Best of Boston & Cambridge | 2017 Editors’ Choice Awards

Looking for dining, lodging, and top-notch attractions in Beantown? Here are nearly 20 of our editors’ picks for the best of Boston & Cambridge.

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 11 2017


Lilac Sunday at Arnold Arboretum | Best of Boston

Photo Credit : Wikimedia Commons
Need a reason to travel this summer? From dining and lodging to attractions that are well worth the drive, here are nearly 20 of our editors’ picks for the best of Boston & Cambridge.
Lilac Sunday at Arnold Arboretum | Best of Boston
Lilac Sunday at Arnold Arboretum | Best of Boston
Photo Credit : Wikimedia Commons


ART MUSEUM: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Few small museums in the world are as admired—or as distinctive—as the Gardner. Its namesake socialite and arts patron lived and entertained in this four-floor Italian palazzo before designating it and all the art within as a museum in her will. Today, with a modern wing newly added, the Gardner houses a simply stunning collection of international paintings and sculpture, with an emphasis on American artists such as John Singer Sargent. 25 Evans Way, Boston. 617-566-1401;

BOOKSTORE: Trident Booksellers & Café

One of the few independent bookshops left in town, Newbury Street’s Trident Booksellers is also a paragon of its genre. Featuring an in-depth selection of best-selling fiction and nonfiction, breakout new authors, guidebooks, and magazines, it’s a wonderful spot in which to hole up for an afternoon, grab a seat and a sandwich in the café, and get lost in a good potboiler or some soul-satisfying poetry. 338 Newbury St., Boston. 617-267-8688;

FARMERS’ MARKET: Charles Square Market

Rain or shine, from May till November, farmers from all over New England and hungry buyers from throughout the neighborhood descend on a brick-lined veranda in the corner of Harvard Square. Look for cheeses and homemade candies, conscientiously raised and grass-fed beef and poultry, and produce from area farms like Stillman, Kimball, and Busa. Harvard Square, Bennett and Eliot streets, Cambridge. 617-864-1200;

HISTORICAL EXPERIENCE: Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

It may be 244 years later, but let’s face it: Reenacting one of the American Revolution’s best-known acts of rebellion just never gets old. On the authentically renovated wooden ships, visitors can soak up the cathartic thrill of dumping tea overboard after a quick history lesson via the holographic displays and films, then peruse the authentic tea chests from the original protest. 306 Congress St., Boston. 866-955-0667;

MUSIC CAFÉ: Club Passim

Heroes and legends from Joan Baez to Regina Spektor have graced this stage and sometimes still do, because the place is a legend in its own right. Since 1958 the tiny and friendly Club Passim has been a magnet for folk music and bluegrass lovers, Celtic and a cappella fans, world music and klezmer performers alike. Skip dinner elsewhere, order up a dish and a drink from the kitchen, settle in for the show, and see what the night has to offer. 47 Palmer St., Cambridge. 617-492-7679;

PUBLIC GARDEN: Arnold Arboretum

A stroll through this Harvard University– owned, Frederick Law Olmsted–designed landscape is no ordinary walk in the park. This is where you’ll find some of the most rare and majestic trees and plants (all helpfully labeled) in the entire country. They’re spread across verdant meadows, fields, and gardens, herbariums, bonsai collections, and greenhouses—all equally educational and bucolic. 125 Arborway, Boston. 617-524-1718;

URBAN FARM: Allandale Farm

At Boston proper’s oldest working farm, regulars come by throughout the growing season to find something that meshes an extensive nursery with a garden center, and a small family farm with an old-fashioned country store. Fresh-picked cucumbers, tomatoes, sunflowers, and handmade breads line the wooden bins; home decor and indoor herbs sit next to the penny candy; fresh-baked apple pies and fruits are here, too, from purveyors all over the area. At the holidays, Allandale Farm’s selection of Christmas trees is of the highest quality around. 259 Allandale Road, Brookline. 617-524-1531; [text_ad]



Among the many amenities offered to humans at Beacon Hill’s posh boutique hotel, one of them is the knowledge that your furry companion will be equally catered to. Opt for the “Dazzle Your Dog” package, and Fido will be treated to homemade dog biscuits in a personalized dish, a cushy dog bed, and a bowl of filtered water. Meanwhile, you’ll get help finding nearby pet-friendly sites to visit (with cleanup bags). Don’t feel like making the rounds yourself? Walking services are available, too. 15 Beacon St., Boston. 617-670-1500;


Few properties in the city are better located for multigenerational satisfaction, as the Langham is located a few minutes’ walk from Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the New England Aquarium, and the Freedom Trail. Rather spend the day chilling at the hotel instead? Grab the kids and head to the Chocolate Bar brunch, an epic buffet of elaborate and creative sweets. Afterward, let everyone make the most of their food coma with a nap in your adjoining family suites. 250 Franklin St., Boston. 617-451-1900;

HOTEL WITH A VIEW: Boston Harbor Hotel

There are plenty of excellent reasons to spend the night at the Boston Harbor Hotel, but the most compelling is the availability of panoramic vistas of Boston Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean through the guest rooms’ floor-to-ceiling windows. From your aerie you can watch yachts, ferries, and sailboats chug along, and even witness the drama of weather as it rolls in. 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston. 617-439-7000;

NEW HOTEL: The Envoy

It’s hard to top the allure of the Envoy, near Fort Point Channel in the expanding Seaport District. As soon as its eighth-floor rooftop bar opened in 2015, locals were lining up after work to savor the alluring view of the Boston skyline. Many of the 136 rooms in the hotel offer the same exquisite view (especially the corner suite one floor below). The spacious rooms have historic maps of the city painted on the glass doors that lead to the shower, flat-screen televisions hidden in the wall, and large windows that bathe everything in sunlight. 70 Sleeper St., Boston. 617-338-3030;
Eataly | Best of Boston & Cambridge
Photo Credit : Amy Traverso



How else do you describe 45,000 square feet of Italian retail space, food courts, and a dedicated focaccia bar and cannoli cart but as an event? Yes, Eataly is an international chain helmed by superstar New Yorkers Mario Batali and Joe and Lidia Bastianich, and no, it shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying the farm-to-table pleasures of the wonderful Boston Public Market. But the sheer volume of treasures to be found in this Prudential Center emporium makes it well worth a visit. While Eataly may be, as we say, “from away,” it’s still a feather in our cap. 800 Boylston St., Boston. 617-807-7300;


Sure, co-owners Phil Kruta and Jeremy Kean have designed their menu around area suppliers and Mother Nature, but this neighborhood café/bakery/restaurant is refreshingly free of earnest tale-telling (“the chickens are gently nurtured on Berkshire grain”). Instead, the vibe is all fun, even as the food is held to high standards. Homemade doughnuts in the morning, chicken and waffles for brunch, and spag Bolognese for dinner—only the pasta is made in-house and the sauce is enriched with chicken liver mousse. 3710 Washington St., Jamaica Plain. 617-477-4519;


With a slew of Hellenic eateries jazzing up the city’s dining scene lately, from the Seaport District’s Committee to Jody Adams’s fast-casual Saloniki mini chain, there’s no question that Greek cuisine is to this decade what northern Italian cooking was to the ’90s. But of all the nouveau renderings of grilled octopus and spinach pie out there, our favorites come from the kitchen of Brendan Pelley, who took over as chef de cuisine at Doretta last autumn. He brings the same inventiveness that made his 2015 pop-up, Pelekasis, such a hit, while preserving the mainstays of Michael Schlow’s original menu (including the excellent Village Salad and crispy lamb meatballs). 79 Park Plaza, Boston. 617-422-0008;


SRV, where have you been all our lives? Sure, a Venetian-style wine bar (or bacaro, as they say in the Most Serene Republic) with an ambitious menu may have been a riskier launch than some vaguely Tuscan trattoria or a generic Mamma’s Meatballs joint, but Boston is a seafood town and, conveniently, so is Venice. And co-owners Michael Lombardi and Kevin O’Donnell can cook, as evidenced by cult favorites like the half-moon casunziei pasta stuffed with beets and garnished with poppy seeds and nori, and the baby clams with guanciale, garlic bread, and chili pepper. And, OK, the meatballs at SRV are fantastic. No wonder the place is always filled with a happy crowd of New Englanders discovering the culinary wonders of Italy’s Northeast Kingdom. 569 Columbus Ave., Boston. 617-536-9500;


If you come to Waypoint looking for expertly broiled scrod and linguine with clams, you may be disappointed. The food at this, Michael Scelfo’s latest eatery, is “coastal-inspired.” That leaves a lot of room for globe-trotting, with octopus polpetti (meatballs) cozying up to king crab served with black rice and browned butter. But you just have to trust the chef here. The food is simply fantastic. 1030 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. 617-864-2300;


First, let’s get the jokes out of the way: Yes, there is such a thing as New England cuisine. No, it’s not all overcooked scrod. Loyal Nine chef-owner Marc Sheehan proves this nightly at his East Cambridge restaurant, where he applies precise technique to heritage cooking. Armed with a degree in history and an enviable collection of vintage cookbooks, Sheehan works with his team to turn out superlative dishes such as Race Point oysters dressed with chamomile vinegar, molasses-grilled pork ribs, a succulent mead-braised lobster, ample roasts designed to be shared, and more. True, the conceit sometimes verges on preciousness, but that’s only because everything is done with such care. 660 Cambridge St., East Cambridge. 617-945-2576;


For $45, here’s what you get: semolina rolls from a wood-fired oven, followed by your choice of four courses, with such tempting offerings as spicy-sweet fluke crudo; mushrooms stuffed with chanterelles, walnuts, and creamy cheese; and homemade tortellini in a broth that chef Michael Bergin coaxes into life over five days of simmering. You can have swordfish dusted with dehydrated orange and fennel, or tender lamb loin with a kick of black garlic. And for dessert, an excellent fruit tart with olive oil gelato. It’s so rare these days to leave a restaurant with your socks knocked off and your wallet intact, but a visit to Fat Hen ensures that you’ll do just that. 126 Broadway, Somerville. 617-764-1612;

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