Travel

Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer's Guide to Mastering Boston like a Local

6 insider-approved spots where you definitely won’t look like a tourist
Where to Eat in Boston
Photo: haha21/Getty Images

Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette may have expanded their blockbuster Spanish restaurant, Toro, to NYC—and even Bangkok—but they’re still Boston boys at heart. Here, the James Beard Award-winning chefs, whose dominion also includes Coppa in the South End and Little Donkey in Cambridge, share six spots for expertly mastering food and culture in their hometown.

Favorite Old-School Restaurant: Anchovies

"I live around the corner from a place called Anchovies in the South End, and it's been around for 40 years. It's dark, dingy and cheap, and it's a perfect hideaway where you can watch the game and drink Miller High Life or take shots of Jameson. It's nothing fancy, and the people are really friendly. I think some of the bartenders have been there for 20 years." —Oringer

 

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Best Park, according to Locals:
Peters Park

"I love Peters Park, close to Chinatown on the south side of the South End. We play kickball [there] every New Year's Day; it's Toro versus Coppa—and Toro always kicks Coppa's ass. There isn't a ton of foot traffic, so it is a natural place for us to come together for a frozen day of shenanigans." —Bissonnette


Best First-Date Spot:
Neptune Oyster

"Neptune Oyster is great. You can tell a lot about someone from how many oysters they eat; if they're squeamish, it's kind of a deal breaker. Plus, it's a talk-to-your-neighbors kind of place, so you can see right off the bat whether your date is warm and open-minded. Neptune has an incredible Champagne program, so obviously that's a plus, too. Afterward, you can walk around the North End and waterfront—it's super romantic." —Oringer


Favorite Coffee Shop:
Render Coffee

"Render Coffee on Columbus is the best. It's got great people, and it's a chill spot—it's a great place to read the paper. The atrium in back has natural sunlight most of the day. They always feature great small-production coffee, and everyone's super friendly. I learn something about coffee every time I go." —Bissonnette

 

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Favorite Music Venue:
The Beehive

"I love The Beehive. It's a really fun and funky music venue, and they play everything from jazz to Brazilian music. There's never a cover charge, and they do a great job of highlighting under-the-radar, fantastic talent. It always makes for a fun night. The last show I saw there was a local salsa band, and it was a blast. The decor is awesome, too; it's like rustic meets street edge. There's also an eclectic bar collection, and the food is super solid." —Oringer

 

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Best Under-the-Radar Place to Catch Some Culture:
The South End

"The South End has galleries, meth clinics, restaurants, small shops and parks. Not all of this sounds great, but the mix makes it truly unique. There seems to always be some cool, new gallery to go to, or an artist showing their work in a restaurant, coffee shop or sneaker store. It's walking distance to the Pops building and Wally's, which has the best live jazz in Boston." —Bissonnette

 

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