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Don’t-Miss Dishes in Boston

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Boston
Hi, I'm Jen!

Vermont travel writer Jen Rose Smith covers adventure, remote places, and traditional cuisine from a home base in the Green Mountains. Her articles have appeared in National Geographic Adventure, American Way, Nexos, Condé Nast Traveler, Backpacker, AFAR, Rolling Stone, USA Today, and Outside Online.

From New England classics to cutting-edge gastronomy, Boston tempts food-loving travelers with an astonishing array of treats. These dishes are the perfect place to start exploring Boston cuisine, whether you’re sampling cannoli in the North End or looking for the city’s creamiest clam chowder.

Boston Cream Pie

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Don’t let the name fool you—Boston cream pie is actually a cake. For this treat, which was invented at Boston’s historic Omni Parker House hotel, soft white cake is layered with vanilla custard then topped by chocolate glaze. It’s a favorite at pastry shops across town. 

Clam Chowder

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Nothing wards off Boston’s cold winter weather like a hot bowl of clam chowder made with ocean-fresh seafood. The creamy variety is the classic Boston version, but you can also find chowder “Manhattan style,” with clams swimming in a rich tomato broth.


Photo credit: Minimilian / Shutterstock

Crunch into the fried pastry shell of a cannolo to enjoy a creamy filling of ricotta cheese with candied citrus peel, dark chocolate, and other sweet additions. This is an essential North End treat, and locals can debate endlessly about the very best place to eat cannoli here; judge for yourself by tasting a few different versions.

Super Beef

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Leave it to Boston to give the already-delicious roast beef sandwich a spunky nickname and local twist. Find this sandwich—a generous pile of pink roast beef stuffed into a soft onion Kaiser roll with mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and white cheese—at shops around the city.


Photo credit: Kit Leong / Shutterstock

Line up for a slice in one of the North End’s many pizza joints—it’s a Boston tradition. Unlike doughy, Chicago-style pizza, North End pizza is usually a thin-crust pie. Go for a classic Margarita or opt for souped-up modern takes topped with everything from bacon to kale.

Baked Beans

Photo credit: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Sweet and slow-cooked, Boston baked beans gave the city its nickname of Beantown. You can find versions of this old-fashioned recipe at homestyle restaurants and nostalgic pubs; some even serve it paired with a round slice of brown bread that’s been baked in an oversized can.

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