by Christine Liu - 156 Reviews - 111 List
Downtown Crossing's commercial district has its fair share of easy-to-find restaurants--five-star Brahmin extravagances and unmemorable worker-bee joints, that is--but where to go for something truly crave-able? We're happy to share our favorite under-the-radar eateries for a cozy tuck-in before a show or a nosh between shopping sprees. Whether steak tips or squash soup, don't go hungry in downtown Boston at these diamonds in the rough.
(Photo: Kingston Station by Christine Liu)
Updated: July 28, 2010
The brightest thing on an otherwise hit-or-miss block, BiNA coaxes both a murmuring cocktail-lounge crowd and diners eager for Chef Azita Bina-Seibel's Italian plates such as celery pesto or blue figs. A pre-theatre prix-fixe and in-house Italian gourmet market gild the house-made spaghetti.
How do I love thee, restored restaurant with old-school historical graces? Let me count the ways: Local, luscious oysters for a dollar apiece every day after 10pm. Amazing raised-sidewalk patio that's both urban-glam and urban-grit. Oh, yes, plus that cocktail-geek's dream menu and cheese-cloaked Welsh rarebit.
Though this Middle-Eastern joint is in an otherwise lackluster food court lit under harsh fluorescence, the King remains a legit lunchtime destination. The management happily gives customers a free falafel to munch on while waiting in the quickly moving queue for the delicious and generously sized shwarma, salad or kebab.
Yes, it's a pickle cart. You may snicker and coo at its adorableness, but the 2-for-$1 spears are very seriously addictive. Local picklemaster Travis Grillo mans the cart and sells his Italian pickles (in original or spicy) right outside the Park Street T station for whenever you need a snappy, sour snack.
Does Boston love burrito joints? Is the pope Catholic? Andale takes the typical Mexican take-out to an entirely new level, with intensely authentic salsas, fresh fillings and a non-poseur pedigree. The menu, which includes tamales, mole and soft tacos, more than makes up for its non-elegant location in an office building.
This is where a gorgeous bar and after-work crowd meet totally stuff-your-face-dishes like truffled cheese fries, seasonal ravioli and steak frites. Morphing from lunch stop-in to Wi-Fi cafe to dinner destination to late-night lounge to weekend brunch isn't easy, especially in this area of town, but Kingston Station successfully it does.