For most of the nation, April 17th will be a typical Monday. Warmed-over leftovers, microwave meals, and drive-through grub will be standard fare on most plates.
But not for us. Here in the City of Champions, something different will be on tap: delicious, mouthwatering cuisine. On Marathon Monday, whether we’re running, cheering on the sidelines, or watching the race from the comfort of a restaurant TV, it will be our time to fuel up with the best eats that the Back Bay area has to offer.
Since our Boston Marathon holds the distinction as the world’s oldest marathon, we’re going to honor that spirit of perennial greatness with a timeless list of excellent eateries. Consider one of these highly-rated dining locales (and be sure to make reservations ahead of time, if you can):
The Friendly Toast
Let’s face it, if you woke up early enough to watch the Marathon, then your “breakfast” was more like an extension of last night’s dinner. For your real breakfast (or brunch), you can head over to The Friendly Toast on Stanhope Street (which also offers “Toasty Libations” if you’re so inclined). If you didn’t know that you wanted to dig into a plate of doughnuts and eggs in tandem with each other on Marathon Day, now you do! It’s something you don’t want to miss.
In case you didn’t already know, Marathon Monday is also a day for the Sox to strut their stuff. If you’ve decided to head to Fenway for the late-morning game, consider stopping at Hojoko afterward for a late-afternoon lunch. Inventive flavors make it easy to stay hyped up here. You might enjoy the shiitake mushroom tempura roll (topped with truffle froth, among other things) or the “Funky Chicken Ramen,” which is made with a 48-hour broth. With that Herculean time of preparation behind it, it’s basically as though the soup itself will reach the finish line of its own marathon, which will be happily celebrated in your mouth, of course.
The seafood at Saltie Girl is spectacular, sustainable, and anything but cookie-cutter. Saltie Girl features a mouthwatering selection of catches that we can describe only as “comfort food from the sea” — perfect for your relaxed race day holiday. Let’s start with the fried lobster & waffles dish, for example. The sweet and salty combination is set off by an exciting kick of spicy maple syrup. Next, we can move to the raw bar, featuring such plates as the torched salmon belly, with a miso glaze highlighting the mellow salty flavor. Since patio seating here is first-come, first-serve, be sure to arrive well before opening time at 11 am if you want to dine outdoors.
Vegan and gluten-free options abound at this quality eatery on Boylston Street. This location just opened last year, and the sense of bright newness still permeates the space. If you choose to come here after you’ve run the race, you’ll appreciate the high-nutrient drink selections, including carrot-ginger and apple-celery juices. The Mezza Platter features an optimal blend of carbs and protein, with a satisfying selection of Middle Eastern spreads such as hummus and tahini atop some seriously fluffy pita. For another option that shines with bright flavors, consider the Lebanese salad, which features a memorable lemon-mint dressing that sets off a satisfying quinoa-bulgur mix.
Nestled near the finish line, this well-known establishment opens its doors at 5 pm, so you’ll have the opportunity to toast the last stragglers of the race with a delightful glass of bubbly. The patio here is delightfully well-done — a neat, long-established outdoor space with a bar lining its far edge. The Mediterranean cuisine on offer at Porto is made-to-order, and the staff is attentive but not overbearing. The presentation of the food at Porto is creative, and the ambiance is as fresh as the food. If you can, consider the homemade ricotta gnocchi, surrounded by buttery goodness and garnished by lemon breadcrumbs that can only be described as chef’s kiss.
Oak Long Bar + Kitchen
Located just past the finish line, Oak Long is a prime location to watch the victorious finishers stream through the area throughout the day. Since it’s located in a hotel (at Fairmont Copley Plaza), it’s likely that you’ll also catch sight of some traveling runners and their families in and around the premises. Patio seating is limited but pleasant, sometimes ensconced within an elegant leafy zone of foliage to create a barrier from the street. The indoor seating positions you inside a majestic, historic space. The farm-to-table menu options here are stick-to-your-ribs satisfying — warm hearth-baked bread keeps you coming back for more, and the clam chowder represents exactly what you want in a Boston chowder.
There’s always at least one person in the race who takes their sweet time to move through the marathon course at their own pace, even if that pace is a slow shuffle that takes up the entire day. If anyone’s still staying the course during the tail end of the night, you might be able to catch sight of their sleepy finale by peeking through the windows of this relaxed Irish pub. If you’ve missed most of the race action due to your demanding work schedule (or other obligations), you can seek comfort in some Shepherd’s pie and the taste of a beverage of choice. Don’t forget about the desserts here, either. If you actually did run the race, you’ll have burned off enough calories to indulge in a guilt-free Guinness brownie or a rich butterscotch pudding.
The energy in Back Bay is palpable not only on Marathon Monday but year-round. If you’d love to be a part of that excitement, consider making the area your home. As one of Boston’s most successful real estate agents, Beth Dickerson would be delighted to help you discover your next landing place. Reach out to Beth and make the first move toward purchasing the property of your dreams.