Last time I visited Boston, my friend Nat took me on a whirlwind tour of some of Beantown’s great restaurants. This time around, I was determined to try new places, while fitting in some older favourites of course! Luckily, my boyfriend is a culinary adventurer like myself, so we happily ate our way through the city.
First up in the legendary Durgin Park in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace near the waterfront. Open since 1857, the laid back restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside, but once you’re upstairs in the dining room and watching the massive plates go by, you get it pretty fast! The French Dip sandwich was heavenly and the famed Boston baked beans were tasty too. Bonus points go to the vintage ambiance of hexagonal-tiled floors, copper wainscoting and patina’d pendants.
New England is known for its fresh seafood, and Legal Sea Foods is a favourite for tourists and locals alike. I recommend the crabcake, which is less mushy and more meaty with a light crisp coating on the outside. The oysters were delish too, served with classic accompaniments on a bed of ice garnished with seaweed.
I am a long-time devotee of the shrimp and bacon club from Cheesecake Factory (so kosher), but a stop at Cafeteria on Newbury was even more yummy! The shrimp were bigger and more succulent than the version at Cheesecake, plus it was nice to sit outside on their patio and watch the people go by.
EVOO, short for extra virgin olive oil, was a nice change of pace for us, with a local slant to the menu. The menu at this Cambridge spot is changed daily to reflect the fresh fare from nearby growers, and goes as far to identify each item on the menu by the name of the farm where it came from. Amongst the dishes we enjoyed were an excellent roasted heirloom tomato gazpacho with a sea bass and corn salsa, and an innovative asian dish featuring layers of glazed shrimp, braised tender beef, a vegetable-cashew slaw over brown rice.
We stayed at the infamous Liberty Hotel for one night so we decided to try their signature restaurant, Clink, for dinner. The modified prison vibe was cool, and a bar cart offering samples of signature cocktails was a fun touch. While we found their appetizers mediocre, the mains were delectable, including a local striped bass that was served with artichoke hearts, fingerling potatoes, smoked pancetta and a super fun pea-green foamy emulsion that tasted better than it looks.
Paramount in Beacon Hill provided Dave the chance to try a crabcake sandwich, which he said was delicious! The sweet potatoe fries only helped seal the deal.
We capped off one of our nights with an elevator ride up the Prudential Centre to the Top of the Hub. We took in the fabulous cityscape view with a fresh-baked cookie platter, which I had indulged in my last trip and had to repeat!
Anther notable mention includes The South End Buttery, whose oatmeal terrine would make starting my days here in Toronto that much better!