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Overhead view of crispy pork belly and holy basil stir-fried over white rice, served in a Thai-style bowl that’s decorated with rooster imagery. The bowl sits on a bright yellow surface over a light gray floor.
Khao grapow at Dakzen, a great spot for takeout if you’re in Davis Square
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The Eater Boston Team’s 2019 Top Delivery and Takeout Standbys

What we eat when we’re not eating our way through Boston’s endless stream of new restaurants

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Khao grapow at Dakzen, a great spot for takeout if you’re in Davis Square
| Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

With 2019 drawing to a close, the Eater staff has been reflecting a lot on the best new restaurants of the year, the hottest dining neighborhoods, and such. While we do try to cover the Boston area’s old stalwarts when we can, it’s the “hot” and “new” spots that grab a lot of our attention thanks to the types of coverage the job tends to require. That said, we’re not dining out at new restaurants every night, and we probably enjoy takeout and delivery as much as the average city-dweller.

Here are some of the Eater team’s favorite delivery and takeout staples of 2019. As this map is quite limited geographically due to where we each live, readers are encouraged to share their own favorites in the comment section below or in our Facebook group.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

I fell hard for Dakzen last year; the cozy Thai joint in Davis Square was our fast-casual restaurant of the year in 2018, and throngs of fans have spent the last year and a half enjoying its khao soi, khao grapow, fiery tom yum noodle soup, and more. It doesn’t officially deliver — although on occasion, I’ve resorted to paying exorbitant fees to get it through Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Postmates — but it does plenty of takeout business. —RLB 

Overhead shot of khao soi on a bright yellow surface. The bowl has a traditional Thai pattern on it, including a rooster. The khao soi includes pickled mustard greens, an egg, lime wedges, a nest of crispy noodles, and more.
Khao soi at Dakzen
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Sam's Falafel & Shawarma Place

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My husband raved about the falafel at Sam’s for months before I tried it; I tried to try it a few times, but it was closed when it should have been open, which made me question its actual existence. Turns out it does exist — maybe try calling before heading over there — and it’s possibly serving the best falafel in town. The shawarma, which shares top billing in the restaurant name, is also excellent. —RLB

A white styrofoam container of falafel, fries, and pickled onions
Falafel plate from Sam’s Falafel
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Newtowne Grille

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My household has fierce allegiances to several regional pizza styles. (Our kittens are named Sally and Pepe, which reveals one of the styles, but don’t tell Pepe that we’re Team Sally’s.) When it comes to cheap, reliable, excellent New York-style pizza, we have two local picks, both in Cambridge: Newtowne Grille and Armando’s (see below for the latter.) Newtowne is great for dining in, especially if you love dive-y old sports bars or want to take advantage of the super-cheap pitcher-of-beer-and-pizza deal. But takeout’s great, too; head to the door on the far right. Pepperoni’s the way to go. —RLB

Overhead view of a New York-style pepperoni pizza in a takeout box
Pepperoni pizza from Newtowne Grille
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Sugar & Spice Thai Restaurant

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I ate a lot of Thai food in 2019; much of it was from Porter Square’s Sugar & Spice (and a couple other spots that also appear on this map). Sugar & Spice has long been on my delivery standby list — and it’s nice for dining in, too, especially in the summer on its colorful sidewalk patio — but it really upped its game in 2019 with a new menu that digs into a few specific regions of Thailand. The guay jub is my go-to item; it’s a five-spice soy broth packed with crispy pork, tofu, a boiled egg, and rolled-up rice noodles. Other top picks are the kuay teow lui suan, chicken and herbs wrapped up in rice noodles and served with a spicy lime dipping sauce; the kow yum, a vegan salad with rice, herbs, fruits, vegetables, fried tofu, and an herb vinaigrette; and crying tiger, spicy grilled beef with sticky rice. —RLB

A golden bowl full of a Thai soup with a boiled egg, crispy pork, fried tofu, and herbs
Guay jub at Sugar & Spice
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

One of the Boston area’s best Chinese restaurants outside of Chinatown, Zoe’s is a Somerville mainstay. It features lengthy selections of both Hunan and Sichuan cuisine, as well as plenty of familiar Chinese-American fare. The Sichuan spicy fish with chile and the soup dumplings are probably best enjoyed when dining at the restaurant, but plenty of dishes, like ma po tofu, dandan noodles, and strawberry chicken, travel well for takeout or delivery. —RLB

A ma po tofu dish sits on a wooden table at a restaurant
Ma po tofu at Zoe’s
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Armando's Pizza

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Armando’s Pizza hits the same spot as Newtowne Grille (see above); we probably hit Newtowne a little more often due to proximity, but sometimes we’ll change it up and head to Armando’s. (If you’re a fan of Formaggio Kitchen, you can visit that in the same trip.) Armando’s has that classic sub shop vibe, complete with basic wooden booths and photos of kids’ sports teams. —RLB

Overhead view of a New York-style pepperoni pizza
Pepperoni pizza from Armando’s
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

P & K Delicatessen

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From the outside, P & K Delicatessen looks like an old-fashioned, no-frills corner store, and, well, that’s what it looks like on the inside, too. Head to the back, and you’ll find a magical deli counter with some of the best subs in the area. A lot of fans rave about the Italian, but my favorite is the meatball, served on a sesame roll that strikes the perfect meatball sub balance: It’s soft and squishy but somehow remains firm enough to stand up to the sauce without getting soggy. —RLB

A meatball sub sits on white deli paper
Meatball sub from P & K Delicatessen
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Himalayan Kitchen

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The space that now belongs to Himalayan Kitchen once housed Jimbo’s Roast Beef, which served a great rendition of North Shore-style roast beef sandwiches; I miss it, but fortunately Hot Box is right around the corner filling that niche now, and Himalayan Kitchen is an asset to the neighborhood, serving Indian and Himalayan food. The lunch specials are an especially good deal, serving a filling portion of chicken tikka masala or one of several other options with salad, rice, and naan for under $10. Splurge a bit and add a mango lassi. —RLB

Chicken tikka masala, salad, rice, and naan in a black takeout tray on a colorful tablecloth
Chicken tikka masala lunch combo at Himalayan Kitchen
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Bow Market

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When mulling over which Bow Market vendor to include here, I realized it made sense to include the market as a whole: It’s the ultimate takeout destination, with everything from North Shore-style roast beef to South Shore-style bar pizza, not to mention poutine, empanadas, poke, pierogi, and lots more. I’ve eaten quite a lot of food from all of the vendors this year, and I could never single out a favorite; it just depends on my mood on any given day. Try them all; you’ll see. —RLB

A three-way junior roast beef sandwich on a sesame bun sits on aluminum foil
Three-way roast beef from Hot Box at Bow Market
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Masala Square Indian Kitchen

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A 2019 newcomer to Union Square, Masala Square serves Indian food, including hearty and affordable lunch combos that include three items and range from $10 to $13. The friendly restaurant also hosts samosa-making classes (Masala Square’s samosas are particularly good) and features a spicy curry challenge. —RLB

Overhead view of chicken tikka masala, rice, naan, a samosa, and mango lassi
“Square meal” lunch combo at Masala Square
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Punjabi Dhaba

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We live nowhere near Inman Square; I often find myself driving to Inman Square to pick up an order of tandoori chicken or vegetable korma or lamb curry from Punjabi Dhaba to bring home for dinner. To live in Inman Square is to live near one of Greater Boston’s very best restaurants. I’m jealous of you all. —TBD  

A silver tray of curries, naan, rice, and more sits on a wooden counter
A tray of food from Punjabi Dhaba
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

9Zaab Thai Street Food

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9Zaab, located in East Cambridge, is one of a growing number of Boston-area Thai restaurants that have broken away from the longstanding Thai-food-in-America playbook, realizing that plenty of non-Thai diners are happy to go beyond the usual pad thai, drunken noodles, and such. At 9Zaab, the specialty is street food, especially rice dishes such as khao mun gai, khao moo dang, and khao na ped. The sai ua (Northern Thai sausage), yum nam tok (“waterfall” beef salad), and laab zaab mama (spicy ground meat with instant noodles) are in my usual rotation. 9Zaab is a suitable spot for dining in — it’s spacious and decorated nicely — but it’s also a reliable delivery option, one I’ve enjoyed many times in 2019. —RLB

Overhead shot of a spread of takeout Thai food, including Thai iced tea, mango sticky rice, sai ua, and lots more
A delivery spread from 9Zaab
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Home Taste

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As more friends have children, I’ve realized that one of the easiest ways to spend time with friends who are new parents is to pick up takeout in their neighborhood and hang out at their house. That’s how Home Taste, which is nowhere near my own place, came to be on this map. The exceptional little Chinese restaurant (which has expanded to Arlington) was the perfect takeout spot for several visits to my Watertown friends this year. I was surprised at how well hand-pulled noodles traveled (although I wouldn’t wait too long before eating them), and any of Home Taste’s dumplings round out the meal nicely. —RLB

Wide noodles with a chile oil and garlic on top and bok choy on the side
Spicy hot oil hand-pulled noodles
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Big Daddy's Pizza & Steak Subs

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A takeout/delivery favorites guide isn’t complete without a go-to sub shop. Big Daddy’s isn’t going to win a James Beard anytime soon, but if it’s a massive chicken finger sub you’re after, there are few better options in the city. —TBD 

S & I To Go

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This tiny little bandbox of a restaurant is short on seating, so it’s best to get food delivered or pick it up. The pad si ew (rice noodles with a choice of protein, eggs, and Chinese broccoli tossed in a spicy sauce) and the crispy pad thai with basil are great, but my go-to here is pad ki mow. Rice noodles come tossed with ground chicken, onions, eggs, hot peppers, and basil. It is excellent. —TBD

Hard-boiled eggs, sliced in half and fried, sit in an aluminum takeout container, topped with fried shallots, a thin brown sauce, and herbs
Kai look kaey (son-in-law eggs) at S & I To Go
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Habanero Mexican Grill

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There are plenty of good-to-very-good-to-excellent burritos in the city of Boston, but none compares to the burritos at Habanero. The cooks at this Mexican spot in Allston roll the burritos and then grill them on the flat top, giving the exterior crispy, golden-brown patches. The chicken or beef tongue are the plays here. Like S & I (its neighbor on Brighton Avenue), Habanero’s interior is a bit tight — so, again, it’s best to take it to go. —TBD

Shanghai Gate

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This Allston restaurant’s version of dry hot chicken (which the restaurant calls “Paradise Mountain” chicken) is perhaps the best in the city. Eat it with white rice, and be sure to scoop up every last bit of ginger, garlic, green onion, and fermented black beans. —TBD

A Chinese fried chicken dish sits on a white doily in a basket
Paradise Mountain chicken at Shanghai Gate
Shanghai Gate/Official Site

Tasty Burger

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As far as fast-food burgers go, this is the crown jewel. Sitting at the bar at the Fenway location is a great choice, but getting a Big Tasty and tots delivered to your front door is an even better choice. Tasty Burger is a gift; Tasty Burger is better than In-N-Out Burger. Don’t @ me. —TBD

A fast-food burger, fries, and a soda in red and white packaging, isolated on a white background.
A burger, fries, and soda from Tasty Burger
Tasty Burger [Official Photo]

Cutty's

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I ate Cutty’s at my desk at least once a week when I worked in Brookline Village. It’s a less-frequent treat these days, but when I’m in that neighborhood before 10:30 a.m., I make sure to stop by for sausage, egg, and cheese on an English muffin and a cup of Cutty’s excellent coffee. —TBD

A sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich sits in a paper container on a red tray on a wooden table
Sausage, egg, and cheese on an English muffin at Cutty’s
Katie Chudy/Eater

Chilacates

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Chilacates has grown into a mini empire in the last several years, and for good reason: Its tacos are the absolute truth. The Mission Hill location is just down the road from our Roxbury apartment, and we eat there often. My order, always: one lengua taco, one al pastor taco, one chicken tinga taco. The tortas are also worth your time. —TBD

Three tacos in an aluminum takeout container on a picnic table
Tacos from Chilacates
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Merengue Restaurant

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This Blue Hill Avenue Dominican restaurant is decidedly more of a sit-down spot than a takeout spot, and you should definitely enjoy it the way it’s meant to be enjoyed at least once. But we live very close, and it’s easy enough for us to call in a takeout order, pick it up, and enjoy it from the comfort of our own home (read: on the couch while binging Deadwood). We’ve never eaten a bad thing at Merengue, and we especially love the grilled pork chops, the churrasco with chimichurri, and the mofongo with pork. —TBD

A whole fried fish sits on a white plate with a lime wedge and other accompaniments
Whole fried fish from Merengue in Roxbury
Merengue/Official Site

The barbecue beef banh mi at this Dorchester Avenue Vietnamese takeout restaurant/grocer is among the best sandwiches in the city. The beef is tender and smoky, and the bread — which is baked in-house — is shatteringly crisp on the outside and pillowy on the inside. Don’t miss the mam chung either, which are tapioca cakes flavored with pork and shrimp and served in adorably tiny pie tins. —TBD

Hands hold two banh mi over pavement
Banh mi from Ba Le
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Dakzen

Overhead shot of khao soi on a bright yellow surface. The bowl has a traditional Thai pattern on it, including a rooster. The khao soi includes pickled mustard greens, an egg, lime wedges, a nest of crispy noodles, and more.
Khao soi at Dakzen
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

I fell hard for Dakzen last year; the cozy Thai joint in Davis Square was our fast-casual restaurant of the year in 2018, and throngs of fans have spent the last year and a half enjoying its khao soi, khao grapow, fiery tom yum noodle soup, and more. It doesn’t officially deliver — although on occasion, I’ve resorted to paying exorbitant fees to get it through Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Postmates — but it does plenty of takeout business. —RLB 

Overhead shot of khao soi on a bright yellow surface. The bowl has a traditional Thai pattern on it, including a rooster. The khao soi includes pickled mustard greens, an egg, lime wedges, a nest of crispy noodles, and more.
Khao soi at Dakzen
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Sam's Falafel & Shawarma Place

A white styrofoam container of falafel, fries, and pickled onions
Falafel plate from Sam’s Falafel
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

My husband raved about the falafel at Sam’s for months before I tried it; I tried to try it a few times, but it was closed when it should have been open, which made me question its actual existence. Turns out it does exist — maybe try calling before heading over there — and it’s possibly serving the best falafel in town. The shawarma, which shares top billing in the restaurant name, is also excellent. —RLB

A white styrofoam container of falafel, fries, and pickled onions
Falafel plate from Sam’s Falafel
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Newtowne Grille

Overhead view of a New York-style pepperoni pizza in a takeout box
Pepperoni pizza from Newtowne Grille
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

My household has fierce allegiances to several regional pizza styles. (Our kittens are named Sally and Pepe, which reveals one of the styles, but don’t tell Pepe that we’re Team Sally’s.) When it comes to cheap, reliable, excellent New York-style pizza, we have two local picks, both in Cambridge: Newtowne Grille and Armando’s (see below for the latter.) Newtowne is great for dining in, especially if you love dive-y old sports bars or want to take advantage of the super-cheap pitcher-of-beer-and-pizza deal. But takeout’s great, too; head to the door on the far right. Pepperoni’s the way to go. —RLB

Overhead view of a New York-style pepperoni pizza in a takeout box
Pepperoni pizza from Newtowne Grille
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Sugar & Spice Thai Restaurant

A golden bowl full of a Thai soup with a boiled egg, crispy pork, fried tofu, and herbs
Guay jub at Sugar & Spice
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

I ate a lot of Thai food in 2019; much of it was from Porter Square’s Sugar & Spice (and a couple other spots that also appear on this map). Sugar & Spice has long been on my delivery standby list — and it’s nice for dining in, too, especially in the summer on its colorful sidewalk patio — but it really upped its game in 2019 with a new menu that digs into a few specific regions of Thailand. The guay jub is my go-to item; it’s a five-spice soy broth packed with crispy pork, tofu, a boiled egg, and rolled-up rice noodles. Other top picks are the kuay teow lui suan, chicken and herbs wrapped up in rice noodles and served with a spicy lime dipping sauce; the kow yum, a vegan salad with rice, herbs, fruits, vegetables, fried tofu, and an herb vinaigrette; and crying tiger, spicy grilled beef with sticky rice. —RLB

A golden bowl full of a Thai soup with a boiled egg, crispy pork, fried tofu, and herbs
Guay jub at Sugar & Spice
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Zoe's

A ma po tofu dish sits on a wooden table at a restaurant
Ma po tofu at Zoe’s
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

One of the Boston area’s best Chinese restaurants outside of Chinatown, Zoe’s is a Somerville mainstay. It features lengthy selections of both Hunan and Sichuan cuisine, as well as plenty of familiar Chinese-American fare. The Sichuan spicy fish with chile and the soup dumplings are probably best enjoyed when dining at the restaurant, but plenty of dishes, like ma po tofu, dandan noodles, and strawberry chicken, travel well for takeout or delivery. —RLB

A ma po tofu dish sits on a wooden table at a restaurant
Ma po tofu at Zoe’s
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Armando's Pizza

Overhead view of a New York-style pepperoni pizza
Pepperoni pizza from Armando’s
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Armando’s Pizza hits the same spot as Newtowne Grille (see above); we probably hit Newtowne a little more often due to proximity, but sometimes we’ll change it up and head to Armando’s. (If you’re a fan of Formaggio Kitchen, you can visit that in the same trip.) Armando’s has that classic sub shop vibe, complete with basic wooden booths and photos of kids’ sports teams. —RLB

Overhead view of a New York-style pepperoni pizza
Pepperoni pizza from Armando’s
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

P & K Delicatessen

A meatball sub sits on white deli paper
Meatball sub from P & K Delicatessen
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

From the outside, P & K Delicatessen looks like an old-fashioned, no-frills corner store, and, well, that’s what it looks like on the inside, too. Head to the back, and you’ll find a magical deli counter with some of the best subs in the area. A lot of fans rave about the Italian, but my favorite is the meatball, served on a sesame roll that strikes the perfect meatball sub balance: It’s soft and squishy but somehow remains firm enough to stand up to the sauce without getting soggy. —RLB