The Best Places to Eat near TD Garden
Before you head to a concert or game, fuel up with Mexican food from a TV-star chef, some of Boston's best burgers, and more.
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It’s officially Celtics and Bruins season again, which means many of us will be heading back to TD Garden for a game for the first time since before—well, you know. (We get sick of saying it, too.) Between that and concert schedules being back in the swing of things, we thought it might be helpful to remind you what’s close and good for pre- and post-venue dining in a neighborhood that’s experienced rapid redevelopment in recent years. From a new star chef-associated cocina to Detroit-style pizzas and a huge new food hall, skate over to these spots.
Not that we needed another reason to retreat to Alcove, a lovely modern bastion of coastal New England-meets-Mediterranean cuisine on the West End waterfront, but the recent addition of a raw bar doesn’t exactly hurt. It gives talented toque Brian Paszko something new to play with: sustainable, line-caught fish used for smoked scallop conserva and crudo presentations—hake dressed sweet chili, radish, and black sesame, perhaps. Of course, that’s in addition to a dinner menu that already includes some seafood-skewing dishes like roasted skate wing and ginger soy-glazed salmon.
50 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston, 617-248-0050, alcoveboston.com.
Bodega Canal is a vibe: one fueled by tequila, bottle service, and DJs spinning, as the night goes on. Before the place starts getting too clubby, though, it’s a solid choice to pre-game with big party-friendly Mexican plates: Order up a bunch of tacos, filled with everything from blackened shrimp to short rib—plus a Nachos Supreme platter, natch—and let your crew go to town before you hit the town.
57 Canal St., Boston, 617-833-4885, bodegacanal.com.
Guy Fieri’s Tequila Cocina
If you prefer your Mexican-inspired dining with a bit more star power and frosted tips, make a bee-line to Guy Fieri’s first—and only, for a few more weeks, anyway—Boston restaurant. It’s everything you want if you’re a fan of the food TV star, meaning it’s filled with some goofy, gooey starters, like the signature Trash Can nachos, spilling out of a metal container; some boldly flavored entrees, such as the whole fish with green salsa, chipotle crema, and pickled red onion and cabbage slaw; pitchers of margaritas; and colorful decor that is suitably loud for a Fieri establishment. Opened in partnership with Boston’s Big Night Entertainment Group, the cocina is attached to the Big Night Live concert hall, so it’s a particularly fun place to hit before a show.
110 Causeway St., Boston, 617-896-5222, guyscocina.com.
Boston’s latest food hall, which opened right next to TD Garden this month, has a hell of a lineup. Inside you’ll find an outlet of Cusser’s, which happens to serve Boston’s best roast beef sandwich; APizza, Mida chef Douglass Williams’ new destination for New Haven- and Roman-inspired pies; and Momosan, Iron Chef icon Masaharu Morimoto’s Boston debut with ramen bowls, bar snacks, and sake. Add additional locations of local-favorite chains like the Smoke Shop BBQ and Greek restaurant Greco, plus wine and juice bars, and more, and you’ve got the recipe for the best food-hall lineup around (at least until High Street Place brings heavy competition next year).
80 Causeway St., Boston, 617-263-8900, hubhallboston.com.
Night Shift Brewing
You’d be forgiven for being surprised that Boston’s best pizza happens to be served just outside the Italian landmarks of the North End. Over at Lovejoy Wharf in the West End, though, Night Shift smartly surprised us with its Detroit-style pies: rectangular, deep-dish pizzas built by drizzling sweet tomato sauce on top of cheese that reaches to every well-crisped edge. They’re the highlights of the brewery’s very tasty menu, and perfect for pairing with recent Night Shift releases like the Cranagram, a hazy IPA made with cranberries and oranges.
1 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston, 617-456-7687, nightshiftbrewing.com.
More than a decade after it debuted, this Boston mini-chain still makes some of the best burgers in town. That gorgonzola-covered patty, in particular, is among Tasty’s mouthwatering top options—so is the Rise ‘n’ Shine, a breakfast-anytime burger with a fried egg and bacon, and the patty melt, which trades a traditional bun for toasted white bread and adds some caramelized onions and cheese. The West End outpost at North Station will not disappoint, and it’s also got all the usual, best-in-class milkshakes for slurping down, too.
1 Nashua St., Boston, 617-303-0800, tastyburger.com.
The Tip Tap Room
On the backside of Beacon Hill, the Tip Tap Room is a short walk away from TD Garden—in the direction that fewer tourists seem to travel. That’s not to say chef Brian Poe’s gastropub will be quiet: In fact, the place gets pretty busy and buzzy. But at least you’ll be more likely to avoid out-of-town fanny packs in favor of hanging with the locals, who descend after work for meat tips (including steak, turkey, and wild game specials) and beer taps that flow with a lengthy list of craft brews from around the country.
138 Cambridge St., Boston, 857-350-3344, thetiptaproom.com.
Where’s Ward 8? Right on the West End/North End borderline, across the street from sibling restaurant Tony & Elaine’s, which trades on the Italian-American fare of the latter neighborhood. On the west side of the street, though, Ward 8 is much more eclectic: spicy fried chicken sandwiches, sweet chili-glazed duck wings, steak frites, and pork belly steam buns are just a few of the bases covered. The big central bar, meanwhile, does a fine job keeping pace with the pre- and post-game crowds, and plying them with well-made negronis and sazeracs.
90 N Washington St., Boston, 617-823-4478, ward8.com.
West End Johnnie’s
The area around TD Garden has changed a ton in recent years, with shiny new buildings sprouting up left and right. West End Johnnie’s is an old-timer at this point, its sports memorabilia-covered walls attesting to its legacy as a Celtics and Bruins fan favorite. As local pub grub goes, it’s got your back with a delicious Buffalo chicken dip, plus a smoked BBQ burger, gouda-feta mac ‘n’ cheese, and more—plus a reggae brunch on Sundays, when the coconut shrimp and Caribbean tunes come out.
138 Portland St., Boston, 617-227-1588, westendjohnnies.com.