An Insider’s Culinary Guide to Beantown

by - Wednesday, March 13, 2013

If you are looking for a destination for your next vacation with delicious food and the best restaurants, you can’t go wrong with Boston. As one of the oldest cities in the USA, Boston’s unique style of cuisine has developed over the decades, and the diversity of delicious New England meals on the menu makes it a food lover’s dream. Here is a quick culinary guide to Boston, providing you with details of what to eat and where to eat it so that next time you visit you won’t waste any time finding the perfect place to tuck into a typical Bostonian dish.

What to Eat

There is far too much variety in Boston’s culinary scene to cram everything into one article, but here are a few of the favorites that you really don’t want to miss when you are in town.

Clam Chowder

Clam chowder is not unique to Boston, but it is certainly one of the favorite dishes in the city. New England clam chowder, or Boston Chowder, tends to be thicker than its regional variants due to the addition of crushed oyster crackers rather than flour. It can also be made using mussels instead of clams, and the very best is served in a bread bowl.

Boston Baked Beans

You can’t write a food guide to Boston without including baked beans, which gave the city its nickname of ‘Beantown’. Baked beans here often contain bacon for extra flavor, and are usually sweetened with molasses or sometimes maple syrup.

Fried Clams

Deep fried clams are a favorite in Boston and have been typical of the region for many years. They are often eaten in a bun and served with tartar sauce, and you will find them in restaurants and clam shacks throughout the city.


Lobster is a regional favorite after it became popular in the middle of the 19th century. It is featured in a wide range of dishes, and is exquisite when served with melted butter sauce.

Other Popular Dishes

Other popular dishes include battered fish and chips, roast beef sandwiches with barbecue sauce, and codfish cakes made from dried fish. And of course you can’t forget the deserts. One of the most famous is the Boston Brownie, a hot, nutty fudge cake served with ice cream or whipped cream, and you should also sample the apple pie and numerous varieties of cupcakes that you will find throughout the city.

Where to Eat It

Now you know a bit more about Boston’s specialities, where should you go about finding the best establishments to eat them? Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

Top Restaurants

The first stop for many is the Union Oyster House. This is the oldest continually operating restaurant in the whole of the United States, and its specials include oysters, clam chowder, and other seafood dishes. Other top seafood restaurants include Legal Sea Foods and East Coast Grill, and the Omni Parker House Hotel is a popular traditional restaurant where the Boston Cream Pie was invented.

Popular Dining Areas

If you want to check out some areas known for their fine dining, you could start by visiting Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which has a wide range of restaurants to choose from. For more international cuisine, head to Chinatown where you will find many Asian restaurants, and visit North End for the best Italian restaurants. You should also check out the farmers’ markets, including City Hall Farmers’ Market in downtown, and Copley Square Farmers’ Market, located near to the public library.

Eat Well in Boston

As you can see, Boston is a fantastic destination for anyone with a discerning palate. You would need weeks to get around all of the best places, but the above guide should give you a good idea of where to start. So next time you visit Beantown, make sure you don’t miss out on its famous dishes and prepare to eat very well indeed.

About the author: Chris McMahon is an independent travel advisor who enjoys blogging in his spare time. His articles appear on a variety of US travel blogs. Click the link for Boston hotels.

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