Eating our way through Boston is something we seem to do every year. We travel to Boston each summer to visit relatives and spend some time on the beaches of Cape Cod. Before heading down to the Cape we always spend some time in the city. Boston is one of the world’s great food cities and despite the fact that there are many, many excellent restaurants, we always seem to go back to our favorite spots each year with some new locations thrown in for variety. Here is a review of our favorite places to stop.
If you and your kids like food, any kind of food, Quincy Market is your kind of place. Here you’ll find just about any kind of food you could imagine from pizza to gyros to fresh fish to fresh baked goods to ice cream all under one roof. The food vendors are all aligned along one long hallway teeming with people. We love the atmosphere as well as the food.
Quincy Market is a long building that is adjacent to Fanueil Hall. The food vendors are inside the building with a few sit-down restaurants on the outside of the building. Also outside the building but under an awning a a wide variety of merchants selling just about any kind of souvenir you can imagine. Also outside at various spots are street entertainers ranging from escape artists to magicians to jugglers. The selection varies and just depends on when you stop by.
We usually start our visit by walking around the building and take in some of the entertainment. We then look at some of the souvenir vendors before heading inside for the food. The great thing about Quincy Market is that there is literally something for everyone. There are food vendors lining both sides of a long hallway. In the center of the building are tables for sitting and eating. Thee are additional tables upstairs as well.
The North End
The North End is one of the oldest sections of Boston and home to the Old North Church of Paul Revere fame. The North End is also home to the city’s large Italian population. Hanover Street is the primary street going through the North End and both sides of the street are lined with Italian restaurants, bakeries and cafes. There are many other restaurants on side streets that cross Hanover.
Many of the restaurants are small operations with just a few tables and most seem to have front windows which open wide in nice weather exposing the restaurant to the street outside. The street comes alive each evening with brightly lit neon signs highlighting the name of each restaurant. You’ll see lines of people outside the many Italian bakeries waiting for the freshest, best tasting cannolis and Italian pastries you’ll find this side of Rome.
There are many great spots at which to eat in the North End and these are a few of our favorites.
Carmelina’s was a new spot for us this year after our normal North End favorite, Ristorante Fiore was unable to accommodate our party. Carmelina’s is a small restaurant with no more than eight tables and some seating at the bar. We were given a table right in the front window so we had a great view of everything going on on the street.
In summary, the service was outstanding, the atmosphere was perfect and the food was incredible. Carmelina’s was a winner in every way and our new favorite spot in the North End. Carmelina’s is located at 307 Hanover Street.
The restaurant appears to be one of the larger spots facing Hanover Street with a large main floor dining room accompanied by a large patio. They also boast the North End’s only roof deck upstairs during the warmer months.Like many of the restaurants the front is open to the street in nice weather creating a great atmosphere. Ristorante Fiore is located at 250 Hanover Street.
Mike’s Italian Pastries
There are several Italian bakeries in the North End but our favorite is Mike’s. Mike’s offers twelve different flavors of cannolis and a wide variety of other baked goods sure to satisfy the biggest sweet tooth in your family. Other than the baked goods one of my favorite things at Mike’s is the way they put everything you buy into a cardboard box and wrap it with string just like I remember when I was a kid in our hometown bakery.
Our advice would be to skip dessert at whatever restaurant you’re eating at and buy some cannolis at Mike’s. Mike’s can be found at 300 Hanover Street.
Breakfast and Lunch
Boston Common Coffee Company
When we’re in Boston we typically eat a quick breakfast away from the hotel before we go out and explore. One of our favorite places for a quick breakfast is the Boston Common Coffee Company. Here you can get a great egg sandwich on a bagel along with a cup of coffee or try one of their unique doughnut flavors.
The Boston Common Coffee Company has four retail locations. The location we always go to is at 515 Washington Street. Other locations are97 Salem Street, 10 High Street and 103 Canal Street.
Located around the corner from the Parker House Hotel, Sam LaGrassa’s has become a Boston institution with their great tasting sandwiches. Sam’s is only open from 11:00am until 2:00pm each day and be sure to get there early or you’ll find yourself at the end of a huge line. There are people that can eat one of Sam’s sandwiches by themselves but I would guess that’s a rarity. We typically decide among the four of us on two sandwiches we like and then split them. Half a sandwich will fill you up. While we’re told that all of the sandwiches are great on our recent visit we had a Cuban Sandwich and a Chicken Pesto Sandwich. Both were excellent. Sam LaGrassa’s is located at 44 Province Street.
Eating our way through Boston is something we look forward to each and every summer. We usually try a new spot or two and we always, always visit our old favorites. Try a few of the spots we’ve listed and try some others as well. You’ll be glad you did.