The Best Specialty Food Markets in Boston

By Emily Millian
12/07/2022
The Best Specialty Food Markets in Boston
EBO&CO / Credit: Chris McIntosh

Boston is full of amazing upscale grocers that offer seasonal delicacies only found in this stunnah of a city. From seafood counters to butcher shops and gourmet cheesemongers, these shops offer rich flavors and mouthwatering goods. Whether you’re shopping for a host gift or treating yourself, here’s where to find the best specialty food markets in the Boston area.

American Provisions
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Proprietors Matthew Thayer and Andy Fadous set shoppers up for success by filling the coolers and shelves at American Provisions with the best specialty food. With locations in South Boston and Dorchester, each store has a highly curated selection of cheese, charcuterie, and natural wine. AP also offers a crowd-pleasing catering menu, including sandwiches made to order and holiday pies available annually for pick up at both locations. After shopping in Southie, head next door to sister wine bar Gray’s Hall for choice sips, small plates, and one of our favorite burgers in Boston.

Maruichi Japanese Food & Deli

Maruichi Japanese Food & Deli
Credit: Chris McIntosh

Maruichi Japanese Food & Deli is a destination-worthy Asian grocery store in Brookline filled with beautiful produce, high-quality meats like thinly sliced Wagyu beef, premium uni from Hokkaido, and Japanese pantry staples, as well as freshly packaged sushi made in-house daily. It even has a wide selection of beauty products and kitchenware. Founded in Connecticut, the small, regional chain also has a location in Arlington as well as Maruichi Select across the street in Coolidge Corner, an elevated outpost with an even-more-curated selection of specialty Japanese products, including fine sake and beer, freshly prepared bento boxes, and sushi. Be sure to keep an eye out for Maruichi’s sake tastings, too. 

Formaggio Kitchen - Boston's Best Cheese Shops
Formaggio / Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Formaggio Kitchen might be the quintessential gourmet grocery store. It should be your first stop when planning a spread for any type of gathering: the legendary shop stocks a wide selection of cheese and charcuterie, along with all the accoutrements and a wealth of knowledge to help you put it all together. Peruse the wine section to pop bottles of bubbles and pair with Island Creek Caviar, also available in-store—or simply stop in after work to pick up some fresh produce and meats. Holiday shopping for your boss, your neighbor, your sister-in-law? Think beyond gift cards with an entire section on the Formaggio website dedicated to ideas (though any food-and-drinks lover would appreciate money to spend there, too!). Formaggio is also a great way to shop local with locations in the South End, Huron Village, and Kendall Square in Cambridge (as well as a storefront in New York City). 

EBO & Co. Grocery

The Best Specialty Food Markets in Boston
Credit: Chris McIntosh

When pop-up guru Alexis Cervasio—known for decadent spreads and caviar on everything at East Boston Oysters events—opens a grocery store, you know it will be worth the trek to Eastie. Like the EBO pop-ups, EBO & Co. Grocery has everything you need for a killer party, down to a curated selection of vinyl records—not to mention, period products and scratch tickets. When it comes to food and drinks, this shop carries fresh oysters by the dozen, caviar and tinned fish, cheese and charcuterie essentials, natural wines, both limited-release beers and High Lifes, olive oils and specialty products, and more. The colorful corner market is also a feast for the eyes, looking like a gift itself.

Sofra Bakery | The Best Specialty Food Markets in Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Sofra, a Middle Eastern bakery, cafe, and retail shop near the Watertown line in Cambridge, has some of the best pastries in the Boston area. Be everyone’s favorite houseguest and roll in with Sofra confections like twice-baked croissants, chocolate chunk cookies, and morning buns. There is also a wide selection of freshly made meze packaged to-go—a great way to change it up from the usual hors d’oeuvre spread during the holiday season, to be sure. Along with all the house-made sweet and savory treats, Sofra is filled with bazaar-like provisions that make it a unique shopping experience. Owners Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick have really created a magical oasis here. 

Curds. & Co.

Curds & Co. | Where to Find the Best Charcuterie Boards in Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Self-described as a 21st century cheese shop, Curd & Co. remains down-to-earth and approachable when it comes to shopping for cheese and charcuterie. The Brookline Village shop has an extensive selection of both domestic and imported curds as well as assorted meats and fixings to create just the right spread. Give the gift of cheese with a subscription to their monthly Curdbox, a delivery of three, curated cheeses matched with three accompaniments, plus access to an informative video, podcast, and a Spotify playlist to pair with the cheese. Curds & Co. also offers classes and blindfolded tasting events, so you can work on your palate before browsing.

Sophia's Greek Pantry
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Head to Sophia’s Greek Pantry for a little—OK, a big taste of Greece. Sophia’s hits all the Balkan classics including scratch-made spinach pies, moussaka, and stuffed peppers, and even offers bottled olive oil sourced from the owner’s village in Greece. The main attraction, though, is the Greek yogurt bar, which features up to 17 flavors of house-made goat’s milk yogurt. In addition to grocery store locations in both Belmont and Lowell, Sophia’s offers catering options for any size party or occasion. 

Massis Bakery

Massis Bakery | The Best Specialty Food Markets in Boston

Watertown, often referred to as the Boston area’s Little Armenia, has one of the largest Armenian populations in the country. Mount Auburn Street is home to multiple Armenian markets, including the unmatched Massis Bakery. The family-owned shop has been around over 40 years, providing hard-to-find specialty items, prepared foods, and homemade baked goods like choreg (sweet bread), borek (stuffed pastries of cheese, spinach and or meat), and lahmejune (Armenian pizza). Take home a package of each and thank us later.

Boston Public Market

Boston Public Market

Not your average food hall, Boston Public Market is a special shopping experience. Just a stone’s throw away from Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, the year-round indoor marketplace boasts nearly 30 New England farmers, food producers, and small businesses all under one roof. When we say there is something for everyone, we mean it—from smoked local fish to allergen-friendly baked goods and handmade pasta. Must-stop stalls include Union Square Donuts, Red’s Best seafood, Siena Farms for fresh veggies, and the in-house Pine Bar for local beers and cocktails you can sip while you shop. There is often live music happening at the BPM and even pop-up holiday markets, so this is not your typical grocery store—and we love it that way.

Main Street Pasta & Wine

Main Street Pasta & Wine | The Best Specialty Food Markets in Boston
Credit: Chris McIntosh

Gifts, acts of service, quality time… pasta. Pasta is a love language, right? Maybe not officially, but it’s certainly one of ours—and Main Street Pasta & Wine treats us right. New to the Charlestown neighborhood, the shop has coolers filled with tagliatelle, spaghetti alla chitarra, radiatori, and plenty more fresh pasta, along with pillowy ravioli in seasonal flavors. (Keep an eye out for the lobster ravioli, a perfect addition for a holiday Feast of the Seven Fishes.) There are also ready-to-cook meatballs and house-made pestos. The store’s front shelves are stocked with jarred sauces, olive oils, vinegars, and other imported specialties. In the backroom, find an incredible selection of natural wines and local and Italian beers. Main Street Pasta is open daily from noon until 6 p.m. Peep Instagram for daily pasta offerings and specials.

Savenor's Market
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Famously serving as Julia Child’s butcher, Savenor’s Market has been a family-run, local institution for more than 75 years. It operates two locations: A Cambridge outpost where whole-animal butchery takes place, and a Beacon Hill butcher shop that doubles as a market selling fresh produce, pantry staples, and a wide selection of cheeses. A must-visit during the holiday season for celebratory feasts and friendsgivings—and any other time of year, for that matter—Savenor’s sells the highest quality beef, heritage pork, and hand-fed chicken available locally. Have a mic-drop moment at your holiday dinner table by serving wild game or exotic meats like boar, venison, and even rattlesnake and alligator sirloin. Delivery and shipping are also available. 

Allandale Farm

Allandale Farm
Credit: Chris McIntosh

The city’s last working farm, Allandale is quite a historic property and truly an all-season delight. The sprawling land of about 130 acres spanning Boston and Brookline has been practicing sustainable farming since the mid-1800s. In the warmer months, the family-run farm grows a wide variety of vegetables to sell at the farmstand, along with seedlings from the garden center. Each holiday season, Allandale stocks freshly cut Christmas trees, wreaths, swag, and more to deck the halls. In addition to fresh produce, the farmstand is filled with products from other New England producers—from frozen Buenas empanadas to Brewers Crackers and Jasper Hill Farm cheeses—and plenty of goodies for the holiday season. (If you’re holiday shopping on a weekend, be sure to make a required reservation in advance to ensure a stress-free experience.)

Salumeria Italiana

Salumeria Italiana
Credit: Chris McIntosh

Salumeria Italiana is a North End institution. Since 1962, the market has been selling a wide range of Italian groceries as well as prepared foods and made-to-order panini, like the Italiano and the Original with the founder’s signature muffaletta spread. It’s a one-stop shop for all manner of Italian provisions like freshly sliced bresaola and prosciutto to assorted oils, vinegars, and homemade pestos. The old-school food store is worth checking out, but if you can’t make it to the North End, you can also order online and Salumeria will mail it right to you.

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