Food & Drink

The 7 best whole-animal feasts in Boston

Published On 12/18/2014 Published On 12/18/2014
Julie Cerick

Ever since that one dude discovered fire, people have roasted entire animals for sustenance and celebration. And because seared meat is 100% delicious. Unfortunately, braising a whole goat in your city apartment is logistically impractical. Luckily, many Hub restaurants offer whole-animal dinners, for those times when just consuming a leg, or whatever, simply won't do.

Tavern Road

Tavern Road

Fort Point
Tavern Road is known for its inventive cocktails and impeccable bites, but Chef Louis DiBiccari goes next-level when it comes to whole-animal dinners. He’ll roast a pig, lamb, goat, duck, or other surprise critters for you and 12+ friends, and there will be plenty for everyone. The feast begins with small bites (like braised lamb tongue) followed by a major meat bonanza with your choice of three sides (hopefully meat, meat, and meat). The menu varies based on the animal and the chef’s whim, so you’ll need to call (617.790.0808) to find out more.

Heloisa Fitzgerald 

Liquid Art House

South End 
Chef Rachel Klein only cooks all-natural, "Never Ever 3" program meats in her funky L.A.H. kitchen (as in... Never-ever antibiotics, Never-ever hormones, Never-ever by-products). And that’s exactly why you need to experience one of her Whole Communal Roasts, served family style. You have four tantalizing choices: Trio of Green Circle Chickens (chicken jus), Milk Fed Upstate NY Suckling Pig (shallot jam, red wine jus), Colorado Leg of Lamb (roasted olives & grapes, mint gremolata), and Rohan Duck (sour cherry marmalade, jus du canard). Yeah, decisions, decisions. Note: there is a 72-hour advance notification required. For more, call 617.457.8130. 

Belly Wine Bar

Belly Wine Bar

Kendall Square
Belly knows exactly what’s good for your... umm... belly: four course Arm + A Leg pig roasts, naturally. With a 48-hour heads-up, Chef Andrew Bonner and his team will put together a mega spread for parties of four-eight very hungry people ($62 each). Settle into one of Belly’s excellent wine selections and prepare yourself for cracklings, fried pigs tails, head cheese, and pork cassoulet. Oh, and a fig & pine nut tart (variety!). Pro tip: you should order some charcuterie for extra cured-meat-goodness. Another pro tip: visit their website in the spring to find out when they’re roasting lamb (you’ll want to know). Reservations only; ring them at 617.494.0968 for details.  

Ashmont Grill 

Ashmont Grill

At cozy Ashmont Grill, you are invited to make a whole day of your whole-animal roast. Show up early, sip some brews, and hang out with the team as they slow-roast your pig, lamb, or goat in their La Caja China Cuban cooking box. You can arrive at dinner time (6pm), but you should check out the early action. They do all the work and you reap the benefits, as they serve up Chef/Owner Chris Douglass’ tasty choices of family-style appetizers, seasonal sides, and dessert. Required: eight-16 carnivorous comrades, a seven-day notice, and an RSVP with credit card ($45/person). E-mail the grill for info.  



Davis Square
At Posto, it’s all about piles of pork. Juicy, delicious pork. A two-week notice is required for your swine time... just so the team can find the perfect local heritage breed pig (courtesy of Ron Savenor) to feed your crew (12+). Bigger party = bigger pig. Once procured and prepped, your special oinker is stuffed with homemade seasonal fig or chestnut sausage stuffing seasoned with fresh herbs, veggies, and Marsala wine. Also included: seasonal salads, sea salt rosemary bread, warm country olives, more veggies, herb-roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, and roasted apples. Your journey to porky bliss begins here.

Michael Piazza 

The Kirkland Tap & Trotter

Inman Square
Chef Tony Maws loves roast beast, and he wants to share that love with you at Kirkland’s Whole-Animal Feasts, a variation of his popular Whole-Hog Dinner at Craigie. You can still go with hog, but lamb and other critters are available, too. All of the food (meat + tons of sides) and wine are customized to the group (12+), and Chef Maws will dish it up himself. Prices start at $55/person (Monday-Thursday) and $85/person (Fridays and Saturdays). Call the restaurant at 857.259.6585 to book your meat-fest.

Citizen Pub

The Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar

Too bad Jules doesn’t dig on swine (disregarding Vincent’s compelling "Bacon tastes good" argument), because he’s totally missing out on Citizen’s Whole-Roasted Suckling Pig Dinners. They cook your little piggy 14 hours for maximum tenderness, and then present it to you with varying seasonal sides like Brussels sprouts, broccoli gratin, and whipped Yukon Gold potatoes. Major bonus: a bit of surf is part of the deal, with shellfish appetizers (fresh oysters, little necks, shrimp cocktail) when you arrive. $450 for 10 people, $45 for each additional person. Call 617.450.9000 for availability, because they often book up the dinners in advance.

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1. Tavern Road 343 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210 (Fort Point Channel)

South Boston’s Tavern Road is a frenetic cacophony of diners enjoying New American cuisine in small plates, large plates, and, for larger parties, “Street Feasts,” an option for the indecisive who’d prefer the chef to structure their meal. Though the crowd favorites are the chickpea frites, the menu also encompasses tacos, vegetables, charcuterie, fish, meat, and oysters. The main attraction of the dining room is an accent mural in warm reds and burnt oranges, one that sums up the Tavern Road experience: loud, busy, and, above all, lovely.

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2. Liquid Art House 100 Arlington St, Boston, MA 02116 (South End)

This grand experiment is equal parts restaurant, gallery, showroom, lounge, and online platform. The food is just about as artistic as the pieces they're showing off on the walls: handmade dumplings with duck cracklings, Brussels sprouts, aged Gouda, and Asian pear; or Maple Planked Arctic Char with baby potatoes, quail eggs, dill pickles, sour cream, and roe.

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3. Belly Wine Bar One Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Kendall Square)

Tucked inside the lower level of a 19th-century mill sporting wood-beamed ceilings and porcelain-tiled floors, Kendall Square's Belly Wine Bar is a gorgeous, Italian-inspired gem with a small but expertly curated wine list and a food menu that's as comforting as the space itself. Belly offers seasonally inspired plates including charcuterie, duck confit legs, and roasted chicken with polenta. Best of all, in colder months you can order s'mores for dessert and roast your marshmallows over an outdoor fire as snow falls gently onto the twinkle-lit patio. It's as romantic as it sounds.

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4. Ashmont Grill 555 Talbot Ave, Dorchester, MA 02124 (Dorchester)

This neighborhood grill joint boasts a sweet patio and fresh takes on American classics.

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5. Pizzeria Posto 187 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144 (Porter Square)

From a chef-turned-first-time owner eager to break the location's curse (four spots in five years), PP's a modern take on the "classic Italian wood-fire pizzeria and enoteca" plating a mélange of small bites, pastas, and pizzas in an airy high-ceiling'd "woodsy-meets-industrial" themed space replete with exposed brick/stone accents, floor-to-ceiling windows, a black/dark grey slate bar, an exposed wood fire oven, and a private dining room behind dual sliding doors.

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6. The Kirkland Tap & Trotter 425 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143 (Inman Square)

Tony Maws' Somerville gastropub is more laid-back than its upscale sibling, Craigie on Main, but the food is just as good. Inspired by English neighborhood pubs, KT&T wants to be the kind of place you can go every night of the week, so it serves an American comfort menu that will have you begging for more. Both brunch and dinner are a meat-lover's paradise, and the kind of amazing grass-fed cheeseburger is available on both menus.

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7. Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar 1310 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215 (Fenway Kenmore)

From the guys behind Tasty Burger/Franklin Cafe, this upscale neighborhood tavern's outfitted with vintage-esque black/grey damask print wallpaper, brown leather booths, exposed wood ceiling beams, and a 100-year-old fireplace.



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