NFT Boston East Boston

East Boston

One of the last predominantly ethnic neighborhoods in Boston, and isolated from the city by water, Eastie's tree-lined streets and classic triple-deckers are home to a Latin American community that's just starting to see the gentrification from Southie move in. Maverick Square is busy, but you'll want to make the walk up to Day Square to get a better sense of the turf.

Santarpio's Pizza is one of the best in the country, and worth the trip alone, but it's the pañerias, rotisseries, and taquerias that dominate the dining scene. Try the Peruvian chicken at the Rincon Limeno in Day Square, or just roam around until you find something that looks good. You'll do alright.

Driving means the Callahan Tunnel -- stay in the right lane as you exit the tunnel. When leaving, keep a map handy, as there are about 30 roads in, and only four out, so it's very easy to get turned around. Also, keep a few dollars handy, as the airport toll will hit you on the way back. For public transportation, take the Blue Line to the Maverick or Wood Island stops.See more.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Beautiful Boston & The Pizza Within

By Emily Doutre
Pizza: It's not just for Italians anymore. Thin crust, garlic-stuffed, charred, magic or imported from California (the tomatoes, that is), Emily Doutre's tried them all and now she's reporting. Deal with it.

Exploring Eastie

By Max Grinnell
There are nooo Starbucks in East Bo-o-ston and the streets are paved with... immigrants, pizza and piers? Let Max Grinnell take you on American tour of Eastie, the forgotten directional land mass of Italian restaurants, Egyptian revival architecture and multilingual Dunkin Donuts.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Emily Doutre
Photo:  Emily Doutre

Santarpio's Pizza
In the pantheon of Boston pizzerias, there's Regina's, and then there's everyone else. Yes, Regina's has been around for about a century, and yes, their pizza is pretty damn good. But as Regina's popularity spread, so did its tendency to sell out. With over a dozen locations, a constantly long line at the North End spot, delivery available via overpriced third party delivery companies, and consistently surly service, Regina's has evolved into a quintessential spot "for tourists." Are you sufficiently annoyed now? Then let me tell you about the anti-Regina's: Santarpio's. The decor resembles that of your grandpa's basement bar: neon lights, wood paneling, limited sunlight. It is located in East Boston, which, as a rule, does not cater to tourists (outside of the airport). The pies have crunchy crusts and chewy innards, and you don't need a lot of toppings to enhance the already perfect flavor that makes this arguably the best pizza in Boston. Oh yeah, there's a barbecue pit, too. Santarpio's staff would like you to think that they possess the typical gruff, hardcore Bostonian demeanor. But compared to the visibly disgruntled employees at Regina’s, you can tell that the Santarpio's wait staff know that they're working at the best kept secret in Boston, and they love it. Folks, this place is definitely not for tourists. Let's keep it that way.

Posted By:  Todd Strauss

Angela's Cafe
It has been a very long time since I’ve had a meal I enjoyed as much as I did last Saturday at Angela's Cafe. I’d heard so much hype about this place over the last few months, I thought there was no way the food could live up to my expectations. They exceeded it! Angela's serves up absolutely amazing Mexican food. Keep in mind that besides the specials listed on the board, they have more daily specials that the waitstaff tell you about (if not, make sure you ask). While I tried several of their dishes and everything stood out, I can't get the taste of the Chicken Mole out of my mind. I cannot even describe how much flavor was in each bite. My only regret about the meal is that I did not have enough room to try their Pipian. But I suppose it doesn't matter since I know I’ll going to be back later this week.

Posted By:  Knox Gardner
Photo:  Knox Gardner

Pollos A La Brasa El Chalan
Boston doesn’t get enough props for its Latin American cuisine. You hear those folks from Cali bitchin’ about the lack of Mexican. Ok, fair enough, but for the love of God, Inti, Apocatequil, and all that is Holy, Boston’s got some serious great food all points south of the Panama Canal. El Chalan, in Day Square on the far side of Eastie is my favorite chicken in town. Roast with a hint of hot spice and you’ll want to order some fried plantains with garlic sauce to go with while you watch some futbol or garish soaps. Here’s one thing to know about El Chalan: the service, while friendly, is completely incompetent. I have never received exactly what I thought I ordered. Perhaps it’s because of the Argentinean Spanish we speak, but I guess I consider it part of the thrill. You can laugh it off as you plan your next trip back.

Posted By:  Todd Strauss
Photo:  Todd Strauss

Santarpio's Pizza
You've seen the sign when on your way to and from the airport, but how many NFT readers have actually experienced Santarpio’s? They are best known for their pizza. (Sorry, they only sell their pizzas by the pie, not the slice.) Unlike most pizzerias, their ingredients go under the cheese, and the crust is custom ordered. I prefer my pizza crust crispy so I always order it well done. My favorite topping is their homemade sausage. However, if you only order a pizza, you are missing out on half of the experience. When you walk in, you will notice a giant charcoal grill located at the end of the bar. You will see skewers of grilled sausage and lamb cooking on the open flame. If you are checking this place out for the first time, make sure to bring at least one friend so that can also order one of their grilled combo plates, which consists of several pieces of lamb and a homemade sausage, which are even more delicious when eaten with the hot peppers and bread that come with every order.

Posted By:  Katherine Hayes
Photo:  Katherine Hayes

Santarpio's Pizza
I’m sitting at the bar at Santarpio’s Pizza. On one side of me, two guys who keep dropping f-bombs are complaining about “people from the North Shore talking about the place where there are only two things on the menu.” On the other side, another man, upon finding out that it’s my first time there, raises his eyebrows and says, “Did you just fly in?” Apparently, I am a negligent Bostonian for not experiencing Santarpio’s, an East Boston institution, sooner. The “two things” on the menu besides pizza are sausage and lamb, so don’t go there if you want salad or dessert. You also need to arrive before the lunch and dinner rushes, or you’ll be waiting for a table outside the door. But once you’re inside Santarpio’s, where the wait staff is constantly yelling over each other and most of the customers seem to be regulars, you’ll find that the pizza, voted “Best of Boston” no less than five times, is worth the hype. It has a crispy crust and the perfect amount of cheese—just don’t expect to get it by the slice. Next time I’ll try the lamb, which the guy next to me was raving about.

Posted By:  Knox Gardner
Photo:  Knox Gardner

Betty Ann Food Shop
I’m a donut gourmand. I’ve got Dunkin Donuts menu memorized, and that’s only my emergency backup plan. I’ve also gained 40 pounds since living in Boston as cred. When I’d heard that there was a donut shop near Wood Island that also happened to make Boston's best beans, it became a weekly obsession. I couldn't recall the name or any other specifics, so I devised a plan of walking in the most obvious direction from the station and doubling around, block by block if necessary. North is the most obvious direction and it will take you up Bennington directly to Betty Ann's Bakery Food Stop. It's a huge old-fashioned bakery. These are real donuts: they're a decent cake with crumb, and though a bit bland and with a heavily fried crust, are obviously made by someone actually mixing flour instead of opening an industrial package of pre-mix. The beans were in the back and we got a pint for dinner. They’re easily the best pork n' beans I've ever eaten. Sweet, a bit tangy, not too much sauce, and tender. They’re only available on Saturdays, before 11 am, 4 or 5 blocks north of the Wood Island stop.

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