30 Things You Must Eat & Drink This Summer in Boston

By Scott Kearnan
May 19, 2014
By Scott Kearnan  |  May 19, 2014

Summer is a fleeting season here in New England, which means we need to make the most of it. So without further ado, here's a check list of the must-eat dishes and must-drink items on your agenda. Get to it, Boston. For more of our warm-weather coverage, check out our Best Summer Ever landing page.


1) Lobster roll at B&G Oysters
2) "Bretzels" and beer at Bronwyn
3) Classy Jell-O shots at Rooftop @ Revere
4) Tempura lobster roll at Legal Harborside
5) Mighty rib melt at Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese
6) Lobster melt at Bergamot
7) Burgers at Tasty Burger
8) Frozen mojitos at BOKX 109
9 ) Ice cream at J.P. Licks
10) Narragansett Shandy at Jerry Remy's
11) Tea sandwiches and punch at Fairsted Kitchen
12) Dover sole at Mistral
13) Hot dogs at Sullivan's Castle Island
14) Oysters at Island Creek Oyster Farm
15) Clambake at Jasper White's Summer Shack
16) Clambake at Precinct Kitchen + Bar
17) Ice cream sandwich sliders at Frozen Hoagies
18) Rosé wine at Eastern Standard
19) Barbecue at Sweet Cheeks Q
20) S'mores at Aragosta Bar and Bistro
21) Lobster cupcakes at Empire
22) Adult milkshakes at Grass Fed
23) Tiki cocktails at Drink
24) Burgers at Charlie's Kitchen
25) Margaritas at Papagayo
26) Poe's Nachos at Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake
27) 10-lb. lobster at The Barking Crab
28) Fishbowl cocktails at The Landing at Long Wharf
29) Tacos at The Taco Truck
30) Cold beers at Sunset Grill & Tap

  • Lobster roll at B&G Oysters

    Choosing a single lobster roll is no easy task. But for its sheer consistency, star chef Barbara Lynch's roll is a perennial go-to, loaded with chunks of Maine lobster on a toasted roll and served with fries and butter pickles.

    550 Tremont St.; 617-423-0550

  • Photo by: Eric Wolfinger

    "Bretzels" and beer at Bronwyn

    Raise your stein to a perfect summer afternoon of salty, giant pretzels - er, bretzels - and frothy, thirst-slaking brews in the sunny biergarten at this German in Union Square.

    225 Washington St., Somerville; 617-776-9900 

  • Classy Jell-O shots at Rooftop @ Revere

    On Saturday, May 17, the Theater District hotel reopens its seven-story-high pool and terrace with a brand-new food and cocktail menu. Our favorite: so-called "classy Jell-O shots" served in mini martini glasses, perfect for popping while you're soaking up rays or lounging in the sparkling-white, South Beach-style cabanas.  

    200 Stuart St.; 617-482-1800

  • Tempura lobster roll at Legal Harborside

    Nothing sounds sweeter than a breezy summer night at this Seaport rooftop, where the menu includes a gorgeous-looking roll of lobster, avocado, tobiko, teriyaki and spicy mayo - plus, of course, sweeping harbor views. 

    270 Northern Ave.; 617-477-2900

  • Mighty Rib Melt at Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese

    The gooey sammie is a Sunday staple in the food-truck lot of the South End's SoWa Open Market. (You can find a roundup of all our food-truck favorites from the market here.) But getting our fix is easier this summer, since Roxy's opens its Allston brick-and-mortar spot in May. 

    485 Cambridge St., Allston

  • Lobster melt at Bergamot

    Dilemma: you can't choose between a grilled cheese and a lobster roll. Solution: don't, and opt for this delicious melt with lots of lobster meat, Vermont cheddar and scallion, folded into fresh brioche and toasted until golden-brown. It's a bar-menu staple. 

    118 Beacon St., Somerville; 617-576-7700

  • Burgers from Tasty Burger

    Summer demands a sloppy burger, and there are two reasons that Tasty Burger is tops: one, their new outpost inside Fenway Park, a big bonus on game days. And two: the South Boston location has a delivery service that encompasses Carson Beach, dropping orders to diners strewn on sandy blankets.

    69 L St., South Boston; 617-425-4444

  • Frozen mojitos at BOKX 109

    The steakhouse reopens its pool at Newton's Hotel Indigo on May 26, featuring rentable cabanas, a menu of poolside noshes - and summery frozen mojitos in flavors like pineapple, coconut and "Dragon Berry," a refreshing combo of strawberry and dragon fruit. 

    399 Grove St., Newton; 617-454-3399

  • Ice cream at J.P. Licks

    As a small local chain, J.P. Licks is easy to take for granted. But there's a reason that it has grown over the past 30 years from a single shop in Jamaica Plain (still our favorite spot) to a killer ice cream brand with nearly a dozen locations. Two words: good taste.

    659 Centre St., Jamaica Plain; 617-524-6740

  • Narragansett Shandy at Jerry Remy's

    Because two quintessential summer sips are better than one, Narragansett Brewing Company has teamed up with Rhode Island's Del's Lemonade to create the limited-edition Narragansett Shandy, a perfectly calibrated combination of effervescent citrus and sweet malt. You'll find it mainly in package stores, but Jerry Remy's Fenway location is one of the few Boston spots that have it at the bar. 

    1265 Boylston St.; 617-236-7369

  • Tea sandwiches and punch at Fairsted Kitchen

    You don't need to go to London to take noon tea in the summer sun. Just head to the patio at this Brookline hot spot, where new chef Jason Albus added a rotating assortment of tea sandwiches to the brunch menu. (Varieties include salmon with watercress and crab with avocado.) Wash them down with a pitcher of Fairsted's "punch of the moment."

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

  • Dover sole at Mistral

    Summer means seafood, but we can only handle so many heavily fried fish sandwiches from a beachside clam shack. For much lighter, more refined fried fare, we're loving Mistral's Dover sole meunière with lemon and capers, served with a sauté of spinach, onions and fingerling potatoes.

    223 Columbus Ave.; 617-867-9300

  • Hot dogs at Sullivan's Castle Island

    The seasonal shanty on Southie's Castle Island is a one-stop shop for various fried seafood, but downing its famous hot dogs is nothing short of a summertime tradition. 

    2080 William J Day Blvd., South Boston; 617-268-5685

  • Oysters at Island Creek Oyster Farm

    You've already been slurping them down at Kenmore Square's Island Creek Oyster Bar. But in June, the actual Duxbury farm is launching weekly Friday farm tours at 1 and 3 PM. Your $20 reservation gets you a bay boat ride to see where the oysters are grown, harvested and sorted. BYOB, because it concludes with an oyster sampling, of course. 

    296 Parks St., Duxbury; 781-934-2028

  • Clambake from Jasper White's Summer Shack

    Sure, you could hit up one of star chef Jasper White's land-based Summer Shack locations. But 'tis the season (late June through September) for the restaurant's twice-weekly clambakes, which take guests all the way out to Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor. There you'll dig in to buttery corn on the cob, succulent lobster and a heaping bounty of mussels and steamers. Find tickets ($80 adults, $35 for kids) and the schedule here

  • Clambake at Precinct Kitchen + Bar

    On second thought, scratch that. You're an urban animal, and taking to the high seas isn't your deal. So take advantage of this Back Bay newcomer's clambake, a steaming pot filled high with Wellfleet clams, PEI mussels, shrimp, corn, red potato, kielbasa and (if you add it on) lobster.

    350 Stuart St.; 617-532-3827                  

  • Ice cream sandwich sliders at Frozen Hoagies

    This food truck offers an ingenious idea: Ice cream sandwiches made from your combined choice of flavored cookies (Nutella, please) and ice cream. (Raspberry sorbet, perhaps?) A brilliant act of brain freeze. 


  • Rosé wine at Eastern Standard

    Summer is when we "think pink" for wine. And it's also when Eastern Standard unveils its annual Summer Rosé By the Glass List, which this year includes a 2013 Il Civettaio “Chiu” Rosé from Tuscany, and 2013 Pascal Pibaleau, Grolleau Rosé, from Touraine. Hit the patio, and sip away. 

    528 Commonwealth Ave.; 617-532-9100

  • Barbecue at Sweet Cheeks Q

    Top Chef runner-up Tiffani Faison turns out trays of amazing barbecue at her Fenway-side spot, from fried chicken with spicy mayo to pulled pork, brisket and all the ribs your stomach can (barely) handle. Bonus: a beer garden for alfresco eats and drinks. 

    1381 Boylston St.; 617-266-1300

  • S'mores at Aragosta Bar and Bistro

    Missing your summer camp days? Relive them, city-slicker style, with "campfire s'mores" on the terrace of his harborside spot. They provide the fire pits, marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. 

    3 Battery Wharf; 617-994-9001

  • Lobster cupcakes at Empire

    The sexy Seaport Pan-Asian puts a spin on the New England classic with these gobble-worthy "cupcakes" made from fresh lobster meat, Kewpie mayo, Sriracha, melted butter, lemon and garlic.

    1 Marina Park Dr.; 617-295-0001

  • Adult Milkshakes at Grass Fed

    Yes, this burger bar has some of the top patties in town. But our inner child sings for the boozy milkshakes, in flavors like the All Nighter (vanilla ice cream with coffee liqueur, Irish country cream and a shot of coffee) and the Banana's Foster Parent (vanilla ice cream with banana, dark rum and whipped cream).

    605 Centre St., Jamaica Plain; 617-553-2278

  • Tiki cocktails at Drink

    Summer offers a permission slip to drink fruity, mini-umbrella-garnished drinks (mostly) without irony. And though you can find them at many places, Barbara Lynch's Fort Point cocktail joint is always a favorite - especially since it hosts an entire night devoted to them, "Tiki Tuesdays," on the second Tuesday of each month.

    348 Congress St.; 617-695-1806 

  • Burgers at Charlie's Kitchen

    There's a massive selection of greasy-good burgers at the Harvard Square institution, like the Double Guinness burger (made using the Irish stout and served with beer-battered fries) and the heat-seaking Buffalo Burger topped with sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions and bacon. But while the diner-style interior is a nice vestige of the square's punk-rock heyday, come summer we're all about chowing these patties in the sunny outdoor beer garden. 

    10 Eliot St., Cambridge; 617-492-9646

  • Margaritas at Papagayo 

    A salt-rimmed 'rita is a perfect summer accompaniment, and it's hard to pick any one spot for sipping. But the trio of Boston Papagayo locations are a solid standby, since they have a tequila list that is over 125 deep, and includes unique varieties like the $100-per-oz. Clase Azul Ultra. Also, two words: tequila sno-cones. 

    238 Summer St.; 617-423-1000

  • Poe's Nachos at Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake

    This heaping mound of nachos is a signature plate at chef Brian Poe's Back Bay hangout. Best of all? You can get messy with them at one of the most coveted roof decks in Boston. 

    384 Boylston St.; 617-859-8555

  • 10-lb. lobster at The Barking Crab

    It takes two waiters to lug this feast fit for Poseidon to your table. Still not enough? It comes with a four-lb. bowl of mixed crab, a spread of crab legs and clams. 

    88 Sleeper St.; 617-426-2722

  • Fishbowl cocktails at The Landing at Long Wharf

    This seasonal watering hole is Boston's only fully outdoor bar. Situated right next to the harbor, amid the coming and going ferries at Long Wharf, it's the perfect spot for drowning yourself in shareable, summery cocktails served in fishbowls. 

    1 Long Wharf

  • Tacos at The Taco Truck

    Put a little more spice in your summer with this Mexican staple at the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a stretch of grassy park populated with food trucks all summer long. You can find the daily schedule here.  

  • Cold beers at Sunset Grill & Tap

    Hot summers require cooling off with cold beers, and this Allston joint has 492 of them, the most varieties in the city: 112 taps plus 380 bottles and cans of micro and exotic brews.

    130 Brighton Ave., Allston; 617-254-1331


Places Mentioned

BOKX 109 American Prime

Steakhouse • Newton

Food19 Decor19 Service16 Cost$53
Legal Harborside

Seafood • Seaport District

Food25 Decor23 Service23 Cost$36
Food25 Decor20 Service21 Cost$12
Fairsted Kitchen

New American • Brookline

Food- Decor- Service- CostM

Mediterranean • Back Bay

Food28 Decor27 Service26 Cost$66
B&G Oysters

Seafood • South End

Food27 Decor22 Service24 Cost$47

European • Somerville

Food- Decor- Service- CostE
Sullivan's Castle Island

American • South Boston

Food22 Decor12 Service20 Cost$10
Island Creek Oyster Bar

Seafood • Fenway/Kenmore

Food28 Decor26 Service26 Cost$49
Summer Shack

Seafood • Back Bay

Food21 Decor18 Service20 Cost$35
Empire Restaurant and Lounge

Asian • Seaport District

Food26 Decor27 Service26 Cost$47
Eastern Standard

Bar • Fenway/Kenmore

Atmo.27 Decor26 Service25 Cost 
Precinct Kitchen + Bar

American • Back Bay

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
Sweet Cheeks Q

Barbecue • Fenway/Kenmore

Food25 Decor22 Service23 Cost$29
Food23 Decor23 Service22 Cost$50

Mexican • South Boston

Food23 Decor22 Service23 Cost$26
The Barking Crab

Seafood • Seaport District

Food20 Decor17 Service18 Cost$31
Charlie's Kitchen


Food- Decor18 Service19 CostI
Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake

Mexican • Back Bay

Food22 Decor16 Service20 Cost$21
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