Boston Cheap Eats: 10 Great Spots for $10 or Less
If you're not from Boston, take a moment and think about the first food that comes to mind when you think of the Massachusetts capital. Is it Boston baked beans? Or just seafood in general? While you wouldn't be wrong for thinking of either, there's so much more to Boston's food scene than pricey lobster rolls or eponymous legumes. To help visitors get the most bang for their culinary buck, we picked the 10 spots with the best food in Boston for $10 or less.
1. Boston Cream Pie at Parker's Restaurant in the Omni Hotel ($10)
60 School St. | Downtown
You didn't think we'd make a list without Boston's famous pie-that's-actually-more-of-a-cake, did you? Cake or pie, Parker's is home to the original and best in the city. You can grab one for a regular-old dessert or, if you feel like living your best life, order the pie—cake, rather—for breakfast.
2. Double Awesome Sandwich at Mei Mei ($8.50)
506 Park Drive | Kenmore
Whether you're at their brick-and-mortar location, food truck, or shipping-container location (yeah, they converted a shipping container into a food station), you can and should grab Mei Mei's signature item, the Double Awesome. The scallion-pancake sandwich gets its name from its two runny-yolk eggs mingling with melted cheddar and pesto sauce. Awesome, indeed.
3. Italian Sub at Monica's Mercato ($9)
130 Salem St. | North End
Tucked in a modest storefront among the seemingly endless array of Italian North End restaurants is Monica's, home to what's arguably the best sandwich in Boston. Part grocery store, part butcher shop, and part deli counter, Monica's delivers on old-world charm, and their Italian sub is a classic done to perfection. The slightly spicy trio of prosciutto, mortadella, and salami is accentuated by the zip of the sandwich's pickles and hot peppers. Topping it off, its oil and vinegar give it a greasy-but-not-too-greasy finish.
4. Lengua Tacos at Taqueria Jalisco ($2.50 each)
291 Bennington St. | East Boston
Beantown might not scream "tacos" to you, but the ones at Taqueria Jalisco are some of the best food in Boston. For a truly authentic Mexican taste, get at least one of the lengua (beef tongue) tacos. Their unctuous texture and rich flavor mix perfectly with the three homemade salsas you'll get to choose from at your table. The Spanish-tile decorations and no-frills vibe only enhance the sense that this is where you should be when you want classic Mexican comfort food.
5. New England Clam Chowder at James Hook and Co. ($7.99)
15-17 Northern Ave. | Financial District/Waterfront
The first things you'll see inside the trailer-turned-eatery that is James Hook and Co. are the lobsters. Tanks of the crustaceans line the wall here, letting you know that the seafood is as fresh as it can get. Their classic creamy chowder is packed with chunks of sweet clams and potatoes that'll weigh down the end of your spoon. Plus, ordering it means you might get to hear the guy at the register yell "chowdah" in a delightfully Bostonian accent to the guys in the back.
6. Fancy Sandwich at Mike & Patty's ($9)
12 Church St. | Bay Village
If you're on the mend after a long night out, Mike & Patty's should be on your short list of the best restaurants in Boston to visit. The menu is brimming with tempting sandwiches—including the Breakfast Grilled Crack, a fried-egg concoction with double-portion bacon, American cheese, cheddar, and gruyere on buttery sourdough—but do your best to avoid distractions and get the customer favorite, the Fancy. The sandwich is essentially the avocado toast of your dreams: two fried eggs, bacon, cheddar, avocado, red onion, and housemade mayo on toasted multigrain bread. Hangover, consider yourself cured.
7. Cannoli at Mike's Pastry ($3.50)
300 Hanover St. | North End
After you manage to shuffle your way through the almost nonstop crowds and to the counter at this North End bakery and pastry shop, you owe it to yourself to go with one of their classic (and giant) sweet-ricotta cannoli. There are dozens to choose from, including Oreo, Amaretto, and peanut butter, so be sure you know which one you want before it's time to place your order. Oh, and bring some bills—it's cash only.
8. The Big Tasty at Tasty Burger ($5.95)
Simpler is often better. That's what you'll get at the appropriately named Tasty Burger: tasty burgers. The Big Tasty's thin, expertly griddled patty serves as a, well, tasty surface on which the classic combo of lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, and special burger sauce rests. The result is a blissfully uncomplicated, old-fashioned burger. There are multiple Tasty Burgers across the city, but the best one is the original, which is just steps away from Fenway Park.
9. Roast Beef 1,000 at Cutty's ($9.95)
284 Washington St. | Brookline
Any sandwich you need to smush down a little just to manage a bite is a winner in our book. With the Roast Beef 1,000, you get just that. Beneath its buttery dome of brioche bun are stacks of slow-roasted beef, melty cheddar, and thousand-island dressing. Regulars at Cutty's rave about the sandwich's crispy shallots, which give it a pop of crunchy flavor.
10. Pizza at Regina Pizzeria ($9.50 for a 10" Original Recipe)
OK, OK, so we're sort of cheating with the under $10 thing here. Yes, $9.50 will get you a 10" slab of Regina's crispy-bottom, brick-oven pizza. But odds are you'll want to add a few toppings to it, which will add a bit to the total cost. (The Giambotta pizza, with its pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, salami, and peppers is a customer favorite.) But even if you opt for a simple pie, you're not missing out: Regina Pizzeria uses a tried-and-true 80-year-old recipe to craft each of their pizzas. Check out the original location in North End (11 ½ Thacher St.) for the best old-school-pizzeria experience.
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