Welcome back to Food Crawls, a series in which Eater Boston staffers guide you (virtually) on various food crawls in the Boston area.
When we go out, we often find ourselves wanting to try more than one restaurant at a time — a drink and a snack here, another drink and perhaps a dessert there — and want to share our favorite multi-stop combinations with you. These crawls are meant to be relatively walkable, and the amount of food and drink is meant to correspond roughly to a couple of average appetites (so bring a friend), although your mileage may vary. Email us if there’s a particular theme, specific dish or drink, or neighborhood you’d like to see covered in a future installment.
There’s a lot of good lunch food to be found near the Faneuil Hall Marketplace (4 S. Market St., Boston). The Boston Public Market is right down the street at Haymarket; the North End’s Hanover and Salem streets are a quick walk across the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway; sandwich shops like Al’s State Street Cafe and Chacarero are within walking distance. So why would anyone ever eat inside a tourist trap like Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall’s ever-crowded food court?
To begin with, tourist traps exist for one reason: to trap the more underprepared and inexperienced among us while simultaneously tricking us into believing that the thing in which we’re participating is somehow exemplary of the place we’re visiting. If one does not plan every second of one’s Boston vacation — each meal included — one might find oneself hungry and unsure and deep in a post-Uniqlo afterglow, and then, ultimately, tricked into believing Quincy Market is Boston. Hell, it’s a National Historic Landmark, after all.
And while Quincy Market may be historical, it should not be the first or fifth or even seventieth spot on anyone’s “must go” Boston food list. All that said, there are some decent options inside this glorified mall food court. Here’s where and what to eat for a food crawl-style lunch if you find yourself lost in Quincy Market without a guidebook (or a smartphone).
Stats for this food crawl:
- Total stops: 5
- Total mileage: Like, 37 steps
- Total buildings: 1
- Total bread bowls eaten: 1
- Total things one will be able to eat after consuming an entire loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with thick, creamy clam chowder: Zero, we hope
The Monster at the Dog House
Hot dogs are never a bad idea, and the Dog House offers a long list of tasty variations. It also hawks Italian sausages and Polish kielbasa, but go for a the “Monster” — it’s made with a Fenway Frank, and you can feel like you’re at a Sox game even if it’s late November.
French Fries at Fisherman’s Net
I can’t speak for the fried clams or the chowder at Fisherman’s Net (though they are using Ipswich clams, so that’s a good start), but the french fries are extraordinary. They’re crispy and golden and salty, and they’re the perfect snack for the tourist who’s hungry but also wants to wait to really eat until figuring out a better dining location than Quincy Market.
Clam Chowder Bread Bowl at Boston Chowda Co.
Ignore the kitschy phonetic spelling and try the clam chowder because Boston Chowda Co. actually does a very good version, one that would be included on a list of the best clam chowders in Boston. For the more adventurous (and...insatiate) eater: Try the clam chowder-filled bread bowl. It’s decadent and kind of dumb, but the hollowed out round loaf functions as one giant oyster cracker. Perhaps avoid eating the entire bowl if you plan to continue on to the next stop of this food crawl.
M&M Cookie at Carol Ann Bake Shop
Okay, so M&M cookies aren’t exactly lunch food, but just think of this as the snack that bridges the gap between the horror of having to eat at Quincy Market and the elation that comes with finding a proper meal. The baked goods at Carol Ann Bake Shop are made fresh on site daily. Even Rachael Ray cosigns this spot. (For another sweet option, keep an eye out for the forthcoming Magnolia Bakery, slated to open at the end of 2017.)
A Slice at Pizzeria Regina
On second thought, ignore everything written above and head to the Pizzeria Regina kiosk for a slice of pepperoni. While this pie is certainly not as good as pies from the original Regina — a better analog would be an airport Sbarro’s, which is honestly fine! — it’s still the best bite in all of Quincy Market. Of course, the original Pizzeria Regina is a seven-minute walk from the kiosk in Quincy Market, so just do that instead. There might be a line, and it might be cold — but it will definitely be worth it.