Boston & Cambridge restaurant tips from a former local

Boston was my first stop back in the U.S., and it was a culinary dream. While living there for over 5 years, Chris and I certainly tried to find the best restaurants in the city.

Here are some of our favorite places to eat and where we have to go when we are back in Boston:

Brunch

  • Craigie on Main, Cambridge: A French-inspired restaurant with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients. They had me at “pork belly” and “house-made doughnut with confiture du lait”. Although these are both sides, I like to order several sides to make my meal. The main dishes are also delicious.
  • Zaftigs, Brookline: Jewish deli that serves tasty breakfasts and great deli sandwiches. My favorites are their pastrami sandwich and the vanilla-bourbon french toast.

    Zaftig’s deli sandwich

  • Olé

    Olé, Cambridge: Upscale Mexican restaurant that serves affordable, delicious brunch items. I love that you can have homemade guacamole along with Mexican coffee while you wait for your breakfast.


Lunch and snacks:
  • Food trucks, Boston/Cambridge: One thing I miss about Boston is the abundance of food trucks in many different neighborhoods. We were lucky to walk past The Taco Truck on Cambridge’s Riverfront and had an amazing fried avocado taco. For a fun Sunday, wander through the South End and make your way to the SOWA Open Market where several food trucks meet up each week.

    The Taco Truck

  • Torta from Olecito

    Olecito, Cambridge: A take-out Mexican place from the same owners of Olé. Tasty tortas (Yucateca with pork is my favorite) and unique tacos are worth the trip to Inman Square.

  • Alive and Kicking Lobsters, Cambridge: Located in a residential neighborhood of Cambridge, this seafood market sells reasonably priced live lobsters and also a simple, tasty lobster sandwich, which you can eat on a picnic table in front of the shop.
Dinner:
  • Chez Henri, Cambridge: A Cuban/French fusion restaurant that has a more upscale dining room and a small, fun bar area. We ate in the dining room after Chris’s commencement, and he had an amazing boneless ribeye with manchego potato gratin, asparagus, and a foie gras bernais sauce. My favorite happy hour place is in the bar where you can get mouth-watering cuban sandwiches with refreshing mojitos.

    Dinner at Chez Henri

  • East Coast Grill, Cambridge: A staple of Inman Square for over 25 years, ECG serves delicious seafood and barbecue. We celebrated many birthdays here and tried to get a table every time they hosted their famous Hell Nights. On those nights, spice lovers will be overjoyed with the inventive menu offerings, and their dates (e.g., me) will be very happy with the wimp menu.
  • Red Bones, Somerville: For the east coast, this is an awesome place to go to for barbecue. Check out their mid-week Keg Nights where they feature new kegs on tap and have free appetizers (including ribs).
  • Hungry Mother, Cambridge: A cozy restaurant serving comforting, refined southern dishes. The fried chicken is to die for, and while I never have room for dessert, I always am thoroughly impressed by the bites I take from my table mates’ plates. Additionally, there is an impressive drink list and creative bartender.
  • East coast seafood over linguini

    Giacomo’s, Boston: After some thorough testing, this is my favorite North End restaurant for its tasty combination of Italian and seafood and its affordability. I also like to frequent the Back Bay location, which is slightly larger and takes reservations. I usually get scallops and shrimp over linguini with their house sauce, a lobster-based red sauce with béchamel.

Bakers busy at Clear Flour Bread

Desserts and bakeries:

I was too busy eating savory food to realize I didn’t make it to the North End for desserts during my trip. I always enjoy going to Lulu’s Sweet Shoppe for cupcakes, and Mike’s Pastry is a definite stop for any cannoli lover. Another great place to pick up a dessert is Clear Flour Bread in Brookline where you can get delicious, handmade French pastries.

There are many other restaurants that could make the list, but these are my go-to places in order to capitalize on seafood and other local specialities now that my time in Boston is limited. Since I’ve returned to Germany, I’m back to eating pork and more pork.

What are your favorite restaurants in the Boston/Cambridge area?

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2 responses to “Boston & Cambridge restaurant tips from a former local

  1. I am so thrilled to see that we have been to 9 of your favorite places with you in the past 6 years and totally agree with your reviews!

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