PEOPLE's 24 Hour Food Tour: Boston

Local seafood spots, a late-night dive that can't be missed and more restaurant recommendations for a quick trip to Boston

<p>Getty</p> Boston



Writer and editor Jillian Dara considers Boston her second home. After attending Emerson College in Boston, Jillian spent time living in London, Santiago, Chile and New York City before moving back to Beantown. During her time abroad, Boston’s culinary scene exploded and she returned to cover restaurant openings, chef profiles and beverage trends for local publications in addition to her national freelance portfolio of publications, including Food & Wine, Michelin Guide and Decanter

Boston’s culinary scene is far beyond emerging — it’s currently flourishing as local and international chefs are satiating the global palate all while ensuring that New England classics don’t fall by the wayside. Any tourist in the Bean should indulge in the regional seafood favorites, from clam chowder to lobster rolls (who serves the best one is an ongoing debate, but Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick are among the celebrities who approve of the highly-rated James Hook & Company). But you'll also want to leave room for international flavors — there's great Portuguese, Greek, Lebanese and French — that have brought Boston’s restaurants into the spotlight. It’s challenging to pack everything all in one day, but 24 hours will certainly whet your appetite enough to entice you to return even hungrier.

Breakfast: Bistro du Midi

<p>Brian Samuels</p> Bistro du Midi's Croque Madame

Brian Samuels

Bistro du Midi's Croque Madame

Begin your food tour in the most quintessential Boston neighborhood of Back Bay at Bistro du Midi, a French cafe and bistro that overlooks the Public Garden. While Parisian staples like moules frites and wagyu beef tartare tantalize on the dinner menu, the weekend brunch shouldn’t be overlooked. Chef-partner Robert Sisca started his career as a sous chef at Le Bernardin in New York City, so you know his ability to champion elevated French cuisine is next level. (Celebrity chef Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin has maintained its three Michelin stars since 2005.) Sisca brings that French flair to breakfast with Duck Confit Foieffles, a playful, French twist on chicken and waffles where the confit is served on a Belgian waffle with kumquat, pomegranate, maple syrup and foie butter. There’s also the Crêpes Suzette, prepared with vanilla ricotta crème patisserie and orange; and the Croque Madame, layered with black forest ham, mornay, Gruyère and sunny side eggs. Chef Sisca’s personal pride is the classic French Omelette as it's smooth, airy and fluffy as a result of lightly scrambling the eggs, using water and never cream or milk. It’s served the traditional French way, with asparagus, French feta, chive and pommes frites or salad. If you think the dining room looks familiar, re-watch What’s Your Number?, as a scene from the 2011 movie starring Chris Evans and Anna Faris was filmed here. Other celebrity diners at Bistro du Midi have included: Harry Connick Jr., Drew Barrymore, Pedro Martínez, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis.

Lunch: Hook + Line

<p>elevensevenmedia</p> Hook + Line's stuffies


Hook + Line's stuffies

After a morning in one of the most historic neighborhoods, it’s time to head to one of the city’s newest, most burgeoning districts: the Seaport. Zag your way through a maze of recently developed residential towers and soaring office buildings to the waterfront where Hook + Line is ready to satisfy your essential New England cravings. Local restaurateur Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli, opened this regionally-inspired seafood restaurant as a response to the wave of international chains opening their latest outposts in Boston. He wanted to ensure an authentic seafood culture remained. Schlesinger-Guidelli curated a menu to highlight his favorite childhood dishes like stuffies (New England baked stuffed clams with buttery breadcrumbs and chorizo) and fried clams served with the works (fries, coleslaw and malt onion soubise) but also spotlighting coastal regions around the world with rotating fish from whole-roasted, Mediterranean branzino to wood-grilled Loch Duart Scottish salmon. On a sunny, summer day, nothing beats a lobster roll on their patio, which Schlesinger-Guidelli chose to serve two ways: the roll is cut in half with one side presented cold and tossed in mayonnaise and the other warm, drizzled with butter. Don’t forget there's also daily rotating regional oysters on the half shell.

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Dinner: Myers + Chang

Husband-wife duo Christopher Myers and Joanne Chang opened their eponymous restaurant in 2007 to present a neighborhood eatery that fuses eastern and western flavors through a self-described “Asian-ish” menu with influence from Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean cuisine. Flavorful dishes tie to personal experiences from the couple's life — like Mama Chang’s pork and chive dumplings that Chang grew up making every weekend or the pan-roasted soy glazed salmon that Chang cooked for Myers when they were first dating. By night, the street lights twinkle in the oversized windows, reflecting against a moody interior that feels personal and homey. 

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Spot a Celebrity at: Neptune Oyster

<p>Ana M. Reyes</p> Neptune Oyster's lobster spaghettini

Ana M. Reyes

Neptune Oyster's lobster spaghettini

Open seven days a week, this intimate North End hotspot features a daily special to match, including sea urchin bucatini on Tuesdays and cuttle ink risotto on Fridays. Perhaps the most evergreen special, the lobster spaghettini has appeared as a Monday special since Neptune Oyster’s owner Jeff Nace first served it to Leonardo DiCaprio when he was in town filming The Departed. Bring your appetite — the plate is piled with thin noodles in a garlic, white wine, and tomato sauce, under a layer of Maine lobster meat, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese — and patience since there’s usually a line out the door for a coveted bar seat.

Sweet Treat: Modern Pastry

While in the North End, save room for a sweet treat at one of the most institutional bakeries in the city. As Italian immigrants, the Picariello family established Modern Pastry on Hanover Street in 1930 to share the authentic sweets they left behind with the new country they called home. The original location remains as does the recipes for the lauded cakes, cookies, pies, tarts and cannolis lining the wrap-around glass displays. If you only try one thing, make it a build-your-only-cannoli, choosing from the traditional with Ricotta filling or variations like vanilla custard and whipped cream as well as chocolate chips, pistachio or sliced almond toppings.

Late Night Snack: Anchovies

Somewhat of a hidden gem among locals in the know, this South End dive bar dishes out Italian comfort food until 1:30 a.m. Favorites include fried mozzarella, meatballs, prosciutto-stuffed calzones or simply pick at a heaping basket of truffle fries as last call is announced. Its ideal location means you’ll never end a night out hungry, whether you’re barhopping in Back Bay, sipping nearby at South End haunt or coming from a game at TD Garden.

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