Secret Eats: 10 Hidden Gardens in Boston

By Scott Kearnan  |  July 26, 2013

From sidewalk cafes to big restaurant patios, alfresco dining usually comes with a side of people-watching. But where do you go when you want a sense of privacy and an urban retreat? We found a few "secret gardens" tucked away on city streets.

  • Ashmont Grill

    A neighborhood restaurant with a secret garden that feels a world away, Ashmont Grill is the perfect spot for accessible but elevated comfort food and cocktails on a warm summer night.

    555 Talbot Ave., Dorchester; 617-825-4300

  • Sophia's Grotto

    For many, Boston's Roslindale neighborhood already feels like undiscovered country. So consider Sophia's Grotto a hidden gem within a jewel. The intimate Mediterranean eatery has an alley-side patio ringed with greenery.

    22 Birch St., Roslindale; 617-323-4595

  • Oleana

    Oleana, the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant by bigshot chef Ana Sortun, isn't exactly low profile. But its garden, a small quadrant of lush beauty tucked away from the nearby bustle of Central Square, feels like a secret urban oasis every time you step outside.

    134 Hampshire St., Cambridge; 617-661-0505

  • Ledge Kitchen & Drinks

    Alfresco dining is already pretty limited in Dorchester. That makes this killer (and ample) garden-style patio, tucked away from street view, an even tastier place to try some trendy American comfort food.

    2261 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester; 617-698-2261

  • Pescatore

    The food feels high-end, the vibe is homespun, and the price points are exceptionally affordable for the experience. What could trump that? A tiny, lovely hidden patio that's a perfect place to stop, smell the roses and sniff some red wine.

    158 Boston Ave., Somerville; 617-623-0003

  • The Hungry I

    Everything about this restaurant whispers "romance," from the French food to the elegant arrangements of antique hodgepodge. And of course, there's this gorgeous little brick garden, hidden away among the brownstones of Beacon Hill. We're in love.

    71 Charles St.; 617-227-3524

  • B&G Oyster

    There are always lines to grab a seat in the small, sunken patio behind Barbara Lynch's South End seafood pearl. For good reason. Shuck on over.

    550 Tremont St.; 617-423-3533

  • The Maproom Cafe

    Garden dining doesn't get more gorgeous than this: a gourmet sandwich cafe, run by the folks of The Catered Affair, adjacent to the Boston Public Library's huge courtyard garden. A place to grab lunch, a bench and some rays while you read. It remains a secret to many, so as they say in the library: ssh!

    700 Boylston St.; 617-859-2251

  • Common Ground

    You may have to wait to grab a seat at this tiny patio, tucked away behind the Allston restaurant-slash-nightspot. But soon you could be waiting less time - for a drink, at least: this summer, Common Ground installs an outdoor bar for speedier mixing.

    85 Harvard Ave., Allston; 617-783-2071

  • Towne Stove & Spirits

    Eat like a bird. Hidden in plain view on Boylston Street is this massive, birdcagelike gazebo behind the Boylston Street patio. Eating dinner inside gives a delicious sense of whimsy.

    900 Boylston St.; 617-247-0400