Where to Find the Best Nachos in Boston
Chip away at traditional platters, Tex-Mex takes, and Italian- or Pakistani-inspired spins.
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It’s next to impossible to narrow down a list of the best nachos in Boston—after all, everyone has a different idea of what makes the most epic, margarita-friendly platter. But if we do say so, we’ve lined up a selection with something for everyone: the traditionalist, the over-the-top, the Tex-Mex fan, and even those seeking, say, Italian- or Pakistani-inspired flourishes. Can’t decide? Start at the top, and chip your way through them all.
In just a few short years, Margaret Pimental has turned her first Jamaica Plain taqueria into a trio of shops, with the latest opening in a plumb location at Patriot Place just before the new year. Now football fans—not to mention, anyone seeking a tasty post-vaccination reward by Gillette Stadium—will discover the Bostonian’s super-fresh, fast-casual Mexican food, including awesome rice-and-bean bowls filled with everything from mango carnitas to shrimp and chorizo. Similarly, the stellar nachos start with bases of refried beans, pico de gallo, and guacamole, then crown it all with your choice of tender, flavorful chicken, steak, shrimp, ground beef, and more.
38 Hyde Park Ave., Boston, 617-942-7901; 160 Chestnut Hill Ave., Boston, 617-208-8809; 265 Patriot Place, Foxborough, 774-215-0532, achilitos.com.
You might not expect us to send you to one of Boston’s most beloved Italian-American haunts to find some of the city’s best nachos. That’s probably because you’re not familiar with Anchovies’ so-called “Italian Nachos,” which cover crispy corn chips in braised short rib ragu, creamy ricotta, and sharp, spicy cherry peppers. Not only is it as delicious as it sounds, but it’s exactly the kind of thing you want to dig into over a bottle of cost-effective Chianti in Anchovies’ pleasantly humming, cozily dim and familiar-feeling dining room.
433 Columbus Ave., Boston, 617-266-5088, anchoviesbar.com.
Boston Burger Company
One should not expect straightforward nachos from a burger joint that famously piles its patties with toppings like peanut butter and fried bananas. (See: “The Elvis.”) The stupendous “Pig Pile” nacho plate doesn’t zig quite that far—but it does zag a bit, swapping tortillas for house-made potato chips and loading the salty, crispy discs with a barbecue-inspired assemblage of pulled pork, sausage, bacon, chopped pickles, coleslaw, melted jack cheese and BBQ and ranch sauces. (Whew!) Sure, there’s a simpler nacho choice that keeps to more-traditional toppings like jalapeños, guac, sour cream, and chili. But did you really come to BBC for that?
1100 Boylston St., Boston, 857-233-4560; 1105 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 857-242-3605; 37 Davis Square, Somerville, 617-440-7361; 133 Washington St., Salem, 978-414-5910, bostonburgercompany.com.
Let’s be real: Nachos are one of nature’s best foods for drinking with friends. So as spring comes and you start toasting the miracles of science with now-vaxxed pals, consider doing it at Burro Bar. After all, the South End and Brookline spots boast some super-refreshing pitchers of margarita and sangria to share over the mouthwatering nacho plate. You’ll need something to soak up all that tequila, and tortilla chips covered in chorizo, tres quesos, pork charro beans, cabbage and jalapeño slaw, and more—all drizzled of it with lines of Baja-style chipotle mayo—will do just fine.
1357 Washington St., Boston, 617-426-9300; 1665 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-277-0427, burrobarboston.com.
Corazón de Frida Cantina
Yes, its name nods to a love for the artist Kahlo, whose striking visage—captured in a colorful wall mural and other artwork—presides over the brick-, wood-, and tile-adorned dining room. The heartfelt cantina, which opened just before the pandemic temporarily shut everything down, deserves a look now for its “Loaded Nachos”: A marvelous mound of carnitas, Oaxaca cheese, black and refried beans, chipotle crema, and more. Not in the mood to share? Help yourself to the “Nacho Burger,” a cilantro-spiced patty with the same Oaxaca and chipotle crema, plus avocado and jalapeños. It’s a work of art, really.
1287 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-714-3874, corazondefridacantina.com.
Look, we totally understand those grieving the loss of Border Cafe, a Tex-Mex institution in Cambridge hat just closed for good after 34 years. But we recommend you dry your eyes on the napkins at the Felipe’s, located on the other side of the same Harvard Square block. You’ll need a lot of them, between the tears and the bits of refried beans, sweet corn, pickled jalapeños, pico and more that you’ll wipe (and lick) off your fingers when digging into a delicious dish of nachos. But once you gather yourself, you’ll realize Felipe’s will even better satisfy your Mexican-food cravings—and this place has a rooftop patio, too. Top that.
21 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-354-9944, felipesboston.com.
Mexican meets Pakistani cuisine at this still-newish Mission Hill restaurant, an extremely welcome solution for those nights when you can’t decide between a burrito or biryani. (Life is tough when there are no bad choices.) While Nachlo puts forward an fantastic assortment of kebabs and curry dishes, it lets guests go the choose-your-own-adventure route when assembling tacos, burritos, and yes, nachos: That means you can pile on south-of-the-border standards like black beans, salsa verde, and jalapeños alongside options from the South Asian side of the menu—say, aloo gobi, chana masala, tamarind sauce, and more. Marvelous.
1443 Tremont St., Boston, 617-397-3200, nachloboston.com.
Much like its now-shuttered sibling in Allston, the beer lover’s paradise that was Sunset Grill & Tap, Sunset Cantina is hugely popular with college students: Plopped right in the middle of Boston University’s campus on Comm. Ave., its affordable, tasty Tex-Mex menu is tailor-made for pre-gaming (and pre-partying) undergrads. But honestly, the extremely indulgent platters of nachos—available in an XXL portion big enough to feed an entire fraternity—will call your name long after your classroom days are done. The tri-color chips heaped with chili, Mexican cheeses, black olives, ranchera salsa, steak, and more are an excellent study in Boston Bar Food 101.
916 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-731-8646, sunsetboston.com.
Vegans have much to celebrate at Taco Party in Somerville, which does a stupendous job serving Mexican-inspired eats without meat (and sour cream, and jack cheese, and…). Instead, here you’ll find all plant-based plates like the standout nachos, tortillas covered in sunflower seed cheese, cashew crema, pickled jalapeños, black olives, al pastor sauce, and a side of pinto dip. It’s the perfect starter to share before digging in to your own titular tacos, filled with spicy ground “chorizo” seitan, chimichurri tempeh, and other fresh fixings.
711 Broadway, Somerville, 617-764-0683, tacopartytruck.com.