Thirteen Killer Take Out Spots in Boston, Right Now (2021)
Do you ever get sick of looking something up on the Internet, like “best take out spots in Boston,” only to find an article full of targeted ads and a selection of restaurants that clearly paid the website to feature them? Me too.
I’ll admit, I’ve spent way too much money on food delivery apps lately under the guise that I’m “supporting local restaurants.” Really, I just don’t want to put on pants for a moment longer than it takes to grab a brown bag off of my doorstep.
Anyway, as someone who has ordered take out way too much during this pandemic, I’m hoping to help out others like myself with some fresh recommendations. Whether you’re supporting local restaurants using food delivery apps, or ordering direct, here are fourteen special take out spots in the Boston area right now!
I’m shameless about my love for Lone Star. Not only does it have the Guy Fieri seal of approval from Triple D, also known as Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, but out of all the times I’ve eaten there it has never, ever disappointed. I can’t decide what I like more — the tacos or the margaritas. Luckily, after COVID hit they made their delicious cocktails available for take out.
Try the El Diablo (Lunazul Reposado tequila, Bahnez Mezcal, habanero agave and lime juice with chili salt rim) if you like a spicy kick. To be honest, their tacos don’t travel the best. But fear not! The cruncho supremo, quesadilla, and beans and rice travel great. The street corn and guacamole appetizers are also to die for.
You know what else is worth dying for? Their Tres Leches french toast and breakfast burritos. You read that right. Tres. Leches.
I was pretty late to GreCo, but better late than never right? I know a lot of people are crazy for their pork, but let me tell you about the bifteki gyro, full of ground beef, spicy whipped feta, tomato, onion, and hand-cut potatoes (also known as fries). The spicy whipped feta is something from a day dream set in the Mykonos sunset. It seems that my words are failing me on describing how delicious this feta is. There’s nothing better. Also, if you say better with a Boston accent, it rhymes with feta.
Another great thing about GreCo: they have a vegan gyro! They’re on this list because every time I’ve been too lazy to leave my house and ordered them on a food delivery service the gyros have been just as fantastic as they are in-store. Something magical happens in the time your food sits on some table in the restaurant lobby, and in the back of some randos car. Some foods hold up great. Others fail. GreCo holds up.
Oh! Don’t forget to try their loukoumas (Greek-style donuts).
3. Area Four (Cambridge, MA)
I feel like Area Four needs no introduction. This trendy restaurant offers up wood-fired pizzas, a cafe with local roasted coffee, and a scratch bakery with all of the baked goods. They’re open for delivery via Caviar and pick-up from 7:45 AM — 8:15 PM. The “Not Pepperoni” pizza is a cool twist on a classic and my personal favorite.
When this is all over, I hope the line at the A4cade, Area Four’s not-so-hidden arcade, is a little better.
4. Anna’s Taqueria (Boston Area)
Boston’s most beloved burritos indeed! I’ve never had a bad burrito from Anna’s. This might not be the most timely post, considering this is all about fabulous take out spots to get us through until we’re all vaccinated, but I think Anna’s deserves a shot because they’ve been crushing take-out burritos since their inception.
Controversial opinion: I think the quesadillas are better, but to be honest, I can’t tell the difference between the quesadillas and the burritos except the tortilla is tastier with the quesadilla at Anna’s. I think it’s like a grilled burrito, instead of what you’d typically expect for a quesadilla (a flat burrito). Just try it, it’s delicious!
I’m not sure if their world-class whiskey program is available for take out, but I do know that their world-class brisket and pulled pork are! They travel great too in the few times I’ve “supported” the restaurant during this pandemic (supported my growing gut). I also can’t recommend the brussels sprouts and pimiento mac n’ cheese enough. Corn bread is out of this world too.
I’m from North Carolina and Smoke Shop has my BBQ seal of approval, not that it’s worth much. But the sauce is the most important part to me and it does not disappoint. Their Gold Medal BBQ sauce, a mustard-based, South Carolina-style sauce, is divine. If Carolina BBQ isn’t your thing, their sweet sauce and hot sauce are bangin’ too.
Listen, I know that Allston was annexed by Boston in the 19th century, but if you’ve ever been to Allston, you’ll know that it’s like a mini-city in itself. They’ve got the best Korean food in town, so it was tough picking just one for this article. Olitoki, Coreanos, Kaju are all some of my favorites. But we’re talking ultimate take out, and I gotta say, BBQ chicken makes my day. Seriously, I ordered the soy garlic chicken and kimchi fried rice for takeout a few weeks ago and liked it so much I got it again two days later.
If you’ve never had Korean Fried Chicken, my favorite KFC, get over to BBQ chicken today. If I had to describe it, compared to fried chicken from the US, I’d say it’s crunchier, lighter, and saucier. That’s about all I can say. You gotta have it.
Oh, did I mention that they have take-out beer too?
If you have a hankering for sushi this is the spot. The spicy tuna is super fresh and tasty, but if you’re not the biggest sushi fan, fear not! Their gyoza is the bomb and they have a ton of other Japanese options to pick from like bento boxes, udon, rice, wok-tossed entrees, and more.
They’re open for take out from 11:00 AM — 8:30 PM daily, and you can view their menu here.
8. Yummy Thai (Cambridge, MA)
No take out list is complete without Thai food! There’s something about Thai that keeps so well, both in traveling from the restaurant and in the fridge for delicious next-day (or midnight) leftovers. The drunken noodles from Yummy Thai are easily the best I’ve had in the area, and the fried gyoza are consistently crunchy and delicious. Also, I think this is the second (third?) time I’ve mentioned gyoza in this blog. Apologies. Unless you also love gyoza, then hit me up for all of the gyoza recs.
I would die for FoMu. I’m not kidding. I would. You won’t even miss the dairy, I promise you. Try the peanut butter chocolate cookie ice cream. Ten dollars for a pint is a lot, I know, but it’s worth every penny.
10. Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe (Boston, MA)
There’s something special about hand-pulled noodles, and you won’t find better hand-pulled noodles than Gene’s. It’s a small storefront with unbelievably reasonable prices. According to their website, they’re open at their Boston location and suburban locations for takeout and delivery via third-party apps. They also serve lamb sandwiches as well as other Western Chinese cuisine. It doesn’t get better than this. Parking in Chinatown is the worst, so I’m stoked Gene’s is available for delivery.
11. Life Alive Organic Cafe (Boston Area)
I’ll admit it, I hate vegetables. I do. I was a vegetarian for years and I lived on cheese and bread. But Life Alive manages to make veggies taste good, and that’s why they’re on this list. Healthy people will love this inclusion, but for all of my unhealthy people out there, who also have to make a conscious effort to drink water and consume vegetables, I’m telling you that this place is tasty.
If whole veggies still aren’t your thing, they have drinkable veggies aka smoothies that are deceptively delicious. Ooh, and their acai bowls are magnificent! Try the PB&J one. Peanut butter makes every healthy thing better.
12. Tres Gatos (Boston, MA)
I feel like tapas are a little bit fancy for takeout, but I like to get fancy from home a little more often now considering the state of the world. Tres Gatos is my go-to for tapas. This Jamaica Plain mainstay is open for take out every night and free local delivery Sunday-Wednesday from 5:00–8:45 PM. Not only do they serve a very generous portion of potatoes with their patatas bravas, but their chickpea fritters are the stuff of dreams. The shrimp is great, too. Treat yo self at home!
Oh, and did I mention that this place was Boston’s first full-service restaurant, book, and music store? There’s an amazing shop in the back selling a constantly rotating selection of LPs. Very reasonable prices. I got a brand new Francoise Hardy record and Donovan’s greatest hits for less than twenty bucks. Good stuff. So, if you’re into that sort of thing, you can pick up a record with your food too.
13. Yume wo Katarre (Cambridge, MA)
The line for this place used to be insane! When I heard that they were doing take out in COVID times I almost couldn’t believe it. If there’s anything good in this world as of late, it’s the ability to eat this Porter Square institution’s jiro-style pork ramen in the peace and quiet of my living room.
This place is known for their killer ramen as much as they’re known for their service concept, which encourages diners to share their dreams (Yume wo Katare translates to “Share Your Dreams”) after the meal. I’m shy, so I’ve never shared my dream before. My dream is to be able to eat Yume’s ramen while watching old episodes of Parks and Rec forever. What’s yours?
Originally published at https://www.roadgoat.com on March 24, 2021.