The Mexican-Style Grasshopper Tacos You Have to Try When You're in South Beach
The name says it all. While this place will sell you food and drink, none of it is stuff you’d really want to, you know, eat or drink (especially the Southern/New England nonsense entrees with spellings like "lobsta" and "platta"). Chances are, you’ve been dragged here by a couple of nephews who are all about the rude staff and "funny" white hats. Grin and bear it... just demand restitution decades later.
Another one that’s… clearly not for the locals. It’s kind of impressive, solely in that it’s a fairly spot-on recreation -- not of the original Cheers bar on Beacon Hill, but of the set of the TV show, with far more windows, and far, far more shelves of paraphernalia. The food is mostly fried-basket fare, although if you manage to scarf down the anvil-sized Giant Norm Burger, you’ll get to bring home a ceremonial plate. So, not all bad. Bring the nephews (when they turn 21).
It’s a dive bar down in the bowels of Durgin-Park -- what’s not to love? Well, for starters, it’s a little too well-lit for a dive. And the service is, how do we say it... not so good. And the food, well, the food is what it is (seafood-y, but not spectacular), although the oysters are usually pretty fresh. There’s also regular stand-up comedy, which either dramatically adds or subtracts value, depending on who’s performing.
A modern spin on tavern grub means appetizers like corned beef and cabbage egg rolls, and Guinness onion soup, which may or may not be worth the crowds of tourists -- that’s your call.
Come for the tequila; stay for the tequila; eat some sizzling fajitas in between. Every Tex-Mex staple makes an appearance here, from seven-layer dip to taco salad to, um, burgers. But burritos and tacos and fajitas abound, and there’s a whole page of margarita and cerveza offerings, so go with that.
Now we’re really talking: Anthem serves New American fare in a grown-up setting, slightly removed from the throngs, and for these reasons alone, we’re fans. But there are also a lot of staple goodies here, from the pan-roasted chicken to the lobster Cobb, and a couple of totally serviceable flatbreads. We’re officially in check-plus territory here.
This is what the fossilized relatives have been waiting for: one of the oldest restaurants in the country dishing up authentic(ish!) New England fare at long communal tables, usually covered with checked tablecloths. If you’re feeling too fancy for it, try to remember what fun feels like. When’s the last time you had Yankee pot roast, chicken pot pie, a corned beef platter, or "frankfurters" as an entree? All the seafood staples are represented, too, from the chowders to the clambakes. It’s pretty expensive and pretty touristy -- and often mocked by local foodies -- but there’s a lot to embrace.
Come for the tequila, stay for the surprisingly chic decor and totally decent Mexican food (... cheeseburger taco aside). It’s a newbie, but a goodie, with a terrific tequila menu featuring over 100 options that nicely complements the cocktail selection (because honestly, you’re there for the drinks, even if your traveling companions are not).
Hello, secret favorite dinner spot. Yeah, it’s a chain, but it’s a chain that began in London, which probably explains its so-not-the-chains-you're-used-to superiority. This spot offers genuinely great noodle dishes that cater well to omnivores, as well as vegetarians and vegans. Even the ramen is good, and the lollipop shrimp kushiyaki and tori kara age are two of our guilty appetizer pleasures -- except we don’t even really feel that guilty about them. If you’re going to have a meal in Faneuil Hall, then you could do far, far worse.
Outdoor seating and a subterranean oyster bar: this place might just be our favorite Faneuil spot. It’s like a sit-down clam shack where you can gorge on every iteration of stew and chowder, fried fish sandwich, roll, and po-boy. (There’s also some dumb "Fitness First" menu. Ignore that.) For us, it’s all about the raw bar, steamer buckets, and the entrees, specifically the fried fish plates and the lobster casserole.
Whoops, a chain wins. But if you’re looking for the actual best meal in Faneuil, this is your ticket. McCormick & Schmick’s prepares genuinely delicious bacon-wrapped shrimp, well-prepped fish (with crab lumps, ideally), New England standbys like lobster and fried clams, mixed grill plates, and steaks: dry-aged, with your choice of sauce. Add to that the fact that its old-school cocktails are completely legit (made from fresh juices, etc.), and it’s clear: this place is just a safe, smart bet.
1. Dick's Last Resort1 S Market St Ste 4, Boston
2. Cheers2 Faneuil Hall Market Pl, Boston
3. The Hideout340 Faneuil Hall Market Pl, Boston
4. Ned Devine's1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston
5. Zuma Tex-Mex Grill1 Faneuil Hall Market Pl, Boston
6. Anthem Kitchen + Bar101 South Market St, Boston
7. Durgin-Park340 Faneuil Hall Market Pl, Boston
8. Mija Cantina & Tequila Bar1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston
9. WagamamaQuincy Market, Boston
10. Salty Dog Seafood Grille & Bar206 Faneuil Hall Market Pl, Boston
11. McCormick & Schmick's Seafood1 Faneuil Hall Market Pl, Boston
Although this chain is known for its Southern-inspired menu of crunchy fried chicken, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and seasoned jumbo shrimp, it's the crude waitstaff that makes Dick's Last Resort the best kind of tourist trap. When you sit down to your table, the intentionally rude waitstaff gives you paper dunce-like hats on which they scribble PG-13 insults...and you have to (or at least, should) wear the hat for the entirety of your meal. It's a weird concept, for sure, but it's all in good fun -- and the garish tropical cocktails make the waitstaff's obnoxious demeanor all the more manageable.
It's literally the place where everyone knows your name -- or, at least, a recreation of it. The actual Cheers is in Beacon Hill, but this exact replica in Faneuil Hall offers up the same Sam Adams draft beers and shockingly good bar bites like crispy fried calamari, double-decker burgers, and veggie pasta made with artichoke hearts. The constant, rowdy crowd (most of whom are probably watching a Red Sox game) make this bar just about as Boston as it gets.
The Hideout probably changed its name from Black Horse Tavern because that's exactly what it feels like -- beneath Faneuil Hall's Durgin Park, the bar is a dive in a sea of tourist traps. That said, it does attract its fair share of tourists, but the crowd is a generally laid-back crew looking for an unfussy pint of beer, and perhaps, some solid oysters.
Ned Devine's Quincy Market is a buzzy, touristy pub that slings traditional British and Irish favorites like corned beef and bangers and mash -- by day, at least. Once the sun goes down, the dilapidated brick walls are washed in green and purple neon light, and the whole place becomes a clubby bar with DJ-ed dance parties and live music.
With sunny yellow walls and cantina floors, Zuma brings Southwest vibes right to Faneuil Hall. The menu features Tex-Mex staples like brisket chili, custom-made tacos, and seven-layer dip, all complemented by plenty of tequila and cerveza. The full-service bar helps create a buzzy ambience, as do the signature neon margaritas and daiquiris.
From the restaurant group behind City Table, Gather, and Ned Devine's, Anthem is a tried and true Boston favorite inside Faneuil Hall. The menu has a classic American lineup featuring veggie-laden wood-fired flatbreads, lobster mac & cheese, and a couple of artisan-style burgers. Aside from à la carte comfort food, Anthem serves prix-fixe menus with impressive seafood courses, and the interior features elegant dining rooms equipped with dark leather booths and stone walls.
Aside, maybe, from the Freedom Trail, it doesn't get much more historic than Durgin-Park in Faneuil Hall. Technically, this restaurant dates back to the pre-revolution days, but it's been operating under its current name and location for around 200 years, so these guys know what they're doing. Fresh local and imported fish makes for the best New England staples (clam chowder, lobster bisque) and bread baked in-house makes for unbeatable burgers and sandwiches. Just beware, Durgin-Park flaunts its history loud and proud, so it's a little touristy.
Come for the tequila, stay for the surprisingly chic decor and totally decent Mexican food (... cheeseburger taco aside). Mija Cantina is a reliable Faneuil Hall restaurant with a terrific tequila menu featuring over 100 options that nicely complements the cocktail selection (because honestly, you’re there for the drinks, even if your traveling companions are not).
This beloved London-based chain serves up comfort Japanese fare in a minimalist's heaven, and the Faneuil Hall location is no exception -- sitting proudly on South Market behind bustling crowds lies Wagamama's equally bustling interior with sleek, wooden tables and outdoor seating. The food, prepared in a glass-enclosed open kitchen, steals the show with authentic ramen and teppanyaki noodle dishes, curries accompanied by spheres of sticky rice, and steamy bowls of miso.
A traditional Cape Cod clam shack just outside Faneuil Hall, The Salty Dog's got it all, seafood-wise. From the slippery oysters and raw bar specialties to the colossal fish and chip plates and buttery Maine lobster, this quintessential New England restaurant caters to Quincy Market tourists. A large patio makes it an ideal people-watching spot, especially with a frosty bottle of Sam Adams in hand.
One taste of the parmesan-crusted trout, buttery Maine lobster plucked straight from the water, or tender beef steak slices reaffirms our notion that among the hoard of Faneuil Hall's tourist-filled bars and restaurants, McCormick & Schmick's is the best bet, despite its chain status. If the large, shaded patio doesn't sell you on it, a cocktail made with freshly squeezed juices surely will.