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F&W's Boston Food Obsessions

Food & Wine · Guide to Boston · created over 3 years ago

Our editors reveal 25 not-so-guilty pleasures.

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    Bacon Double Cheeseburger at Green Street in Cambridge, MA

    The Bacon Double Cheeseburger comes topped with cheddar cheese, smoked bacon and Russian dressing in a white bun. A superb accompaniment: house-made kettle chips.

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    Bar Burger at Craigie On Main in Cambridge, MA

    Star chef Tony Maws adds bone marrow and dehydrated miso to the beef in his Bar Burger, and cooks it in a low heat CVap oven, followed by a quick char on the plancha.

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    Börek at Sofra Bakery & Cafe in Cambridge, MA

    Oleana chef-owner Ana Sortun’s Middle Eastern bakery sells an impeccable flaky, spiced spanakopita and cheesy, bread pudding–like borek sprinkled with smoky nigella seeds.

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    Burnt Caramel Ice Cream at Toscanini's Ice Cream in Cambridge, MA

    In contention with Christina's for best local ice cream, this Cambridge institution wins fans for its signature Burnt Caramel ice cream. The floor-to-ceiling windows are superb for people watching on the street.

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    Cannoli at Modern Pastry in Boston, MA

    Impassioned Italian-American regulars and tourists line up for the cannolis at this North End bakery. Most importantly, each shell is filled with sweetened ricotta to order, even the minis.

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    Cheese at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, MA

    The owners seek out the finest small-batch cheese producers in Europe (try the pavé blésois, a runny, ash-rind goat-milk cheese). There are even cheese-aging caves below the store, lined with wheels of mimolette and Gruyère (ask to peek inside).

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    cheese pizza at Pizzeria Regina in Boston, MA

    Located in the same curved red brick building since 1926, the restaurant serves old-school pizzas with brick oven–charred crusts, ordered light, regular or well-done.

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    Chocolate Chip Cookies at Clear Flour Bread Bakery in Brookline, MA

    Christy Timon opened her Brookline bakery in 1982, hiring Abram Faber to help with deliveries. The now-married couple are revered as champions of classic European baking when it comes to brioche and flaky croissants, but huge, chewy chocolate chunk cookies are wonderfully American.

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    Cuban Sandwich at Chez Henri in Cambridge, MA

    There are two incentives to cram into the candlelit bar at Chez Henri in Cambridge: one is the deftly mixed mojito, the other is the Cuban sandwich.

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    Elephant Ear Walking at Scampo in Boston, MA

    Renowned Boston chef Lydia Shire’s appropriately named restaurant, Scampo (Italian for “escape”), is set inside a former prison, now The Liberty Hotel. Among the highlights: Shire’s famed Elephant Ear Walking (a curving flatbread covered with tomatoes and melted cheese).

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    Fried Clam Roll at Summer Shack Boston in Boston, MA

    At his kitschy remix of a shore-side seafood joint, chef Jasper White elevates fish and chips, corn dogs and exceptional fried clam rolls.

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    Grilled Corn at Toro in Boston, MA

    Ken Oringer’s casual brick-walled Spanish restaurant serves awesome bocadillos (sandwiches) and wonderfully messy grilled corn covered with aioli, lime and cotija cheese.

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    Hot Lobster Roll at Neptune Oyster in Boston, MA

    With just an 18-seat raw bar and a 26-seat banquette, there’s still room for two kinds of lobster rolls. The warm version covered in butter is most unique.

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    Italian Cheese Pizza at Santarpio's Pizza in Boston, MA

    This super-traditional pizzeria, with wood-paneled walls covered with pictures of famous athletes, has been around for more than a century. The homemade sausage pie is terrific.

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    Jelly Doughnuts at Betty Ann Food Shop in , MA

    Around since 1931, the East Boston bakery specializes in classic sugar-rolled doughnuts, including a hefty cake option and rustic jelly-filled balloons of fried dough.

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    Loaded Hot Dog at Boston Speed Dog in Roxbury, MA

    Roxbury’s famous food truck, open since 1975, serves big, snappy beef hot dogs covered in barbecue sauce, chopped onions and a meatless bean chili, for several hours each day. Get there by 3 p.m.

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    lobster roll at B & G Oysters in Boston, MA

    Chef Barbara Lynch serves perfect fried clams at her South End seafood bar, and a fantastic Maine lobster roll with mayo, celery and the chef-ly addition of chives in a split-top bun.

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    Meatballs at Coppa in Boston, MA

    Food & Wine’s inaugural People’s Best New Chef, Jamie Bissonnette, crowns beef-and-pork meatballs with translucent strips of smoky lardo at the locavore enoteca.

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    Mussels at Eastern Standard in Boston, MA

    At this Kenmore Square restaurant, chef Marco Suarez turns out superb American brasserie dishes, like perfect moules provençal, steamed in white wine with tomato and fennel.

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    Politico Burgers at Mr. Bartley's in Cambridge, Massachusetts

    Open since 1960, this Harvard Square diner names its many burgers after local politicos, athletes and celebrities. The Deval Patrick (Massachusett’s Democratic governor) comes with Monterey jack cheese, jalapeños, salsa and the warning that it “will tax your taste buds.”

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    raw oysters at Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston, MA

    Every year, five million Island Creek oysters grow in the muddy flats of Massachusetts's Duxbury Bay, and many come straight to this urban extension on Commonwealth Avenue. They’re great freshly shucked or panko-crusted and fried for stellar sliders.

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    Red Velvet Cupcake at Lulu's Sweet Shoppe in Boston, MA

    The cupcake trend has hit Boston hard, and this little storefront in the North End is one of the favored stops for flavors like red velvet and Hostess-style chocolate-glazed cupcakes.

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    Skillet corn bread at Hungry Mother in Cambridge, MA

    This charming Southern-inspired spot by Barry Maiden (an F&W Best New Chef 2009) serves wickedly delicious breads like skillet cornbread and ham biscuits.

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    Spare Ribs at Myers+Chang in Boston, MA

    Husband-and-wife team Christopher Myers and Joanne Chang (who also owns Flour Bakery) run this busy, diner-like Pan-Asian restaurant, serving elevated dishes like tea-smoked pork spare ribs.

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    Sticky Buns at Flour Bakery & Cafe in Boston, MA

    All three locations of chef-owner Joanne Chang’s bakery serve freshly baked breads, pastries and her renowned sticky buns.