Where to Find the Best Mac ‘n’ Cheese in Boston Right Now
Devoted foodies and restaurant newbies love The Feed. Sign-up now for our twice weekly newsletter.
In the very un-scientific hierarchy of comfort foods—French fries, ice cream, tacos—one dish reigns supreme: mac ‘n’ cheese. After all, a great mac ‘n’ cheese combines all of the flavors and textures that light up our animal brain with fireworks of food euphoria: There’s that salty, creamy goodness, plus the full-belly feeling that comes along with caving in to carb cravings. And so, whether you’re a mac ‘n’ cheese purist or use the dish as a blank palette to pile on fixings, here are eight of the best variations to savor around Boston right now.
With both an appetizer and an entrée portion of mac ‘n’ cheese available (spoiler alert: you’ll want the entrée), Ashmont Grill delivers on indulgence. Both baked versions combine cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses with a topping of Ritz crackers. While the classic version more than satisfies any comfort-food cravings, you can also mix things up by adding bacon, pulled pork, or lobster to the entrée-size offering. Spring for the lobster, as those hearty, buttery chunks inspire even greater bliss.
555 Talbot Ave., Dorchester, 617-825-4300, ashmontgrill.com.
Buttermilk & Bourbon
It’s perhaps no surprise that a restaurant with the word “buttermilk” in its name would peddle a banging mac ‘n’ cheese. This Southern-influenced spot’s spin features a crock of curly cavatappi pasta smothered in a garlicky Boursin cheese sauce; it’s all tossed in the oven for a crisping finish, topped with breadcrumbs and a housemade riff on Velveeta, that golden (and addictive) processed cheese-adjacent foodstuff. Finally, it’s garnished with green onions for a bit of bite. All in, the dish is a bright nod to NOLA that cuts through even the grayest Boston day.
160 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-266-1122, buttermilkbourbon.com.
Down Home Delivery & Catering
Besides serving up mashed potatoes and gravy you’ll want to scarf by the bucket, this Dorchester soul food spot proves that sometimes it’s best to not overcomplicate things. Case in point: The simply delicious mac ‘n’ cheese here is classic elbow pasta with just American and cheddar cheeses. The dish is baked, so that crisp-topped pasta adds a bit of texture—and it’s all a perfect companion to Down Home’s other Southern fare of barbecue ribs, fried fish, and more. (Oh, and despite the name, there is also dining-room seating at Down Home too.)
2 Bowdoin St., Dorchester, 617-288-0813, downhomedelivery.com.
Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant
Southie haunt Lincoln Tavern is not kidding around with its comfort food-heavy takeout menu, available daily from 11a.m.-8 p.m. The truffle mac ‘n’ cheese appetizer fuses white cheddar, blue cheese, Fontina, and Pecorino Romano with English peas, buttery Ritz crumbs, and truffle oil. Truffle, like cilantro, is a divisive ingredient that many diners don’t want anywhere near their food. (For the record, those people are wrong and both ingredients are amazing). Here, though, it’s easy to taste how the truffle’s deep earthiness complements all the creaminess.
425 W. Broadway, Boston, 617-765-8636, lincolnsouthboston.com
Mission Hill’s Milkweed, a favorite hangout for brunches of shakshuka and strawberry Nutella French toast since its opening in 2017, slings a casserole-y spin on the comfort-food classic for lunch and dinner. Their take is light-years more luxe than what you’d whip up from a box at home, though, adding shaved sirloin to a rich mornay sauce and blue cheese crumble, plus caramelized onions for added depth of flavor. The dusting of parmesan herbed breadcrumbs brings a bit of earthiness, and the shape of the elbow pasta ensures that each bite is coated in sauce.
1508 Tremont St., Boston, 617-516-8913, eatatmilkweed.com.
This South End mainstay might lure you in with its signature Alsatian pizza, but the sleeper star of the menu is the heaping plate of mac ‘n’ cheese with cheddar, gorgonzola, gruyere, and provolone. Since this dish is baked (you can request to skip this step, but why would you?), there’s a perfectly golden layer of slightly crisped cheese to meet your fork as you dive in. You can also add up to three toppings, including anchovies (trust us on that one), sausage, and goat cheese. Bacon, as always, is a no-brainer, but consider betting on some basil too; it offers a fresh, herbal zing that cuts through all the decadence.
513 Tremont St., Boston, 617-927-0066, piccorestaurant.com.
Why offer one mac ‘n’ cheese dish when you can launch a whole line of them? Downtown’s comfort food-focused eatery Stillwater has just sprung a takeout- and delivery-only spinoff—the Mac Bar—and its menu is a multiple choice quiz with no wrong answers. Diners choose one of three bases (classic Velveeta and cheddar, Frank’s Red Hot mac, or Cholula mac) and then pile on a smorgasbord of toppings from 17 options, including molasses barbecue pulled pork and smoked bacon. If you’re paralyzed by the possibilities, pick one of chef Sarah Wade’s nine curated creations, such as the Thanksgiving Mac topped with roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.
120 Kingston St., Boston, 617-936-3079, stillwaterboston.com.
Sweet Cheeks Q
Since opening in 2011, chef Tiffani Faison’s first eatery in her Fenway empire has boasted some of the best barbecue north of the Mason-Dixon. Come for the behemoth, sauce-brushed ribs and the buttermilk fried chicken, but stay for the gooey mac ‘n’ cheese: cavatappi with cheddar, American, Monterey Jack, provolone, and Parmesan, all topped with garlic butter breadcrumbs and Ritz crackers. It’s served in a mug as a side option for the generous meat trays, but also offered as its own, entrée-sized “Big Mac” with optional mix-ins of scallion and pimento cheese or smoked jalapeno and bacon.
1381 Boylston St., Boston, 617-266-1300, sweetcheeksq.com.