Boston might be known primarily as the hometown of key figures in American history like John and Samuel Adams, Clara Barton and John F Kennedy, but there’s more to this city than just history. Over the years, travelers have been visiting and staying in Boston not just to follow the renowned Freedom Trail, but also to eat. The culinary makeup of the city has grown from just meat and potatoes to authentic ethnic eats from Latin America and the Far East. After all, the city that Julia Childs called home for decades popularized a number of New England staples that also became some Boston iconic eats.
Boston Iconic Eats
Secret Burger at Alden & Harlow and Craigie on Main
Every university town boasts a decent burger joint; but Boston and the adjacent city of Cambridge isn’t like just any other. Fittingly, the home of Harvard University, the country’s oldest established university, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the best research schools in the world’ also boasts a couple of the best burger joints in the state, if not the entire Eastern seaboard.
Cue in Alden & Harlow, the first of our “secret burger” spots. Located right in Harvard Square, this casual joint that offers honest American food with a modern twist quickly garnered attention thanks to its burger made with a combination brisket and beef short rib patty. Referred to as the restaurant’s “secret burger,” this new classic is one of Boston’s iconic eats. The restaurant only makes a limited quantity of this juicy treat so make sure you queue up early to secure an order.
Address: 40 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel #: (617) 864-2100
Before Alden & Harlow, there was Craigie on Main. Still a must-try spot in Cambridge; Chef Tony Maws’ French-inspired spot offers one of the best burgers within a five-mile radius of Beantown. Made with grass-fed beef and topped with simple but fresh ingredients, Craigie on Main’s “secret burger” is comfort food at its best. In order to sample this American favorite though; you’ll have to fight for bar seats because it’s only available in the bar area.
Address: 853 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139
Tel #: (617) 497-5511
Roast Beef 1000 Sandwich at Cutty’s
Philadelphia might be the sandwich capital of the United States, but Boston is certainly giving the City of Brotherly Love a run for its money with its roast beef 100 sandwich at Cutty’s. The small Brookline sandwich shop is a relative newcomer, opening a mere seven years ago, but its signature sandwich is taking the city by storm and earning it a spot as one of Boston iconic eats. The beef, which is roasted in house, is sliced very thinly and stacked with crispy shallots, sharp cheddar and a drizzle of Thousand Island dressing. The result is a wonderful explosion of flavors in one bite.
Address: 284 Washington Street, Brookline, MA 02445
Tel #: (617) 505-1844
Clam Chowder at Legal Sea Foods
If you only have time to sample one of Boston iconic eats; let it be the New England style clam chowder at Boston-based restaurant Legal Sea Foods. Yes, it’s a chain and yes, it’s more of a splurge in calories than anything, but how many food items out there can you say you’ve shared with every American president since Ronald Reagan? A staple at every inauguration since 1981 and at Fenway Park, the chowder at Legal Sea Foods is made with littleneck clams, salt pork, and potatoes in clam broth, fish stock, and light cream.
Address: Has multiple locations in Boston
Lobster Roll at Neptune Oyster
Your first instinct might be to scrunch your face and raise your eyebrows when you see the price tag of the signature lobster roll at Neptune Oyster. A $30 roll can’t be worth all that money, right? Well as it turns out, it’s worth every dollar and more. If you Google “lobster roll Boston”, the search results will always include Neptune Oyster (they also serve an equally spectacular clam chowder) and for good reason. Whether you decide to order it hot with butter or cold with mayo; you won’t regret indulging on one of Boston’s iconic eats. If you’re planning to go for dinner, go early to beat the crowd.
Address: 63 Salem St # 1, Boston, MA 02113
Tel #: (617) 742-3474
The Double Awesome at Mei Mei’s
Vegetarians visiting Boston will rejoice to hear about the “double awesome” from Mei Mei. It’s a scallion pancake sandwich filled with local greens pesto, Vermont cheddar and two poached and then fried eggs. This new “sandwich” obsession quickly became one of Boston iconic eats thanks to its uniqueness and flavor. So much so that you’ll find yourself ordering another even before you’re finished with the one you already have. Double awesome indeed!
Address: 506 Park Drive, Boston, MA 02215
Tel #: (857) 250-4959