What to Eat (and Drink!) in Boston

Ice cream at JP Licks in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Food is often the best way to get to know a new city. On my business trips to Boston, I use a combination of recommendations from friends (including awesome travel bloggers Alex and Bell at Wanderlust Marriage) and highly rated ideas from Google Maps to figure out what to eat in Boston. Find out about the best Boston food that we tried at various bars and restaurants around the city including some fun spots that we totally would have missed out on if not for our foodie friends.

What to Eat in Boston Map

Click on the image of the map below to open up an interactive version in Google Maps to explore the great places to eat in Boston highlighted in this post.
What to Eat in Boston Map

Craft Beer at Row 34 in Boston's Fort Point Neighborhood

Craft beer and cider at Row 34 bar in Boston's Fort Point Neighborhood

We spent a rainy afternoon with Alex and Bell exploring Boston from end to end. When the rain falls, it's good to get inside for a sneaky pint. We stopped at Row 34 near Boston's Fort Point neighborhood and perused the lengthy list of craft beers on offer. I opted for the Trail Hopper cider. Row 34 had a great vibe. We sat at the corner of the bar and had a proper catch up while the Boston weekend brunch crowd swirled around us.

Cider at Boston's Downeast Cider House

Downeast Cider House street art in Boston

Having gotten a taste for cider, at Row 34, we decided to hop into a Uber to check out a place that's been getting great buzz in Boston: Downeast Cider House. Downeast Cider House is not one of Boston's easier places to find. In fact, our Uber driver got lost trying to find the cidery. Downeast Cider House is located in an awesomely bizarre location under Boston's Tobin Bridge and next to a garbage truck parking lot.
Garbage truck under the Tobin Bridge in Boston

To our dismay, the tasting room was full after we had come so far to get here but on the plus side, Downeast gave us drink tokens to use at the outside bar while we waited. The outside bar at Downeast Cider House has exactly the same drinks on offer as the inside bar. We got to taste the Cranberry Blend and Original Blend ciders but opted to use our free drink token on the limited edition Downeast Hard Lemonade. Served in a special Downeast koozie, our adventure to the far reaches of Boston had definitely paid off.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking to extend your trip to Boston? Have you considered taking a New England road trip in the summer? Enjoy coastal views, vestiges of American colonial history, and fantastic craft beer.


Downeast Cider koozie on a keg in Boston

New England Clam Chowder and Sirloin Tips at Warren Tavern near Bunker Hill

Warren Tavern in Bunker Hill in Boston
Downeast Cider House isn't too far from Boston's historical Bunker Hill neighborhood. Famous as the site of the Battle of Bunker Hill during the American Revolution, Bunker Hill is now a posh residential neighborhood in Boston with a park located on the battle site. Our next stop was Warren Tavern. Founded in 1780, Warren Tavern had great colonial-era feel. I can just imagine this place opening up after the Revolutionary War came to its final conclusion.
Cup of clam chowder at Warren Tavern in Bunker Hill in Boston
Warren Tavern is everything a historical pub should be with dark wood paneling and kitschy old-fashioned decorations. We enjoyed a cup of world famous New England clam chowder and a huge plate of sizzling sirloin tips.Warren Tavern in Bunker Hill was a great dinner find thanks again to Alex and Bell.
Sirloin tips at Warren Tavern in Bunker Hill in Boston

Grande Margaritas at Border Cafe in Harvard Square

Border Cafe in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts Margarita at Border Cafe in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts
The next day, I met my friend, Dave, for Sunday brunch. He knows I like Mexican food and suggested Border Cafe near Harvard Square. Border Cafe is a great place to get large quantities of comforting Tex-Mex in Boston washed down with a grande margarita. Border Cafe definitely does not offer fine cuisine but the meal (and margie!) sure was tasty.

Ice Cream at J.P. Licks in Cambridge

JP Licks ice cream in Cambridge, Massachusetts

After walking off lunch in Harvard Square and out at Mount Auburn Cemetery, we took the advice of another friend of mine who used to live in Boston. Andrew told us that J.P. Licks shouldn't be missed. Turns out he was right. A couple of creamy scoops was just what we needed on a summer day in Cambridge. I opted for a cup of Butter Pecan ice cream. Delicious!

An Artisanal Fluffernutter Sandwich and New England IPA at Slumbrew

I discovered Somerville Brewing Company (aka Slumbrew) via Google Maps as I was searching for craft beer near to where I was staying on my trip to Boston. Sample a New England Pale Ale and other delectable craft beers and comfort food like spicy poutine tater tots.
What to Eat in Boston: Spicy Poutine tater tots and craft beer at Slumbrew
The highlight of a visit to Slumbrew though had to be their artisanal fluffernuter sandwich. Did you know that marshmallow fluff was invented in Somerville, Massachusetts? Slumbrew’s take on this childhood classic paired fluff with almond butter on brioche.
What to eat in Boston: A fluffernutter sandwich at Slumbrew

Banana Hefeweizen Donuts Holes at Cambridge Brewing Company

Cambridge Brewing Company has some fantastic craft beer. Stop by and sit at the bar on a Sunday. Pair amazing banana hefeweizen donut holes for brunch with a pint and lively company. I met a couple from South Carolina in town to visit their son.
What to eat in Boston: Banana Hefeweizen Donut Holes at Cambridge Brewing Company

Tasting Menu During Restaurant Week at EVOO in Cambridge

Restaurant week in Boston is the perfect opportunity to try some of the city’s higher end restaurants. Try the restaurant week menu at EVOO and get three courses of Mediterranean-inspired dishes for a great price.
What to eat in Boston: padron peppers at EVOO

Middle Eastern Tapas at Oleana

I’m lucky to have a colleague who is a bona fide foodie and happens to live in Boston. Whenever I’m in town for work, I look to him for advice. On my last trip, he brought the team to Oleana for Middle Eastern influenced tapas. Highlights included: whipped feta, zucchini pancakes, and brown butter profiteroles.

What to eat in Boston: brown-butter profiteroles at Oleana

Coffee at Curio

Curio Coffee is a great spot to stop for morning coffee on the way to work on a business trip to Cambridge. The cups feature a bad ass logo of a hissing snake and the coffee itself was perfectly prepared. The cups may be tiny, but the coffee inside packs a real punch. You’ll feel snake bit afterwards!
What to eat in Boston: Coffee at Curio Coffee

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Interested in off-the-beaten path things to do in Boston besides eat? Here are some ideas for your next trip.
  1. Take an invigorating walk through Mount Auburn Cemetery.
  2. Walk the MIT campus. Can you pick out the Stata Center by sight (designed by Frank Gehry)?
  3. Check out the Back Bay Fens WWII Victory Gardens. Literally dating back to World War II, the place is now seven acres of lovely community gardens. Make sure to stop by James P. Kelleher Rose Garden in Back Bay Fens along the Emerald Necklace.

There you have it. Our culinary experience in Boston and Cambridge was far better than we would have had on our own thanks to local recommendations and we ate our way across Boston in the process seeing all the lovely sites that the city has to offer along the way. To all my friends reading Sidewalk Safari, who has a restaurant recommendation in Boston for the next time I'm in town?

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Recently Closed - A Meal Created with Lab Equipment at Cafe ArtScience in Cambridge

Mary's Blockpress cocktail at Cafe ArtScience in Cambridge, MassachusettsBurnt cherry wood old fashioned cocktail at Cafe ArtScience in Cambridge, Massachusetts Cocktail at Cafe ArtScience in Cambridge, Massachusetts
I have a PhD in Chemistry and used to work in research in the chemical industry way back in the day. I met an old friend from my chemistry days, Lisa, for dinner in Cambridge. She recommended Cafe ArtScience. Cafe ArtScience offers fine cuisine and cocktails made using lab equipment. We were both nerding out big time.  We tried Mary's Blockpress (above: cassis infused cranberry, lime, elderflower, ginger, and mint) and a burnt-cherry wood old-fashioned. We also tried a cocktail with a perfect ice cube made from boozy fruit.

The food at Cafe ArtScience was also fresh and innovative. I especially like this composed salad with young fiddlehead ferns which are available for just a short time each year in New England. I love being able to dine locally and eat something I wouldn't have tried otherwise. If it hadn't been for my friend, Lisa, I wouldn't have known what fiddlehead ferns were in the first place or why they were a special treat at Cafe ArtScience.
Salad with fiddlehead ferns at Cafe ArtScience in Cambridge, Massachusetts

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: What to Eat (and Drink!) in Boston
What to Eat (and Drink!) in Boston
Experience the best in Boston food and drink thanks to recommendations from local friends. A photo-rich post by travel blogger, Jennifer (aka Dr. J) from Sidewalk Safari.
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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