For the long Memorial Day weekend, my boyfriend and I decided to go on a mini vacation to Boston. Going into it we both knew it was really going to be a foodcation. As lovers of all seafood, we were really looking forward to fresh oysters and lobster rolls. Living in the Midwest, it can sometimes be a little difficult to come by the best and freshest – but we make due.
But even beyond seafood, I had some of the best and most fun food adventures in Boston! We were there for four days, so I’ll walk you through my gastronomic agenda day by day:
For our first Boston meal, we woke up right on time to be some of the first people in the door at Yankee Lobster when they opened at 11am. There’s nothing better than a brunch filled with lobster bisque and lobster rolls! As any good foodcationer does, we did our best to split everything and therefore try the most deliciousness. On the brunch menu was a first course of lobster bisque and clam chowder, followed by the mains: a lobster roll and a crab cake sandwich. The soups were so fresh and creamy – incredibly comforting on a rainy morning. The lobster roll was very rich – the roll was just the right amount of buttery and the lobster itself was cooked perfectly. The crab cake sandwich was surprisingly flavorful too – spiced to perfection. This was all in all a great start to the adventure and left us so excited!
After we were filled to the brim at Yankee Lobster, we made our way to the North End to do some exploring. We hit up the hot spots along the freedom trail, like the Paul Revere house and Old North Church. But our first trip to the North End couldn’t be complete without a trip to Mike’s Pastry. Famous for their cannolis, I was set on getting one for a sweet afternoon snack. We went at around 2 in the afternoon, and it was pretty busy, but no line out the door like I had seen earlier in the day. It was quite the experience, picking one of the long lively lines, and quickly deciding what to get! I went with the classic chocolate chip and it was perfect. Crispy pastry shell, tons of tiny chocolate chips and light sweet cream filling. Highly recommend as a must have!
Our Friday night consisted of a Red Sox game at Fenway, foot long hot dogs, peanuts, and beer. A fantastic end to our first day in Boston, despite some rain that sent us huddling together around some beers inside for a few innings.
We kicked off our Saturday with a French style brunch at none other than Frenchie! An adorable ambiance, brunch spot by day wine bar by night. I had found the restaurant while doing my pre-trip research and was really looking forward to it. The food was great, but it was really the ambiance that made the experience. We got to sit in the atrium, with great views of the green leaves and vines, accompanied by soft floral wallpaper.
I was pleased to have my three beverages: water, coffee, and in the french fashion, rose. The menu was small, but difficult to choose because everything looked amazing. I ended up going with the smoked salmon Benedict on a croissant. My boyfriend got the duck confit hash which I tried of course and it was amazing! My Benedict was done well, the star being the perfectly baked croissant. We had a great time at Frenchie, especially enjoying the phenomenal service!
Our Saturday afternoon consisted of a beautiful walk from the back bay to china town and downtown, an exploration of the Boston commons, ride on the Swan Boats in the public gardens, and selfies at the state house. We did a lot of walking to get ourselves nice and hungry for the evening’s seafood dinner at Ostra.
I had the reservation at Ostra booked way in advance, and was excited to try the place voted best seafood in Boston. It’s a beautiful restaurant, so I was also excited to get dressed up and have a nice date night. The ambiance did not disappoint, and I loved being greeted by the counter of the day’s fresh fish and shellfish upon arrival.
The menu was pretty big, making decisions a little difficult. And unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling super great so we didn’t order the usually quantity of food that we normally would have. But not to worry, after the restaurant’s delicious bread and the assistance of some ginger ale I was cured and ready to dig into our dishes!
For an appetizer, we got a sampling of some of the fresh, local oysters. The raw bar was awesome, and you could taste the freshness. They were light and flavorful, no better way to kick off a meal. Our middle course was one of their pasta selections – little neck clam spaghetti with jalapeño and garlic. I am normally not a big jalapeño person, but this was absolutely fantastic. The clams were small but packed full of flavor, pasta cooked perfectly, and the sauce was bright with the right amount of acidic. Finally, our main course was the seafood paella. It was PACKED full of every single delicious ingredient you can imagine: lobster, prawns, calamari, octopus, clams, mussels, chicken, and chorizo. It had an incredible saffron flavor which I love for paella. The rice was cooked nicely as well, and it was just incredible.
We finished off our Saturday night by stopping at Banyan Bar and Refuge for some amazing draft cocktails. I had a hard time choosing because each drink sounded delicious. I chose Banyan due to what I’d read about the atmosphere, and it really was an awesome aesthetic. Trees insides on the ceiling, beautiful lights and lanterns, and a really cool outdoor patio. The picture does not do it justice!
We kicked off Sunday with another pre-planned brunch by me, at Row 34. We were both really looking forward to this one, as the brunch menu was really seafood centric. The ambiance was great too. It was casual yet trendy, and just had the vibe of a place you felt like you could take your time and enjoy some local seafood.
Here we did another three course meal. The first course was another tasting of three different oysters each from the raw bar. All from Massachusetts, all fresh, all delicious! I could have eaten these oysters all day. Next, we got the clam chowder, which they so nicely split for us in two bowls! I’m a big fan of when restaurants do this. Not only was I happy with the plating, but this clam chowder was absolutely amazing. I said I wasn’t going to eat it all because of the dairy, but I cleaned out the entire bowl. My third course was the bluefish pate on a nori bagel. It was also served with cream cheese on the side but I left that off due to the dairy. The pate was so rich and creamy, that it really didn’t need the cream cheese anyway! I did however top it off with capers, pickled onion, and cucumbers. It was SO tasty! The nori bagel was a really cool idea too. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and washed it down with their passion fruit mimosa. My boyfriend got the lobster roll for course number three. I tried it course, and wow was it amazing! Buttery, rich, salty, YUM. 100% recommend Row 34 for brunch if you are in Boston!
After brunch, we grabbed coffee at Cafe Nero, did a little geocaching, and headed to the Mapparium. Mapparium is a three story glass globe that you can walk inside of – super cool, but unfortunately, no pictures are allowed, so you’ll have to go see it for yourself! The rest of our afternoon after that was spent shopping on Newbury Street, and walking around Harvard campus. I strategically saved Harvard for Sunday afternoon, because I had dinner reservations at Shepard that night (a restaurant in Cambridge near Harvard).
After having some beers at a small Harvard bar, we headed to Shepard for a nice dinner date. The ambiance was really nice – simple and modern. We got a nice corner table with a couch, super cozy. Like any good date night, we started with a nice bottle of wine. I t a French Pinot Nior which we really enjoyed. For our meal, we got 5 dishes and dessert. First, we started with the fiddleheads. If you haven’t had fiddleheads as a vegetable before, you should definitely try them! These were a beautiful green color, with a nice chili sauce and oyster mushrooms. They were right at the top of my spice threshold – it was perfect! Next, we went with a second vegetable dish – roasted radishes in a creamy butter sauce. This dish was absolutely gorgeous, and the taste definitely matched the presentation.
Our third dish was the Hay Roasted Oysters. I am usually not a big cooked oyster fan, but these had great flavor. This was largely due to the delicious green garlic butter sauce they were smothered in. I was happy to have tried a wide variety of different oysters while in Boston! Next, we had the pesto gnocchi with b This was one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had in a long time. The gnocchi was so incredibly soft, creamy somehow, and packed with flavor. The saltiness of the pancetta really complimented it nicely along with a delicious pesto. It was light but filling at the same time.
The savory portion of the meal was finished off by the monkfish. I had seen monkfish pop up on various menus throughout the trip, so I had to try it. I am so glad we did because it was amazing! It was a really moist whitefish, but still more flavorful than a halibut and tilapia. The fish was served with morel mushrooms and red dandelion, making for a nice plating and even nicer tasting main course. We decided to get dessert too because why not! We got carrot cake and coffee, and it was the perfect way to close out the meal. I loved the experience at Shepard, and the service was top notch.
On our last day in Boston, we decided to go back to Yankee Lobster for brunch, because we enjoyed it so much (and it was super close to our hotel). This time, we split the clam strips as an appetizer – so good! They were thin, crispy, and cooked really well – not chewy at all. For the main dish – I got the scallop roll, and my boyfriend got the crab roll. They were both amazing – the same buttery bread as the lobster roll. Personally, I liked the scallop roll a little better. The scallops were deep fried, but the inner scallop was soooo juicy! My mouth is watering just writing about it.
After leaving Yankee Lobster, we had to decide what to do on a holiday in Boston during really raining and cold weather. What better than hitting up Harpoon brewery! We had a UFO flight, and then went on the brewery tour, which includes about 20-30 minutes in the tasting room for only 5 dollars a person! After that, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our date night in the North End.
We had to try some authentic Italian in the historic North End before we left. We went to Tresca, which is right on Hanover street, near Mike’s Pastry. I had requested a table on the top floor, but it was closed because of the weather. We still got a nice table looking out at the window onto the pretty street view.
For our meal we started with two appetizers, the mussels and the stuffed meatballs. The mussels were good – the star definitely being the lobster broth! I’ve had better muscles overall, but they sure were tasty. The stuffed meatballs were incredible. They were SO fresh – and you could taste every spice and pepper that was ground up into the meat. The sauce was really nice and balanced too. A great appetizer, but it did leave me a little full going into our two large pasta dishes.
I was most excited for the pasta. I’d been dreaming about pasta in the North End for weeks before the trip. The pasta we got at Tresca did not disappoint. We split two large size dishes, the first one was the pasta bolognese. The Tagliatelle pasta was incredibly fresh, and the perfect thickness. The bolognese sauce was made with veal and pork, and then topped off with pancetta. This dish was huge and really delicious. Our second pasta was the sweet corn and pancetta ravioli. This was really rich, and probably smart that there were only 4 large ravioli in the serving. Topped with pan seared scallops, this dish was awesome as well. We were totally stuffed after this meal.
Our Boston food journey ended after the dinner at Cafe Vittoria – were we got some authentic italian coffees. I had an incredible cappuccino – It was so beautiful! It was topped with some kind of mocha powder that gave it this unique look. The Cafe was adorable was well. If you plan on going, it’s cash only!
Overall, I was very pleased with the food adventures (and other adventures) I had in Boston. It was such a beautiful city, and the food lived up to my expectations. I cannot wait to go back and try even more!
If you are interested in any of the restaurants I visited, you can find links to their websites here: