Boston Famous Foods: 10 Dishes You Need to Try

Lots of highlights attract travelers to Boston: its colonial history, art museums, coastal charm, and more. The capital city is also home to a thriving culinary scene, from homegrown restaurants to modern eateries. While it’s easy to find cuisines from all over the world, we’re here to share 10 famous Boston foods you have to try in Beantown.

Boston is a vibrant New England hub with no shortage of seafood eateries, local bakeries, and mom-and-pop pubs. Boasting seasonal delicacies and year-round favorites, some of the best food in Boston is fare you’ll only find in New England. It’s no surprise it was named the #2 best food city in the US.

Sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Berkshires, Boston’s location is a surefire reason for many of its most well-known foods. Enjoy fresh seafood brought in on the catch of the day, or try seasonal treats thanks to the nearby orchards.

Whether you’re checking off stops along the Freedom Trail or riding a swan boat in the Public Gardens, you’ll need to grab a bite (or two) along the way. Here’s our go-to guide on what to eat in Boston.

People walking around looking for Boston famous foods on a busy street.
These are Boston’s most famous foods you have to try while in town. Photo credit: Yoav Aziz

Clam chowder

From chilly winter evenings to crisp fall days, nothing says Boston like a steaming bowl of clam chowder. This rich and creamy dish toes the line between soup and stew, featuring broth, potatoes, onions, and of course fresh clams. Some places add other veggies, salt pork, and bacon bits.

Boston clam chowder is unique because it’s made with a milk or cream base, making it much thicker than a soup. Plus, the freshness of the clams guarantees a briny flavor you won’t find inland.

You can try this melt-in-your mouth dish all over the city, from Faneuil Hall vendors to upscale seafood restaurants. We particularly love Neptune Oyster’s mouth-watering blend of clams, salt pork, and thyme. Don’t forget to sprinkle some oyster crackers on top.

A person eating New England clam chowder in Boston.
If you’re into New England clam chowder, seafood bisque, or seared scallop chowder, Boston is the place to be. Photo credit: City Foodsters

Lobster roll

Lobster rolls are a New England specialty, found from the coast of Maine to the arm of Cape Cod. Eaten hot-dog style in a toasted bun, they’re great with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and chips on the side.

They can be served cold with mayonnaise, or hot with melted butter on top.

A lobster roll, a Boston famous food, wrapped in foil.
Lobster rolls are peak Boston cuisine. Photo credit: Will Ma


Rounding out our seafood picks are a must-have in Boston: oysters! Salty, briny, musky—you name it, you’ll find an oyster like it. New England oysters are known for their strong fishy flavor, so they’re not for everyone, but we definitely recommend giving them a try.

Great to split with friends, oysters come served chilled on ice, with lemon and cocktail sauce on the side. Plus, many places offer buck-a-shuck deals, the shellfish version of happy hour.

A person squeezing lemon onto an oyster at a restaurant.
Enjoy fresh oysters in Boston. Photo credit: cottonbro studio

Boston cream pie

One of the most famous foods from Massachusetts, this eponymous dessert features rich custard filling, sponge cake exterior, and silky chocolate icing. Whether you enjoy it with your morning coffee or as a late-night dessert, this true Boston classic never gets old.

And the icing on the pie—er, cake? Nowadays, there are countless new ways to enjoy the traditional Boston cream flavor, from a donut at Union Square Donuts to a cocktail at the Last Hurrah.

Pies at a diner in Boston.
Is it really a trip to Boston if you don’t try the Boston cream pie? Photo credit: Debby Hudson


Why are cannoli so popular in Boston? Thanks to the city’s Italian heritage, this Sicilian dessert has become a staple in the North End, Boston’s Little Italy neighborhood.

The tantalizing combination of sweet ricotta and deep-fried dough is often paired with toppings like chocolate chips, candied fruit, pistachio, and more.

Sample the best of the best at standout cannoli spots in the North End. Modern Pastry is a family owned and operated bakery, and a fan favorite on our Ultimate Boston Food Tour. Another nearby highlight is Bova’s Bakery, open 24/7 and serving up a variety of savory dishes in addition to their tasty cannoli.

Fun fact:

  • Cannoli is already plural. One would be a cannolo—but we already know you can’t have just one.
A stack of cannoli as a person behind reaches for other baked goods.
So many cannoli, so little time. Photo credit: Louis Hansel

Local apples

As the air gets cooler and the leaves start to turn, one thing’s for sure: it’s apple season in New England. If you’re traveling to Boston in the fall, we can’t recommend enough trying apple products from local Massachusetts orchards.

Enjoy seasonal Boston street food with a range of yummy apple products. Bite into a crisp McIntosh, warm up with a piping hot cup of cider, or satisfy a sweet tooth with an apple cider donut.

A woman holding local apples in Boston.
Whether you eat them freshly picked or as a hot apple cider, local apples in Boston are a must try. Photo credit: Natalie Grainger

Fenway Frank

You probably wouldn’t think that Fenway Park is one of the most famous Boston food places, but that’s right—the Red Sox have their own hot dog. Whether you’re overlooking the Green Monster at a baseball game or grabbing lunch to go from a food truck, you’ll find Fenway Franks all over Boston.

Fenway Franks are different from other sausages in that they’re both boiled and grilled, giving them a juicy and savory flavor. Whether you’re a ketchup, mustard, or relish connoisseur, you can’t go wrong with a Fenway Frank.

A person holding Boston famous foods: two Fenway Frank hot dogs.
What kind of toppings do you like on your hot dogs? Photo credit: Andrew Malone

Boston baked beans

Ever wonder why Boston is called Beantown? A staple at summer cookouts and potluck picnics, Boston baked beans are a hearty and filling side dish. Cooked with molasses instead of brown sugar, they offer a savory twist on a traditional recipe.

In fact, Bostonians have been using molasses in their baked beans since the 18th century, when traders shipped it north to make rum.

Don’t be confused by the regional Boston Baked Beans candy, which aren’t beans at all but rather sweet and savory coated peanuts.

A person with a grilled sandwich and a side of baked beans in Boston.
Baked beans are one of Boston’s famous foods you have to try. Photo credit: Jakob Owens

Homemade ice cream

Nor’easters are no match for Massachusetts ice cream lovers—true Bostonians eat ice cream any time of year. Homemade ice cream is a particularly popular and refreshing treat in New England.

You’ll wind up with a brain freeze trying to find the best spot, so we’ll give you our rec: Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream (Cambridge Street, 1255).

A woman holding homemade ice cream at a local creamery in Boston. Homemade ice cream is one of the Boston famous foods you have to try.
Boston famous foods include creamy homemade ice cream. Grab a scoop or two while in Boston. Photo credit: Cadenc _moving

Craft beer

Among fun places to eat in Boston are a growing number of places to drink, especially craft breweries. Beer aficionados will love the countless options Boston has to offer.

Enjoy views of the Harbor at Trillium Brewing, or an artsy beer garden at Aeronaut Brewing Company in Somerville.

Three small craft beers on circular coasters
Craft beers on a hot summer day in Boston are sublime.