The Best Eats in Boston’s Allston-Brighton Neighborhoods

By Eric Twardzik
05/04/2021

Allston-Brighton has outgrown its reputation as a set of student-filled neighborhoods that subsist on greasy slice joints and fast food. Well, the students are still there, but now they have access to innovative fast-casual spots, excellent fare from around the world, and plenty of independent restaurants and bars that won't break the bank.

Like its sister location in Cambridge, the original Lone Star Taco Bar is a delicious rebuke to the notion that you can’t find good tacos in Boston. The Tex-Mex haunt is known for a half-dozen staples ranging from Beef Barbacoa to Veracruz Fish, plus inventive specials like Birria Tacos. In 2020, it expanded next door and now boasts an umbrella-shaded, back-deck patio—a perfect perch to get acquainted with the roster of outstanding margaritas and stellar selection of crushable craft beer.

S&I To Go

There’s no dearth of good takeout in Allston, but S&I To Go is on our speed dial for a quick Thai food fix. From standard Pad Thai to house specialties like Spicy Eggplant with ground chicken, S&I has the goods at prices that rarely go over $10. (Pro tip: Because of the fees third-party delivery apps charge, it’s cheaper for you and better for the mom-and-pop shop when you order directly and pick up.) There’s a dedicated vegetarian menu section, as well as desserts like Mango and Sweet Sticky Rice or Fried Banana.

grilled cheese

One of Boston’s original food trucks, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese debuted its first brick-and-mortar in Allston, and it remains an excellent venue for picking up the guacamole-stuffed Green Muenster, the Hot Honey Bacon, and even vegan-friendly grilled cheese. We never tire of those menu staples, but we also love the fare you won’t find on the truck, like the pimento-slathered Justin’s Burger on a sweet Portuguese bun and the Double Fried Chicken sandwich with house-made ranch.

Conveniently located in between Roxy’s and Lone Star, FoMu is our de facto dessert run in the Allston neighborhood—but the locally made, coconut-based ice cream makes it worth a visit anytime. There’s no wrong choice of creamy confection when flavors include George Howell Cold Brew, Fresh Strawberry, and Avocado, but equally delicious (and also entirely plant-based) ice cream sandwiches and other novelties are worthy of your sweet tooth, too.

Coreanos

Boasting excellent versions of familiar Korean fare like Bulgogi Bibimbap and the signature light and crispy style of Fried Chicken tossed in sweet and spicy sauces, takeout-friendly Coreanos also transcends the cuisine with fun and flavorful fusion. Try corn tortilla tacos filled with thinly sliced Kalbi Short Rib and a citrusy slaw; and the shareable Kimchi Fritas, which tops thick-cut French fries with house-fermented vegetables, gooey cheese, and a runny, sunny egg.

Dumpling Kingdom

Allston is brimming with restaurants that satisfy any Asian food craving. We could certainly crown this place the ultimate dumpling destination, beloved for Mini Juicy Buns, as soup dumplings are called here, filled with steaming broth and gingery pork; crispy Taiwan Style Pan Fried Dumplings; and steamed Shumai. Feel free to fill up on the hand-folded bundles of deliciousness, but know that Dumpling Kingdom’s generous portions of Chinese takeout favorites like Salt and Pepper Pork and Egg Drop Soup also hit the spot.

Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen

Credit: Brato Brewhouse

Brighton is quieter than its buzzier counterpart, Allston, so late-2019 newcomer Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen—and its spacious patio—is a welcome addition to the populous neighborhood. Founded by alumni of the legendary Cambridge Brewing Company, food and beer here are equally important: Sausages like the Brato Brat and Barleywine Currywurst are made with house brews, as are the freshly baked breads used for a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches.

Habanero Mexican Grill

The humble Habanero Mexican Grill brings super satisfying Latin American fare to the same block as S&I To Go and Coreanos. (We love you, Allston.) From verde enchiladas to hefty burritos gently grilled before serving for optimum crispness, it’s a Mexican food favorite in Boston. But don’t overlook the Salvadoran-style pupusas, which pair an addictively crunchy curtido (a fermented cabbage condiment) with beans or pork and melty cheese.

 

Updated by Jacqueline Cain

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