7 Best Restaurants in Boston You Don’t Want to Miss on Your First Visit

Trying to find the perfect restaurants while on vacation is one of my least favorite things to do. I was confronted with this problem again recently when I was looking for the best restaurants in Boston during my last trip. In a city like Boston, you can imagine the amount of restaurants you have to choose from. Trying to narrow it down seemed impossible.

Since I’m only in a city for a finite amount time and there are always more restaurants on my to do list than I can feasibly visit, I get really overwhelmed. I usually show up with a list of so many restaurants, I’d need like five of me to actually get to them all.

What can I say, I really love food.

On this last trip of mine to Beantown, I felt like I was finally experienced enough in the city to truly narrow it down to the best places. I really feel like good food can make or break a vacation, but maybe that’s just the fat girl in me. Whatever the reason, check out my list of 7 best restaurants in Boston that you don’t want to miss.

Also, don’t forget to read my 3 day Boston itinerary here.

1. Union Oyster House

Location: 41 Union St, Boston, Massachusetts 02108

I found Union Oyster House on almost every list I came across for the best restaurants in Boston. It’s the oldest continuous running restaurant in the United States – meaning the doors have always been open to diners since 1826. I’m always a bit weary when a tourist attraction has a gimmicky draw. Like, if you get to be the oldest restaurant in the United States, do you even try anymore?

I can tell you that Union Oyster House delivers on everything. The ambiance is old but still charming and can easily have you picturing yourself living during the American Revolution. The service was great and the food was even better. I finally decided to have my first full lobster dinner here since the setting seemed appropriate, even though you are probably thinking aren’t you a vegetarian?

I wrote a post a little while back about my journey to being a vegetarian. It started exactly one year ago and although I have had a few moments of weakness, I’m proud of where I am. I still have a long way to go and have more goals I want to set but for now, my vegetarian journey includes sometimes indulging in seafood while I’m traveling. Food is such a big part of travel for me and getting to experience the culinary world of a destination will always be important to me.

But onto other things.

Exterior of Union Oyster House in Boston
You can practically time travel by stepping through the doors of the Ye Olde Union Oyster House.
Cup of Clam Chowder at one of the best restaurants in Boston
What’s a visit to Boston without as much New England Clam Chowder as you can eat?
Full Lobster dinner at Union Oyster House
I hope I’m not offending any of my vegetarian readers by indulging once in my life in a full lobster dinner
Lobster ravioli at Union Oyster House
Ryan’s entree of Lobster Ravioli and yes of course, I had to take a bite.
Oysters on the half shell at Union Oyster House
Oyster’s cause I was out the Union Oyster House.

2. Dolce Vita

Location: 221 Hanover St, Boston, Massachusetts 02113

Italian food, Italian food, Italian food. I thought if I said it three times, it would just appear. I’m a little bummed it didn’t. But anyways, let’s talk about my favorite food in the entire world. It’s hands down Italian food. My motto in life? No carb left behind. I’ve doubled down on this particular cuisine recently since it’s so much easier to find vegetarian friendly dishes.

Boston is home to some of the best Italian restaurants in the country. You can’t walk even a few feet in the North End without finding at least one or two amazing places for pasta or pizza. After a little research, my boyfriend and I chose Dolce Vita for our last dinner in Boston to experience a good Italian meal in the popular neighborhood. I’m not sure we could have done any better.

The food was great, yes, but the atmosphere was even better. The owner hangs out by the bar all night, making sure the place is running as smoothly as possible. Not to mention the accordion players who come by each table for a private little performance (be prepared to tip!)

Bread and bottle of wine at best restaurant in Boston
I’m not sure there’s any better combination than bread and wine.
Burrata appetizer at Dolce Vita in Boston
I’m a sucker for a good mozzarella or burrata starter.
Gnocchi with rose sauce at Dolce Vita
Homemade Gnocchi in a Creamy Rose Sauce – om nom nom.
Interior of Dolce Vita in Boston
Dolce Vita has a nice ambience without being pretentious and unapproachable
Interior of Dolce Vita in Boston
I could have taken a few of the paintings off the wall to hang in my apartment.
Tiramisu dessert at Dolce Vita
There’s ALWAYS room for dessert.

3. Regina Pizzeria

Location: 11 1/2 Thacher St, Boston, Massachusetts 02113

Who doesn’t love pizza? I know I do! I don’t tend to search for pizza places when I’m visiting other cities because New York pretty much has me covered. But when I was looking for the best restaurants in Boston, Regina Pizzeria kept coming up on multiple lists. I also read on a few different sites that the North End location is the best.

When you’re dealing with restaurants that have multiple locations, it sometimes matters which one you go to. Since Regina’s was the only pizza place I was trying in Boston, I didn’t want to risk going to the wrong location. It’s a really popular destination but I got very lucky when I went and there was almost no line.

I got to Regina’s at 2:00pm on a Monday afternoon and almost immediately go sat. If you want to try and avoid a long wait, this seemed like a good time to go.

Exterior of Regina Pizza in Boston's North End
If the pizza isn’t enough, the street is pretty adorable
Regina Pizzeria cheese pizza
Pizza? Yes, please.
Woman sitting at table at Regina Pizzeria Boston
This is my ‘I’m about to eat a lot of pizza’ smile.

4. Theo’s Corner Cafe

Location: 162 Salem St, Boston, Massachusetts 02113

I decided on this last trip to Boston that I want to live in the North End and I want to live across the street from Theo’s Cozy Corner so I can have breakfast there everyday. You may think that sounds excessive, but it’s not too far of a stretch for me. I am definitely a creature of habit and I love picturing myself living in different places. I think I would live in a different city every year if I weren’t so in love with both my boyfriends: Ryan and New York City.

Luckily, I snuck this place in on my very last morning right before I went to the bus station and I was so glad I did. It’s just a tiny little diner style cafe that serves incredible food and you can even get a mimosa with breakfast! I’m not an alcoholic or anything but I do love a good mimosa with my coffee and pancakes.

The omelette was the closest I’ve seen to perfection. I don’t know how the cook did it, but he made crepe thin eggs that weren’t too overcooked wrapped around a generous amount of sautéed veggies. The blueberry pancakes were soft and fluffy and like I said, I need to eat there every morning.

Exterior of Theo's Cozy Corner Boston
This looks like a place you want to have breakfast everyday, right?
Blueberry pancakes at Theo's Cozy Corner
The fluffiest blueberry pancakes there ever were…
Theo's Cozy Corner counter with mimosa
You know you’re winning when you get what’s left in the prosecco bottle because it’s not enough to put back in the fridge.
Theo's Cozy Corner kitchen and grill
Makin some pretty perfect omelettes back there.

5. Citrus & Salt

Location: 142 Berkeley St, Boston, Massachusetts 02116

You guys know I have a thing for Mexican food don’t you? I love finding hip Mexican restaurants that give a modern twist to traditional food. Citrus & Salt has everything you would want for a night out: delicious food, fun and creative cocktails, and a beautiful atmosphere.

My favorite thing on the menu was the Tequila, Take the Wheel cocktail that had a perfect balance of habanero and coconut and served with a boozy popsicle. That’s just the start of what’s good though. Since I was dining with two other people, we went all in on apps and got to try a bunch of stuff on the menu.

The guacamole with fresh chips was delicious and they have this grilled corn starter that I could have eaten as my main entree. You won’t be disappointed with whatever you order so do not skip miss this place!

Exterior of Citrus & Salt in Boston
I think I could waste a day drinking on this patio…
Cocktail at Citrus & Salt in Boston
Look at that teeny tiny boozy popsicle in my cocktail.
Guacamole and Chip on table at Citrus & Salt
Guacamole and chips presentation almost as good as it tastes.
Fried calamari appetizer at Citrus & Salt in Boston
Fried calamari because why not?
Fish tacos on plate at Citrus & Salt in Boston
I have a weakness for fish tacos…somebody please help me.
Food on table at Citrus & Salt in Boston
Just give me street corn for every meal.
Lobster tostada on plate at Citrus & Salt in Boston
Lobster tostadas….mmmmmm.

6. Hot Box

Location: 1 Bow Market Way, Somerville, Massachusetts 02143

I have a shameful addiction to breakfast sandwiches so when my boyfriend’s friend suggested this place I jumped on it. Hot Box is a little out of the way if you’re staying right in the center of the city, but if you’re willing to make the trek it’s worth it. You won’t pay much more than $15 for a Lyft or Uber and the drive won’t eat up too much of your time.

Hot Box is a tiny little shop with a walk up window in Bow Market. They have a pretty simple menu but the sandwiches are so good. Their location is in a little outdoor market that hosts some community events and will definitely provide you a break from groups of tourists. You’ll also be right next to Remnant brewery and cafe where you can get delicious coffee or even a beer if that’s what you’re into in the morning.

Exterior of Hot Box in Somerville
It may not look like much, but boy do they make a mean breakfast sandwich.
Breakfast sandwich from Hot Box in Somerville
Meatless breakfast sandwiches are just as good as the one’s with bacon, I’m serious.
Iced latte from Remnant brewing in Somerville
Coffee almost too pretty to drink.

7. Mike’s Pastry

Location: 300 Hanover St, Boston, Massachusetts 02113

What’s a good meal without dessert? I live for dessert. I’m like the girl in that Robert Pattinson movie Remember Me who orders her dessert before the meal just in case of a natural disaster or something so she doesn’t miss out on her dessert. Okay, I don’t actually do that but believe me I’ve thought about it.

Mike’s Pastry is probably the most famous dessert place in Boston and for good reason. They are home to the best cannoli in the city and you’d be wise to try a few other items while you’re there. I got a Cannoli on this trip but decided it was time to branch out and also get their Boston Cream Pie. I told myself all the walking justified it but really it was just worth the few extra pounds.

Exterior of Mike's Pastry in Boston
If you show up and there’s no line, go buy a lottery ticket immediately.
Cannoli and Boston Cream Pie in box from Mike's Pastry
It’s okay if you can’t find a seat inside because the public library around the corner has the cutest little outdoor seating.
Interior of MIke's Pasty in Boston
Dessert is for every meal.

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