Sure, Boston-based restaurants make a collective and figurative mean lobster roll while New England-style clam chowder features prominently on most menus around town. And yet, touted as one of the best food-centric cities going, Boston also boasts so much more. I recently had the pleasure of eating my way through the city on a two-day culinary adventure. From food trucks to seafood joints and diner-style noshing to culinary classroom theatre, read on for my insider reviews of Boston’s food trends and treasures.
Featuring some of Boston’s best and most award-winning food offerings, Boston Foodie Tours owner Audrey Giannattasio leads groups large and small through a number of organized tours and will gladly help build your own private eating expedition. With a focus on the gentrified neighbourhood of Fort Point, we set out to visit the first of a half dozen stops on our wonderfully bustling fine food-loving extravaganza.
First up, Flour Bakery in Fort Point ‘ the second branch in a current collection of four locations started by Pastry Chef and owner Joanne Chang. From cakes to croissants and breads to brioche, along with a savoury selection of seasonal soups, healthy salads and innovative sandwiches, Flour is a must-see stop when visiting Boston. Fun fact: Featured on Food Network’s ‘Throwdown with Bobby Flay’, Joanne’s incredibly decadent pecan sticky buns won the televised competition ‘ and quite deservedly so.
Located directly next door to Flour, take a wander inside rustic, artistic and spacious Bee’s Knees Supply Company and gourmet grocery store. Equal parts deli, café and market, Bee’s Knees is also an ice cream shoppe, purveyor of fine cheeses and charcuterie, merchant of craft beers and wine, bakery and catering operation. And they sell honey ‘ lots of it.
A spin on the Vietnamese sandwich favourite ‘banh mi’, Bon Me delivers big on bold, fresh and fun Vietnamese cuisine. In fact, that’s their motto. With two brick and mortar locations and a veritable fleet of food trucks, it’s not difficult to find your way to vibrant flavours in the form of salads, rice bowls and sandwiches with add-ins and selections of your choosing. Be sure to order spicy ginger lemonade to go with.
A James Beard award-winner, Chef Barbara Lynch’s Sportello is a charming blend of modern diner and Italian trattoria, with inspired interpretations on fresh pasta classics like spaghetti alla Puttanesca and tagliatelle with sauce Bolgnese.
A boisterous, spacious and wonderfully laidback oyster bar featuring an extensive beer selection, head to Row 34 for local oysters expertly paired with beer and an exceptionally divine New England clam chowder. You must have New England clam chowder while visiting.
Wind up the walking tour with a wood-fired thin crust lamb sausage flatbread at TRADE ‘ Chef Jody Adams’ creative and casual dining space.
Then, work off those calories with a walk through historical and picturesque Boston Common and Public Garden in the heart of the downtown core. Stroll along admiring the parks’ mixture of plants and trees. Got the time? Operational since 1877, take an unhurried ride on Boston’s famous Swan Boats.
Continue walking, shopping and exploring galleries along the way in Beacon Hill. Cross the Charles River and arrive at your hotel destination ‘ Royal Sonesta Boston. Boasting comfy chic rooms and one of the best views of Boston, any one of Royal Sonesta’s four restaurant options is a dining destination unto itself.
After a decadent sleep, revive yourself with breakfast. ArtBar has a wide selection of menu options, like gluten-free cinnamon brioche French toast with raspberry compote and Vermont maple butter.
Ready to continue exploring culinary treasures around town, head to Kane’s Handcrafted Donuts. Since opening its doors in the Boston suburb of Saugus in 1955, Kane’s has grown to enjoy near legendary status. With this second location newly open in Boston’s Financial District, the Delios family has brought their world famous donuts to downtown Boston. From popular flavours like crème brulée to pistachio and from award-winning honey dip to more savoury offerings like the lobster ‘Dowich’ ‘ a spin on the lobster roll – Kane’s is a little bite of donut love. And their gluten-free donuts are hands down the best’anywhere.
With an emphasis on local, sustainable and seasonable ingredients, brasserie-eque Townsman celebrates the diverse bounty of the Northeast in a welcoming atmosphere of warm and casual elegance. On the menu, go for the seemingly unassuming American Hams board ‘ an incredible share platter selection of cured and cooked hams, fresh baked buttermilk biscuits, and a seemingly countless array of complementary pickles, chutneys and mustards, while salad lovers will take to the Beets a La Plancha with amaranth, cashew labneh, sumac, cooked and raw beets and wilted beet greens. The cocktail list has plenty of creative offerings, too, like the Green Girder, with fresh celery juice, lime, gin, smoke and salt.
Like to eat? Like to cook? Like to cook and eat while simultaneously sipping, chatting and learning? Make it a night out by reserving a coveted seat or two at Stir where cooking class meets culinary theatre in the form of a multi-course dinner with expertly selected wine pairings. Accommodating no more than a dozen diners in its intimate space, Stir is a cookbook store by day and demonstration kitchen by night, with class topics changing almost daily. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to visit when it’s ‘Under the Sea: Seafood Fabrication and Cookery’ evening where guests learn how to shuck Wellfleet oysters and Countneck clams to be served raw and broiled with green tomato relish, guanciale and nettles, and paired with a 2012 Le Vigne di Eli Etna Bianco from Sicily.