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A cast iron skillet of mac and cheese, made with cavatappi and topped with bread crumbs and a mound of braised short rib
Mac and cheese topped with braised short rib at Olde Magoun’s Saloon
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Survive the Cold With These Glorious Mac and Cheeses Around Boston

Cheesy, carb-filled goodness

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Mac and cheese topped with braised short rib at Olde Magoun’s Saloon
| Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Mac and cheese serves as year-round comfort food in Boston, with so many places offering their own spin on the dish, including deviations from the “macaroni” in the name. Whether you’re a fan of baked mac topped with breadcrumbs or creamy dishes sans crunch, traditional macaroni or another pasta shape, Boston’s got it all.

Here are 16 of the best to tuck into, especially during these chilly fall days.

This map was originally published in March 2018; it is updated periodically, and the date of the most recent update appears above.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Olde Magoun's Saloon

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This Magoun Square pub is comfort food central. Served in a cast iron skillet, the creamy, crumb-topped mac and cheese — made with cheese-catching cavatappi — can be enhanced with grilled kielbasa, blackened chicken, grilled steak, or braised short rib.

A cast iron skillet of mac and cheese, made with cavatappi and topped with bread crumbs and a mound of braised short rib
Mac and cheese topped with braised short rib at Olde Magoun’s Saloon
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Trina's Starlite Lounge

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Trina’s Starlite Lounge may be known for its fully loaded hot dogs, but its big bowls of mac and cheese also come through strong in the comfort food category. The dish arrives with a crumbled Ritz cracker topping and there’s an option to add in a hot dog or any of the restaurant’s sides, like broccoli, sweet potato and bacon hash, or sauteed spinach.

A white plate of mac and cheese — made with shells and Ritz crackers — on a black background
Trina’s Starlite Lounge mac and cheese
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Highland Fried

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At Highland Fried (or at its sibling, Highland Kitchen, in Somerville), pair the mac and cheese side with the Buffalo fried Brussels sprouts appetizer for a delightful combo.

The Friendly Toast

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With locations in Kendall Square, Back Bay, and beyond, this Portsmouth-based mini-chain has a funky diner vibe and a heaping serving of cavatappi and cheese, topped with biscuit crumbs. It can also come with grilled chicken and broccoli; grilled chicken, Buffalo sauce, tomato, blue cheese crumbles, and scallions; or scrambled eggs, ham, and tater tots. Plus, there’s a vegan version with mushrooms, peppers, spinach, and scallions.

Green Street

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Soak up the history at this Cambridge institution while enjoying one of the most comforting mac and cheeses in town. It’s made with shells, tomato, bacon, aged Grafton cheddar, and an ample, crispy topping of herb bread crumbs.

A white plate full of macaroni and cheese, made with shells, a charred bread crumb topping, and bacon
The mac and cheese at Green Street
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Veggie Galaxy

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This vegetarian diner in Central Square has three mac and cheese options available all day — a standard baked mac, Buffalo Chick’n (a vegan chicken substitute) and blue cheese, and a loaded mac with a ton of toppings. Each comes with an herbed panko crust and a side of dressed greens, and each can be made vegan.

An oval-shaped white bowl is full of mac and cheese, made with thick, curved, short pieces of ziti. It’s topped with toasted bread crumbs.
Mac and cheese at Veggie Galaxy
Veggie Galaxy [Official Photo]

Area Four

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Though best known for its pizza, Area Four also serves a cast iron mac and cheese at its original Cambridge location, complete with a focaccia crumb topping and an option for adding bacon or chicken to the dish. (Note: Mac and cheese is not on the menu at the South End location.)

The Coast Cafe

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A bastion of soul food in Cambridge, the Coast Cafe has mac and cheese available as a side for combo plates that include options like fried chicken, wings, barbecue pork, and catfish.

Fried chicken plated on foil with sides of mac and cheese and collard greens
Fried chicken with a side of mac and cheese at the Coast Cafe
Korsha Wilson/Eater

JM Curley

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Served in a cast-iron pan, JM Curley’s macaroni and cheese is baked to perfection, with a crispy top and quite the cheese stretch in each bite. Three versions appear on the lunch and supper menus, including a saucy Buffalo mac with shredded chicken, blue cheese, scallions, and tomatoes. The pesto mac comes with fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, tomato, and a balsamic reduction, and true cheese lovers who want to keep it simple can order the standard mac with extra cheese.

Trident Booksellers & Cafe

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This Back Bay bookstore serves its mac and cheese with a Ritz cracker crumble, and diners looking to send the meal over the top can add any number of extra ingredients, including Buffalo chicken, more cheese, Impossible meat, black beans, corn, and other vegetables.

Mac and cheese doesn’t make it into this restaurant’s name, which is an acronym for Pizza and Ice Cream Company, but it’s not to be missed. Four kinds of cheese go into the dish, which is often made with penne or gemelli pasta. It’s available in a basic cheese and pasta format, or it can be served fully loaded with any or all of the optional add-ins, including roasted garlic, mushrooms, bacon, and sausage.

Sweet Cheeks Q

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There are too many good things to eat on the menu at Sweet Cheeks to try all in one sitting; set aside time for multiple visits. The mac and cheese is available as a side for the entree meat trays, but it can also stand alone in small and large sizes. It’s rich and delicious, and you’ll be tempted to eat it all, even if your stomach has reached capacity. Vegetarian-in-a-barbecue-restaurant tip: Opt for sides only (plus a biscuit, of course), pairing the mac and cheese with the farm salad.

The Publick House

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Another skillet mac, the version at the Publick House is customizable with various vegetables, sauces, cheeses, and meats, so you can make the most of everything this cheesy oasis has to offer. The caramelized onion and mushroom pairing knocks it out of the park, or for some spice, add Buffalo sauce. Wash it all down with one of the restaurant’s many, many delicious beers.

Victoria's Diner

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A simple, satisfying dish on the menu at this longtime Newmarket dining spot, the mac and cheese comes with a creamy four-cheese sauce and an option for adding a slab of bone-in short rib for a little extra sustenance. Victoria’s Diner also has a version topped with Buffalo chicken.

Next Step Soul Food Cafe

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Next Step Soul Food Cafe is a hotbed of soul food in Codman Square. The restaurant produces trays and trays of mac and cheese, which is in high demand as a part of a meal alongside fried chicken, candied yams, potato salad, steak and gravy, and so much more. Owner Michelle White runs the restaurant with her family and operates a catering arm of the business as well.

The Fat Cat

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Down in Quincy in a new location, the Fat Cat serves a truly massive plate of mac and cheese packed full of cheddar, blue, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses, blended with garlic, tomatoes, and cavatappi, topped with bread crumbs. In case that’s not quite enough of a meal, optional add-ons include lobster, shrimp, steak, chicken, or a hot dog.

Olde Magoun's Saloon

A cast iron skillet of mac and cheese, made with cavatappi and topped with bread crumbs and a mound of braised short rib
Mac and cheese topped with braised short rib at Olde Magoun’s Saloon
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

This Magoun Square pub is comfort food central. Served in a cast iron skillet, the creamy, crumb-topped mac and cheese — made with cheese-catching cavatappi — can be enhanced with grilled kielbasa, blackened chicken, grilled steak, or braised short rib.

A cast iron skillet of mac and cheese, made with cavatappi and topped with bread crumbs and a mound of braised short rib
Mac and cheese topped with braised short rib at Olde Magoun’s Saloon
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Trina's Starlite Lounge

A white plate of mac and cheese — made with shells and Ritz crackers — on a black background
Trina’s Starlite Lounge mac and cheese
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Trina’s Starlite Lounge may be known for its fully loaded hot dogs, but its big bowls of mac and cheese also come through strong in the comfort food category. The dish arrives with a crumbled Ritz cracker topping and there’s an option to add in a hot dog or any of the restaurant’s sides, like broccoli, sweet potato and bacon hash, or sauteed spinach.

A white plate of mac and cheese — made with shells and Ritz crackers — on a black background
Trina’s Starlite Lounge mac and cheese
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Highland Fried

At Highland Fried (or at its sibling, Highland Kitchen, in Somerville), pair the mac and cheese side with the Buffalo fried Brussels sprouts appetizer for a delightful combo.

The Friendly Toast

With locations in Kendall Square, Back Bay, and beyond, this Portsmouth-based mini-chain has a funky diner vibe and a heaping serving of cavatappi and cheese, topped with biscuit crumbs. It can also come with grilled chicken and broccoli; grilled chicken, Buffalo sauce, tomato, blue cheese crumbles, and scallions; or scrambled eggs, ham, and tater tots. Plus, there’s a vegan version with mushrooms, peppers, spinach, and scallions.

Green Street

A white plate full of macaroni and cheese, made with shells, a charred bread crumb topping, and bacon
The mac and cheese at Green Street
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Soak up the history at this Cambridge institution while enjoying one of the most comforting mac and cheeses in town. It’s made with shells, tomato, bacon, aged Grafton cheddar, and an ample, crispy topping of herb bread crumbs.

A white plate full of macaroni and cheese, made with shells, a charred bread crumb topping, and bacon
The mac and cheese at Green Street
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Veggie Galaxy

An oval-shaped white bowl is full of mac and cheese, made with thick, curved, short pieces of ziti. It’s topped with toasted bread crumbs.
Mac and cheese at Veggie Galaxy
Veggie Galaxy [Official Photo]

This vegetarian diner in Central Square has three mac and cheese options available all day — a standard baked mac, Buffalo Chick’n (a vegan chicken substitute) and blue cheese, and a loaded mac with a ton of toppings. Each comes with an herbed panko crust and a side of dressed greens, and each can be made vegan.

An oval-shaped white bowl is full of mac and cheese, made with thick, curved, short pieces of ziti. It’s topped with toasted bread crumbs.
Mac and cheese at Veggie Galaxy
Veggie Galaxy [Official Photo]

Area Four

Though best known for its pizza, Area Four also serves a cast iron mac and cheese at its original Cambridge location, complete with a focaccia crumb topping and an option for adding bacon or chicken to the dish. (Note: Mac and cheese is not on the menu at the South End location.)

The Coast Cafe

Fried chicken plated on foil with sides of mac and cheese and collard greens
Fried chicken with a side of mac and cheese at the Coast Cafe
Korsha Wilson/Eater

A bastion of soul food in Cambridge, the Coast Cafe has mac and cheese available as a side for combo plates that include options like fried chicken, wings, barbecue pork, and catfish.

Fried chicken plated on foil with sides of mac and cheese and collard greens
Fried chicken with a side of mac and cheese at the Coast Cafe
Korsha Wilson/Eater

JM Curley

Served in a cast-iron pan, JM Curley’s macaroni and cheese is baked to perfection, with a crispy top and quite the cheese stretch in each bite. Three versions appear on the lunch and supper menus, including a saucy Buffalo mac with shredded chicken, blue cheese, scallions, and tomatoes. The pesto mac comes with fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, tomato, and a balsamic reduction, and true cheese lovers who want to keep it simple can order the standard mac with extra cheese.

Trident Booksellers & Cafe

This Back Bay bookstore serves its mac and cheese with a Ritz cracker crumble, and diners looking to send the meal over the top can add any number of extra ingredients, including Buffalo chicken, more cheese, Impossible meat, black beans, corn, and other vegetables.

Picco

Mac and cheese doesn’t make it into this restaurant’s name, which is an acronym for Pizza and Ice Cream Company, but it’s not to be missed. Four kinds of cheese go into the dish, which is often made with penne or gemelli pasta. It’s available in a basic cheese and pasta format, or it can be served fully loaded with any or all of the optional add-ins, including roasted garlic, mushrooms, bacon, and sausage.

Sweet Cheeks Q

There are too many good things to eat on the menu at Sweet Cheeks to try all in one sitting; set aside time for multiple visits. The mac and cheese is available as a side for the entree meat trays, but it can also stand alone in small and large sizes. It’s rich and delicious, and you’ll be tempted to eat it all, even if your stomach has reached capacity. Vegetarian-in-a-barbecue-restaurant tip: Opt for sides only (plus a biscuit, of course), pairing the mac and cheese with the farm salad.

The Publick House

Another skillet mac, the version at the Publick House is customizable with various vegetables, sauces, cheeses, and meats, so you can make the most of everything this cheesy oasis has to offer. The caramelized onion and mushroom pairing knocks it out of the park, or for some spice, add Buffalo sauce. Wash it all down with one of the restaurant’s many, many delicious beers.

Victoria's Diner

A simple, satisfying dish on the menu at this longtime Newmarket dining spot, the mac and cheese comes with a creamy four-cheese sauce and an option for adding a slab of bone-in short rib for a little extra sustenance. Victoria’s Diner also has a version topped with Buffalo chicken.

Next Step Soul Food Cafe

Next Step Soul Food Cafe is a hotbed of soul food in Codman Square. The restaurant produces trays and trays of mac and cheese, which is in high demand as a part of a meal alongside fried chicken, candied yams, potato salad, steak and gravy, and so much more. Owner Michelle White runs the restaurant with her family and operates a catering arm of the business as well.

Related Maps

The Fat Cat

Down in Quincy in a new location, the Fat Cat serves a truly massive plate of mac and cheese packed full of cheddar, blue, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses, blended with garlic, tomatoes, and cavatappi, topped with bread crumbs. In case that’s not quite enough of a meal, optional add-ons include lobster, shrimp, steak, chicken, or a hot dog.

Related Maps