Beach Street in Chi­na­town is so-called be­cause it re­ally was a beach. To­day it’s a warren of shops and Asian eater­ies.

Where Boston - - WHERE NOW -

On the other side of the river, true food­ies can visit the Irv­ing Street house where Amer­ica’s cui­sine queen Ju­lia Child lived. Less than five min­utes’ walk from there is R.F. O’Sul­li­van & Son, the beloved Somerville burger bar where the half-pound burg­ers are “never squished.” You need two hands to hold them.

Over in the South End, the corner of Tre­mont and Claren­don Streets has been one of the epi­cen­ters of Bos­ton din­ing for decades. Fondly re­mem­bered Icarus, Hamer­s­ley’s Bistro, and Saint Bo­tolph restau­rants no longer ex­ist. In­stead, grab a pizza at PICCO (pas­try chef Rick Katz’s “pizza and ice cream com­pany”) and onion soup and steak frites at Frenchie, a new, ca­sual, wine bar from Loic Le Gar­rec (of Petit Robert Bistro fame) and som­me­lier San­drine Rossi. Ad­dis Red Sea has been serv­ing af­ford­ably de­lec­ta­ble Ethiopian fare to a di­verse, well-trav­eled clien­tele since the 1980s. It re­mains as de­li­cious (and friendly) as ever.

In the North End, Bos­ton’s Lit­tle Italy, Daily Catch dishes up the best, fried cala­mari, squid ink pasta and cala­mari meat­balls in a room so small you’re es­sen­tially eat­ing in the kitchen. Go down the al­ley next to Bricco and then down the stairs into Bricco Paneter­ria, maybe the best bread bak­ery in Bos­ton. At Ris­torante Lu­cia, feast on the Ital­ian-Amer­i­can clas­sics the ‘hood is known for, like chicken Marsala, veal Parmi­giano and shrimp Francese. Check out the re­pro­duc­tion of Michelan­gelo’s Sis­tine Chapel mu­ral on the se­cond-floor ceil­ing.

Beach Street in Chi­na­town is so-called be­cause back when it was first set­tled it re­ally was a beach. To­day it’s a warren of shops and Asian eater­ies, its side­walks crowded with hawk­ers sell­ing ev­ery­thing from fresh fruit to knock­off ath­letic wear. At Pho Hoa, they spe­cial­ize in Viet­namese noo­dle soups and rice pa­per spring rolls. And, down by the Chi­na­town gate, Great Taste bak­ery and café makes the city’s best don tot egg cus­tard tarts sim­i­lar to the Por­tuguese pas­tel de nata you’d find in Ma­cau.

A fresh­en­ing stroll across the Har­vard Bridge takes you to­wards Cen­tral Square, where In­dia Pav­il­ion, Cam­bridge’s first In­dian res­tau­rant, opened in 1979. Goat vin­daloo, shrimp jal­frazee and lamb ro­gan josh are all worth an om­ni­vore’s at­ten­tion. Next stop, the Mid­dle East, the le­gendary res­tau­rant/night­clubs com­plex where you can en­joy hum­mus, ke­babs and cous­cous, as well as cut­ting edge indie mu­sic (re­cently, Birthing Hips, Truth, Mint Green and Twin Forks).

In nearby Har­vard Square, all bon vi­vants should pay homage at Gren­del’s Den, the sub­ter­ranean res­tau­rant and bar that won a land­mark 1982 Supreme Court case that al­lowed them to sell al­co­hol within 500 feet of a church, a le­gal chal­lenge to blue laws in nine states. Gren­del’s’ veg­e­tar­ian and ve­gan friendly menu of soups, sal­ads and com­fort fare is half price be­tween 5 pm and 7:30 pm nightly.

No Where Bos­ton Culi­nary Trail ex­cur­sion would be com­plete with­out a walk­a­bout of All­ston, with its stu­dent res­i­dents and many in­ex­pen­sive, in­ter­na­tional restau­rants. At StreetFood Revo­lu­tion, the young own­ers are com­mit­ted to un­com­pro­mis­ingly au­then­tic Chi­nese street food in­clud­ing mega-hot mala soups you can in­di­vid­u­al­ize with chicken giz­zards, tripe, tofu skin and enoki mush­rooms. You should also visit Berezka In­ter­na­tional Food Store—a Slavic eats em­po­rium—to stock up on pick­les, smoked meats and the cheap­est caviar in town for the ride home.

Other lo­cals may tell you we missed a spot or two, but no Bos­ton foodie trail can ever be truly de­fin­i­tive—there’s al­ways some­thing new to dis­cover just around the next corner. With apolo­gies to Ralph Waldo Emer­son: “Do not go where the path may lead, go in­stead where there is no path and leave a trail ... of crumbs.”

GLOBAL KITCHEN From top, de­tail from the mu­ral at The Mid­dle East res­tau­rant; China Pearl in Chi­na­town; soup at StreetFood Revo­lu­tion in All­ston. Pre­vi­ous page, StreetFood Revo­lu­tion

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