A Beginner’s Guide to Eating Like a Local in Boston

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No matter the square or neighborhood, Boston’s become a food city.

It’s been ten months since I removed myself from a city I’d grown to call home. Gone were Brooklyn and Astoria neighborhoods now replaced with Squares. Fenway overtook Yankee Stadium as my summer go-to and the MBTA became my new less dependable subway.  Old NYC favorites like Wogies, Itzocan, and Burger Joint would need to be replaced and that they have. With all its stereotypes, Boston brings a very sharp steak knife to the food fight and is pound for pound a city that hosts some fantastic restaurants.

So while people not in the know tell you to eat at staples like Legal Seafood or other chains; these are the 10 places you must visit in Boston. No matter if its overnight, a day trip or week-long vacation, this is my beginners guide to eating like a local in Boston.

(1) Toro 

While were not ranking these per se, Toro is our absolute must for anyone headed this fine city. It’s the one restaurant we’d wait we’ve waited three hours for a table and left completely satisfied with our decision.  Go early, put your name in and have a few drinks at the bar or down the street at the less crowded African restaurant.  Don’t worry, Toro will call your mobile when they’re ready for you.

Bring a group because once seated, keep in mind the menu is tapas style so order anything and everything at will. Nothing will lead astray or down a dark rabbit hole.  But if you want that life changing experience, go all in on the bone marrow.

Location: 1704 Washington St., Boston

(2) Tasty Burger
Situated in a renovated Jiffy Lube with a pool table where cars once got their oil changed, PBR and Tecate’s are served in can fashion all while an over-sized picture of Samuel L. Jackson enjoys one tasty burger. Located down the street from Fenway Park so the next time you’re in the area or at a game, skip those overpriced rubber patties for some fresh off the grill ones here – and don’t forget the fries with sausage cheese gravy. So like the name suggests this burger joint beats around no bush but instead tells you like it is, they got a damn Tasty Burger.

Location: 1301 Boylston St., Boston

(3) The Daily Catch

Sitting smack dab in the middle of my favorite neighborhood, this North End hole-in-the-wall eatery is a spot you’ll completely miss out on if you aren’t looking for it.  With less than 10 tables in the entire place, most of which are communal; a tiny metal half wall is all that keeps the patrons from being in the kitchen (reminds me of my NYC studio apt).  So sit back, enjoy your plastic cup filled with wine, meet some new friends and order the seafood special for two and ink squid pasta off the changed daily chalkboard menu.  You’ll be glad you did and stumble out happy.

Location: 323 Hanover St., Boston

(4) Redbones BBQ

The best BBQ in all of Boston is hidden on a side street in Davis Square.  With brisket that falls apart somewhere between the transition from fork to mouth and a huge variety of ribs and sauces to choose from; Redbones allows large groups to order small and eat big.  Eclectic to say the least, eat upstairs for a loud and wild experience where you’ll see servers buzzing by like bees with trays of delicious craft beers and massive beef plates.  For a darker, more intimate experience, grab a seat at the bar in the basement.  Just remember, leave the vegetarians at home.

Location: 55 Chester St., Somerville

(5) The Neighborhood Restaurant

Nestled under a square block of grape leaves, Neighborhood is a perfect weekend brunch spot for weekend warriors ‘Square’ walking. No doubt you’ll wait in line for a seat, but relax, pour yourself some complementary coffee and have a seat on a nearby windowsill.  Once sat, this Portuguese American eatery serves an incredible butter and sugar dish / Cream of Wheat as they like to call it.  Nothing like we’ve had before but something you’ll never forget.  As a main dish, you cant go wrong with the lamb, shrimp and rice dish.

Location: 25 Bow St., Somerville

(6) jm Curley

Maybe it came down to our hunger level or was it just the right day of the week. I’ve got no idea how, but jm Curley in Boston Common served me the best burger I’ve ever had. Yes, in my life. Not talking about Boston specifically or New York City but anywhere. Medium rare that exploded with taste, this hipster OMG I LIKE TOTALLY HATE HIPSTERS! bar is different than any other we’ve put on this list. An awesome place and funky to say the least with a cool vibe; their cocktails are delicious and the menu also features unique delicacies like pickled-deviled eggs, squash hush puppies, beer and cheese soup and peanut brittle.

Location: 21 Temple St., Boston

A beer institution for higher learning that’s as old and unique as it is diverse, this Brookline staple is a must for anyone wanting more than a Bud Light draft. With more than 100 beers to choose from, meatballs and muscles that disappear from your table faster than you can finish your beverage, Publick House is that beer bar you wished was in your own neighborhood or hometown.

Location: 1648 Beacon Street, Brookline

(8) Buff’s Pub

Off Exit 17 on the Mass Pike, Buff’s Pub of Newton has the best wings we’ve tasted in all of Boston. Crispy without being dry, the sauce is what makes these better than the rest.  Lined with locals and businessmen from around town, Buff’s packs a good beer selection but the small space gets packed quickly. Order the honey hots, bufalo tenders  or the buffalo chicken mac-n-cheese and you wont walk away disappointed. The one downside aside from the location: cash-only.

Location: 317 Washington St., Newton

(9) B&G Oysters

By far the trendiest choice of the group, B&G lies in the basement of a beautiful brownstone building in the South End. With delicious oysters and lobster rolls we’d eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert – take out of towners, family or a date here to show off the scene and neighborhood. The Fall and Spring are especially good because you can dine outdoors on the back garden patio.

Location: 550 Tremont St., Boston

(10) Street Sausages of Fenway

Not strictly reserved for Red Sox games but instead a late night staple for BU students- hit up the sausage carts lined up along Yawkey Way and Lansdowne Street nightly to feel like a true local. Ask for peppers and onions with your sausage, have a seat on the curb and laugh as the drunk partiers stumble home.

Location: Fenway Park, Boston