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Overhead view of two round and three rectangular black plastic takeout containers of Chinese food, including two kinds of dumplings, ma po tofu, oval rice cakes with greens and slivers of pork, and more.
Dumplings, ma po tofu, rice cakes, and more from Dumpling Xuan in East Cambridge.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The Eater Boston Team’s 2021 Top Delivery and Takeout Standbys

The best things we’ve been ordering as the pandemic drags on

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Dumplings, ma po tofu, rice cakes, and more from Dumpling Xuan in East Cambridge.
| Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Whether you’re still sticking exclusively to at-home dining or just looking to supplement your return to the world of dining at restaurants, there’s no doubt about it: Takeout and delivery have had a major year and a half. Last year, the Eater Boston team shared some of the takeout and delivery picks that got us through 2020; now we’re back with our 2021 collection, which we’ll continue to update through the end of the year.

Read on for 30 (and counting) of our tried-and-true recommendations, from steak tip subs and bun dac biet in Malden to tortas in Revere to porchetta sandwiches and khao soi in Somerville to pancake batter corndogs and Trinidadian roti in Boston — and much more, listed geographically from north to south.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Viet Citron

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47 Middlesex Turnpike
Burlington, MA 01803
(781) 739-3655
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Thanks to a work thing that takes my husband to Burlington on summer Tuesday mornings, we have a little tradition of getting Viet Citron takeout for lunch. Get anything with the crispy pork belly, but keep an eye out for specials, too: The lap xuong, Chinese-style sausage, is a must if available. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Slices of bright red Chinese-style sausage sit on a bed of white rice, with cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumbers garnishing the dish. There’s also a plastic cup of a thin, dark brown dipping sauce.
Lap xuong over rice at Viet Citron.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

2. District Kitchen

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2 Florence St
Malden, MA 02148
(781) 480-3113
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This is, I think, the only Boston-area restaurant to serve one of those absurdly giant soup dumplings that you slurp from with a straw. I wouldn’t recommend getting that for takeout or delivery, but I would recommend basically every other dumpling on the menu, like the jet-black cuttlefish dumplings or the pork-filled mama dumplings. Also try the Sichuan poached fish, cumin lamb or beef, and broccoli in garlic sauce. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Round aluminum takeout container full of slices of beef with crispy wonton chips.
Cumin beef with wonton chips from District Kitchen.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

3. Zuru Zuru Ramen and Donburi

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74 Pleasant St
Malden, MA 02148
(781) 605-3773
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Throughout most of the pandemic, I’ve avoided getting ramen as I figured it’s not one of the most ideal delivery/takeout options, but it turns out a lot of ramen spots have gotten good at optimizing it as much as possible for not being eaten immediately onsite. One example: Zuru Zuru in Malden (sibling to Crying Thaiger, also in Malden). My ramen arrived with the broth and nori packaged separately from the noodles and other ingredients, with clear reheating instructions. (There was also the option to get noodles to boil at home rather than ready to eat, but I took the easy way out, and the noodles were perfectly fine.) The spicy miso ramen with black garlic oil added to it was an excellent pick-me-up on a stressful day. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Overhead view of ramen in a white plastic bowl on a wooden table. The ramen has a thin yellow broth, an egg, scallions, slices of pork, nori, and dots of black garlic oil.
Spicy miso ramen with black garlic oil from Zuru Zuru Ramen and Donburi in Malden.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

4. Saigon NV

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381 Main St
Malden, MA 02148
(781) 397-1473
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My first Saigon NV order was at 8:25 on a Sunday night, when every delivery option I could think of was already closed. Saigon NV was one of the first still-open spots to pop up on a delivery app — but only taking orders for another five minutes — so I basically closed my eyes and clicked. Well, now I’m obsessed with Saigon NV and with bun dac biet in general. It’s got everything: grilled shrimp, grilled pork, egg roll, and deep-fried shrimp paste wrapped in bean curd skin, served with lettuce, basil, bean sprouts, peanuts, a big pile of vermicelli, and fish sauce. I should probably branch out and try some other dishes from Vietnamese restaurants, but now I almost always order this. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Overhead view of a white styrofoam container stuffed with a Vietnamese dish: grilled shrimp, pork, and bean curd over tofu, topped with peanuts and herbs. It’s sitting on a tablecloth with pink, orange, yellow, blue, and green stripes.
Bun dac biet from Saigon NV.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

5. Dom's Sausage Co Inc.

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10 Riverside Park
Malden, MA 02148
(781) 324-1310
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The name highlights the sausage — which, to be fair, is good — but Dom’s, a butcher shop and deli, is really known for its steak tips. Get them in one of several marinades to grill at home (the “original” version, which is a bit sweet, is a great place to start), and grab a steak tip sub from the deli counter, too. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Closeup on a sub, split in half, filled simply with steak tips. It sits on a white paper.
Steak tip sub from Dom’s Sausage.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

6. El Mexsal

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97 Medford St
Malden, MA 02148
(781) 605-0821
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2021 rule of thumb: If there are birria tacos on the menu, I will order them. New-ish Malden spot El Mexsal happens to serve a particularly good version. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Three birria tacos are piled on red and white checkered paper in a white styrofoam takeout container. There’s a wedge of lime, a small plastic cup of hot sauce, and a larger plastic cup of dark broth on the side.
Birria tacos from El Mexsal.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

7. Zam Zam Restaurant

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42 MA-60
Medford, MA 02155
(781) 391-1200
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Biryani is one of those dishes that, for some reason, I can never really remember what it tastes like between the times that I’m eating it. I know I like it, but I just can’t conceptualize the taste in my mind. (Same goes for rhubarb. No clue why.) The biryani from Zam Zam, a Pakistani and Indian restaurant in Medford Square, finally broke the cycle for me; it’s an unforgettable version that’s packed with flavor and comfort. Also worth ordering: beef nehari and til wala naan. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Overhead view of a Pakistani and Indian takeout meal. A white styrofoam container is filled with rice and hunks of lamb, a black plastic bowl has a thin, brown stew with chunks of beef, and there’s a large sesame-topped piece of naan on a piece of aluminum foil. There’s also a small white styrofoam bowl of a yogurt sauce. A multi-colored striped tablecloth is visible underneath it all.
Lamb biryani, beef nehari, and til wala naan from Zam Zam.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

8. Sura BBQ

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27 Riverside Ave
Medford, MA 02155
(781) 391-5606
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If I absolutely had to choose my single favorite dish of the year, at least so far, this one would probably come to mind first — the mashiso chicken from Sura BBQ in Medford Square. I will eat rice cakes in any and all contexts, particularly the spicy stir-fried Korean dish tteokbokki, but this is on another level: fried rice cakes and popcorn chicken in a sticky-sweet sauce with a hint of heat. It’s chewy, it’s crispy, it’s hot, it’s comforting. Pair this with a crisp, simple beer, a side of kimchi, and some late-night television. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Overhead view of a cardboard takeout container full of small pieces of chicken and tube-shaped Korean rice cakes coated in a reddish brown sauce
Mashiso chicken from Sura BBQ.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

9. Chilli Garden

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41 Riverside Ave
Medford, MA 02155
(781) 396-8488
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If you talk to any Medford resident about food for more than a few seconds, Chilli Garden is sure to come up. Everything’s good, but the restaurant really shines in the Sichuan arena. Try the Sichuan-style pork dumplings and house special chicken with dry pepper. Locals who have been here longer than me tell me that the fresh green peppercorn dishes are a must as well. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Overhead view of five open takeout containers of Sichuan food, including a cilantro and green pepper salad, dry fried chicken, wontons, noodles, and more.
A spread of food from Chilli Garden in Medford.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

10. Goldilox Bagels

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186 Winthrop St
Medford, MA 02155

Every household should have a weekend bagel routine: Trekking across Medford to Goldilox on foot, baby in tow, is mine. Turns out my baby’s stroller is just big enough to hold a well-stuffed bag of bagels in the basket. Now I just need a cup holder for the iced chai I get every time. The rosemary salt and the extraordinarily topping-covered everything bagel are the top picks. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Closeup of an everything bagel, very covered with poppyseeds and sesame seeds, on a small wooden plank sitting on a wooden countertop
An everything bagel from Goldilox.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

11. Neighborhood Kitchen

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84 Spring St
Medford, MA 02155
(781) 391-9000
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A recent move to the eastern edge of Medford put me oh-so-close to this neighborhood favorite, so it has quickly become part of my takeout repertoire. It’s known in particular for its big mix-and-match selection of chicken and waffles, but I think the Spring Street sandwich is even better — spicy fried chicken with chipotle mayo, bacon jam, and a pickle on toasted brioche, with a side of (really good) fries. The “flexx” mac and cheese is also a must. Looking for something a little lighter? I’m a fan of the salmon rolls and plantains. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Overhead view of two takeout containers on a colorful striped tablecloth. One container is full of plantains, while the other has fresh rolls stuffed with salmon.
Plantains and salmon rolls from Neighborhood Kitchen in Medford.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

12. Esquite Mexican Street Food

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194 Shirley Ave
Revere, MA 02151
(781) 629-5713
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For some, going to the beach means getting a light meal. But I think you’re way better off with an overflowing torta from Esquite Mexican Street Food, which is less than a five-minute walk from Revere Beach — the perfect takeout option. Its brick and mortar has been open for almost a year now, which the family opened after their food cart business Eloti gained popularity over the years. I ordered the carne en chile colorado torta; the bread was ridiculously fresh, and everything inside the sandwich was perfection (braised beef with chile colorado sauce, refried beans, house chipotle aioli, queso Oaxaca, avocado, and pickled red onions). —Karen Wilber

13. Pennypacker's

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514 Medford St
Somerville, MA 02145
(857) 523-8053
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Pennypacker’s serves the best porchetta sandwich in town. Enough said. Ok, I’ll add one more thing: Grab whatever soup or salad is available; they’re always good too. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Closeup on a simple porchetta sandwich with a side salad on a blue plate
Porchetta sandwich from Pennypacker’s.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

14. Dakzen

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195 Elm St
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 718-1759
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I’ve been a broken record about the greatness of Dakzen since 2018, so I’ll keep it brief: Get the khao soi, get the sai ua, and get the ba mee moo dang. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Khao soi — a yellow curry with chicken, egg, lime, crispy noodles, and more — is served in a traditional Thai-style bowl decorated with a rooster. The bowl sits on a yellow surface.
Khao soi at Dakzen.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

15. P & K Delicatessen

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244 Beacon St
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 868-0772
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This little deli-counter-tucked-inside-an-old-school-corner-store makes my favorite meatball sub in town, and I eat more meatball subs than I care to admit. Others swear by the Italian, but the meatball sub has my heart. The bread is an almost impossible texture: It’s perfectly soft, but it never gets soggy from the sauce. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

A meatball sub and an Italian sub on white deli paper
Meatball sub and Italian sub from P & K Deli.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

16. Stoked Pizza Co.

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1611 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 945-0989
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The expansion of Brookline’s popular Stoked Pizza to Cambridge put it within easier takeout range for me, for which I am immensely grateful. My husband makes a lot of homemade pizza, so we don’t get pizza for takeout too often, but when we do, Stoked is on our shortlist. Get the pepperoni with a drizzle of hot honey. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Overhead view of two pizzas side by side in cardboard boxes. The crusts are dotted with char.
Pizzas from Stoked Pizza Co.’s Cambridge location.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

17. Hen Chicken Rice

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24 Union Square
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 764-1285
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This Union Square Thai takeout joint is probably my 2021 takeout/delivery MVP; when I lived in the neighborhood, I think ordered at least weekly, and now that I’m a little farther away, I still get it whenever I can. It pretty much only serves khao man gai, the Thai version of Hainanese chicken rice. There are a few variations available; I almost always get the Isan, crispy chicken with sticky rice, although the Heat is great as well (spicy crispy chicken with ginger rice). The included side of daikon soup is Hen Chicken Rice’s secret weapon. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

overhead view of a compostable takeout container of crispy chicken slices over rice, with cucumber and cilantro garnish and a plastic cup of a sweet chile sauce
Hen Chicken Rice’s “the crispy” (khao man gai tod).
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

18. Ebi Sushi

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290 Somerville Ave
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 764-5556
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Ebi has always been one of my top picks for sushi, and I was sad to avoid it, and raw fish in general, while pregnant for much of 2020. Had COVID restrictions allowed, I would have had it delivered to my hospital room right after I delivered. Instead, I had to wait a few extra days until I got home, but the torched salmon belly, my favorite, was well worth the wait. Pretty sure I got it two or three days in a row once I got home. The chirashi is another go-to. (Note: If you’re up for dining in these days, Ebi is freshly remodeled and gives off major date-night vibes now. Very cool.) —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Overhead view of a plastic takeout bowl of chirashi, a variety of raw fish over white rice. There’s salmon dotted with salmon roe, fat pink slices of tuna, a shiso leaf, chopped green onions, and more. The bowl is on a wooden table.
Chirashi from Ebi Sushi.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

19. Silk Road Uyghur Cuisine

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645 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 945-1909
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As far as I know, this is the only Uyghur restaurant in the Boston area, or maybe all of Massachusetts. The lamb-stuffed naan is a highlight, as is the tingly big plate chicken. And don’t miss the hand-pulled noodle dishes, like the dry fried noodles with vegetables and beef. Silk Road also has a mini location inside Allston’s Super 88 food court and a brand new location in Brookline. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Overhead view of takeout Uyghur cuisine: a round of stuffed naan in a pizza box, a noodle and beef dish, and chopped cucumbers
Lamb-stuffed naan, dry-fried noodles, and garlicky cucumbers from Silk Road’s original Cambridge location.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

20. Dumpling Xuan

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465 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 868-2888
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I’ve been craving a good xiao long bao (soup dumpling) but have been holding off for a while given that it should practically be law that they need to be eaten piping hot. But at the recently opened Dumpling Xuan, I could tell from my takeout experience that they had freshly made these piping hot and packaged them perfectly for transport. When I arrived home, I think the order lasted a couple minutes at most — so savory, so satisfying. —Karen Wilber 

Overhead view of two round and three rectangular black plastic takeout containers of Chinese food, including two kinds of dumplings, ma po tofu, oval rice cakes with greens and slivers of pork, and more.
Dumplings, ma po tofu, rice cakes, and more from Dumpling Xuan in East Cambridge.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

21. Cicada Coffee Bar

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106 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA 02139

This dreamy little Vietnamese cafe from the Nem Kitchen pop-up team really floats my boat. (Be sure to check out the zen garden in the back if you’re eating onsite.) The concise pescatarian menu focuses on banh mi and noodle salads; the cured salmon noodle salad is my favorite, as well as the iced Vietnamese coffees, such as the sea salt shaker (foam, Maine sea salt, sweetened condensed milk). —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Overhead view of a white styrofoam container full of thick rice noodles, fried shallots, herbs, and pieces of cured salmon. It sits on a wooden surface with a plastic cup of creamy iced coffee next to it.
Cured salmon noodle salad from Cicada Coffee Bar.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

22. Brown Sugar Cafe

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1033 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 787-4242
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There have actually been a few times when my delivery order from Brown Sugar came so fast I was a bit alarmed, which I love about it. That and its menu that goes on and on and on, though you may find yourself attached to a few dishes and not venturing as far in the menu as you’d like. I go for the khao soi or pad see ew with beef (pro tip: sub the broccoli for Chinese broccoli). You can call Brown Sugar directly for delivery. —Karen Wilber

Closeup on a light blue plate piled high with white rice, thin slices of pork, sauteed greens, and a hard-boiled egg. Several other dishes of food are visible in the background on the edges of the photo.
Khao kha moo (braised pork shoulder with mustard greens) at Brown Sugar Cafe.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

23. Fiya Chicken

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1024 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 208-8350
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When I first heard about the pancake batter corndog from Allston newcomer Fiya Chicken, I knew I needed to eat the pancake batter corndog. And folks, I’m downright giddy to report that the pancake batter corndog is everything I dreamed it would be. It is sweet and salty and simultaneously pillowy and crunchy, which is to say that it is the perfect food. Also good from Fiya: the Korean fried chicken sandwich. The chicken is brined with buttermilk and kimchi, which gives the final product a slightly fermented taste. I opted for the soy garlic glaze (one of four options), which was pleasantly sweet and salty. The sandwich is served on a toasted brioche bun (which, satisfyingly, didn’t crumble into pieces as brioche buns are wont to do), and topped with housemade kimchi and pickles. It’s one of the best fried chicken sandwiches I’ve had in Boston, and one of the best meals I’ve had in forever. —Terrence Doyle

24. Tora Japanese Restaurant

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20B Tyler St
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 542-6688
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In sweltering weather, my I’m-too-sweaty-to-think go-to tends to be sushi or poke or whatever other raw fish dish I can get my hands on. Enter Tora, a Japanese restaurant in Chinatown. Tora specializes in kaisen don, essentially a selection of raw fish over rice. I usually order the Tokyo don — torched salmon belly, scallop, squid, and flying fish roe — and add salmon, because I can never get enough salmon. With a side of the goma cucumber (sliced cucumber in a toasted sesame dressing), it’s the perfect meal for a hot summer night. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal 

Overhead view of two round white plastic takeout containers filled with a selection of raw seafood and a small black rectangular takeout container with slices of cucumber in a sesame dressing. The containers are on a brightly colored striped tablecloth.
Kaisen don and goma cucumbers from Tora Japanese Restaurant.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

25. Anoush'ella

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35 W Newton St
Boston, MA 02118
(857) 265-3195
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I try to mix up what I order from Anoush’ella — which is often — and everything I’ve had so far is just stellar. I usually get a wrap, like the lamajun, which is minced beef and lamb, or the kofta, and then a bunch of other goodies to snack on for a few days. The feta with walnut harissa is so silky, and the fattoush is nice and bright thanks to the mint. Do yourself a favor and get the Nutella chocolate sweet m’anoush, too. —Nathan Tavares

26. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

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199 Boylston St
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 964-7373
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Some of the nicest moments for me during the pandemic have been sitting in the absolutely beautiful Larz Anderson Park at sunset with great friends, knowing a delivery order from Frank Pepe’s was on the way. The white clam pie is famous for a reason, and we’re also in the sweet spot of the year when the fresh tomato pie is currently in season (from July to September). Order a few root beers on the side for the perfect summer meal. (Note: The New Haven-based chain also has Boston-area outposts in Burlington and Watertown.) —Karen Wilber

A New Haven-style pizza with a charred crust sits on a stack of metal trays, next to a stack of pizza boxes, in front of a lit pizza oven
Pizza at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana’s Chestnut Hill location.
Katie Chudy/Eater

27. Singh's Roti Shop

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692 Columbia Rd
Dorchester, MA 02125
(617) 282-7977
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I come to Singh’s often and get a bunch of beef patties to bring home and eat for quick lunches during the week. The beef has a hefty kick of curry and the crust is always nice and crispy. For sides, you can’t go wrong with the pumpkin and the sauteed vegetables, especially the tasty collards. —Nathan Tavares 

Overhead view of styrofoam takeout containers filled with two Trinidadian roti. There’s also coco bread stuffed with a beef patty on a plate, two plastic bottles labeled mango lassi, and one glass bottle of an orange hot sauce.
Roti, coco bread with a beef patty, mango lassis, and a bottle of house hot sauce from Singh’s.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

28. Dora Taqueria

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112 Stoughton St
Dorchester, MA 02125
(617) 322-5353
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I love burritos and plantains separately but never thought to combine the two until I noticed the option at Dora Taqueria. My go-to order is a carnitas burrito with all the fixings, with the addition of the perfect maduros inside the burrito for an added buck. The side of fiery ghost pepper hot sauce is a nice balance to the sweet plantains, too. And if you have any self-control (I don’t), you can easily cut the burrito in half, and it’s two filling meals. —Nathan Tavares   

29. Venice Pizza

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39 Savin Hill Ave
Boston, MA 02125
(617) 716-6499
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I tried a pepperoni pie from the reboot of Venice Pizza in Savin Hill, and let me tell you: It was excellent. The pizzas at Venice are pin-rolled, so they are almost uniformly flat from edge to edge, though the outer crust was bubbly and blistered in spots. As such, I’m tempted to classify Venice’s pizza as a New York/New Haven hybrid. The dough was rich and somewhat sweet — which probably has something to do with the fact that it is made with milk, and ferments for 48 hours — the cheese perfectly melty and salty, and the mini pepperonis curled up into cups and crispy at the edges. I haven’t been as excited about a new Boston pizzeria in many years. —Terrence Doyle 

30. Pho Le

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1356 Dorchester Ave
Boston, MA 02122
(617) 506-6294
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Pho Le is one of those places where I want to try all the dishes but somehow end up ordering the same things over and over again because they’re that delicious. Especially with the crummy weather lately, I’ve been ordering a lot of chicken or beef pho (pho ga and pho bo vien), along with the crispy shrimp toast and usually a Thai iced tea to round it out. I love how flavorful the pho broth is and that it comes packaged in a separate container (which I’ll often sip right out of) so the noodles don’t get soggy on the way over. —Nathan Tavares  

Grilled meat and deep fried shrimp sit atop a bed of noodles and various vegetables
Bun dac biet from Pho Le.
Karen Wilber/Eater

1. Viet Citron

47 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, MA 01803
Slices of bright red Chinese-style sausage sit on a bed of white rice, with cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumbers garnishing the dish. There’s also a plastic cup of a thin, dark brown dipping sauce.
Lap xuong over rice at Viet Citron.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Thanks to a work thing that takes my husband to Burlington on summer Tuesday mornings, we have a little tradition of getting Viet Citron takeout for lunch. Get anything with the crispy pork belly, but keep an eye out for specials, too: The lap xuong, Chinese-style sausage, is a must if available. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

47 Middlesex Turnpike
Burlington, MA 01803

2. District Kitchen

2 Florence St, Malden, MA 02148
Round aluminum takeout container full of slices of beef with crispy wonton chips.
Cumin beef with wonton chips from District Kitchen.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

This is, I think, the only Boston-area restaurant to serve one of those absurdly giant soup dumplings that you slurp from with a straw. I wouldn’t recommend getting that for takeout or delivery, but I would recommend basically every other dumpling on the menu, like the jet-black cuttlefish dumplings or the pork-filled mama dumplings. Also try the Sichuan poached fish, cumin lamb or beef, and broccoli in garlic sauce. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

2 Florence St
Malden, MA 02148

3. Zuru Zuru Ramen and Donburi

74 Pleasant St, Malden, MA 02148
Overhead view of ramen in a white plastic bowl on a wooden table. The ramen has a thin yellow broth, an egg, scallions, slices of pork, nori, and dots of black garlic oil.
Spicy miso ramen with black garlic oil from Zuru Zuru Ramen and Donburi in Malden.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Throughout most of the pandemic, I’ve avoided getting ramen as I figured it’s not one of the most ideal delivery/takeout options, but it turns out a lot of ramen spots have gotten good at optimizing it as much as possible for not being eaten immediately onsite. One example: Zuru Zuru in Malden (sibling to Crying Thaiger, also in Malden). My ramen arrived with the broth and nori packaged separately from the noodles and other ingredients, with clear reheating instructions. (There was also the option to get noodles to boil at home rather than ready to eat, but I took the easy way out, and the noodles were perfectly fine.) The spicy miso ramen with black garlic oil added to it was an excellent pick-me-up on a stressful day. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

74 Pleasant St
Malden, MA 02148

4. Saigon NV

381 Main St, Malden, MA 02148
Overhead view of a white styrofoam container stuffed with a Vietnamese dish: grilled shrimp, pork, and bean curd over tofu, topped with peanuts and herbs. It’s sitting on a tablecloth with pink, orange, yellow, blue, and green stripes.
Bun dac biet from Saigon NV.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

My first Saigon NV order was at 8:25 on a Sunday night, when every delivery option I could think of was already closed. Saigon NV was one of the first still-open spots to pop up on a delivery app — but only taking orders for another five minutes — so I basically closed my eyes and clicked. Well, now I’m obsessed with Saigon NV and with bun dac biet in general. It’s got everything: grilled shrimp, grilled pork, egg roll, and deep-fried shrimp paste wrapped in bean curd skin, served with lettuce, basil, bean sprouts, peanuts, a big pile of vermicelli, and fish sauce. I should probably branch out and try some other dishes from Vietnamese restaurants, but now I almost always order this. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

381 Main St
Malden, MA 02148

5. Dom's Sausage Co Inc.

10 Riverside Park, Malden, MA 02148
Closeup on a sub, split in half, filled simply with steak tips. It sits on a white paper.
Steak tip sub from Dom’s Sausage.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The name highlights the sausage — which, to be fair, is good — but Dom’s, a butcher shop and deli, is really known for its steak tips. Get them in one of several marinades to grill at home (the “original” version, which is a bit sweet, is a great place to start), and grab a steak tip sub from the deli counter, too. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

10 Riverside Park
Malden, MA 02148

6. El Mexsal

97 Medford St, Malden, MA 02148
Three birria tacos are piled on red and white checkered paper in a white styrofoam takeout container. There’s a wedge of lime, a small plastic cup of hot sauce, and a larger plastic cup of dark broth on the side.
Birria tacos from El Mexsal.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

2021 rule of thumb: If there are birria tacos on the menu, I will order them. New-ish Malden spot El Mexsal happens to serve a particularly good version. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

97 Medford St
Malden, MA 02148

7. Zam Zam Restaurant

42 MA-60, Medford, MA 02155
Overhead view of a Pakistani and Indian takeout meal. A white styrofoam container is filled with rice and hunks of lamb, a black plastic bowl has a thin, brown stew with chunks of beef, and there’s a large sesame-topped piece of naan on a piece of aluminum foil. There’s also a small white styrofoam bowl of a yogurt sauce. A multi-colored striped tablecloth is visible underneath it all.
Lamb biryani, beef nehari, and til wala naan from Zam Zam.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Biryani is one of those dishes that, for some reason, I can never really remember what it tastes like between the times that I’m eating it. I know I like it, but I just can’t conceptualize the taste in my mind. (Same goes for rhubarb. No clue why.) The biryani from Zam Zam, a Pakistani and Indian restaurant in Medford Square, finally broke the cycle for me; it’s an unforgettable version that’s packed with flavor and comfort. Also worth ordering: beef nehari and til wala naan. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

42 MA-60
Medford, MA 02155

8. Sura BBQ

27 Riverside Ave, Medford, MA 02155
Overhead view of a cardboard takeout container full of small pieces of chicken and tube-shaped Korean rice cakes coated in a reddish brown sauce
Mashiso chicken from Sura BBQ.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

If I absolutely had to choose my single favorite dish of the year, at least so far, this one would probably come to mind first — the mashiso chicken from Sura BBQ in Medford Square. I will eat rice cakes in any and all contexts, particularly the spicy stir-fried Korean dish tteokbokki, but this is on another level: fried rice cakes and popcorn chicken in a sticky-sweet sauce with a hint of heat. It’s chewy, it’s crispy, it’s hot, it’s comforting. Pair this with a crisp, simple beer, a side of kimchi, and some late-night television. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

27 Riverside Ave
Medford, MA 02155

9. Chilli Garden

41 Riverside Ave, Medford, MA 02155
Overhead view of five open takeout containers of Sichuan food, including a cilantro and green pepper salad, dry fried chicken, wontons, noodles, and more.
A spread of food from Chilli Garden in Medford.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

If you talk to any Medford resident about food for more than a few seconds, Chilli Garden is sure to come up. Everything’s good, but the restaurant really shines in the Sichuan arena. Try the Sichuan-style pork dumplings and house special chicken with dry pepper. Locals who have been here longer than me tell me that the fresh green peppercorn dishes are a must as well. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

41 Riverside Ave
Medford, MA 02155

10. Goldilox Bagels

186 Winthrop St, Medford, MA 02155
Closeup of an everything bagel, very covered with poppyseeds and sesame seeds, on a small wooden plank sitting on a wooden countertop
An everything bagel from Goldilox.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Every household should have a weekend bagel routine: Trekking across Medford to Goldilox on foot, baby in tow, is mine. Turns out my baby’s stroller is just big enough to hold a well-stuffed bag of bagels in the basket. Now I just need a cup holder for the iced chai I get every time. The rosemary salt and the extraordinarily topping-covered everything bagel are the top picks. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

186 Winthrop St
Medford, MA 02155

11. Neighborhood Kitchen

84 Spring St, Medford, MA 02155
Overhead view of two takeout containers on a colorful striped tablecloth. One container is full of plantains, while the other has fresh rolls stuffed with salmon.
Plantains and salmon rolls from Neighborhood Kitchen in Medford.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

A recent move to the eastern edge of Medford put me oh-so-close to this neighborhood favorite, so it has quickly become part of my takeout repertoire. It’s known in particular for its big mix-and-match selection of chicken and waffles, but I think the Spring Street sandwich is even better — spicy fried chicken with chipotle mayo, bacon jam, and a pickle on toasted brioche, with a side of (really good) fries. The “flexx” mac and cheese is also a must. Looking for something a little lighter? I’m a fan of the salmon rolls and plantains. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

84 Spring St
Medford, MA 02155

12. Esquite Mexican Street Food

194 Shirley Ave, Revere, MA 02151

For some, going to the beach means getting a light meal. But I think you’re way better off with an overflowing torta from Esquite Mexican Street Food, which is less than a five-minute walk from Revere Beach — the perfect takeout option. Its brick and mortar has been open for almost a year now, which the family opened after their food cart business Eloti gained popularity over the years. I ordered the carne en chile colorado torta; the bread was ridiculously fresh, and everything inside the sandwich was perfection (braised beef with chile colorado sauce, refried beans, house chipotle aioli, queso Oaxaca, avocado, and pickled red onions). —Karen Wilber

194 Shirley Ave
Revere, MA 02151

13. Pennypacker's

514 Medford St, Somerville, MA 02145
Closeup on a simple porchetta sandwich with a side salad on a blue plate
Porchetta sandwich from Pennypacker’s.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Pennypacker’s serves the best porchetta sandwich in town. Enough said. Ok, I’ll add one more thing: Grab whatever soup or salad is available; they’re always good too. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

514 Medford St
Somerville, MA 02145

14. Dakzen

195 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144
Khao soi — a yellow curry with chicken, egg, lime, crispy noodles, and more — is served in a traditional Thai-style bowl decorated with a rooster. The bowl sits on a yellow surface.
Khao soi at Dakzen.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

I’ve been a broken record about the greatness of Dakzen since 2018, so I’ll keep it brief: Get the khao soi, get the sai ua, and get the ba mee moo dang. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

195 Elm St
Somerville, MA 02144

15. P & K Delicatessen

244 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143
A meatball sub and an Italian sub on white deli paper
Meatball sub and Italian sub from P & K Deli.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

This little deli-counter-tucked-inside-an-old-school-corner-store makes my favorite meatball sub in town, and I eat more meatball subs than I care to admit. Others swear by the Italian, but the meatball sub has my heart. The bread is an almost impossible texture: It’s perfectly soft, but it never gets soggy from the sauce. —Rachel Leah Blumenthal

244 Beacon St
Somerville, MA 02143

Related Maps

16. Stoked Pizza Co.

1611 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138