Good food in Boston
May 24, 2009 11:25 PM   Subscribe

So, Boston, where do you go for your good food?

I'm moving to Boston from Chicago in a couple of months, and I'm a little ambivalent about it. Chicago is a wonderful city for food. I love her farmers' markets. I have a great little produce market right around the corner from my place. And there are so many wonderful restaurants doing interesting things with local ingredients. I love lula cafe and am in awe of Blackbird.

So tell me...where do you shop and eat? I'd like to know where Boston's gems are, and how its local agriculture is influencing its cuisine. I'm particularly interested in recommendations for Allston/Brighton, Jamaica Plain, Brookline, Newton and Metro West, but I'd love recommendations for anything you know of that's interesting and worth a trip.
posted by felix betachat to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Its not in your listed areas, but Harvest sounds like something you're looking for. I've eaten there many times, they do a good job there.
posted by ecks at 2:06 AM on May 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Do you only want sort of green/local restaurants?

I've heard Ten Tables in JP is awesome. That's the only thing I know about in town that would meet your criteria. They have a price fixe thing too, on Wednesdays I believe. This is all hearsay.

Boston is pretty amazing for food. I just moved back after being away a couple of years.

Breakfast places
Renee's in Teale Square Somerville: Gourmet Eggs Benedict
Andy's in Porter: Greasy Spoon
Center Street Cafe in JP: Great everything
Blue Diner near South Station

Anna's Taqueria in Porter, Davis or Brookline: Not authentic but really good Quesadillas

L'Oriental De Cuba in JP, try the snapper

153 Vietnamese Sandwich
Chow Chow
Too many random places to list

The North End
Large amounts of Italian food everywhere
Ernesto's Pizza
Cafe Dela Sport (amazing hot chocolate, old men watching soccer)

Bar Food
The Druid in Inman Square

Ice Cream
Cristina's in Inman Square
JP Licks in Davis and JP

Good bars everywhere
posted by sully75 at 3:45 AM on May 25, 2009

Best answer: Do some searches and you'll see some restaurants I've liked before. They still stand as trip-worthy. I'll throw in Blue Ginger in Wellsley, Masao's Kitchen in Waltham, to cover some metro west. I'll add I was extremely happy with Sel de la Terre in the Natick Collection : I really haven't come across anything as worthy of praise outside of the 128 loop.

I'll second Harvest for a portion of your groceries, but I'll also add Whole foods (oblig) and Trader Joes (oblig). Both of those exist on sort of the Longwood/Fenway line as well as out in Framingham (MetroWest). But the complete list (AFAIK) of specifically local and organic is this list: Pay close attention to #38: Boston Organics. They do home delivery of organic vegatables weekly. You only get what is good, and you don't get a choice: which means excitement in the kitchen as you get to figure out what to make with some pretty amazing veggies.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:53 AM on May 25, 2009

Best answer: I'm located north of the river, so my suggestions are a little Cambridge/Somerville-centric, but:

I think Evoo (Somerville, not too far from Harvard Sq.) does a great job spotlighting local stuff, and I've always been happy with meals there.

Garden At The Cellar (outside Harvard Sq., Cambridge) has a local/seasonal philosophy, and is always tasty.

I've only been once so far, but I'm pretty excited about Hungry Mother (Kendall Sq., Cambridge).

My favorite fancy-fancy place these days is Craigie On Main; they also feature a lot of local produce on their menu, and have recently relocated into a larger space with a fantastic bar.

The Blue Room (also Kendall Sq., Cambridge) is worth checking out, esp. during the summer when you can sit outside. Ditto for Oleana.

In JP, definitely check out Ten Tables. (They've now got a second location in Cambridge, too.)

The number of farmers' markets has really exploded in the last few years; there'll probably be several not too far from where you will be. I hear the one in Brookline is particularly good.
posted by sriracha at 4:05 AM on May 25, 2009

Willing to go for a little drive? Downtown Waltham (Moody Street) has some of the most outstanding ethnic food around. There are several farmers markets in Harvard Square (one at the Charles Hotel, another over by the Harvard Science Building). Looking for farm-fresh ingredients? Head over to Wilson's Farm in Lexington - great quality food.

Someone mentioned Ten Tables. They've just opened a second location on Craigie Circle in Cambridge. The restaurant that used to be there - Craigie Street Bistro - moved to Main Street in Cambridge and is now known as Craigie on Main. Both Craigie and Ten Tables are fantastic.

I think you're going to have trouble finding recommendations for Allston/Brighton. Really, though - Boston is fantastic for food. Just give yourself time to explore around and see what's out there.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:05 AM on May 25, 2009

I believe ecks was referring to Harvest the restaurant, rather than Harvest the grocery. I used to live right around the corner from the Harvest Co-op in Cambridge, and found their meats and produce to be pretty hit-or-miss, frankly.

For fantastic fruit and vegetable selection, year-round, check out Russo's in Watertown. A little further out (but a nice drive) is Verrill Farm in Concord.
posted by sriracha at 4:16 AM on May 25, 2009

Best answer: felix betachat: "I love her farmers' markets."

In my experience, Boston's farmers' markets aren't so much farmers markets as they are outdoor grocery stores. You get a similar experience, but it's pretty much the same produce. If you're looking for a wide variety of direct-from-the-farm veggies and fruit, I'd try to sign up for a CSA. There was a thread about them last year. It might be a little late, although the one that I'm signed up for (Silverbrook Farms) has a handful of spots available at a couple locations.
posted by Plutor at 6:04 AM on May 25, 2009

Best answer: Allandale Farm is the "only working farm in Boston" (although there are community gardens all over the place).

Lineage in Brookline sounds like what you're after.
posted by nonane at 6:43 AM on May 25, 2009

Seconding Oleana. One of the best meals I've ever had, really, and that was in November sitting inside.
posted by The Michael The at 6:59 AM on May 25, 2009

Best answer: We're in the process of moving up to JP. We found some good options in that neighbourhood:
- vee vee restaurant
- City Feed - kind of local small grocery and great deli/sandwiches
- canto 6 bakery
- the Harvest co-op in JP was pretty good -- is that different than the one in cambridge?
- Ten Tables
- Helmund afghani food in Cambridge

Thanks for posting this. Leaving Durham, land of many many farms, amazing market, tons of local and amazing food for Boston is proving to be an annoyance for me too.
posted by barnone at 8:21 AM on May 25, 2009

I moved back to Ohio from Somerville a few years ago and still miss it terribly -- the sushi in the Japanese market at Porter Square, Pho Pasteur (Harvard Square, though there is at least one other one), the Ethiopian restaurant near the Cyclorama downtown, Tacos Lupita on Elm St. in Somerville (do NOT miss the pupusas there), Kelly's Roast Beef at Revere Beach... I could go on and on.

Yes, Chicago (and Cleveland, believe it or not) are both great food towns but Boston = some of my all-time faves.

Do not under any circumstances miss Christina's Ice Cream (and the corresponding spice store next door) in Inman Square. I LONG for Christina's daily.
posted by at 9:21 AM on May 25, 2009

Response by poster: Fantastic recommendations, thank you all very much.
posted by felix betachat at 2:39 PM on May 25, 2009

Try Athans for dessert near Cleveland Circle ( Green C line to Washington Square and it's right there ). Fantastic pastries!
posted by Juggernut at 5:15 PM on May 25, 2009

Porter Exchange on the Red Line in Cambridge has a variety of Japanese food stalls; Unfortunately, the Kotobukiya Japanese supermarket just closed its doors; fortunately, their sushi bar remains open, and I swear by that place for awesome and cheap sushi.
posted by not_on_display at 6:23 PM on May 25, 2009

JP Seafood Cafe in JP is pretty good.

Turner Fisheries in Copley Sq is great. I think it's the best seafood in Boston.

If you want crazy-a$$-expensive sushi, go to Uni, Ken Oringer's sushi restaurant.

There's a farmer's market in JP behind the Bank of America on weekends. (I think...)

Of course, there's the Haymarket Market on weekends.
posted by reddot at 6:35 PM on May 25, 2009

Helmand is in Cambridge, but is definitely worth a trip. I do my damnedest to eat there every time I'm in the Boston area.

(Funny thing is, I recently moved to your soon-to-be-former neighborhood from Portland, and feel like I'm in a food desert. I suppose the lesson here is that it's just a question of finding the wonderful places to eat.)
posted by dizziest at 8:14 PM on May 25, 2009

I liked the food at Green St. Grill, but one of the waitstaff had a bit of an attitude.
posted by brujita at 9:05 PM on May 25, 2009

I like the Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown, on the 71 bus line and also close to Newton.

In Allston, Grasshopper and TJ's (next door to each other) have all vegan food.
posted by johnsu01 at 12:47 PM on May 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Not really about local produce so much, but I'm very fond of the Super 88 food court (or whatever it's called) in Allston. By the way, if you haven't already, check out the Chowhound board for the Boston area, it's got a lot of great information, including this thread which may be useful.

I will also Nth Craigie on Main and Hungry Mother, both great places, as are a lot of the other places mentioned here...oh, and make it a point at least once to check out Tu Y Yo in Somerville: it's some of the best and most interesting Mexican food I've ever had (granted, I'm a gringo who hasn't spent much time out of the Northeast, but I've explored New York's Mexican restaurants with some dedication, including trekking out to some fantastic places in Sunset Park, Brooklyn...). I've also heard there is great Mexican in East Boston but I've yet to get over there (only been here a little more than a year myself).
posted by dubitable at 3:24 PM on May 26, 2009

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