Food & Drink

Best Boston Takeout Dishes, And Other Ways to Support the Service Industry

Two-for-one lobster and DIY tacos.

Mei Mei
Courtesy of Mei Mei

If you have whiplash from the neverending, ever-changing news bombs, well, we are right there with you. Every time we seem to get a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic and what’s coming next, the earth shifts beneath our feet yet again. 

But we do know this: supporting our Boston hospitality industry, in whatever way we can, is crucial to the economic survival of thousands of friends and neighbors. Restaurants across the city that are still open for business can offer takeout and delivery only -- now is the time to throw as much money as possible their way. Below, we’re highlighting some of the more unique takeaway dishes available (all subject to change), but we highly encourage you to order from any restaurant or takeout spot that you typically frequent. 

And takeout is not the only way to offer your support. Keep buying those gift cards -- especially to restaurants that have already made the decision to close -- and show equal love to bars that don’t have a food program. Tip your delivery people like their lives depend on it, because they do. Order delivery from food and wine specialty shops, too, many of which are expanding their delivery distances. Find ways to support our bar industry as well, which is taking just as hard of a hit (although thank the heavens, some restaurants are now starting to offer wine takeout). 

Keep your eyes peeled for restaurants that will let you purchase prepared meals for frontline workers -- you’ll be doing good on top of good. And don’t forget about our regional farmers. Some farm stands across New England are still open, and, like everyone else in our dining chain, need our support. Absolutely everyone needs our help right now.

The Craigie Burger from Craigie on Main

Central Square
Tony Maws knows that the way to serenity is through your stomach. Through online ordering, you can choose from a small menu of Craigie classics, including, yes, the burger. Other options include the spice-rubbed and roasted whole Green Circle chicken for two, and the confit and roasted milk-fed pig’s head, also for two (both $55).
Cost: $14; order through Caviar

Shrimp and grits from 50Kitchen

Fields Corner
Chef/owner Anthony Caldwell only officially opened his fruition of a long-held dream on February 23 -- we all have to keep it going. He’s offering takeout of his full soul-Asian fusion menu on a limited basis; check its social media channels for updated hours. Once you’ve tried the must-have shrimp and grits, you can eat your way through a menu of sandwiches, wings, ribs, veggie burgers, and fusion bowls.
Cost: $16; order over the phone 617-474-2433

The Boston Shutdown Special from PABU

Downtown Crossing
It’s a package deal that satisfies all your Izayaka yens: confit of duck fried rice, karaage, edamame (spicy or plain), and chef’s single skewer robata selection. And if you’re still jonesing, rest easy: a broader delivery menu includes sushi, makimono rolls, and chargrilled meat. 
Cost: $38 per person; order via Grubhub

Bulk dumplings from Mei Mei

Kenmore Square
The restaurant itself is closed, including for takeout and delivery, but Mei Mei still wants to stock your freezer. The restaurant is now offering bulk take-home of two different dumplings, cooked and ready to be reheated at a moment’s notice. 
Cost: $28-32 per 20-pack of dumplings; ⁠order online for pickup

Fresh pasta by the pound from Fox & the Knife

South Boston
OMG, does Karen Akunowicz care about us. She’s seeing to it that we all eat well for the foreseeable future, offering takeout and delivery of rotating homemade pastas -- campanelle, spaghetti, and bucatini are three examples -- along with pints of sauces like tomato basil and bolognese. 
Cost: $12 per pound of pasta; $8-$12 per pint of sauce

Ten-piece fried chicken from UNI

Back Bay
Tony Messina wants to soothe you through food. He’s just introduced a new delivery menu of stick-to-your-ribs fare, UNI style. Think pork belly steam buns, shrimp teriyaki fried rice, and the aforementioned fried chicken -- which comes with kimchi, gochujang mayo, and togarashi potatoes.
Cost: $55; delivery through Uber Eats and Caviar

Casseroles for a cause from Talulla

Cambridge
Make room in your freezer because Talulla wants to fill it. Choose between lasagna, baked ziti bolognese, vegetable, or pot pie -- or order them all -- then keep the stockpiling going with pints of soup (tomato; corn chowder; sausage, bean, and kale; or chicken pozole). The most important part? With each purchase, the Talulla owners are working with Fletcher Maynard Academy to donate bagged lunches to kids in Cambridge in need and missing out while schools are closed.  
Cost: $35 per casserole (equal to 10 bagged lunches); $15 per quart of soup (equal to five bagged lunches)

Text a taco from Yellow Door Taqueria

South End and Lower Mills
Want to cheer up a fellow shut-in? Text ’em a taco. Yellow Door Taqueria will let you text a $5 gift certificate to your nearest and dearest, good for a taco at either of the restaurant’s two locations once they’re up and running again. Meantime, delivery and takeout are available from the Lower Mills branch.
Cost: $5 per taco; order through website

Sexy Snacks from Stillwater

Downtown Crossing/Financial District
Chef Sarah Wade has made it her professional mission to reinvent comfort foods, something that is sorely needed right about now. Via pickup, Stillwater is offering its regular menus to go, including an afternoon menu of half-priced apps like crispy smoked chicken wings, deviled eggs, and everything bagel popcorn. 
Cost: $3-$6.50; available Monday through Friday.

Steak frites and Chateaneuf de Pape from Aquitaine

South End
Aquitaine is reopened for curbside pickup, just in time to restore a bit of class to your kitchen. The to-go menu also includes duke paté, sole meuniere, and créme bruleé, but here’s the biggest joy: According to its Facebook page, the restaurant is offering bottles of wine at retail prices. 
Cost: Steak frites is $27.95; order takeout by calling 617.424.8577 and delivery through DoorDash and Grubhub

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Uber Eats

Your brunch, dinner, and late-night cravings haven’t changed just because you’re staying safe indoors. Fortunately you can still get all of your favorite dishes delivered right to your door, while also supporting the restaurant industry that has given you so many meals and memories. Uber Eats is making it possible for you to give directly to your favorite restaurants at checkout, and 100% of contributions go directly to the restaurants. You can also eat, save, and support local restaurants with a one-month free trial of their Eats Pass. Uber will give $1 to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund for every new Eats Pass subscriber. See app for details.

Island Creek oysters from Island Creek Oysters

Duxbury
What better time to perfect your shucking skills? In addition to its own farmed lovelies, Island Creek is supporting other regional oyster farmers with regular specials -- all delivered directly to your door. 
Cost: $75 per 50 count, $95 per 100, $185 per 200; order online

Fried chicken for four from Brassica Kitchen + Cafe

Jamaica Plain
This is some of the very best fried chicken in the city, and now it’s yours for delivery in all its extra crispy, extra juicy splendor, accompanied by maple umeboshi (plums), lime, and coleslaw. And why not consider adding on the brioche waffles ($18)?
Cost: $25; order by calling 617.477.4519

Two-for-one lobster from Summer Shack Cambridge

Alewife
It started as a one-time offer but has now become a regular deal -- and a great way to celebrate another quarantined week in the books. Two steamed lobsters for the price of one -- up to two pounds -- are available for both takeout and delivery
Cost: $28 for two one-pound lobsters; order takeout by calling 617.520.9500 and delivery through Uber Eats, Caviar, and Grubhub.

Weekly locavore meal delivery for Cuisine en Locale

Somerville
If you just can’t wrap your head around nightly meal planning, Cuisine en Locale can give your brain a reprieve. Its weekly package of meals, made from scratch with locally sourced ingredients (support our farmers!), includes four dinners for two people, with each meal made up of one entree and one side. 
Cost: $300, additional portions can be added for $50 per person; order by emailing orders@enlocale.com

Make your own tacos from Harvard Gardens

Beacon Hill
A little kitchen labor never hurt anyone. (How else are you going to burn calories right now?) The kit includes tortilla chips, mozzarella cheese, pico de gallo, guac, sour cream, and jalapeño peppers. Add chicken or pork for an extra two bucks. And if your stress diet demands more, there’s also a make-your-own nachos kit ($14). And here’s the kicker: Every order comes with a free roll of toilet paper. 
Cost: $16; order takeout by calling 617.523.2727 and delivery through Grubhub

Hot lobster roll from Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood

Back Bay
Cusser’s takeout window is still open for biz (strict social distancing permitting), and while we’re all for a regular visit for their justly lauded roast beef sandwich, the idea of a fresh, hot lobster roll with beurre rouge is enough to get us through another day of confinement. 
Cost: $25; order takeout through Chow Now or delivery through Caviar

Pupu platter and Mai Tai mix from Kowloon

Saugus
Listen, we need throwback comforts right now, and Kowloon delivers (literally). On top of its regular menu -- and we’re voting for the pupu platter, because what’s more comforting than that -- Kowloon’s bartender “Magic Mike” is whipping up Mai Tai mixers to go. The only catch: They’ve been selling out like gangbusters, so call early to try and reserve.
Cost: $29.50 for the pupu platter, $11.95 for 32 ounces of Mai Tai mix; order online

Chicken pot pie from The Butcher Shop

South End
Every week, Barbara Lynch is offering classic to-go items to help you stock your reserves. The menu changes up a bit every day, but what doesn’t change is that all purchases go to supporting the restaurant’s staff. 
Cost: $18; order through ToastTab

DIY pizza kit from Tavolo

Ashmont 
This will be a welcome nighttime distraction. Whip up some homemade comfort with a kit that includes types of two dough, red sauce, mozzarella cheese, onions, peppers, pepperoni, and all-purpose flour -- plus instructions as to what to do with all of it. Just check on the site to make sure it’s available the night you want it. 
Cost: $30; order by calling  617.822.1918

Chicken for two from Shy Bird

Kendall Square
Branch Line and sister restaurant Shy Bird know that their revered rotisserie chicken is the cure for what ails. Shy Bird’s takeout menus includes a full chicken served with dressed greens, sauce, and a choice of side. Add in an additional side and your delivery from the restaurant is free ($40 minimum is required). While you’re at it, you can also buy meals for frontline workers through its website.
Cost: $36.95; order takeout online or delivery through Caviar

All the pasta and all the wine from Giulia

Porter Square
How can you choose? All we know is that we’re overjoyed our beloved Italian restaurant is now serving a limited menu of antipasti, homemade pasta dishes, and secondi -- and, yes, its chocolate terrine as well. They also now have pasta and sauces to go, plus six bottles of wine currently available for purchase, ranging in price from $20 to $36. 
Cost: A la carte; order by calling 617.441.2800 after 3pm

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Meaghan Agnew is here to kvetch, commiserate, and above all, help support local businesses during this crazy time. Follow her on Twitter to see restaurant and retail updates, and follow her on Instagram to see copious photos of her dogs.