Best Spots to Carb-Load Before the Boston Marathon

By Scott Kearnan  |  April 15, 2014

It's almost Marathon Monday. Runners are readying, spectators are gearing up for the big day - and food lovers are wondering where, exactly, they can find some proper pasta specials to celebrate the day. Just because you're not racing doesn't mean you don't want to carb-load, and we found some Marathon Monday-related specials worth adding a few more miles to your Tuesday treadmill time. 

  • Dante

    Is competitive eating a sport? Because that is something we excel at - especially when the prize is a spread of pasta from chef Dante de Magistris. On Sunday, April 20, he'll lay out his "All You Can Eat Pasta Marathon." Order any special pasta dish, and eat as much as your belly can endure: options include basil pesto ($16) with pine nuts; spaghetti ($16) with garlic, olive oil and chile pepper; and strozzapreti ($16) with zucchini and cherry tomatoes. Add sides of meatballs, grilled chicken or salmon if you really want to push your feasting to the finish line. 

    40 Edwin H Land Blvd., Cambridge; 617-497-4200

  • Strega Waterfront

    The Strega restaurants have teamed up with Boston-based New Balance to offer a special dish benefiting the One Fund, which supports survivors of last year's bombing. From Friday, April 18, through Monday, April 21, order up the #LoveBoston Fettuccine, a plate of pasta with sautéed chicken and English peas in a plum-tomato sauce. All proceeds will benefit the nonprofit. Plus, diners have a chance to win a Strega gift card and limited-edition New Balance sneakers by sharing a photo of the dish on social media using the hashtags #LoveBoston and #LoveStregaBoston. You can also find the plate at the North End's Strega, Strega Prime and Nico Ristorante locations, but the waterfront seems like it might make the most attractive Instagram background. 

    1 Marina Park Dr.; 617-345-3992

  • No. 9 Park

    Let the runners have Heartbreak Hill. We'll take Beacon Hill, and the "Mangia Pasta Tasting" that Barbara Lynch's No. 9 Park is hosting on Sunday, April 20, and Marathon Monday, April 21. For $85 per person, you'll get a six-course chef's tasting menu that includes ricotta gnudi with fiddleheads and pea-green pesto, and tortellini in brodo with rapini, bacon and robiola.

    9 Park St.; 617-742-9991

  • Fairsted Kitchen

    The Beacon Street stretch of the Marathon route runs right past Fairsted Kitchen, so naturally the Brookline American is making Marathon Monday the date to unveil its patio. An extension of the interior's New England manse sensibility, the patio will feature latticework with trellised ivy, strings of garden lights and reclaimed church pews as banquette seating for 30. Only special menus (late-night inside, beer-garden outside) will be served on Marathon Monday, but load up the night before with carb-loaded pasta dinners like the spaetzle ($13) with rabbit confit, leek and Gruyère. (pictured).

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

  • The Salty Pig

    Since it's a short jaunt from the finish line, it's no surprise that starting at 10:30 AM The Salty Pig is laying out some Marathon-themed spreads of its signature charcuterie like the "Finish Line," ($34) a selection of prosciutto di Parma, coppa di testa, porchetta, Vermont cheese and jalapeño jam. But the Pig has also upped the ante on its pasta program over the last several months. Now all the pastas are made in-house, so the Marathon Monday festivities are also a good time to try plates like the maltagliati ($9 half; $16 full) with braised pork head, chargrilled spring onions and Calabrian chile purée.

    130 Dartmouth St.; 617-536-6200

  • Towne Stove & Spirits

    This American eatery is only a couple blocks away from the Boylston Street finish line, so naturally they'd host a carb-fueling Sunday Pasta Night special for runners (and those who just want to eat like one). The one-night-only specials include veal Bolognese with pappardelle, fusilli with roasted spring vegetables and mushroom-caper broth and rock-shrimp ravioli with spring onions and lemon-butter sauce.

    900 Boylston St.; 617-247-0400

  • Salvatore's

    On Marathon Monday, the Theater District, Seaport, and suburban outposts of this local Italian chain will offer a special three-course "26.2 Mile Marathon Monday Menu." For $26.20 you'll start with an elaborate spinach Cobb salad, move on to a bowl of all-you-can eat gemelli pasta with Sam Adams lager-braised beef and toast the day with a glass of Sam Adams Boston 26.2, a special Marathon brew. 

    545 Washington St.; 617-542-5555