With the opening of Time Out Market Boston, the curated food hall trend that is sweeping the globe has officially arrived here in The Hub. Food halls are a great dining choice when you’re with a group of friends with different tastes—there’s something for everyone. These Boston food halls offer all types of food—spanning numerous genres and cuisine types—all in one spot. They make for a great anytime meeting spot; just show up and see what kind of mood you’re in. If you’re looking for something more substantial, check out our guides to the best steakhouses in Boston, best Italian restaurants in Boston, or best Japanese restaurants in Boston.
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The best food halls in Boston
As New England's premier food hall, Time Out Market Boston features 15 curated food offerings, plus two bars and lots more. There is plenty of seating—both indoor and outside—and some of the biggest culinary names in Boston (Tim and Nancy Cushman, Tony Maws, Michael Schlow, Peter Ungar) are on hand to deliver a varied assortment of delicious dishes and killer bites. The market's stunning home can be found in the revitalized 401 Park Drive building, an Art Deco masterpiece built in 1929 as a Sears, Roebuck and Company warehouse. If you haven't been yet, what are you waiting for?
The BPM features more than 30 New England-based artisans and food producers. Locals shop for fresh produce, meats, fish, and more. Lots of prepared foods are available, great for an easy meal. Pastrami sandwiches, savory crepes, banh mi, popovers, and noodles are just a few of the dining options in the market. Finish up with apple cider donuts or gelato, and pick up some fresh produce on your way out.
Harvard’s Smith Campus Center is an oasis of comfy chairs, coffee, and good food for students. Fortunately it’s also open to the public. While there are just a handful of vendors, the options and seating areas (as well as the calming, plant-filled “living walls”) make this one of the best fast-casual options in all of Cambridge. Choose from banh mi from Bon Me, healthy veggie bowls from Whole Heart Provisions, or casual Greek fare from Saloniki. Blackbird donuts and Pavement coffee complete the offerings.
Head to Union Square for a selection of unique, independent food vendors from the area. You’ll find everything from North Shore-style roast beef sandwiches to handmade gourmet perogies and empanadas. Also on offer: smoked fish, bibimbap, and of course sweets, like delicate macarons. Grab a fresh beer from Remnant Brewing (or a glass of wine from Rebel Rebel), and take a seat in the central courtyard.
Eataly is heaven for fans of artisanal Italian products. You can shop for ingredients to cook at home, or choose from the many purveyors and small restaurants within the hall. There is plenty of seating for a do-it-yourself meal: pick a cheese and some fresh bread for a quick snack, or grab a sandwich and a gelato. You can also dine at one of the higher-end restaurants offering fresh Italian favorites. Finish up with a coffee at the street-level Caffé Lavazza.
While Quincy Market is certainly a tourist-heavy area, there are some gems among the fast food joints in the Food Colonnade. This long, central corridor offers the opportunity to try lobster rolls, chowder, Boston baked beans, and Boston cream pie all at once. There’s an outpost of Regina Pizzeria, a Starbucks, New York’s famed Magnolia Bakery, and plenty of seating that’s especially welcome in the dead of winter.