12 Tasty Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving in Boston

By Scott Kearnan  |  November 15, 2016
Credit: Courtesy of Scott Gardner/Bambara

It's finally (almost) here: the one holiday of the year that revolves exclusively around eating. (Oh, joyous day!) If you're wondering where to celebrate Thanksgiving in and around Boston this year, here's a guide to some restaurants offering excellent holiday menus, takeout options for at-home feasters, and special items that'll help you get in the spirit — and leave you stuffed and happy.

Thanksgiving dinner at Bambara Kitchen & Bar
As you can probably imagine, plenty of local restaurants are staying open on Thanksgiving for guests who prefer a work-free T-Day meal. While many are playing it traditional, Cambridge's Bambara — which recently welcomed new chef David Bazirgan — is offering some more creative cuisine. The multicourse menu ($45 per person), offered from 3-7 PM on Thursday, November 24, will feature a roasted turkey with chestnut stuffing and cranberry compote alongside internationally accented dishes like gem lettuce salad with tahini-Caesar dressing and pumpkin falafel with spiced yogurt and pomegranate. 

25 Edwin H Land Blvd., Cambridge; 617-868-4444

Courtesy of Bistro du Midi

Thanksgiving dinner at Bistro du Midi
For a classic white tablecloth setting with festive views of the foliage-covered Public Garden, opt for a Provençal-inspired Thanksgiving feast at Bistro du Midi, where new chef Josue Lewis recently took the helm. The prix fixe menu ($75 per guest) will be served from 1-7:30 PM, offering choices like octopus with fennel and capers, sea bream with kale and cauliflower couscous, yellowfin tuna with avocado and shortbread crumble and sirloin with bordelaise sauce and Vidalia onion beignets. You can also add a foie gras course for extra dining decadence. 

272 Boylston St.; 617-426-7878

Thanksgiving dinner to-go at Commonwealth
Chef Steve "Nookie" Postal creates feasts every night at his Cambridge restaurant, which specializes in meaty mains paired with à la carte veggie-driven small plates and sides. So while Commonwealth will be closed on Thanksgiving, he's still the perfect chef to trust with your takeout for the big day; place orders by Friday, November 18, for sides like whipped sweet potato, green bean almondine and herb stuffing available by the pint or quart, or pies in flavors like apple, chocolate cream and pecan. You'll be able to pick them up on November 22 and 23.  

11 Broad Canal Way, Cambridge; 617-426-7878

Courtesy of Dig Inn

Thanksgiving sandwich at Dig Inn
Over the summer, Boston welcomed its first location of Dig Inn, a small but growing fast-casual chain focused on build-your-own salads and grain bowls. But if you still haven't had a chance to swing by, make it over by November 23 to try the limited-run Thanksgiving sandwich — semolina flatbread loaded with braised turkey, herb stuffing, housemade cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts, paired with your choice of side. 

557 Boylston St.; 617-904-3711

Thanksgiving dinner at Fairsted Kitchen
For city folk who can't always make it back to the 'burbs from which they hail, Thanksgiving tends to take on a more "Friendsgiving" quality — and Fairsted Kitchen sounds like it might be the most promising setting for that. The vibe is right: The Brookline restaurant, named for the nearby former estate of legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, has an attractive, homestyle interior of Victorian-era wallpaper and antiques. And the group-friendly Thanksgiving Day spreads are offered in three different sizes: Tom ($150, serves two to three), Hen ($275, serves four to six) and Gobbler ($400, serves eight or more), each including turkey with a choice of sides (like sweet potato soufflé and bacon-laden Brussels sprouts and turnips) plus dessert. The eats can be ordered to take home too. 

1704 Beacon St., Brookline; 617-396-8752

"Thanksgiving 2.0" at Flank
Need a crash course before you hit the kitchen next week? This Waltham steakhouse will hook you up. On Sunday, November 20, from 12:30-3:30 PM, chef Jordan Mackey is leading a class on three different, unique techniques for cooking turkey. (Expect "brines, bags and more!") You'll be sent home with a recipe book and housemade turkey seasoning, but not before having a three-course lunch with wine pairings — you know, to get you in the mood for next week's big meal. Sign up ($70) here.

74 Tower Rd., Waltham; 781-893-5265

Joel Benjamin

Thanksgiving dinner at Harvest
Considering that Thanksgiving honors the harvest, this aptly named Cambridge classic seems like the right place to celebrate. The three-course prix fixe menu ($72 per person, $30 wine pairing) will highlight traditional ingredients with carrot ginger soup, turkey breast with confit turkey stuffing and bourbon pecan tarts. But it's prepared by some fresh talent: executive chef and 30 Under 30 honoree Tyler Kinnett (pictured).     

44 Brattle St., Cambridge; 617-868-2255

Courtesy of Kane's Donuts

Thanksgiving pies from Kane's Donuts
Bigger isn't always better. But considering how crave-worthy Kane's donuts are, we have a feeling that expanding those carb-loaded wheels into full-on pie form should have pretty tasty results. The cult-favorite confectioner is rolling out a slew of pies just for the holidays, in flavors like coconut custard, Boston cream, pecan and ricotta. Call ahead to order yours in time for T-Day 

90 Oliver St.; 857-317-2654

Courtesy of Kirkland Tap & Trotter

"Thanksgiving Leftovers" at The Kirkland Tap & Trotter
Leave it to James Beard award-winning chef Tony Maws to jump straight to the best part of the holiday with his Thanksgiving night fete at his Somerville restaurant. Starting at 7:30 PM, guests will get access to a complimentary "make your own sandwich" bar stocked with traditional Thanksgiving leftovers. Come for the free food, stay for the rocking music and cocktails.

425 Washington St., Somerville; 857-259-6585

Courtesy of Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar

Thanksgiving pies from Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar
If you weren't already aware, take note: Rosebud is home to some of the region's top slices of pie. And if you want to fool your fellow feasters that yours are just as delicious, pre-order now through Sunday, November 20, to get Rosebud pies in time for at-home Thanksgiving meals. The restaurant is offering six different flavors, from cranberry pear to peanut butter fudge, all of them bound to be far better than your average home baker's. 

381 Summer St., Somerville; 617-629-9500

Thanksgiving dinner to-go at The Smoke Shop 
Maybe butternut squash did the trick back in the days of cockle hats and buckle shoes, but let's be honest — in today's America, barbecue spreads make it a party. 'Cue Andy Husbands' still-new Kendall Square restaurant, offering a Thanksgiving to-go menu of whole smoked turkey with Texas toast stuffing, pork loin with honey and thyme, brisket by the pound, butter cake, green bean casserole with smoked portobello cream sauce and mashed sweet potatoes with candied pecans.

1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge; 617-577-7427

Courtesy of Nicoletta Amato Photography/Wahlburgers

Turkey Day Burger at Wahlburgers
​We recently chatted with chef Paul Wahlberg about his famous family. Though we may not be able to spend the holiday with the reality TV star's famous brood, we can at least chow down on this turkey patty topped with housemade stuffing, orange-cranberry sauce and roasted butternut squash to tide us over till the big day.

Multiple locations; 617-927-6810