What has Dorchester given us? Well, Whitey Bulger, the Wahlbergs, Herb Chambers, and Mayor Marty Walsh for starters. Take the good with the bad there, but essentially all of Boston’s royalty hails from Dot.
One thing we can all agree on is that Dorchester’s food is very, very good. The city’s largest neighborhood is diverse, which offers the opportunity to grab some great options that you can’t seem to find within such close proximity anywhere else.
Ahead, 10 of our favorite lesser-known Dorchester restaurants to start you off on dining out in the neighborhood:
This is an old school cash-only Polish convenience store with a killer deli. Bacon kielbasa macaroni and cheese? That’s just the start. They have some interesting sandwiches behind the counter. The “Fatkid” is an Italian sub topped with pastrami and the “Slambasa” is BBQ sauce, kielbasa, American cheese, capicola ham and Genoa salami. We love the Polish specials like the Rycki Indyk, which is smoked turkey breast and Rycki Edam cheese with hot and sweet mustard on rye. It’s only $5.65.
120 Boston Street
Continuing with the market theme, why not put a deli in the back of a packy? They have one of the best steak and cheese subs in the city and a surprisingly large variety of chips. They also have a pastrami steak and cheese, which more adventurous sub-eaters would probably gravitate towards.
630 Market Street
First off, this place has killer Banh Mi sandwiches for just $3.50, including BBQ pork, chicken, and tofu. Take it up a notch by adding jalapeños. On the side, grab an order of the beef spring rolls, which are amazing. They don’t have a menu because they are constantly changing what they serve, so it’s good to drop by this spot periodically to see what’s new.
1052 Dorchester Avenue
This West Indian spot on Columbia Road is easy to miss, it’s small and essentially just a counter, so you have to take your food to go. Mr. Singh and his wife handmake all the roti, a type of delicious Indian flatbread made with corn and chickpeas. When you fill that bread with rice, curried meats, vegetables, and the hottest hot sauce ever, the whole thing is also called a roti. It’s sort of like a burrito, but a completely different kind of delicious.
692 Columbia Road
If you’re craving pupusas in Dorchester, this is a good place to get your fix. They are really cheap, fast, and delicious. If you haven’t had them before, they are like a flat cornmeal pancake. Keeping it simple with the regular cheese ones is always a good call, and are only $2. The tacos here are also great, especially chorizo or la lengua (beef tongue). Mi Casa Tu Casa also has legitimate horchata, which is exceedingly hard to find.
299 Hancock Street
If you’re into salads, Lambert’s Rainbow Fruit has one of the best salad bars in Boston. For $5.99 a pound, you can fill up an aluminum bowl with every kind of accoutrements your heart desires. There is also fresh cooked chicken, so you can add some protein, and if salad isn’t your thing, this little supermarket has a full deli counter and prepared meals. Believe it or not, sometimes cheap stuff can be good for you.
777 Morrissey Boulevard
Next door to Lambert’s is Boston Ice Cream Factory. While not the prettiest building in the world, this place is known for their funky alcohol-flavored ice cream. So if you’re interested in Sex on the Beach sorbet or Guinness ice cream, pop by this spot. Booze and ice cream? How can you resist?
777 Morrissey Boulevard
Windy City usually refers to Chicago, so the name is a little funky, but this place is really serious about Buffalo Chicken. Tenders are $9.30 per pound and wings are 10 for $9.30. You can also get them in nine other flavors. They have a pretty good slice of pizza too, but definitely go for the wings.
516 Gallivan Boulevard
This is your quintessential pizza place with a gigantic menu. The best part about it is that there’s a whole section for smothered waffle fries and a different section dedicated to mac and cheese. For $5.99, you get a whole plate of waffle fries covered in cheese or for $9.99 a pile of buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese. Prepare to enter a snack-induced nap hole.
856 Dorchester Avenue
This place is a classic, no-frills neighborhood diner. They have bottomless coffee, great corned beef hash, and perfect home fries. Also, if you like grits, which you can’t get everywhere, this is your spot. They are only open in the morning, so plan to get there before 2 p.m.
260 Bowdoin Street
Did we miss any hidden gems in Dorchester? Let us know.