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21 Bars and Restaurants That Boston Locals Swear By

Restaurants + Bars Insider Guides Food + Drink
by Isabelle Martin Jun 8, 2015

1. Oleana

If you like the idea of snacking on perfectly-marinated quail kebabs beneath a fig tree while surrounded by creeping vines and twinkling lights, this is the place for you.

2. L’Espalier

L’Espalier is my go-to place for a very special occasion — think 25th wedding anniversary, or apologizing for an astronomical screw-up. There’s nothing quite like making amends while on a $205 per person “tasting journey.”

3. The Marliave


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The Marliave is a great place to go when you feel fancy but don’t want to burn through a paycheck eating dinner. Get a seat on the second floor by the windows for a great view of downtown Boston. For hipster dive time…

4. State Park

Grab a pork rib and a $4 ‘Gansett draft to fuel yourself for an unnecessarily intense game of shuffleboard. Try not to get too freaked out by the taxidermied weasel giving you the judgy side-eye about your jukebox selections.

5. Delux Café

#delux #southend #booze

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If you’re looking for delicious comfort food, good beer, and a whole lot of cash-only-we-don’t-make-that-drink hipster attitude, Delux Café is your place.

6. The Miracle of Science

Nerdiest lunch ever #MIT #miracleofscience #foodie

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The Miracle of Science is ground zero for the collision of MIT/Harvard/tech startup nerds, crippling social anxiety, and a whole bunch of booze. The periodic table menu and test tube shots help everyone feel at home.

For an old standby…

7. Matt Murphy’s

Dance to floor-shaking fiddle music while periodically taking breaks to shovel french fries doused in homemade ketchup into your face.

8. J.J Foley’s

These beauts.

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Big Buck Hunter is the main draw at J.J. Foley’s — because there’s nothing quite like blasting a cartoon deer in the face with a plastic gun to blow off steam after work.

9. Mike & Patty’s

Order “the Fancy” over the phone and pick it up 15 minutes later. Mike & Patty’s is tiny, so your best bet is to head back down Arlington St. and enjoy your feast on a park bench at the Public Gardens. For live music…

10. The Druid

Sip an oatmeal stout while listening to an impromptu Irish jam session in the corner booth.

11. Jacob Wirth

If you want to practice your singing skills while wolfing down some schnitzel, head over to piano karaoke at Jacob Wirth, the only German beer hall in Boston. For excellent beer…

12. Bukowski Tavern

If you’re a competitive person (or just need an excuse to booze every night), try joining the Mug Club here.

If you can burn through all the beers on your card in six months, you get a sweet mug with a quote from your favorite dead author engraved on it. The walls of the Tavern are decorated with inspirational suggestions from Bukowski himself, like:

“Sometimes I just get tired of thinking of all the things that I don’t wanna do. All the things that I don’t wanna be. Places I don’t wanna go, like India, like getting my teeth cleaned. Save the whale, all that, I don’t understand that . . .”

Your mug formally marks you as a regular — every time you have a beer at Bukowski’s, it will be served in your special glass, and you will be considered cool there.

For breakfast and brunch…

13. The Beehive

Because regular poutine isn’t glorious enough, they throw some short ribs and fried eggs on top. Why not? You will have a heart attack immediately after eating this, and it will be worth it.

14. Mike’s City Diner

Delicious, cheap, greasy-spoon diner. Go there.

15. The Paramount

Finally got to the Paramount!

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Upscale food meets the convenience of cafeteria-style ordering. Perfect. For just a cup of coffee… 16 & 17. Thinking Cup in downtown Boston and 1369 Coffeehouse in Cambridge are perfect spots for a day of eavesdropping while sipping a perfectly-constructed cup of joe. Listen to the philosophy grad student at the next table bitch about how hard it is to find obscure Heidegger texts in the original German. For a work lunch…

18. Boloco

Reunited with @bolocogram and it feels so good!

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“Boston Local Company” serves fresh, quick, not-exactly-authentic Mexican burritos, but they are creative and delicious, so who cares? Yes, you want the guac.

19. Sami’s Wrap N Roll

Sami’s Wrap N Roll is a Boston institution — for nearly 40 years, they’ve been serving fresh wraps and coffee out of a green wooden stand to frazzled Longwood-area doctors and researchers.

20. Clover Food Lab

Brussel sprout sammich//Hoci goes to heaven.

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Clover Food Lab serves up piles of rosemary fries, fancy hibiscus iced tea, and surprisingly meaty vegetarian sandwiches, all in under 3.5 minutes. They failed a health inspection in 2013, but I still ate there every day anyway because it’s just too delicious to give up. I’m fine, by the way.

21. Parish Café

The owner of the Parish Cafe asked every famous chef in Boston to give him their best sandwich recipe, and he put them all together in a menu. Thus, it is impossible to make a bad decision here.

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