431 Columbus Ave. (South End)
If you are looking for fine Italian at reasonable prices, head to Giacomo’s on Columbus Ave. Customers rave about their buttnernut squash ravioli and squid ink papardelle with swordfish and tuna. You probably won’t be drinking the night before your big race, but for the rest of your party – wine and beer prices here are super low. Know before you go – this place is cash only! If you have plenty of time to wait, you could check out Giacomo’s highly regarded North End location, which does not take reservations.
Dave’s Fresh Pasta
81 Holland Ave.
Davis Square, Somerville
Don’t feel like getting prettied up to eat out? Dave’s has great, fresh food to take home or back to your hotel. Their menu features handmade pasta and homemade sauces. Get it prepared, or buy some fresh noodles or ravioli to cook yourself. While you’re there, check out their selection of wines, cheeses and chocolates to stash away for after race day.
Carlo’s Cucina Italian
131 Brighton Ave. (Allston)
Right upfront it needs to be said that Carlo’s is not about atmosphere, but about quality food. I saw it best described by one reviewer as “a paper placemat kind of place.” But if you’re not the type to let that turn you off, the food here is fresh, authentic, delicious, and plentiful. It’s a hidden gem in a neighborhood most wouldn’t head to for good Italian food, and as a bonus – they’re open for lunch. Reservations are only accepted for parties of 6 or more.
130 Jersey St. (Fenway)
For runners in Boston from out-of-town, the big plus for this tiny Tuscan spot (beside, or course, the food) is the neighborhood. It’s just a few blocks from either the Museum of Fine Arts or Fenway Park. Trattoria Toscana is Tiny (yes with a capital T) and does not take reservations, so come prepared to wait for a table. But the atmosphere and food make the wait worth it.
The Official Pre-Race Dinner
City Hall Plaza
Official marathon entrants and their guests can eat their fill at this giant carb party held the Sunday night before the race. Just to give you an idea of its size, last year they prepared more than 11,000 pounds of pasta, more than 3,000 pounds of fresh vegetables and passed around 35,000 Powerbars and 18,000 packets of Powergel.