clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Eat These 25 Classic Boston Dishes Before You Leave the City

In honor of Classics Week, here are 25 of the most classic dishes the city has to offer.

View as Map

In honor of Classics Week, here are 25 of the most classic dishes the city has to offer. These are the dishes that are widely known throughout the city, from popular local chefs' signature dishes to the dishes that have been written about time and time again. Locals and tourists alike seek them out. If ever removed from the menu, they would cause mass pandemonium. Here are 25 of Boston's most iconic dishes.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

All Star Sandwich Bar

Copy Link

Atomic Meatloaf Meltdown: A classic on their menu, and for good reason, the sandwich features meatloaf that is sliced thick and topped with jack cheese, sweet caramelized red onion jam, and spicy, bright yellow inner beauty hot sauce. The whole thing is pressed between sourdough bread. [Photo: Facebook]

Blue Ginger

Copy Link

Garlic-Black Pepper Lobster with Lemongrass Fried Rice: Ming's signature dish and a classic at Blue Ginger. [Photo: Facebook]

Sample of Five Salumi: For when one can't decide which of Coppa's charcuterie to try, one can get five, all on one board with traditional accoutrements, naturally. [Photo: Facebook]

Craigie on Main

Copy Link

Burger: This coveted burger has quite the cult following, and for good reason — all of the components blend harmoniously together to create a burger that is arguably one of the best in the city. The beef is a blend consisting of some funky items like bone marrow and suet, served on a house made milk-style bun and topped with cheddar cheese, mace ketchup, lettuce, and onion. [Photo: Katie Chudy]

Davio's

Copy Link

The Spring Rolls at Davio's: They started with the Philly cheesesteak spring roll and have branched out from there with creative takes on the classic spring roll. Now these specialty spring rolls can even be found online and in most grocery store freezer sections. [Photo: Facebook]

Eastern Standard

Copy Link

Bone Marrow: Served dramatically in a bone that is split lengthwise, Eastern Standard's bone marrow comes with a small spoon so that diners can scoop out the salsa verde and thyme marmalade-coated marrow and slather it onto bread. It's been a staple at the restaurant for years. [Photo: Yelp]

Erbaluce

Copy Link

Wild Rack of Boar: The boar at Erbaluce is one of their most popular. It comes with a wild concord grape and lavender mosto. [Photo: Yelp]

Fenway Park

Copy Link

Fenway Frank: What would a summer in Boston be without taking in at least one Red Sox game and ordering a Fenway Frank? It's as classic to Boston as baseball is to America. [Photo: Yelp]

Flour Bakery + Cafe

Copy Link

Sticky Bun: Ooey and gooey in all of the right ways, the sticky bun at Flour is cinnamon-y and crunchy, courtesy of some toasted pecans, making this a classic for the popular bakery. [Photo: Facebook]

Grill 23 & Bar

Copy Link

New England Clam Chowder: It doesn't get any more classic than a bowl of clam chowder. At Grill 23, they make theirs with smoked pork, and then, to add to the luxuriousness, lobster and lobster butter finish things off. [Photo: Yelp]

Island Creek Oyster Bar

Copy Link

Oyster Slider: Island Creek Oysters have become the oyster option of choice in these parts (and beyond), and this adorable little slider spotlights those beautiful oysters by deep-frying them, adding a coating of lime aioli, and resting it on a mini brioche bun. [Photo: Yelp]

Jo Jo TaiPei

Copy Link

Pork Buns: Those who have tried these always order them again and again. The fatty, plump marinated pork belly is offset beautifully by an herbed peanut sugar mixture that is acidic, nutty, and bright. Then, it's all sandwiched in between soft, steamed buns. Served as a pair. [Photo: Facebook]

Liberty Bell

Copy Link

Roast Beef Sandwich: Ordered as a "three way" with mayo, American cheese, and James River Barbecue Sauce, this is a stack of thinly shaved roast beef piled high atop a pillowy onion roll. [Photo: Yelp]

Lynwood Cafe

Copy Link

Bar Pie: A South Shore classic, the bar pie, is essentially a pizza that is a couple of sizes up from a personal-sized pizza, and its toppings stretch all the way to the end, resulting in an almost crustless pizza. It can be found predominantly at local watering holes south of the city, and the Lynwood Cafe is one of the best. It doesn't offer much by way of atmosphere, but the pizza makes up for that. [Photo: Facebook]

Modern Pastry Shop

Copy Link

Cannoli: It's hard to leave the North End without a box of cannoli. There are many popular choices throughout the city, particularly in the North End, and this spot is a favorite with a loyal following. [Photo: Facebook]

Monica's Mercato

Copy Link

Italian Sub: While there's no official menu, just a counter full of gorgeous-looking meats, cheeses, and vegetables and fresh-baked and crackly bread, the Italian sub at Monica's is where it's at. Piled with delicately sliced meats and cheeses and dressed with balsamic, olive oil, and a pickled pepper spread. [Photo: Yelp]

Neptune Oyster

Copy Link

Lobster Roll: Available either hot and buttered or cold and with mayo, the lobster roll at Neptune is a classic and one that people wait in pretty lengthy lines for. For the carb avoiders, the lobster roll is also available sans bun. [Photo: Rachel Leah Blumenthal]

No. 9 Park

Copy Link

Prune Gnocchi: A classic at No. 9 Park (a classic restaurant itself). Soft and pillowy gnocchi are filled with prunes and garnished with foie gras before some crunch by way of slivered almonds finishes it off. [Photo: Facebook]

Baked Alaska: It starts with a coconut macaroon, and the coconut ice cream is layered in and encased in meringue before it gets torched and develops a golden exterior. It sits in a pool of passion fruit caramel. This classic dessert has been on the menu for almost 15 years. [Photo: Yelp]

Omni Parker House

Copy Link

Boston Cream Pie: It's hard to have a list like this that doesn't include the original Boston cream pie. While there are numerous other versions throughout the city now, this one is the original. [Photo: Rachel Leah Blumenthal]

Regina Pizzeria

Copy Link

Pizza at the original Regina's: On almost any given day, a line of tourists and locals alike can be seen snaked around Thacher street, waiting for a slice of this pie. Served with a variety of topping options. [Photo: Facebook]

Slow Roasted Long Island Duck: Chef Jody Adams' signature dish, the slow-roasted Long Island duck, comes with braised escarole, fingerling potatoes, and Sicilian green olives. It has been on her menu since the start of the restaurant. [Photo: Facebook]

Santarpio's Pizza

Copy Link

Barbecue: While the pizza is an obvious draw, those in the know, or those who have been to this East Boston restaurant and have seen the wall of meats being barbecued, know that the meat dishes are the way to go. Served with a giant hunk of bread and some spicy peppers. [Photo: Yelp]

Maíz Asado con Alioli y Queso Cotija: The corn at Toro, which is coated in lime, aioli, espelette pepper, and cheese, is so popular, people are known to reserve a serving in advance, just in case they should run out. [Photo: Facebook]

Toscanini's

Copy Link

Burnt Caramel Ice Cream: Dubbed "the very best ice cream in the world," this shop opened its doors in 1981, and its most popular flavor, burnt caramel, has become a classic. [Photo: Yelp]

Loading comments...

All Star Sandwich Bar

Atomic Meatloaf Meltdown: A classic on their menu, and for good reason, the sandwich features meatloaf that is sliced thick and topped with jack cheese, sweet caramelized red onion jam, and spicy, bright yellow inner beauty hot sauce. The whole thing is pressed between sourdough bread. [Photo: Facebook]

Blue Ginger

Garlic-Black Pepper Lobster with Lemongrass Fried Rice: Ming's signature dish and a classic at Blue Ginger. [Photo: Facebook]

Coppa

Sample of Five Salumi: For when one can't decide which of Coppa's charcuterie to try, one can get five, all on one board with traditional accoutrements, naturally. [Photo: Facebook]

Craigie on Main

Burger: This coveted burger has quite the cult following, and for good reason — all of the components blend harmoniously together to create a burger that is arguably one of the best in the city. The beef is a blend consisting of some funky items like bone marrow and suet, served on a house made milk-style bun and topped with cheddar cheese, mace ketchup, lettuce, and onion. [Photo: Katie Chudy]

Davio's

The Spring Rolls at Davio's: They started with the Philly cheesesteak spring roll and have branched out from there with creative takes on the classic spring roll. Now these specialty spring rolls can even be found online and in most grocery store freezer sections. [Photo: Facebook]

Eastern Standard

Bone Marrow: Served dramatically in a bone that is split lengthwise, Eastern Standard's bone marrow comes with a small spoon so that diners can scoop out the salsa verde and thyme marmalade-coated marrow and slather it onto bread. It's been a staple at the restaurant for years. [Photo: Yelp]