Big block letters reading “seafood platter” and “chowder” entice people from sandwich boards all along the streets of Boston. But how do you know which signs will lead you to truly traditional New England flavor? Here are a few well-known staples in an authentic “Boston diet,” what to look for, and where to find them.
1. New England Clam Chowder
Contrary to the thick sludge that is commonly served under the title “New England Clam Chowder,” a traditional chowder should be thinner and milkier. Everyone has their texture preference, but if you are looking for authenticity try the clam chowder at Yankee Lobster Company on Northern Avenue. They serve up a thinner broth that is still thick with flavor, and a good balance of clam and potatoes.
2. Fish and Chips
This popular Boston dish actually originated in England and was traditionally served in a newspaper wrapping. Few American restaurants continue this tradition besides The Druid, an Irish pub located in Cambridge. In their newspaper bundle, the Druid serves hand cut french fries, homemade tartar sauce and freshly battered cod (the Massachusetts state fish).
3. Lobster Roll
More traditional Lobster Rolls will skip the mayonnaise and leave the fresh lobster meat to make up the bulk of the sandwich. Original Maine Lobster Rolls were tossed in melted butter, and that is how they do things at places like Row 34. No mayo, no celery or spices, just the simple, rich flavors of Lobster and butter on a traditional New England soft roll.
4. Boston Baked Beans
It is surprisingly hard to find traditional Boston Baked Beans in the city nicknamed “Beantown.” This dish stands out from the classic barbecue style after simmering in molasses and pork fat. The best place to indulge is right in Faneuil Hall at Durgin-Park, where they serve this sweet and savory stew in a souvenir bean pot.