Boston has a big attitude and even bigger portion sizes. The city has no problem boasting that it has one of the best Restaurant Week events in the country—because it’s the honest truth. Start practicing your accent and brace your belt buckle: Restaurant Week Boston is back with a vengeance.
What to expect during Restaurant Week
There’s a reason Bravo’s Top Chef shot its last season in Boston (we’re #teamMeiLin); the city is full of top-notch eateries of all varieties, with some of the best cooks in the business. The year 2015 brings a new official name to Restaurant Week—”Dine Out”—as well as a bigger variety of prix fixe menus at deliciously low prices. Gone are the days of the standard US$38 sticker price. In its place are US$15-38 lunches and dinners.
Dismissive chatter about Boston food consisting of boring burgers and fries amounts to nothing but a hill of beans. Boston is the birthplace of America, with a long tradition of incorporating textures and flavors from other cultures. Of course, if you do want a simple burger with fries during Restaurant Week, don’t think of your order as a surrender. Some of the top restaurants in Boston offer modern twists on American fare. Want something fancy? There’s that too. Enjoy everything from oysters on the half shell and cranberry-infused salmon to specialty bean dishes (of course).
Viewfinder Tip: M.C. Spiedo is considered one of the best new restaurants in Boston, as well as the busiest. Definitely make reservations for this one.
Bites of Boston
Pull a Paul Revere and get ready to shout to anyone who’ll listen how good the food is in Boston. No matter if you get the munchies in the morning, noon, or night, here’s a guide for sampling some of the best joints in the city.
Like a little history to go with your hash browns? Grab brunch in Boston Proper, the area that encompasses the most famous neighborhoods in town: Beacon Hill, West End, Downtown, and North End. Stop into CLINK. for an early lunch. You’ll understand why the restaurant recently added the punctuation mark to its name once you eat the food—it is delicious, period. In true “Beantown” style, order the spiced garbanzo beans with the smoked salmon BLT. It may sound like a pedestrian meal, but CLINK. is the type of spot that uses fancy white plates and splatters of sauce for elegant presentations. It’s the kind of thing you’d see on Food Network’s Chopped—minus cow tongue on the menu.
You also may want to pop into Grotto a few streets over. The Italian joint offers an illicit feel to its sinfully decadent food. The red pipes and chandelier lights are old world, and give an extrasensory experience to lunch. Order the Spinaci Primi, with baby spinach, beets, walnuts, goat cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette. It’s an Instagram-worthy sight and one to make your friends jealous. Luckily, you’re there in person and can taste how the tart flavors pair perfectly with the crunch of the nuts and soft textures of the sweet goat cheese.
Remember how chicken soup was the only soup you’d ever order as a kid (or still do)? It’s time to broaden your palate during your afternoon in the South Boston Waterfront—also called the Seaport District. Some of the best restaurants in Boston are located near the old tug boats, including M.C. Spiedo. Here, along with the bubbling hot minestrone soup, order the spit-roasted chicken sandwich. This ain’t your mama’s sandwich; this one comes with prosciutto, basil, lemon aioli, grilled onions, and rosemary focaccia so good, you’ll be Tweeting about it at the table.
Whether you fancy 24/7 or just enjoy splurging every once in a while, let your wallet loose in Back Bay. This area of town is considered the Rolls Royce neighborhood of Boston. Within the intricate Victorian architecture, regal buildings, and pristine gardens you’ll find spots like Back Bay Harry. Impress your date and order the Veuve Clicquot Reserve 2004 champagne, and then give your fork a treat by ordering the coconut curry mussels with soba noodles, pea greens, and fresh lime. Expect nothing but a salty punch of flavor straight to the roof of your mouth.
The nitty gritty
Boston’s Restaurant Week lasts from March 1-6 and 8-13. With tons of five-star restaurants, rowdy pubs, and cobblestone cafes, long lines are to be expected throughout this year’s event. If you’re traveling from out of town, book your Boston hotel early before the rush. This is Boston, and good food waits for no one but the hungriest and most ambitious.
Which Boston restaurant are you looking forward to sampling the most?