Downtown Boston Food Guide

By popular request, I’m here to give y’all the ultimate food guide to some of the best spots in Boston for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! As a native Bostonian, I’ve eaten at these places more times than I can count & as a foodie, I don’t waste my time or money on places that are anything less than delicious.

In this guide, you’ll find a variety of places ranging from super cheap and casual to more expensive and fancy. I’ve indicated price range with “$$$” and fanciness with ☆☆☆.

Finally, for all of those looking for the most instagrammable food experiences, I’ve added an insta-worthy rating as well! The more ❊❊❊ you see, the more likes you’re gauranteed to get on your food pics from that spot!

Now…. let’s get started!

5 Best Breakfast Spots:

Blackbird Doughnuts, South End: ☆ || $ || ❊❊❊

Blackbird is a great place to grab a coffee, donut, or breakfast sandwich if you’re on the run. I loved their chocolate donut with white nonpareil sprinkles on top! Get a box of 6 and you can have your own donut photoshoot!

North Street Grille: ☆☆ || $$ || ❊

This is totally a neighborhood joint tucked on a side-street of the North End. It’s extremely tiny inside and there’s generally a wait on weekends- BUT it’s worth it. It’s definitely not the most instagrammable breakfast spot, but their mimosas are to die for and the pancakes are the size of my head! Come here if you’re looking for a casual neighborhood joint away from the touristy spots!

Bootleg Special, South End: ☆☆ || $$$ || ❊❊❊

Stepping into Bootleg Special is like stepping into another world. It’s such a unique spot in Boston with its speakeasy/New Orleans vibes. They have an incredible brunch along with lunch and dinner as well. The atmosphere itself is picture-worthy, never mind the food! My favorites are the souffle pancakes & the beignets.

Tradesman, Financial District: ☆ || $ || ❊❊❊❊

I used to walk by this place every day when I walked to work & I NEVER stopped in. I regret it everyday since experiencing the deliciousness of their croissants. They have red velvet croissants year round, but more importantly they have a weekend flavor that rotates every. single. weekend. The one pictured is their kit kat croissant, and it was wild. Also, definitely try their hot vanilla lattes! I love the causal atmosphere of this place and the amount of outdoor tables they have! These croissants are SO photo-worthy, especially when you break them open and see the filling.

The Broadway, South Boston: ☆☆☆ || $$$ || ❊❊

The Broadway is one of the most popular spots in Southie, and it’s impossible to walk in on a weekend and get seated. Sometimes they even book out over a week in advance! You’ll definitely find all of the #basic girls in their mid twenties here enjoying very photo-worthy brunch and a mimosa tower!

5 Best Lunch Spots:

Buttermilk & Burbon, Back Bay: ☆☆☆ || $$ || ❊❊❊

Buttermilk and Burbon definitely has a unique NOLA vibe to it. The restaurant is someone maze-like and it has very very interesting decorations. The menu has a bunch of items intended to be split- they say they recommend ordering 4 or more dishes, but we were literally bursting out of our pants after 3. My recommendation is to order your dishes one at a time, so they come out hot! My favorites were the Pulled Pork Croquettes and the Cinnamon Biscuts.

Citrus & Salt, Back Bay: ☆☆☆ || $$$ || ❊❊❊

Citrus & Salt has the same chef/founder as Buttermilk and Burbon. It is known for its slushie mimosas and very instagrammable mexican food. Beware, their food is actually pretty spicy! Overall has a great atmosphere and it’s a super cute place for a lunch date with the girls. Their guac and queso are unreal. Overall, their food and their decor is great for an instagram photo or two.

Earl’s, Prudential: ☆☆☆ || $$$ || ❊❊❊

Earl’s is one of my favorite lunch & dinner spots, especially when the weather is nice. They have an outdoor area with a retractable roof that they open up when the weather is nice. It’s also elevated on a rooftop, so it’s super beautiful at night when the city is lit up. I love Earl’s because they have a drink deal of the month that’s $7 and they have a great variety. My favorite things to get are the chicken tacos and the steak frites with truffle butter and truffle fries!

Zo’s, State Street: ☆ || $ || ❊

Zo’s was the ultimate lunch spot when I worked on State Street. It’s a take-out greek restaurant with quick service and absolutely amazing food. 100% coming here on your lunch break or if you’re on the run!

Trattoria il Panino, North End: ☆☆☆ || $$$ || ❊❊

Trattoria il Panino is a great lunch and dinner spot with a ton of seating inside and outside & great service. I love the charcuterie board, Tortelli Panna e Prosciutto and Gnocchi alla Sorrentina. Prices are very reasonable for the food quality and the gnocchi is ALL over instagram!

6 Best Dinner Spots, because I couldn’t just pick 5:

Lolita, Back Bay: ☆☆ || $$$ || ❊❊❊❊

Lolita is another unique spot. It’s pretty dark in there and the table setups are very interesting- some tables, some benches, etc. Their food is pretty spicy & it’s also served in a shareable fashion. Like Buttermilk and Burbon, I recommend ordering one by one so the food comes out hot and you don’t over order. This spot is 100% instagrammable and attracts a millennial crowd. My favorite part: they give you free cotton candy for dessert!!

Barcelona Wine Bar, South End: ☆☆☆ || $$$ || ❊❊❊

Barcelona Wine Bar totally feels like you’re in Madrid. The food is tapas style, where you order a few small shareable dishes at a time until you’re full! I LOVE their sangria and some of my favorite tapas are: mix & match charcuterie, wagyu steak, and patatas bravas. Make sure you make a reservation a few days to a week in advance, otherwise you won’t get in.

Lucia, North End: ☆☆☆ || $$$ || ❊❊

Lucia is my all-time favorite restaurant. Jimmy and I usually have our celebratory dinners there (b-day, anniversary, etc) and I have made my dad fall in love with it as well. The owners are actually from Italy, and their dishes reflect their authenticity. My favorite dishes are the bruschetta and the gnocchi sorrentina. Definitely be sure to end your night with one of their ricotta cannolis!

Abe & Louie’s, Copley: ☆☆☆☆ || $$$$$ || ❊❊

Abe & Louie’s is definitely the most pricey/boujee restaurant on the list. It’s great for big celebratory events or for a very special night out. The menu is very pricey, but it definitely serves some of the best steaks in Boston! You definitely need to get dressed up & make reservations in advance.

Lone Star, Allston-Brighton: ☆☆ || $$ || ❊❊❊

Lone Star is a super lowkey spot in Allston/Brighton with fantastic street tacos and guac. The food is definitely instagrammable and very affordable. There are NO reservations, it’s walk in only! Definitely get the guac, street corn, and tacos al pastor.

2 Best Dessert Spots:

Mike’s Pastry: ☆ || $ || ❊❊

Mike’s is a classic spot that is ALWAYS busy. I swear, there is truly always a line out the door. Don’t get discouraged though, it always moves extremely quickly! This spot is CASH ONLY!!! My favorite pastries are the cannoli with chocolate chips & a lobster tail!

Venchi in Eataly: ☆ || $ || ❊

This is located within Eataly in the Prudential Center and completely reminds me of Italy. Venchi is the boujee gelato of Italy, and I got it almost every time I went to an airport. Mix and match two flavors, I highly recommend Stracciatella (chocolate chip) and anything that’s similar to Milk Cream.

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