Game day isn’t just about the game: it’s a whole experience. For many Bostonians, a big part of that experience is indulging in some excellent food and drinks before or after the game. And from sports bars to world-class Asian fusion cuisine, Fenway has some truly excellent options available.
Whether the Sox are playing or not, these restaurants are decidedly worth checking out. So without further ado, here are five of our favorite award-winning restaurants near Fenway Park.
Crowned the best sports bar dish in Boston, Bleacher Bar’s Slow-Cooked Corned Beef Reuben is just one of the award-winning sandwiches available in this uniquely Fenway establishment. Built into what used to be the away team’s batting cage, the Bleacher Bar takes its name from its location: directly underneath the centerfield bleachers, with a massive garage window looking out into the stadium.
Despite literally being part of the Park, a ticket isn’t required. Indeed, they’re open 7 days a week, every day of the year except Christmas. The window comes down during games, so patrons can see out, but players cannot see in, and the view is simply unbeatable for catching a Sox game from a sports bar.
Above the front door of this venerable sports bar, you’ll see a sign proudly announcing their status as the top baseball bar in the nation, according to ESPN. Also winning Best Fenway Bar in the 2017 Boston A-List awards — compiled from over 32,000 local votes — the Cask’n Flagon’s reputation is well-earned, standing proudly along the Citgo Sign and the Green Monster itself as a Fenway Park institution.
Founded in 1969, the Flagon does a particularly admirable job of managing its traffic. Even during a game day rush, waits are shorter than you might expect, and making it to your seats in time for the first pitch is rarely an ordeal. And while none of that would matter if the food and drinks weren’t up to the task, that’s simply not an issue here. With all the classic draft beers you’d expect from a sports bar, as well as some niche favorites, the pub fare is also decidedly on point, with dishes like the buffalo chicken dip — served in a bread bowl, no less — particularly hitting the spot.
Let’s get real for a moment. As much as we love the amazing, top-shelf dining experiences that Boston has to offer, sometimes you just want something to eat without spending all your time — or money — in the process. That doesn’t mean you have to settle on quality: at least, not if Saloniki Greek has anything to say about it.
This fast casual Greek sandwich shop brings the goods in a serious way. Chef and co-founder Jody Adams would have an easier time listing the awards that she hasn’t won than those she has. Winner of Food & Wine’s New Chef award, the James Beard Award (twice!), a triple-A Four Diamond rating for her work with Rialto, and enough Best Restaurant and Best New Restaurant awards to build a house out of them all, Adams brings serious kitchen chops to the fast casual scene, and the results speak for themselves.
Sometimes called the Chipotle of Greek sandwich shops — a comparison that Adams doesn’t mind, but hardly captures the environment, or the white and red wines on tap, cucumber mint lemonade, or the sheer quality of the locally-sourced ingredients used in every dish. Any place where you can get a pita with zucchini-feta fritters, garlic yogurt, fresh greens, local tomato, red onion, and herbs with a side of fries for less than nine bucks is worth visiting in our book. And if you’re interested in a smaller spin-off of the same concept, bundled with even more of the city’s best dining options, feast your eyes on the final entry in this list.
2018 was a banner year for Tiger Mama, winning Boston Magazine’s Best Southeast Asian Restaurant, and Improper.com’s Best Brunch in Boston, to go with its Best Neighborhood Restaurant (Fenway) award from its inaugural year in 2016. The brainchild of Tiffani Faison, this self-described “love letter to Southeast Asia” serves up a spicy mix of authentic classics and inventive, risk-taking riffs inspired by her journeys through Malaysia.
A Top Chef alumni and 2-time James Beard Foundation Best Chef nominee, Faison brings a fiercely fun vibe to the space. A living wall doubles as an aromatics and herb garden for the kitchen, the bar serves up tiki cocktails in hollowed-out fruit, and the general experience is miles away from Boston, in a good way.
Faison’s no-nonsense manner in the kitchen has worked wonders, transforming her from a reality TV “villain” — a presentation that she always chafed against — to one of Boston’s most beloved celebrity chefs. While in the Fenway, it’s also worth checking out her excellent barbeque restaurant Sweet Cheeks Q, snack bar and cocktail lounge Fool’s Errand, and her newest venture, the decidedly-non-traditional Italian Amarican spot Orfano: each combining irreverent whimsy and world-class menus to incredible effect.
Time Out Market
All right, this inclusion is basically cheating. Time Out Market is not an award-winning restaurant near Fenway Park. It is, in fact, no fewer than six. Based on their successful launch of the concept in Portugal, the recently opened Time Out Market is 25,200 square feet of curated dining experience. Like a food court from an alternate reality where malls are an elegantly rustic Art Deco affair, Time Out Market combines offerings from 15 of the city’s most renowned chefs, two full-service bars, and more to the former Sears, Roebuck, and Company building.
Anyone who follows Boston cuisine will hear some familiar names. Tony Maws is responsible for the excellent Craigie Burgers, spun off of Craigie on Main in Cambridge (for which he won a James Beard award). Both Ms. Cluck’s Deluxe Chicken & Dumplings and Gogo Ya’s excellent nori tacos are the brainchildren of James Beard award winner Tim Cushman, of O Ya fame. And both Monti Roman Pizzeria and Italian Kitchen are the handiwork of fellow Beard award winner Michael Schlow. And if that wasn’t enough,2-time James Beard award winner and recent addition Chef Jody Adams brings the Salonki spinoff Greek Street to the curated collection. So if you’ve got a group that can’t agree on which award-winning restaurants near Fenway Park you want to visit, Time Out Market gives you several, and more great options besides.
Knocking it out of the Park
Baseball wordplay aside, it’s difficult to overstate how good the culinary scene in Fenway has gotten. No matter what you’re in the mood for, the award-winning restaurants near Fenway Park are sure to delight your taste buds, on a game day or otherwise.
What are your favorite restaurants near Fenway Park? Did we miss one? Have we forgotten an important award that you feel needs mentioning? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments: we’re always on the lookout for the best restaurants in Fenway, so don’t be shy: let us know your favorite spots!