A College Student’s Guide to Eating in Boston
My Favorite Boston Area Restaurants
Over the next few months I will be writing more comprehensive reviews for some of these locations as well as new places I check out :) For right now, here is a quick guide to my favorite places to eat in Boston after living here for the past 3 years.
Let’s get this Brunch
1. Cafe Landwer
A great spot in the summer, especially for shakshuka. Located near Fenway Park, this restaurant is great (and there is rarely a wait!). The aesthetic of Landwer is very well done, you can tell that someone put a lot of attention to every detail of the dining experience.
Everyone raves about Milkweed, but I have found Mission the much better brunch spot on the Hill. I would highly recommend the Banana Bread Bourbon French Toast, and the bottomless hot coffee is always a bonus win. There is also rarely a wait here.
Thornton’s is where I got introduced to the idea of brunch. Prepare for a decent wait on weekend mornings. It’s a popular spot for large groups of Northeastern students after a late night. They have a great selection of egg dishes, and great coffee. A great place to go with a bigger group of friends.
Probably the most unique brunch menu in Boston, Friendly Toast will almost never let you down (unless you are waiting for 2 hours for a table). Friendly Toast is ridiculously busy, but they recently added a reservation feature through Yelp so I would recommend using that. The Doughnut Stop Believin’ is one of my all time favorite brunch meals in Boston.
Another place you should reserve ahead of time for brunch, however this is one of the most economical brunch places. They have a pretty wonderful $9 brunch menu on Saturday’s and Sunday’s that is very filling. The outdoor seating is also wonderful.
Lots of good pastry options, and one of my favorite iced lattes out there. Don’t forget to use their punch cards!
A bit more on the pricey side, but they have a really great cafe mocha. I would also highly recommend their everything bagel with veggie or jalapeno cream cheese. Also, very cozy vibes inside this place.
I go to Cava a decent amount since it is so close to my office. Their service is really fast, and you get a decent portion of food for $10. There is a wide assortment of Mediterranean dishes that you can customize into a salad/grain bowl. I think they do a good job with the flavors and it can easily last 2 meals with the amount of food they give you!
C&R guys are one of my all time favorites. It’s simple and easy, just go check it out.
Pretty good coffee, but my favorite thing on the menu is The Crook. All of their sandwich names are pretty clever, but I get this w/sausage instead of bacon. It has this incredible tomato basil cream cheese that I could probably eat a tub of.
I just went here recently, and was very pleasantly surprised. I’m not the biggest fan of fried chicken, but after 5 people telling me to go here, I had to try it out. They have a very basic menu, but they do it very well. The chicken fingers taste like real chicken, and my favorite part is the Cane’s sauce. It is pleasantly spicy and their fries are fresh and crisp.
Blaze will never let me down. $10 for a really filling meal that is customized to your desire. If you haven’t been to blaze, please check it out.
Located on Newbury St, this place has got one of the best Buffalo Chicken pizza slices out there. It’s so unhealthy but so good.
Not in Boston, but probably my favorite taqueria. They are so incredibly fast, and there is enough seating in that restaurant for larger groups of people. It is also fairly inexpensive and a lot of food. I love their spicy chicken burrito, and their churros are also excellent.
Lunch or Dinner
1. Rod Dee 2
One of my all time favorite Thai restaurants in Boston. They are a cash only business, but one meal can easily last for two meals. Their spicy basil pad thai is one of my most favorite dishes. If they have mango sticky rice, I would also recommend getting it. It’s also a super cute family run business, and has a very homey vibe.
2. Border Cafe
If you want to go somewhere with a big group of people, this is the place to go. They do a really good job with service, and have pretty affordable prices. I really like their fish tacos and quesadillas. Honestly, anything on that menu is good and is going to fill you up. I also tried their strawberry margarita for the first time and it was incredible.
Lilly’s is incredible. There are literally hundreds of pasta + sauce + add on combos you can do. They make their pasta fresh and you can tell. They also have free delivery which is amazing.
I haven’t tried all the Italian restaurants in Boston, but I think Giacomo’s is my favorite. Their shrimp scampi is so freakin’ good. The line does get long on the weekends, so be prepared to wait. They are also a cash only business.
I also have not tried all the Ramen places in Boston, but Santouka never lets me down. Good food. Fast. Simple. Do prepare to wait on the weekends outside, the place is small and busy.
6. Naco Taco
I have a lot of great Naco Taco memories, as it is one of my favorite places to go with my friends after a long walk across the Charles. They also have a very convenient food truck at the beginning of Newbury St. All of their tacos are great, my favorite is the al pastor. They are always playing happy music, and it is always a good vibe in there.
I’ve tried a handful of tapas places in the Boston area, but this is my favorite. I came here with my parents in the winter and it was pretty empty. They have some of the best gambas al ajillo, and churros :) Definitely on the pricier side, but the atmosphere is very artistic and eclectic.
Homemade dumplings are one of my favorite foods to eat, and Gourmet Dumpling House never fails to impress me. They have a wide selection of dumplings at affordable prices. It gets busy so be prepared to wait on the weekends.
9. Ganko Ittesu
Located in Brookline, Ganko Ittesu is one of my other favorite ramen spots. They have a good reservation system on Yelp that I would recommend. I really like their Shoyu Ramen. It always seems like they are rushing you out of there, but they are incredibly efficient and have consistently good food. They have a very limited menu of just ramen, so be prepared for that.
I went here pretty recently after reading a lot of rave reviews. They have a wide selection of sandwiches that all look amazing. I had a really great Pesto Chicken sandwich, and got to eat it outside. I would also recommend checking out the rest of the store, they have so many cool food items. I was also able to buy some of their fresh pasta, which tasted incredible. They have endless flavors that everyone should check out.
The best for last… Dessert
Looks like Tatte is gonna be on here a couple of times, but truthfully they have some of the best pastries and desserts in Boston. Honestly, just take a look at whatever they have in that glass case and it’ll probably be good. The cheesecakes and mousses are my favorite. I also have a hard time turning down a pain au chocolat.
2. LA Burdick
Best. Hot. Chocolate. In. Boston
I discovered this spot on Columbus Ave pretty recently, but they have really good freshly baked pastries and a cool viewing area to watch the bakers prepare their goods. Wonderful croissants.
Nothing beats a warm baked chocolate chip cookie.
5. JP Licks
JP Licks and I are in a long committed relationship. I think they have the best chocolate fudge I have ever tasted from an ice cream store. My favorite flavor is Cookies n’ Cake Batter, but they are honestly all great. If you like it, please get a cow card, you can get a lot of rewards on it.
There aren’t a lot of gelato places in Boston, but Amorino’s is amazing. You can put unlimited flavors onto your cone and they will sculpt it into a beautiful rose. My favorite flavor is the mango, which is flavored from an alphonso mango, which is my favorite type of mango to eat.
They have the best chocolate glaze on their donuts. It is a dark Belgian chocolate glaze that pairs very well with their dense fluffy donut texture.
Blackbird has some of the most unique donut flavors out there. Check out their monthly flavors, and don’t be afraid to try something new. However, if you are looking for the best donut, their sticky bun donut really takes the cake.
9. Max Brenner
Max Brenner is open till Midnight and has some of the coolest selections of desserts out there. It is on the pricey side so beware, but it is always worth the experience.
10. Magnolia Bakery
If you like bread pudding, you might have a heart attack because their banana bread pudding is worth writing a song over. I’d probably marry it.
For your daily dose of caffeine
I’ve only been here once, and it is expensive, but the quality of their caffeine really hit the spot. The iced latte is a bit on the milky side, but very crisp and refreshing.
Render has the best Mocha Latte in Boston, and the latte art is one of my favorites. The staff in Render is always very friendly and there is a very welcoming vibe inside.
3. Thinking Cup
Thinking Cup is almost always packed when I’ve been there, but their coffee is worth waiting for. I also love their wide assortment of pastries.
4. La Colombe
Their draft lattes are just really cool and unique.
Tatte has my favorite iced latte in Boston. I’m not the biggest fan of their cold brew, but it is pretty caffeinated. They also have an excellent hot chocolate and cafe mocha.