Boston is only about a quarter the size of New York and less than half the size of Chicago, but it packs a ton of quality restaurants into that small space. From Chinatown to Cambridge to North End, the options are overwhelming, so let’s narrow it down to the best of the best.
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 a few spots with the best food in Boston for $10 or less.
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.
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" to the guys in the back in a delightfully Bostonian accent.
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, so be sure you know which one you want before it's time to place your order.
Boston’s North End is the oldest neighborhood in the city. It was first settled in the 1600s and has been more or less a go-to destination ever since. But it was the Italian population that moved in in the early 1900s that may have left the biggest mark on the area. It’s Boston’s Little Italy, and there are tons of great eateries worth hitting up packed into less than a single square mile. Check out a few of the best North End Boston restaurants below:
Named for and inspired by Chef DiPaola’s mom, you’ll find updated takes on old-school Italian classics here, from gnocchi to carbonara to the Sunday Macaroni that trades gross powdered cheese for giant meatballs, savory tomato sauce, and whipped ricotta.
You’ll not only get in and out pretty quick (once you actually get your table, that is), but you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck as you won’t find any teeny tasting-menu portions here. We say go for the frutti di mare in the fra diavolo sauce.
There’s no way around it: you’ll be in for a long wait at Neptune Oyster, which has just 42 seats between the tables and its bar. But once you’re in, you’ll have your pick of over a dozen Massachusetts oysters plus tasty options from Washington, California, Prince Edward Island, and more. Not interested in the raw bar? Get the North End Cioppino—a spicy stew featuring local fresh fish.
At Gloria's Pizzeria, hungry diners dig into quintessentially Italian dishes found at pizza joints throughout the ages. Here, guests chow down on heaping plates of pasta, steaming calzones, and hot sub sandwiches. Of course, the restaurant's titular pizza pies remain the stars. Each one is lovingly assembled from fresh ingredients, such as ripe tomatoes, pizza dough made daily, and a unique assortment of toppings, such as the Veggie Deluxe's green peppers, onions, and mushrooms. The pizzeria also prides itself as a contributing member of the community, providing pizza to local elementary schools, youth sports teams, and meat lovers support groups.
Stylish in red, black brick, and steel, Wabora's dining room woos its guests before they even sit down to eat. And when they do, they're greeted with an inviting, approachable menu of flavorful pan-Asian fare. The specialty here is sushi, which chefs layer with fresh salmon and tuna, avocado, and crown with the likes of scarlet caviar. When an evening calls for a meal that’s been simmered instead of rolled, fire chicken and tidy bento boxes holding multiple courses are winning options. For a frosty finish, there's also Sapporo beer and Hawaiian shaved ice for dessert.