Local Chefs Share Their Favorite Meal in Boston


Local Chefs Share Their Favorite Meal in Boston
Local Chefs Share Their Favorite Meal in Boston

Columbus Hospitality Group
Columbus Hospitality Group

The way we see it, nobody knows food better than chefs. And while we all love to eat what they cook, we’re also fascinated by what they're into when they actually do the eating. You know, when they're not working and are dining out. That's why we asked 12 of Boston’s best to dish on their favorite meal around the Hub. Here’s what they said:

Tom Borgia

Chef at Russell House Tavern
Favorite dish:
Steamed Black Mussels at Mistral

”I was part of the opening team at Mistral, and what makes this dish unique is how it's been executed flawlessly for almost 20 years. It's so well balanced: smoky, sweet, acidic, and briny, all at once. Soaking up all the leftover stuff with the bread is amazing.”

Moonshine 152
Favorite dish: Throwback Korean BBQ tacos at Moonshine 152

“These lived on the menu back when the space was Franklin Southie; at the time Asia [Mei] was chef. It’s thin slices of salty crisp pork topped with lightly spiced kimchee and fresh Asian pear, all wrapped in a grilled flour tortilla and served with a what is most likely a house-made Sriracha. Give me a few orders and some High Life, and life is grand.”

Courtesy of Brian Samuels
Favorite dish: Small veal Parm and a slice of Sicilian pizza from Bob’s Italian Foods in Medford

“The ‘small’ size is the key because it comes on tremendous Scali bread. It's everything I like in great food: made with care and without any pretense. Because it’s also a butcher shop, their veal cutlets are superior to most sub shops. It’s my go-to meal in the Somerville/Medford area; they pump out a ton of killer sandwiches, pastas, and pizzas. There’s no seating, so I often grab a sub and take it down to the river and share with my dog. It's my vote for best sandwich in Greater Boston.”

Courtesy of Lydia Shire
Favorite dish: Fried clams at Jasper White’s Summer Shack

Or “anything with crisp pork fat” at Craigie on Main.

Oishii Boston
Favorite dish: Anything at Oishii’s South End location 

“I love everything there, and whatever Chef Ting Yen makes -- I’ll eat. But my favorite dish is what I usually order for dessert, which is not really a dessert at all. It’s a cucumber cone stuffed with spicy tuna and topped with tempura flakes. It's great to watch Yen and his sushi masters show off their knife skills by hand carving a paper thin sheet of cucumber, which they then fold into the shape of an ice cream cone. Then they fill it with barely warm sushi rice and spicy tuna tartar, and top it off with a shower of crispy tempura bits. The combination of the cool cucumber, spicy tuna, and crunchy tempura may just be my favorite bit of food I've had in Boston.”

Courtesy of Frank McClelland
Favorite dish: Cuban sandwich at Willow Rest in Gloucester

“It is the best I have ever had. It warms my soul every time!"

Favorite dish: Pizza from the late-night menu at Pastoral

“I love going after a Saturday night service with my team, and we usually order a veal meatball pizza, a short rib pizza, and a funghi pizza. My personal favorite is the veal meatball, because the meatball is delicious, and the dough is the best in the city. There’s something special about sitting around the table and sharing a pizza with the team after a long day.”

Courtesy of Michael Piazza
Favorite dish: Lobster ravioli at Scampo

“Scampo always is spot-on perfect and fun every time I go (which is often). Recently, I had a nice, simple lobster ravioli; it was cooked in pasta water, tossed in clarified butter, and topped with a beautiful Parmigiano-Reggiano. It was perfection.”

Courtesy of West Bridge
Favorite dish: Matthew Gaudet’s St. Louis pork ribs with a whiskey/eel glaze and a dried shrimp & crispy chickpea crumble at West Bridge

“I love pork and especially ribs. But what I love about these ribs is that they're next level: tender, sweet, [and have] that nice bite from the whiskey & the crispy chickpeas. The texture in your mouth is awesome. And who doesn't love messy finger food! “

Steve Sands/WireImage/Getty Images
Favorite dish: Fried chicken at Sarma

“It is utterly addictive... Cassie is such a talented chef and her fried chicken -- perfectly seasoned and flawlessly fried -- is everything you want the dish to be. The finish of a sprinkling of dried green harissa is just awesome.”

Favorite dish: The lobster roll at Neptune Oyster Bar

It never goes off the menu, and it epitomizes New England. Order the bun toasted, with light mayonnaise."

Favorite dish: Farro Casarecce with Rabbit at Giulia

“It's last meal worthy.”

Kim Prosise is a Boston-based travel and lifestyle writer who likes to write about food almost as much as she likes to eat it.

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1. Giulia 1682 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138 (East Cambridge)

Exceptional Italian cuisine is served up at this cozy Cambridge spot.

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2. Neptune Oyster 63 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113 (North End)

This classed-up seafood joint has an epic raw bar and offers up one of the Hub's best lobster rolls.

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3. Sarma 249 Pearl St, Somerville, MA 02145 (Somerville)

Sarma is a local Mediterranean restaurant and bar that is modeled after the traditional meyhanes of Turkey. It's menu is designed to be shared, featuring small seasonal plates that are full of spices and herbs, as well as a variety of cocktails, wines, and craft beers to choose from. The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, making Sarma a great place to catch up with friends or entertain a date over some meze.

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4. Brasserie Jo 120 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02116 (Back Bay)

Brasserie Jo brings traditional French fare to Back Bay, with classics like coq au vin, Tarte Flambée, and steak au poivre. And every brasserie worth its weight in butter must have excellent pommes frites. It’s a law or something. Brasserie Jo delivers with no-nonsense, simply-executed fries that complement every dish.

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5. Pastoral 345 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210 (Fort Point Channel)

Pastoral's got rustic pizzas, like duck sausage and clam topped with house-made mozzarella, as well as the option for you to grab their pastas, sauces, and cheeses to make your own treats at home.

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6. Willow Rest 1 Holly St, Gloucester, MA 01930

Fresh produce, homemade coffee, artisanal cheeses, and breakfast food.

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7. Oishii Sushi Bar 612 Hammond St, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 (Chestnut Hill)

Artisanal Japanese food served up daily at Oishii Sushi Bar.

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8. Craigie on Main 853 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Central Square)

Chef and owner Tony Maws' Craigie on Main serves French-accented bistro food in Central Square. The à la carte and tasting menus are constantly changing with exciting new dishes, but one signature remains: The Burger. The half-pound patty blends brisket, short rib, bone marrow, and suet into one unforgettable burger that reached peak food fame when it graced the cover of Bon Appétit.

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9. Scampo 215 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114 (Beacon Hill)

Located in the Liberty Hotel, Scampo is an upscale Italian restaurant with Mediterranean influences.

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10. Bob's Italian Foods 324 Main St, Medford, MA 02155

Bob's Italian Foods has superior quality, fresh foods, imported provisions, homemade pasta, buffet catering and more.

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11. Mistral 223 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02116 (South End)

This South End eatery serves up classically elegant cuisine with an innovative twist, like beef tenderloin/truffle oil/mashed potato thin crust pizzas.

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12. Moonshine 152 152 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127 (South Boston)

Chef Asia Mei's joint is complete with Asian influences and creative crossovers. Standouts Tamago (smoky Shishito peppers) and Hurricane popcorn with pork fat are two excellent examples. For dinner, try the Char-Sui roasted half chicken jazzed by ginger jade sauce, and the boar shoulder Stroganoff with herbed spaetzle. It also does Sunday brunch with a weekly “Ron Swanson Special” so you can eat all the bacon and eggs it has.