Clam Chowder at Union Oyster House Boston Classic Eating in Boston

A Day of Eating in Boston

In Northeast, Restaurants by Mindi Hirsch20 Comments

A day of eating in Boston should include both historical and modern restaurants. With some planning, it’s easy to eat well in Boston.

Clam Chowder at Union Oyster House. Boston Classic. Eating in Boston.

The clam chowder at historic Square Oyster House is a Boston classic. Why get a cup when a bowl is just $1.45 more?

My plane landed in Boston while a steady rain was melting away the final remnants from the city’s long, snowy winter. As I looked out the tiny window, it hit me that it had been over twenty years since my last visit to the vibrant city known for a famous tea party. Thoughts swirled through my head, but one question stood out in my mind. Where should I eat in Boston?

Eating is always an important part of my travels, whether I’m traveling solo or with Daryl. This trip to Boston was going to be brief, but I still wanted to squeeze in enough good meals to make a the trip memorable from a foodtripping perspective. Despite being busy with a conference, I strategically ate at a variety of restaurants and can confidently recommend a plan for a day of eating out in Boston, starting with breakfast and coffee.

Breakfast – Render Coffee

Located in Boston's South End, Render Coffee serves Counter Culture coffee and tasty sandwiches like this one made with a bagel from Iggy's Bread of the World. Eating in Boston.

Located in Boston’s South End, Render Coffee serves Counter Culture coffee and tasty sandwiches like this one made with a bagel from Iggy’s Bread of the World. Sit in the atrium if a table is available.

Although Beantown isn’t a coffee mecca like Seattle, it’s easy to find a good cup of joe in Boston. Render Coffee in Boston’s South End is a great spot for hand-crafted Counter Culture coffee drinks and food like frittata breakfast sandwiches, croissants and bagels. The sun drenched cafe is crowded yet comfortable, with a mix of people enjoying pour over coffees and free wi-fi. I love that the comprehensive milk options include almond and soy in addition to the standard whole, skim and cream canisters.

Render Coffee is the perfect place to start a busy Boston day.

Render Coffee is located at 563 Columbus Ave, Boston, Ma 02119, United States.

Lunch Option 1 – Parish Cafe and Bar

The Mexican Meatball sandwich at Parish Cafe and Bar was created by Chef Brian Poe and features cilantro infused Mexican meatballs. The sandwich is served au jus with a fresh salad. Eating in Boston.

The Mexican Meatball sandwich at Parish Cafe and Bar was created by Chef Brian Poe and features cilantro infused Mexican meatballs. The generously sized sandwich is served au jus with a fresh salad.

The Parish Cafe and Bar is a fun spot for a casual lunch in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. The stars of the menu are 17 sandwiches, each created by a notable local Boston chef like James Beard award winner Jamie Bissonnette. The menu separates sandwiches into the different categories of poultry, beef, comfort classics and seafood. The starters looked good as they passed by, especially the homemade beer-battered onion rings, but hey, we could only eat so much since the sandwiches are enormous.

The beer taps at Parish Cafe and Bar pour a great selection of local and national craft beers. If you prefer a cocktail, be sure to try the Smash 361. Eating in Boston.

The beer taps at Parish Cafe and Bar pour a great selection of local and national craft beers. If you prefer a cocktail, be sure to try the hand crafted Smash 361.

Tasting Tip: Parish Cafe and Bar does not take reservations, and the wait can be quite long at lunch time. Avoid the line and grab a comfortable spot at the bar with a great view of the beer taps. That’s what we did.

Parish Cafe and Bar is located at 361 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116, United States.

Lunch Option 2 – Union Oyster House

Salad with Pan-Seared Crab Cakes at Union Oyster House n Boson. Eating in Boston.

The salad with pan-seared crab cakes at Union Oyster House in Boston is big enough to share and is perfect after a creamy bowl of clam chowder.

It would be foolish to visit Boston without eating a bowl of clam chowder, and Union Oyster House is a perfect spot for satisfying the “chowda” itch. As a bonus, the bowl comes with a generous chunk of house baked corn bread, which is perfect for sopping up the creamy soup.

A bowl of chowder isn’t quite enough for lunch. Luckily, there are lots of plenty of other tempting dishes on the menu. This time, I shared a fresh salad topped with pan-seared crab cakes. Next time, I’m getting the lobster roll.

Union Oyster House has been serving oysters, chowder and other seafood dishes for almost 200 years to patrons including the Kennedy’s and Daniel Webster. In fact, the restaurant claims to be the oldest in America. Just one block from Faneuil Hall and on the Freedom Trail, the restaurant is easy to find.

Tasting Tip: If you love the clam chowder, pay a quick visit to the gift shop and buy the restaurant’s cookbook. You can then make the soup, or a close replica, at home.

Union Oyster House is located at 41 Union St, Boston, MA 02108, United States.

Drinks – The Bell in Hand

The Bell in Hand Tavern is the nation's oldest tavern. Drinking in Boston

The Bell in Hand Tavern is the nation’s oldest tavern.

After lunch at Union Oyster House, The Bell in Hand tavern is right next door. Oozing with historical touches, the nation’s oldest continuously operating tavern is a great stop for a local beer or cider as you plot out the rest of your day.

The Bell in Hand is located at 45 Union St, Boston, MA 02108, United States.

Dinner – Alden & Harlow

Located in Cambridge, Alden and Harlow's small plates are exciting and delicious. Standouts include the Warm Parsnip and Pistachio Dip, the Charred Swordfish Belly, the Hiramasa Crudo and the Pickled Verrill Farm Corn Pancakes. Eating in Boston.

Alden and Harlow’s small plates are exciting and delicious. Standouts include the Warm Parsnip and Pistachio Dip, the Charred Swordfish Belly, the Hiramasa Crudo and the Pickled Verrill Farm Corn Pancakes.

Just six miles from downtown Boston on Cambridge’s Harvard Square, Alden & Harlow is a perfect spot for dinner after a busy day of touring the city. This restaurant is designed for communal dining since the menu features a wide variety of small plates. Luckily, I was able to share the dinner with a dear friend who was coincidentally in Boston at the same time as me.

We started our dinner with a warm parsnip and pistachio dip served with taleggio, spicy honey and rye crackers. The dip was decadently rich, with a deep flavor enhanced by a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. We followed the starter with a mix of small plates, with our favorites featuring swordfish belly and hiramasa crudo, not to mention the sweet yet savory corn pancakes. And cocktails. We really liked the cocktails.

Tasting Tip: Go early if you want to try Alden & Harlow’s popular secret burger. With limited availability, there were no secret burgers available by the time we sat down for our 8:00 dinner reservation.

Alden & Harlow is located at 40 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138, United States.

A day of eating in Boston can include historical restaurants serving classic dishes as well as modern restaurants creating culinary history. Even with just one day, it’s easy to eat well in Boston.


Comments

  1. Hi mindi. Excellent review. My brother lives in Boston. I’ll forward on to him. Fun read too.

  2. Wow – Mindi! I want to go to Boston just for your recommendations – the different food images and explanations are making me so hungry! That’s how great your review was! I’ll keep your list in my travel folder for just in case – really want to see ‘The Bell in Hand Tavern’ and eat there for the extra reason that it is the nation’s oldest tavern. Thank you 🙂
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  3. Yum. Bagels with lox. That is one dish I love in Chicago but can’t get out here in Iowa. YUM. When I went to Boston, i just played tourist and drank at the Cheers bar at 10 am. LOL

  4. Now I want to travel to Boston just to eat! All of this food looks amazing; the food is always my husband’s favorite part when we travel. I hope we are able to travel there one day soon.

  5. Looks like a great time and great places to eat. Sometimes during the Summer we pass through Boston so maybe next time my family could try some of these places. I would really like to go to the Parish Cafe. =)

    1. You probably don’t want to sit at the bar with your family, so you may want to have a late lunch at Parish. The wait was long at noon, but there was no line at 2:00.

  6. Is Yelp.com all over the USA? I’m not entirely sure, because I’m Canadian and just moved to California, but whenver I need a little hint of where the best places to eat/see are, I hit up Yelp. It hasn’t steered me wrong yet, luckily. My husband will be in Boston this weekend for the marathon – I won’t be going unfortunately (because hello airplane tickets!).

    By the way, that freakin tomato bagel sandwich looks to die for, holy yum.
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    1. Yes, Yelp is prevalent throughout the United States. It’s one of many resources that we use when we travel.

  7. I love Boston! I’ve been there a few times and would love to go back again. It’s such a fun and interesting city. I don’t really remember what or where I ate, except that I’m sure coffee was involved somewhere along the way.Next time I visit, I’ll check out some of the places you mentioned. Especially the coffee. I do love my coffee!
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  8. It looks like there are so many great places to eat in Boston. I am really liking the look of those foods and would love to try them for myself. I think it’d be great to visit Boston one day, I know there are a lot of my fellow Irish people there 🙂

    1. That’s an excellent question, but not one that got answered during this trip. I guess I need to go back to Boston to do more “research”.

  9. Yes, you have to try the lobster roll at Union Oyster House. Sooo good. I’m overseas at the moment, so I really appreciate how your blog and pics transport me home. Thanks!

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