't a rare dish but we can guarantee that you haven't tasted any quite like the ones from Fenway Frank. This yummy snack has gotten its reputation from all of the Red Sox fans watching the game at Fenway Park, and they have been a reliable treat for all who visit since the park's opening over a hundred years ago!
These Boston-styled hotdogs are not just like a normal sausage; instead, they are boiled and then grilled before being placed into a fresh split-top hotdog bun. This way of cooking them helps make them extra juicy which is perfectly complimented by the mustard, ketchup, or relish that is added on top. There are recreations of the dish available at restaurants around town but nothing beats the original at Fenway Frank. Make sure that you try them the next time you catch a game, but beware that no hotdogs will be able to compare afterward!
Boston Food: Roast Beef Sandwiches
The Roast Beef Sandwich is not only a Boston staple but has been popular around all of Massachusetts since the 1950s. Most people admit that the North Shore does it best, but the ones offered in other areas of Boston are pretty great too. Are you hungry? Come see how the Massachusetts capital does this dish!
When you order a Roast Beef Sandwich you can expect an onion roll stuffed to the brim (really, we mean it) with roasted beef that is sliced into thin layers. If you want to really eat like a local you should add mayo, white American cheese, and barbecue sauce! Some places also make it with thousand island dressing, crispy shallots, and cheese. This meal is truly delicious so make sure that you order it at some point while you are in the city. To try it you can go to one of the local hotspots like Kelly's Roast Beef, Revere Beach or Cusser's Roast Beef & Seafood.
Boston Food: Yankee Pot Roast
If you are visiting Boston in the colder months then this will be a real treat. The Yankee Pot Roast is a great meal to warm you up on those chilly winter days, just ask the locals! This has been a popular meal for over a century now and is one of the meals that you can look forward to during the cold winters.
If you order a Yankee Pot Roast from the menu of a restaurant you can expect a warm, comforting and delicious meal. On your plate, you will find slow roasted beef that has been seasoned to perfection with root vegetables and covered in a creamy and rich sauce. Common sides include butternut squash, homemade mashed potatoes, and gravy. Looking for a restaurant? Henrietta's Table does a great job at this dish, and they even simmer their roast in veal stock to give it that extra flavor.
Boston Food: Cannoli
After all of these savory dishes, we're sure that your taste buds are craving something sweet. Why not treat yourself to a yummy dessert of Cannoli? They are commonly found in the city's Italian area of the North End, so head there after you've finished your meal.
A cannoli is a hollow tube of pastry that is filled with ricotta cheese. Nuts, chocolate or fruits are put on as toppings, although different varieties exist like chocolate chip, Oreo, limoncello or pistachio. When it comes to cannoli there are only two places that you should go; Mike's Pastry or Modern Pastry. There has been a long time rivalry between the two places since no one can decide which place makes them better. Try ordering from both and join in on the debate!
Boston Food: Maple Bacon Doughnut
If the cannoli doesn't satisfy your sweet tooth you can try the Maple Bacon Doughnut next! The best place to try it is at Union Square Donuts and it is a trendy spot that locals like to go to for all sorts of treats. The doughnuts that they have on the menu are more than just your regular treats with powdered sugar, but include unique flavors like sea salt whiskey caramel, baklava, pina colada, rocky and Boston cream.
These are all great choices but if you are stopping by you just have to grab a Maple Bacon Doughnut. They are the absolutely perfect combination of sweet and salty. The doughnuts are made with thick-cut bacon strips and glazed in Vermont maple syrup. The result is probably one of the best doughnuts that you will ever taste.
Boston Food: Frappes
Boston offers more than just good food, but drinks as well! The notorious Boston Frappes are more than just your regular drink, however. They are basically thick milkshakes topped with ice cream and the perfect treat for hot summer days! You can get everything from traditional to experimental flavors.
If you are interested in trying some of the wild flavors you should go to the Boston Burger Company. They offer varieties like strawberry shortcake, for example! If you want to try the more traditional approach to the dessert try going to Toscanini's. Yvonne's Downtown Crossing has good Frappes as well.
Boston Food: Oysters
Another Boston classic is Oysters. Thanks to the city's location near the harbor, it is a fantastic place for seafood which is why dishes like Clam Chowder, Lobster Rolls and Oysters are so popular. Although they are in high demand, they are a surprisingly affordable dish. Some restaurants like to have "Oyster Hour" when you can buy even more of them for a discount!
There are lots of places that you can go to try Oysters, like Island Creek Oysters, the Boston Public Market, Row 34, and the Union Oyster House. The best Oysters should be heavy, with the meat well surrounded by liquid and a salty but light smell.
The Best Foods in Boston
As you can tell, this city is heaven for any foodies! We've got some great dishes on this list but there are so many more Boston treats worth mentioning. In town you can find everything from classics like wood fired pizza, meat pie and fried chicken to more specific meals like roast beef with sautéed onions, matzo ball soup, foie gras or lobster ravioli.
If you are still hungry for dessert you can try the sticky bun from Clear Flour Bakery. From South Boston to the north and East Boston to the west, everywhere that you go in this city you will be eating well. Afterward, you will want to work off the calories, we bet. Meander the streets of downtown or plan a hike in Boston. Plenty of trekking routes await!