Hey Boston, Cast Your Vote in Our Bar Food Bracket Final Four!

As get closer to declaring a winner, here's where to taste the best pub grub in town
March 26, 2014
by Scott Kearnan

Decisions, decisions. 

We (and that includes you, click-wielding reader) have nearly declared a winner in our Bar-Food Bracket, an ongoing online showdown between some of our favorite eats. Today we can announce the "Final Four" based on your poll picks: Buffalo wings, French fries, onion rings and calamari. Clearly the competition is stiff as we advance toward an ultimate victor, and you can head here to cast a vote that will narrow things down to the top two. But if it helps to refresh your taste buds as to each item's merits, we've gathered below an additional foursome of favorite places for each plate. Take your pick, and don't worry - these are all winners. 

Buffalo Wings

Buff's Pub. This Newton spot is a landmark for for Buffalo sauce lovers, serving up a 20-wing feast (drenched in the hot stuff) for about $15. (317 Washington St., Newton; 617-0332-9134)

Game On. Look, we can't really choose a quartet of Buffalo wings destinations without choosing something near Fenway. And if you're looking for wings that are simple, no frills, well-done and well-slathered in hot sauce, Game On brings the heat. (82 Lansdowne St; 617-351-7001)

Silvertone Bar & GrillThe retro-style downtown hangout not only serves up big, meaty wings Buffalo-style - it also offers them in their tangy, umami laden Rochester form. So not only can you declare a winner in our Bar Food Bracket, here's a chance to settle an intra-state hot sauce rivalry, once and for all. (69 Bromfield St; 617-338-7887)

Vito's Tavern. Variety is the space of life, and in that department Vito's has us covered. Besides Buffalo, the wings come in Korean-style, ginger soy, chipotle and more. If you really want to set your taste buds ablaze, opt for the ultra-scorching Atomic Wings. They're free if you can finish an entire order. (54 Salem St; 857-277-0229)


B&G Oysters. Try not to look so surprised that a seafood-centric Barbara Lynch restaurant would somehow manage to turn out topnotch calamari. We know. Shocker. (550 Tremont St; 617-423-0550)

Carlo's Cucina Italiana. Well-known in its neighborhood but not much beyond, Carlo's might be one of Boston's most unjustly unheralded Italian spots. And the calamari tossed with hot cherry peppers is alone worth a visit. (131 Brighton Ave., Allston; 617-254-9759) 

Giacomo's. The tiny North End gem regularly draws lines down the block (its slightly larger South End sibling hums right along too), and for good reason. The calamari here is well worth the wait. (431 Columbus Ave; 617-536-5723)

Rino's Place. This underrated (isn't everything in Eastie?) Italian serves up essentially perfect, lightly fried calamari with plum tomato sauce as an app. There's also an EVOO-sauteed entree, if you're a bit more peckish. (258 Saratoga St., East Boston; 617-567-7412)

French Fries. 

All Star Sandwich BarThe uber-creative sandwich varieties steal the show at this Inman Square spot. But the baskets of fries are more than a mere accessory, whether ordered with gravy, cheese, chili, or covered in "hell"-style hot sauce. (1245 Cambridge St., Cambridge; 617-868-3065)

Aquitaine. This French bistro serves up near-perfect pommes frites with herbes de provence and garlic confit. A simple, sophisticated take that pairs well with a glass of something (anything) white. (569 Tremont St; 617-424-8577)

Saus. To call these mere "fries" is to do a disservice to the word. The obvious attractions at this poutine destination are the elaborate accoutrement and inventive dipping sauces. But even without the add-ons, the frites are simply fantastic. (33 Union St; 617-248-8835)

Deep Ellum. No ordinary fries would match up with the craft beer selection at this Allston brew mecca. But truffle gorgonzola fries? Yes, please. (477 Cambridge St., Allston; 617-787-2337)

Onion Rings

Masa. It's been around so long, this South End staple of Southwestern cuisine can sometimes be forgotten. But the red chile onion rings with ancho aioli have a special place in our memory - and mouth. (439 Tremont St; 617-338-8884)

Mr. Bartley's. Though famous for its hilariously named burgers with inventive toppings, Mr. Bartley's happens to have some of the best onion rings around, too. (Get it? A-round.) (1246 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; 617-354-6559)

Mr. Dooley'sAnother "mister" who has some must-eat rings, Mr. Dooley's draws Financial District types for after-work drinks and big O's made with a Guinness beer batter. (77 Broad St; 617-338-5656)

Sullivan's Castle Island. Yes, there are delicious onion rings at this seasonal Southie spot, a waterfront shack that specializes in hot dogs and fried rummies. But there's another, more sentimental reason they're so good: paired with ocean air, they simply taste like a New England summer. (2080 William J Day Blvd; 617-268-5685)

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