Most Bostonians avoid Faneuil Hall Marketplace like the plague, particularly in the warmer months. Once in awhile, though, it’s worth the hassle to play tourist in your own city. Yes, everything is overpriced, and yes, you have to be a little aggressive shoving your way through slow-moving tourist hordes. (Also aggressive? The pigeons surrounding the market. If you choose to eat outside, get ready to duck when you see a little kid start running towards a flock of birds.)
While Faneuil Hall was founded in 1742, the Quincy Market Colonnade – the long hallway where most of the food can be found – wasn’t built until 1826. It’s currently home to about 50 different food stalls and restaurants, several of which have been around since the building’s revitalization in the 1970s. In the center of the building, there’s a circular space with long, shared tables and standing-room-only counter spots.
Next time you head to the market, make an adventure out of it and piece together a multi-course meal, each course from a different stall.
Beat the heat with a frozen smoothie or mocktail from The Monkey Bar (“A Bar with a Twist”) – one of the longstanding vendors. Don’t get flustered by the crowd like I did and order the first thing you see; I ended up paying $5 for soda water with some sad-looking strawberries and limes. Make sure you get one of the actual smoothies; previous visits have indicated that most are pretty good. There’s also a Starbucks if you’re into that sort of thing.
Like raw seafood? Swing by Walrus & Carpenter for a 3-2-1 (three oysters, two shrimp, and one clam). If you prefer it cooked, grab a bowl of chowder at Boston Chowda Company. If you’re not into seafood, you could get a salad at The Green Organic Bowl.
The classic choice: a hot roast beef sandwich at Brown Derby Deli. Other suggestions: an Italian cold cut sandwich at Piccolo Panini, one of thirteen different mac and cheese options at Mmmac ‘n’ Cheese, or a hot dog from The Dog House.
Get an order of market fries from the dedicated fry counter at Fisherman’s Net.
Chocolate chip cookies from Boston Chipyard are a must, but if you just don’t like cookies, you could get gelato at Joey’s Gelateria.
Once you’ve grabbed as much as you can carry, elbow your way to a seat at one of the communal tables in the center – sometimes it’s a little less crazy on the upper level – or head outside to eat amongst the performers and pigeons.
Quincy Market Colonnade
1 Faneuil Hall Market Place
Hours: Mon – Sat 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sun 12:00 noon – 6:00 p.m.