Because it’s late and nobody at Clerys is cool with you crashing in the basement, cap off your night out with a giant plate of 3am pancakes (or a sausage or a slice or a chickpea fritter?). And to help you find food without wandering aimlessly down Dartmouth Street, we rounded up the absolute 12 best spots in the Hub for late-night eats.
Open until: 4am, every day
There’s a reason it’s called Tasty Burger and is open until 4am... because they know what the kids want. At 3:37am. And believe us, there will be TONS of them of there. Just be sure wash down that burger with a milkshake or a Cheerwine, and you’ll go to bed thoroughly satisfied.
Open until: 3am, Thursday-Sunday
Bucking the late-night trend of pizza and hot dogs, Moody’s flips the script with their hand-crafted Syrian street food that’s easy on the wallet and mostly good for you. The lamb shawarma roll-up (only $5.50) is your obvious play, but if your hunger pangs are more intense, the Palace Super Veggie Plate comes loaded with falafel, hummus, baba ghanouj, foul, tabouli, grape leaves, salad, and bread.
Open until: 3:30am on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday; 4:30am on Friday and Saturday
We don’t know about you, but made-from-scratch tacos sounds pretty good any time of day... and especially after 2am. And that’s what you’re getting at El Triunfo. Steak, shrimp, or ground chicken tacos with pico de gallo, onions, cilantro, hot sauce, jalapeños, guac, and sour cream. Round out your order with pupusas and tamales. We’re done here.
Any random sausage vendor
Open until: Varies... mostly until everyone has been fed or they run out of sausages
No matter what time you stumble out of your favorite Faneuil Hall guilty pleasure bar, there will likely be sausage vendors grilling somewhere nearby -- just follow the wafting aromas of sizzling peppers and onions. Go for the works (kraut, extra mustard, and onions, etc.), and you’ll sleep like a baby. That is, until you wake up in middle of your own dutch oven.
Open until: They’re always open
South Street Diner has been THE go-to spot for night owls since 1947, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Like a good neighbor, this greasy spoon is always there for you with their signature Monte Christo, Chocolate Fantasy French Toast, and blueberry pancakes. For savory hankerings, the Supreme burger, turkey club, and the Steak Tip Bomb are ample fuel for rehashing your evening’s adventures.
Open until: 2:30am on Thursday, 3am on Friday and Saturday
The Harvard Square icon achieved its legendary status in two ways: by pouring some pretty mean scorpion bowls and keeping the kitchen open late. And they’ve got a full spread. Grab a table as early as you can, start with some Peking ravioli and egg rolls, and then dig into your preferred noodle/fried rice plate of awesome. (Fisherman’s Fury, hot basil fried rice.)
Open until: 3am, every day
Admittedly, Boston doesn’t have that many after-hours brick-and-mortars, but Little Steve’s is one of the best. Since 1968, this humble pizza parlor has been baking up delicious pies for the hungry masses who don’t want to wait for that DiGiorno to bake in the toaster oven. The long line and somewhat unruly crowd are totally worth it for any jumbo slice (meat lover) or whole pizza (also meat lover). Pro tip: after 2:30am, every order is take-out only. (But they have a sidewalk.)
Open until: 4am, every day
Chinatown has a long tradition of catering to the midnight oil set, and New Golden Gate is one of the neighborhood’s brightest late-night beacons. They have all your Chinese favorites, from Imperial Pork ribs to Foo Chow fried rice to beef udon noodles; just don’t forget some crab Rangoons and boneless spare ribs -- absolutely mandatory.
Open until: They’re always open
Any revelry in the North End should end with a visit to Bova’s, a family-run bakery jammed with pastries and tasty treats. You walk in already hungry, and then you smell the fresh-from-the-oven goodness. Game over. And the list of must-haves is daunting: ricotta cannoli, turnovers, eclairs, fruit tarts, Neapolitans, whoopie Pies, sfogliatelle, and tiramisu. Oh, and also calzones, Sicilian-style pizza, subs, and spuckies. That’s amore.
Open until: 3am, Thursday through Saturday
Instead of foolishly waiting for a cab near MGH at 2:27am, swing into Felcaro’s for some well-deserved slices of pizza. Straight, no chaser. But don’t rule out any of the foot-long subs, like the steak combo or the classic Italian, because you just might need something mighty. Bonus: they have waffle fries AND jalapeño poppers.
Open until: 24-7, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
Since 1949, Victoria’s has been serving home-cooked meals after the witching hour to FOUR different Boston neighborhoods (Dorchester, Southie, Roxbury, and South End), and they make it look so easy. Menu standouts include the breakfast burrito with shaved sirloin, Victoria’s Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits with sausage cream gravy, and the meat lovers omelette. If you need a sam’ich, the triple decker club and grilled lean pastrami will both make you wonder why you don’t end up at Victoria’s more often. (You also need a root beer float. Just sayin’.)
Open until: They’re always open
Located in the former spot of another long-time, late-night joint (Hi-Fi), Clover Food Lab is open 24-7 and cranks out their signature soups, sammies, and sippers for the end-of-the-night masses in Central Square. For those in the know, the menu changes daily... but there’s a good chance that you’ll stumble onto their famous chickpea fritter. The rest is bonus.
1. Tasty Burger40 JFK St, Cambridge
2. Moody's Falafel Palace14 Western Ave, Cambridge
3. El Triunfo69 Prince St, Boston
4. South Street Diner178 Kneeland St, Boston
5. Hong Kong Restaurant1238 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge (& other locations)
6. Little Steve's Pizzeria1114 Boylston St, Boston
7. New Golden Gate66 Beach St, Boston
8. Bova's Bakery134 Salem St, Boston
9. Felcaro Pizzeria280 Cambridge St, Boston
10. Victoria's Diner1024 Massachusetts Ave, Boston
11. Clover Food Lab7 Holyoke St, Cambridge
On the first level, you'll find the burger shop, complete with amazing smells and 1950s-style decor. Downstairs, discover the lounge area that features some billiards, a beer and wine bar and lively music filling the air, all of which is open til 4a.
Moody’s features hand-crafted Syrian street food that’s easy on the wallet and mostly good for you. The Lamb Shawarma Roll-Up (only $5.50) is your obvious play but if your hunger pangs are more intense, the Palace Super Veggie Plate comes loaded with falafel, hummus, baba ghanouj, foul, tabouli, grape leaves, salad, and bread.
Just opened in the former Grezzo, this second outpost of the South End mainstay rocks a lineup of classic Mexican carnitas burritos, shrimp fajitas, and ground beef quesadillas to accompany El Salvadoran faves like chicken tamales.
A legend since 1947, the venerable South Street Diner is the only joint in Boston where you can get grub 24/7. And that’s big-time. The always-packed Worcester Dining Car has been churning out working man’s breakfasts since factory workers crowded the counter, and you can still get the same smile-inducing meals today. Regulars swear by the Monte Cristo, the smoked salmon, and the Diner Special complete with three eggs, two pancakes or French toast, home fries, toast, and choice of bacon, corn beef hash, ham, or sausage. But you really can’t go wrong with anything... just don’t forget to add a side of banana bread or grilled cinnamon roll.
This popular club/lounge is known for its late-night takeout, colossal scorpion bowls, and packed dance floor -- all open util 2:30am. Hong Kong has another location in Faneuil Hall.
One of the best after-hours pizza spots in Boston. Since 1968, this humble parlor has been baking up delicious pies for the hungry masses who don’t want to wait for that DiGiorno to bake in the toaster oven. The long line and somewhat unruly crowd are totally worth it for any jumbo slice (meat lover) or whole pizza (also meat lover). Pro tip: after 2:30am, every order is take-out only. (But they have a sidewalk.)
New Golden Gate is one of Chinatown's brightest late-night beacons. They have all your Chinese favorites, from Imperial Pork Ribs to Foo Chow Fried Rice to Beef Udon Noodles, and don’t forget some Crab Rangoons and Boneless Spare Ribs.
If you’re craving a cannoli at 4am, this tiny North End bakery, which is open 24-hours, is the only place to go. Grab one of several flavors (and bring cash!) or make yourself a to-go box of assorted cookies and pastries from the giant glass display cases up front. In need of something more savory? Bova's also makes calzones, Sicilian-style pizza, subs, and spuckies. It’s a little cramped, so you’ll probably want to head outside to eat.
Serving up good pizza, foot-long subs, waffle fries and jalapeno poppers into the early hours of the morning.
Victoria’s Diner is a Boston mainstay that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Favorites include the French toast, Buffalo chicken club, gargantuan seven-layer carrot cake, and the variety of creative omelettes.
"Everything will be different tomorrow" at CFL, which boasts a menu that changes daily and food trucks throughout Boston. The restaurant uses locally-sourced ingredients to create tasty, speedy sandwiches, soups, and drinks.