If you’re heading to Boston anytime soon, you’ll want to know the best diners to visit. After all, heading to Boston means heading to food. And with all that the city offers, you won’t want to waste any time wondering where to eat.
Scroll on down to learn more about six of the best diners in Boston to cozy up in when exploring this historic city.
Why Is Boston Called Beantown?
Before we start exploring, you might want to know a little about the history behind the name. No, not Boston, but the city’s nickname, Beantown. Though not everyone has always liked it, it sticks. The name Beantown came from beans, of course.
From the country’s roots, merchants and sailors often consumed this cheap meal when passing through Boston. It consisted of beans from the Puritans mixed with molasses from the slave trade.
Ever heard of Boston baked beans? Through word of mouth, we got Beantown.
What’s the Top Cuisine in Boston?
While everyone knew Boston for the beans back when, today, it’s known for so much more. And being located off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean means the city’s seafood dishes win the game, such as clam chowder, crab claws, lobster rolls, and all the delicacies straight from the sea.
Want more? You can find it all, like fried fish, clams, and oysters at casual diners, upscale restaurants, or even pizza joints. There’s no shortage of seafood in Beantown. And really, some of the best places to enjoy all of this is at a laid-back, no-fuss diner.
Traveler’s Tip: While exploring Boston, check out Acorn Street to uncover why it’s so famous.
What Is Considered a Diner?
What differentiates a diner from any other restaurant? A diner is a casual eatery. You may find many of them owned and operated by a family. When they first became an object of attention, many diners served typical American fares such as burgers, fries, and sodas.
Jukeboxes were prevalent either on each table or as a large centerpiece. Some say these jukeboxes defined the style in the 50s and 60s. Today, a diner is that and more.
And in Boston, you’ll find diners on every corner, just waiting for you to walk into all the comforts of home-cooked foods and seafood from right outside the door.
Cozy Up in These 6 Best Diners in Boston
Boston is a foodie’s delight. And you don’t have to be a food expert to enjoy any of it, especially for Boston’s eateries. Just come hungry for breakfast, sandwiches, burgers, or seafood. You’ll find it all and more in the best diners in Boston.
1. Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe
Address: 429 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02116
About: Looking for a taste of history? Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe has served up old-style diner cooking since 1927. This award-winning restaurant takes pride in its food, and it shows.
Charlie’s has won the James Beard Award for excellence in cuisine. Try delicious breakfast sandwiches, deluxe burgers, soups, salads, and house-made cocktails. Almost everyone can find something to eat at this Boston institution.
And a Boston institution it is. Though changing ownership over the years, it has remained a piece of history since 1927, when it opened its doors as a 32-seat diner.
Since its beginning, it has shunned the norms and has been an inclusive restaurant to all races, serving jazz musicians, chefs, and presidents.
What to Order: Try Charlie’s house-special grilled banana bread when visiting.
2. Liberty Diner
Address: 1003 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02118
About: If you want a delicious and hearty meal, look no further than Liberty Diner. This Boston diner has speedy service and delicious comfort food. Whether you’re craving eggs and grits or classic sandwiches, you can find something to drool over on the menu.
And if you want to try some seafood, you won’t be disappointed. The scallops, clam strips, and other seafood options are some of the best in Boston. Liberty Diner has the vibes and the food that fit that classic-diner feel.
What to Order: The seafood options at Liberty Diner seem endless. And you can’t go wrong with the fish and chips. But may we suggest adding some grits to that order?
3. Mike’s City Diner
Address: 1714 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118
About: Since 1995, Mike’s City Diner has served food in the South End neighborhood. President Clinton, Guy Fieri, “The Boston Globe,” “The Food Network,” and more love this place. It would make sense that it made our list of Boston’s best diners.
Jay, the owner and chef, and his family moved to Boston after escaping the Lebanese Civil War. He’s brought his love for food with him, infusing flavors to create magic on his menu.
Here, you’ll find classic diner food alongside specialties such as chicken kebabs, rice, clam chowder, and butternut squash.
What to Order: Mike is known for his signature fresh-roasted turkey, and you’ll see it throughout the menu. But you can’t pay a visit to Mike’s without ordering the Pilgrim Sandwich, complete with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.
Traveler’s Tip: While in Boston, grab a drink at the Oldest Tavern in America.
4. South Street Diner
Address: 178 Kneeland St, Boston, MA 02111
About: The South Street Diner, formerly the Blue Diner, started in 1947 to serve local factory workers. However, this Boston eatery has transitioned over the years to one of the best diners in Boston.
Known for its late-night vibe, it’s an after-hours destination for hungry clubgoers and a place to hang out for all ages. Additionally, you might recognize it as a set for many movies such as “The Equalizer,” “Hiding Out,” and “Second Sight.”
You might spot a celebrity or two on a late-night watch, but you’ll need some good grub to keep you company.
South Street Diner has both the vibe and the flavor, serving up a goliath of food choices recognized by “The Food Network,” “Esquire,” “Boston Magazine,” and more as some of the best in the nation.
What to Order: Breakfast and dinner are served 24/7 here, and for that all-nighter, you can’t go wrong with breakfast at 2 a.m. or any other time of the day. And with more than 10 types of eggs benedict on the menu, why not start your morning with something you don’t usually make for yourself?
5. Galley Diner
Address: 11 P St, South Boston, MA 02127
About: If you want to stop in at another of the best diners in Boston, look no further than Galley Diner. This unassuming little joint has everything you could want, including a 12-stool classic diner counter and only four tables. It’s small, but there always seems to be room for everyone.
The menu has all of the classic diner breakfast dishes, but the highlight at Galley Diner is the hand-carved ham. Warmed on the griddle and smothered in eggs, it’s the perfect accompaniment to any meal. Boston Magazine has even named it Boston’s Best Diner. Egg sandwiches, omelets, ham, whatever you order here, it’s going to be good.
What to Order: The real goods are the corned beef hash and eggs. Stuff it inside the Southie omelet with cheese, and you’ve got magic. Anthony Bourdain even thinks so. One reviewer said it’s “a perfect example of what corned beef hash and eggs should taste like.”
6. Victoria’s Diner
Address: 1024 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02118
About: You can’t deny that Boston is a foodie city. From world-renowned chefs to innovative new restaurants, there’s something for everyone. But sometimes, you just want a classic-diner meal. That’s where Victoria’s Diner comes in.
This beloved restaurant has served delicious dishes since 1949. And it brings four communities together — Dorchester, South Boston, Roxbury, and the South End.
Its extensive menu includes everything from granola and yogurt to classic diner fare and cocktails. They also offer catering and have space for private events.
What to Order: You can’t go wrong with Victoria’s Hangover Burger, topped with a fried egg, smoked bacon, and cheese. Want more? No problem. It’s also smothered with black pepper maple syrup aioli and served on a gigantic English muffin. You better come hungry.
Eat at the Best Diners in Boston on Your Next Visit to the City
Many come to Boston for the food. Yes, there’s a lot of history in this city, but really, it’s all about the cuisine, especially when it comes to Boston’s diners.
Get everything, from seafood to classic diner breakfasts, celebrities to presidents, and early mornings or late nights. Make eating at these best diners in Boston a priority on your next visit to Beantown. Or maybe it should be called Dinertown.
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