Beantown's New Flavors

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Beantown's New Flavors
Home to well-known tastemakers and chefs creating new favorites, Boston has a restaurant and cocktail scene that leaves visitors satiated, yet still wanting more.
By Alison Abbott, AFAR Local Expert
Photo courtesy of Michael Piazza/Craigie On Main
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    Farm-to-Table Finds
    Boston is just the right size to support the local farm-to-table movement. Thanks to the many growers within a 30-mile radius, farmers’ markets flourish throughout the year and boast local produce and more artisanal wares. Seasonal splurges can be found at Journeyman and Craigie on Main while more affordable offerings are the specialty of the brick-and-mortar locations of the Clover and Mei Mei food trucks. Oleana chef Ana Sortun is married to the owner of Siena Farms, ensuring fresh-picked goodies at the table. Ten Tables, Harvest, and Evoo are other dining highlights.
    Photo courtesy of Michael Piazza/Craigie On Main
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    A Great Way to Wake Up
    Whether you’re after Sunday brunch or an early meal at a quintessential neighborhood haunt, Boston has plenty of breakfast options in every section of the city. Union Square Donuts is a newcomer that attracts fans who wait in line for chocolate chipotle and bourbon caramel creations. South End Buttery is the best place for French toast with fresh strawberries. Looking for a good Bloody Mary? Try the East Coast Grill where mix-ins such as Inner Beauty hot sauce are a revelation. Flour Bakery has four locations around the city, any of which will start your morning off right.
    Photo by Shan Shan
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    Happy Hour and Beyond
    Whether you like cocktails served in a traditional lounge, craft beer poured straight out of the keg, or no-frills beer and sports, Boston has a place to get your evening started. Lolita is stocked with glowing tequilas; Drink creates custom cocktails based on your favorite flavors; and the Hawthorne serves reinvented classics with pretzel bites and other fun appetizers. Find seasonal suds at Harpoon Brewery, Italian wines at Sportello, and wine flights with a sense of humor at Belly Wine Bar. The drink craze that's taking over the country has definitely found a home in Boston.
    Photo courtesy of Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar
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    Meals on Wheels
    The food truck scene in Boston rivals any in the country; several of the city's mobile eateries have appeared on the Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. Brick-and-mortar locations are the next incarnation for trucks that succeed on wheels. Clover, Mei Mei, and Bon Me are committed to fresh and local ingredients, and Cookie Monstah will satisfy your sweet tooth. On Sundays from May through October, the SoWa Market features a parking lot full of food trucks that serve everything from Asian street food to gourmet sliders. Download the Street Food Boston app to stay on top of locations around the city.
    Photo by Alison Abbott
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    Boston Loves Pizza
    Bostonians love their pizza as much as New Yorkers or Jerseyites, and upscale neighborhood favorites rank up there with the best. Wood-fired ovens are responsible for the fluffy crusts served at Antico Forno and Flatbread Company, and Regina Pizzeria and Santarpios are old-school joints that draw loyal fans. Picco in the South End creates delicious combinations such as fig, mushroom, and caramelized onion from fresh ingredients. Emma’s in Cambridge has several selections if you’re trying to kick the red sauce habit. The lobster pizza at Scampo Boston and the "fungo" at Coppa are worthy of their price tags. For a slightly different pizza experience try the flatbreads at Trade, co-owned by James Beard Award–winner, Jody Adams.
    Photo by Amanda Heywood/age fotostock
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    Romantic Meals
    There is no shortage of romantic destinations for a memorable meal in Boston. The intimate Ten Tables is full of cozy nooks and comfort food dishes. In warm weather, the hidden garden at Oleana sets the scene for romance, winning points for its Mediterranean vegetarian tasting menu that features ingredients grown on the family farm. Petit Robert Bistro transports you to France, and Top of the Hub, where live jazz often accompanies creative cocktails, affords the best views in the city. Reservations at sunset are a must.
    Photo by Shan Shan
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    East Coast Café Culture
    Boston is home to some of the best bakers and pastry chefs around. Tatte and Flour bakeries serve otherworldly breads and pastries along with heartier fare in several locations around the city. Thinking Cup is the go-to place for Stumptown coffee. In the warmer months, snag an outdoor table at one of the many Newbury Street cafés and enjoy watching Boston’s fashionistas parade the sidewalks. The Harborwalk is dotted with establishments where you can take in the waterfront activity. Boston's baristas know their beans—the new kind of beans, that is.
    Photo by Piotr Skubisz/age fotostock
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    Fish Out of Water
    Every visitor to Boston should try at least one type of seafood from the area. Fresh selections are plenty and range from the traditional lobster bakes at Summer Shack, No Name, and the Daily Catch to raw bars like the one at Neptune Oyster. You can find New England clam chowder all over the city, but remember that all chowders are not created equal. A high-caliber version can be found at Ned Devine's in Faneuil Hall—it has just the right thickness and sweetness. Oysters from Island Creek Oyster Bar, Toro, and Legal Seafoods will satisfy your bivalve cravings. Island Creek is a good option for lobster, as is Belle Isle Seafood and James Hook and Co.
    Photo by H. Leitner/age fotostock
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    A Foodie Tour of Boston
    A culinary tour is a great way to learn about the food culture of a city. Off the Eaten Path combines the North End section of the Freedom Trail with local purveyors, food artisans, and small eateries. Michele Topor’s Boston Food Tours takes guests through Little Italy or the colorful Chinatown. Formaggio Kitchen, the premier Cambridge foodie destination, offers several food tasting events. If you’re lucky enough to be in town when they offer Brave the Caves, you can visit the only cheese cave in Boston and learn about the crucial role this underground space plays in local cheese aging.
    Photo by Alison Abbott
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    Sweet Finales
    The ubiquitous cupcake is easy to find and provides bite-sized pleasure for the sweet tooth. Try Georgetown or Sweet Cupcakes for any variation you can imagine. L.A. Burdick will have you drinking divine liquid chocolate or taking home some of its famous chocolate mice. Fastachi is a neighborhood shop on Charles St. featuring hand-roasted gourmet nuts and a wide selection of artisanal chocolate. For baked goods heaven, head to one of Tatte Bakery and Café's five locations—they are open till 8:00 p.m.—and try one of their delicious pastries or tarts.
    Photo by Alison Abbott
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