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A line of three cannoli from Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry on a white background. One is chocolate covered and garnished with pistachios, one is garnished with slivered almonds, and the third has chocolate chips.
Cannoli from Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry
Chris Coe/Eater

Boston’s Tourist Trap Restaurants That Are Actually Good

If you’re going to be obvious, do so in the best way possible

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Cannoli from Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry
| Chris Coe/Eater

Boston is a tourist’s dream. It’s old, it’s historic, and it’s unimaginably pretty. As such, it’s loaded with tourist traps. Most aren’t worth your hard-earned coin, but some are actually very decent to extremely good.

This guide is a mix of old Boston classics and hip new hangouts that fall under the “tourist trap” umbrella by some definitions — but are also worth a visit, whether you’re a tourist or a local. (This map covers only Boston proper — not nearby neighbors such as Cambridge and Somerville — and includes restaurants, markets, and food halls.)

Head to the North End for pizza cooked in a 130-year-old oven, and then head to SoWa for some culture and outdoor eating and drinking. Strap your fanny packs on and get to it.

This map was originally published on August 6, 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.

1. Santarpio's Pizza

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111 Chelsea St
Boston, MA 02128
(617) 567-9871
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This is the best pizza in Boston — and some of the best pizza in the country. It’s not exactly easy to get to East Boston, and Chelsea Street doesn’t exactly see high foot traffic (or classify as a tourist attraction), but this beloved pizzeria is on every “Boston’s Best Pizza” list on the internet — Eater Boston’s included — and anyone on a food sojourn to Boston is dining here. (Try it after your flight gets in, perhaps.)

The Santarpio’s building is light tan and has a giant sign on the side — dark brown with white and orange lettering — that reads “Santarpio’s Pizza Bar B-Q” and features a man holding a pizza
Home of the best pizza in Boston, period
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

2. Regina Pizzeria

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11 1/2 Thacher St
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 227-0765
Visit Website

Boston’s other best old pizza parlor. Comparing Regina and Santarpio’s is like comparing beer and wine — they both make you feel good, but they’re entirely different beasts. Go to the original location on Thacher Street in Boston’s North End, sit at the bar if you can, and get a pitcher of Peroni. The brick oven is 130 years old, and it has been dedicated solely to cooking pizzas since the mid 1920s. There will be a wait, but it will be worth it.

A close shot of the exterior of Pizzeria Regina’s original North End location, feature red, white, and green signs that read “Pizza to Go,” “Pizzeria Regina,” and “Beer & Wine.” There’s also a red and green neon sign that says “Regina.”
Truly worth the long waits
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

3. Mike's Pastry

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300 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 742-3050
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You can’t go wrong at Mike’s. And odds are if you’re spotted with one of the pretty little boxes, everyone will think you’re a tourist. Get the cannoli. (There are much newer locations in Cambridge’s Harvard Square and at Somerville’s Assembly Row, but go to the North End for the original.)

The exterior of Mike’s Pastry’s North End location features a large gray sign above the entrance with “Mike’s Pastry” written twice in yellow cursive
Mike’s or Modern? How about both?
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

4. Galleria Umberto

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289 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 227-5709
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Square slice, arancini, can of Coke. Done. Galleria Umberto — one of “America’s classics,” per the James Beard Foundation — is closed during much of peak tourist season and on all Sundays. In fact, it’s only open for several hours a day when it is open. Go for lunch on a Wednesday this fall.

The brick exterior of Galleria Umberto in the North End. The simple white sign above the door reads “Galleria Umberto Rosticceria” in black letters, and there’s a large Coca-Cola logo below.
Arancini heaven
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

5. Neptune Oyster

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63 Salem St # 1
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 742-3474
Visit Website

Get the lobster roll, and wash that down with a couple dozen oysters. And some wine. (Note: Be prepared to wait. Neptune has notorious lines, even during off-peak hours.)

Several diners wait outside Neptune Oyster in the North End, huddled in fall coats under the royal blue awning.
These tourists probably enjoyed themselves
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

6. Modern Pastry

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257 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 523-3783
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First of all, Modern has the best sign in all of Boston. Modern also has the best sfogliatella in Boston. These flaky, orange-flavored, ricotta-filled pastries hail from Napoli, and Modern’s are as good as any in the city of their provenance.

The exterior of Modern Pastry Shop in Boston’s North End features a red and green sign and a green and white striped awning. Large Christmas wreaths hang above the sign in this photo.
Gotta compare Modern’s cannoli with Mike’s
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

7. Boston Public Market

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100 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 973-4909
Visit Website

There are many tasty treats inside the Boston Public Market (including Union Square Donuts). Grab some produce from a number of local farms — and some local cheese too. Then head to the waterfront for a summer picnic.

An interior shot of Boston Public Market shows customers shopping at several different vendors’ stands
Boston Public Market is full of goodies
Boston Public Market [Official Photo]

8. Quincy Market

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206 S Market St
Boston, MA 02109

While some may consider Quincy Market to fully embody the “tourist trap” moniker, there are some vendors worth visiting. Snag an outdoor seat to eat market fries and Magnolia’s banana pudding while watching the street performers and tourists go by.

The exterior of Boston’s Quincy Market, photographed in December, with a large wreath over the main entrance, bare trees to either side, and tourists milling about outside in winter clothes. The market is made of pale gray stone, and four Greek-style columns lead up to the triangular roof. Golden capital letters read “Quincy Market” on the building facade above the columns.
It’s not all good, but it’s not all bad either
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

9. Omni Parker House

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Omni Parker House
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 227-8600
Visit Website

Once a popular hangout for transcendentalists and poets and magazine editors, the Omni Parker House may also be responsible for the invention of the fried clam. It’s probably best known for its Boston cream pie and rolls, however.

The exterior of the Omni Parker House glows with yellow light and golden accents. The sidewalk it’s on slants somewhat sharply up to the right of the photo.
Perhaps the true inventor of the fried Ipswich clam
Omni Parker House [Official Photo]

10. The Barking Crab

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88 Sleeper St
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 426-2722
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Yes, it’s expensive. But if you’re looking to blow a few dollars on shellfish, you could find worse places to do so than the Barking Crab, with its summer-friendly waterfront location.

Outside view of the Barking Crab at night, featuring its distinctive red and yellow striped tent
The Barking Crab
The Barking Crab [Official Photo]

11. No Name Restaurant

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15 1/2 Fish Pier St E
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 423-2705
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If you’re willing to exit the usual tourist zones and head over to the place where the bodies are buried, try No Name Restaurant. It has been slinging seafood on Fish Pier since the time before World War I.

A buoy with the words “No Name” and a photograph of a boat adorn a wall at No Name Restaurant
A bit off the beaten path
No Name [Official Photo]

12. Abe & Louie's

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793 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 536-6300
Visit Website

If you’re going to sit on a Boylston Street patio, it should be this one. The steaks are as good as the people-watching. Plus, the steakhouse is an Eater Boston reader favorite.

The sunny Boylston Street patio at Abe & Louie’s, partially covered by an awning and surrounded by flower-filled planters.
The patio at Abe and Louie’s
Abe & Louie’s [Official Photo]

13. Legal Harborside

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270 Northern Ave
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 477-2900
Visit Website

This place is absurd because it’s simultaneously an amusement park version of a seafood restaurant and a meet market. But Legal’s roots are honest, and the views are stunning from the rooftop bar.

A waterfront view of Legal Harborside at dusk, with a final bit of sun peeking over the horizon.
The restaurant as seen from the Boston Main Channel
Legal Harborside [Official Photo]

14. Eataly Boston

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800 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02199
(617) 807-7300
Visit Website

You’ll spend $50 here, and all you’ll have to show for it will be some spicy sardines, some bread, a bottle of wine, and a jumbo-sized bag of Abbracci. Which is to say: All you’ll have to show for it is all you really need anyway.

Outside Italy, some orange and white umbrellas are set up, and lots of pedestrians mingle.
An Italian food lover’s dream
Eataly [Official Photo]

15. Time Out Market Boston

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401 Park Dr
Boston, MA 02215
(978) 393-8088
Visit Website

For the tourist who is in town only briefly and wants to catch a Sox game or otherwise spend time in the Fenway neighborhood, the brand new Time Out Market Boston provides a good opportunity to swoop in, sample a few great dishes from great local chefs (including a fast-casual take on the famous Craigie burger), and swoop back out.

The interior of the Time Out Market Boston food hall, full of large stone pillars, long wooden communal tables, and customers
Time Out Market Boston, the city’s newest food hall
Time Out Market Boston/Official Site

16. SoWa Open Market

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460 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA 02118
(857) 362-7692
Visit Website

Check out some art, and mingle with strangers. If mingling with strangers isn’t your thing, get a beer and drink it in absolute silence inside the Beer Barn. There are always a number of food carts and stands set up at SoWa Open Market, so you won’t go hungry.

SoWa Market attendees mingle outside a large brick building. There are some food trucks parked in the area, too.
See some art, eat some food
SoWa [Official Photo]

17. Sullivan's Castle Island

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2080 William J Day Blvd
South Boston, MA 02127
(617) 268-5685
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Go for the fried clams, stay for the thick Boston accents.

A few people in winter clothing wait outside of Sullivan’s on its first day of the season.
A great spot for seafood
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

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1. Santarpio's Pizza

111 Chelsea St, Boston, MA 02128
The Santarpio’s building is light tan and has a giant sign on the side — dark brown with white and orange lettering — that reads “Santarpio’s Pizza Bar B-Q” and features a man holding a pizza
Home of the best pizza in Boston, period
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

This is the best pizza in Boston — and some of the best pizza in the country. It’s not exactly easy to get to East Boston, and Chelsea Street doesn’t exactly see high foot traffic (or classify as a tourist attraction), but this beloved pizzeria is on every “Boston’s Best Pizza” list on the internet — Eater Boston’s included — and anyone on a food sojourn to Boston is dining here. (Try it after your flight gets in, perhaps.)

111 Chelsea St
Boston, MA 02128

2. Regina Pizzeria

11 1/2 Thacher St, Boston, MA 02113
A close shot of the exterior of Pizzeria Regina’s original North End location, feature red, white, and green signs that read “Pizza to Go,” “Pizzeria Regina,” and “Beer & Wine.” There’s also a red and green neon sign that says “Regina.”
Truly worth the long waits
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Boston’s other best old pizza parlor. Comparing Regina and Santarpio’s is like comparing beer and wine — they both make you feel good, but they’re entirely different beasts. Go to the original location on Thacher Street in Boston’s North End, sit at the bar if you can, and get a pitcher of Peroni. The brick oven is 130 years old, and it has been dedicated solely to cooking pizzas since the mid 1920s. There will be a wait, but it will be worth it.

11 1/2 Thacher St
Boston, MA 02113

3. Mike's Pastry

300 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113
The exterior of Mike’s Pastry’s North End location features a large gray sign above the entrance with “Mike’s Pastry” written twice in yellow cursive
Mike’s or Modern? How about both?
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

You can’t go wrong at Mike’s. And odds are if you’re spotted with one of the pretty little boxes, everyone will think you’re a tourist. Get the cannoli. (There are much newer locations in Cambridge’s Harvard Square and at Somerville’s Assembly Row, but go to the North End for the original.)

300 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02113

4. Galleria Umberto

289 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113
The brick exterior of Galleria Umberto in the North End. The simple white sign above the door reads “Galleria Umberto Rosticceria” in black letters, and there’s a large Coca-Cola logo below.
Arancini heaven
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Square slice, arancini, can of Coke. Done. Galleria Umberto — one of “America’s classics,” per the James Beard Foundation — is closed during much of peak tourist season and on all Sundays. In fact, it’s only open for several hours a day when it is open. Go for lunch on a Wednesday this fall.

289 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02113

5. Neptune Oyster

63 Salem St # 1, Boston, MA 02113
Several diners wait outside Neptune Oyster in the North End, huddled in fall coats under the royal blue awning.
These tourists probably enjoyed themselves
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Get the lobster roll, and wash that down with a couple dozen oysters. And some wine. (Note: Be prepared to wait. Neptune has notorious lines, even during off-peak hours.)

63 Salem St # 1
Boston, MA 02113

6. Modern Pastry

257 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113
The exterior of Modern Pastry Shop in Boston’s North End features a red and green sign and a green and white striped awning. Large Christmas wreaths hang above the sign in this photo.
Gotta compare Modern’s cannoli with Mike’s
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

First of all, Modern has the best sign in all of Boston. Modern also has the best sfogliatella in Boston. These flaky, orange-flavored, ricotta-filled pastries hail from Napoli, and Modern’s are as good as any in the city of their provenance.

257 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02113

7. Boston Public Market

100 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02108
An interior shot of Boston Public Market shows customers shopping at several different vendors’ stands
Boston Public Market is full of goodies
Boston Public Market [Official Photo]

There are many tasty treats inside the Boston Public Market (including Union Square Donuts). Grab some produce from a number of local farms — and some local cheese too. Then head to the waterfront for a summer picnic.

100 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02108

8. Quincy Market

206 S Market St, Boston, MA 02109
The exterior of Boston’s Quincy Market, photographed in December, with a large wreath over the main entrance, bare trees to either side, and tourists milling about outside in winter clothes. The market is made of pale gray stone, and four Greek-style columns lead up to the triangular roof. Golden capital letters read “Quincy Market” on the building facade above the columns.
It’s not all good, but it’s not all bad either
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

While some may consider Quincy Market to fully embody the “tourist trap” moniker, there are some vendors worth visiting. Snag an outdoor seat to eat market fries and Magnolia’s banana pudding while watching the street performers and tourists go by.

206 S Market St
Boston, MA 02109

9. Omni Parker House

Omni Parker House, Boston, MA 02108
The exterior of the Omni Parker House glows with yellow light and golden accents. The sidewalk it’s on slants somewhat sharply up to the right of the photo.
Perhaps the true inventor of the fried Ipswich clam
Omni Parker House [Official Photo]

Once a popular hangout for transcendentalists and poets and magazine editors, the Omni Parker House may also be responsible for the invention of the fried clam. It’s probably best known for its Boston cream pie and rolls, however.

Omni Parker House
Boston, MA 02108

10. The Barking Crab

88 Sleeper St, Boston, MA 02210
Outside view of the Barking Crab at night, featuring its distinctive red and yellow striped tent
The Barking Crab
The Barking Crab [Official Photo]

Yes, it’s expensive. But if you’re looking to blow a few dollars on shellfish, you could find worse places to do so than the Barking Crab, with its summer-friendly waterfront location.

88 Sleeper St
Boston, MA 02210

11. No Name Restaurant

15 1/2 Fish Pier St E, Boston, MA 02210
A buoy with the words “No Name” and a photograph of a boat adorn a wall at No Name Restaurant
A bit off the beaten path
No Name [Official Photo]

If you’re willing to exit the usual tourist zones and head over to the place where the bodies are buried, try No Name Restaurant. It has been slinging seafood on Fish Pier since the time before World War I.

15 1/2 Fish Pier St E
Boston, MA 02210

12. Abe & Louie's

793 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116
The sunny Boylston Street patio at Abe & Louie’s, partially covered by an awning and surrounded by flower-filled planters.
The patio at Abe and Louie’s
Abe & Louie’s [Official Photo]

If you’re going to sit on a Boylston Street patio, it should be this one. The steaks are as good as the people-watching. Plus, the steakhouse is an Eater Boston reader favorite.

793 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116

13. Legal Harborside

270 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210
A waterfront view of Legal Harborside at dusk, with a final bit of sun peeking over the horizon.
The restaurant as seen from the Boston Main Channel
Legal Harborside [Official Photo]

This place is absurd because it’s simultaneously an amusement park version of a seafood restaurant and a meet market. But Legal’s roots are honest, and the views are stunning from the rooftop bar.

270 Northern Ave
Boston, MA 02210

14. Eataly Boston

800 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199
Outside Italy, some orange and white umbrellas are set up, and lots of pedestrians mingle.
An Italian food lover’s dream
Eataly [Official Photo]

You’ll spend $50 here, and all you’ll have to show for it will be some spicy sardines, some bread, a bottle of wine, and a jumbo-sized bag of Abbracci. Which is to say: All you’ll have to show for it is all you really need anyway.

800 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02199

15. Time Out Market Boston

401 Park Dr, Boston, MA 02215
The interior of the Time Out Market Boston food hall, full of large stone pillars, long wooden communal tables, and customers
Time Out Market Boston, the city’s newest food hall
Time Out Market Boston/Official Site

For the tourist who is in town only briefly and wants to catch a Sox game or otherwise spend time in the Fenway neighborhood, the brand new Time Out Market Boston provides a good opportunity to swoop in, sample a few great dishes from great local chefs (including a fast-casual take on the famous Craigie burger), and swoop back out.

401 Park Dr
Boston, MA 02215

Related Maps

16. SoWa Open Market

460 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02118
SoWa Market attendees mingle outside a large brick building. There are some food trucks parked in the area, too.
See some art, eat some food
SoWa [Official Photo]

Check out some art, and mingle with strangers. If mingling with strangers isn’t your thing, get a beer and drink it in absolute silence inside the Beer Barn. There are always a number of food carts and stands set up at SoWa Open Market, so you won’t go hungry.

460 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA 02118

17. Sullivan's Castle Island

2080 William J Day Blvd, South Boston, MA 02127
A few people in winter clothing wait outside of Sullivan’s on its first day of the season.
A great spot for seafood
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Go for the fried clams, stay for the thick Boston accents.

2080 William J Day Blvd
South Boston, MA 02127

Related Maps