|Eat, Drink & Be Merry...
Boston has an extremely impressive array of dining and drinking choices. A city filled with a variety of people, this ethnic melting pot in New England brings to the table an eclectic selection of menus. Known for having a high mortality rate among restaurants, eateries do come and go. But there are also legendary spots that have been with this city for decades. Seafood is a Boston favorite. So is the traditional Yankee boiled supper. From authentic to modern, you're bound to find something to entice your palate.
Drinking is another favorite pastime. Bars and pubs fill up during the week when the after-work crowd comes out in full force. College students add to the population of drinking connoisseurs in laid-back establishments that serve more draft beer than martinis. On almost every corner of urban Boston you can find a casual pub or a swanky, retro-style lounge or nightclub. And even though this is a small city, there is an impressive club scene, you just need to know the right places.
Seafood rules the dining scene in Boston, enticing visitors with clam chowder and lobster. Jimmys Restaurant and Anthonys Pier 4 on Northern Avenue are two popular spots. Legal Sea Foods is the finest seafood chain around, with a casual atmosphere. Barking Crab has beer and crabcakes galore, and Daily Catch entices with gourmet specialties from the sea.
In Faneuil Hall you'll find Yankee suppers, Irish fare, seafood spots and traditional pubs. Durgin-Park has pot roast and boiled dinners. The Black Rose is a good spot for a pint of Guinness. Marketplace Cafe has a little bit of everything and a great view of Faneuil Hall. There are also food courts and stalls for a quick bite. For a stunning view of the city you might want to try The Bay Tower Room.
Beacon Hill is known for its intimate and romantic places, including The Hungy I, Todd Englishs famous Figs and Torch.
A cozy atmosphere with innovative menus is what the 'flat on the hill? offers. There are also cafes and markets with specialty foods you won't find anywhere else.
This famous neighborhood isn't just where you'll find Paul Reveres home but also the greatest Italian restaurants around. Hanover Street packs in popular establishments such as Pomodoro, Mama Marias, Mikes Pastry and Caffe Vittoria.
Chinatown has eateries that are crowded and ornamental and keep late hours. Many people leave closing nightclubs on weekends to catch a late night snack in this district. Chau Chau City, East Ocean City and Chinatown Eatery have traditional and authentic menus.
On Newbury Street you can't go wrong with several ethnic restaurants, endless cafes, and nouvelle establishments. Stephanies of Newbury, Sonsie Bistro & Cafe and The Capital Grill are swanky spots for the dining elite.
Davios is prim and proper with great authentic Italian food. Jewel of Nebury is where you go for Moroccan cuisine, while 29 Newbury and the Armani Cafe is best for celebrity spotting and chic dining in a intimate setting. Don't forget L'Espalier, for a truly romantic French restaurant with all the right ambiance. You'll find this Back Bay Street is always alive with dining activity.
The South End with its quaint row houses and manicured buildings has welcomed several new restaurants. Bistros, Vietnamese food, and swanky dining favorites can all be found in this quiet neighborhood. Pho Republique has Asian fare and a handsome bar. Mistral is for the trendsetting scene of the social elite, and Apetito has a quaint setting and excellent Italian food. Seafood nouvelle is served in the Grillfishs beautiful dining room.
On the other side of the Charles River, Cambridge has many hidden jewels that are worth being discovered. Themed restaurants with nouvelle cuisine and simple diners and cafes run the gamut in this Bohemian neighborhood. Casablanca is a mecca for Humphrey Bogart fans and Chez Henri is French cuisine with a South American twist, and more. Upstairs at the Pudding is known for its amazing rooftop dining floor. The Border Cafe is the place for margaritas and quesadillas.
Scenery Large and Small
Being the City on the Bay, there are plenty of restaurants known for spectacular views, among them Top of the Hub, The Bay Tower and the Spinnaker. For a romantic spot head to Aujourd'hui,Ambrosia on Huntington. Parties large and small gather at Brasserie Jo and The Palm. And to eat at local favorites try The Deluxe Cafe & Bar, the Other Side Café, and Charleys Eating & Drinking Saloon.
When on business or in the mood to dress and impress, theres Mortons and the Capital Grille, which have wine storage units for regular patrons. Anago, inside the Lenox Hotel, is small but has a beautiful dining room and an intimate lounge. Clio run by award winning chef Ken Oringer at the Eliot Hotel, is another spot for well-heeled diners with discerning palates. The intimate dining room is filled with zebra prints and lots of top shelf liquor.
There are always places to see and to be seen. These swanky, upscale hotspots have ingenious menus by well-known chefs, fabulous decor, and lounges filled with ultra-chic Bostonians. Be prepared to dress to impress in your best all-black attire. To hang with models, Gucci-laden internationals and other social elite head to Mistral in the South End or to Oskars in the Leather District. Or check out Sophias, a multi-level bistro with a dance floor and rooftop deck.
There are endless choices in Bostons dining establishments. No matter what your budget you can find something to satisfy your palate. There are several cheap eats with good food and no lines. Just ask around. As for well-known establishments, make reservations whenever possible and, if driving, ask about valet parking. Sometimes the best way to find a good meal is by exploring on your own. Every neighborhood in Boston has something unique to offer whether its gourmet or pub grub. Asking a hotel concierge or tour guide about dining choices is another way to extract excellent suggestions.
A note about smoking
"Smoking or non?" is a question one rarely hears in the Boston area these days. Thats because, like it or not, "non" is pretty much your only option.
The city of Boston allows smoking in certain bars that primarily serve alcohol?good luck finding them. Restaurants with bars must leave six feet between the smokers at the bar and tables with food. As a result, some tightly-packed restaurants don't even allow smoking at the bar.
North of the Charles River, the suburb of Somerville has similar rules and Cambridge permits smoking in only 17 bars in the entire city.
Enthusiastic smokers should simply avoid the southwest suburb of Brookline, where smoking in bars and restaurants is banned outright.
On the other hand, Boston restaurants are heaven for those with allergies or respiratory problems, and for those who don't enjoy getting smoke in their food.