Exploring Boston’s Specialty Food Shops


One of my favorite parts about both living and working in Boston is that I have easy access to so many amazing specialty food shops.

From the quaint Italian markets of Boston’s North End (affectionately known as “Little Italy” to tourists) to nondescript neighborhood shops that attract both leading restaurateurs and locals, alike, Bostonians are a bit spoiled in the food shopping department.These specialty shops sell everything that your taste buds might ever desire. Think fresh, homemade pastas, cured meats, cheeses from across the globe, high-quality marinades, and delicious spreads that you didn’t even know existed, but now can’t live without. I’ll stop into these markets on my way home from work to get ingredients for a quick, easy dinner or on the weekends to pick up wine & cheese if we are hosting friends. Somehow I always leave these shops with much more than I originally intended to purchase.

Whether you live in Boston or are just here for a visit, I highly recommend a visit to one of my favorite specialty food shops. You never know what food wonders you will find!monica's mercato - the-alyst.com

monica's mercato - the-alyst.com
monica's mercato - the-alyst.com

The A-Lyst for Boston’s Best Specialty Food Shops

monica's mercato - the-alyst.comMonica’s Mercato & Salumeria

Monica’s Mercato is my go-to for buying fresh pasta and sauce to make an easy weeknight meal. While the left side of the market draws quite the crowd during lunchtime (their subs are delicious!), I typically skip the sandwich line and head towards the right of the store to pick up a pound of homemade pasta and container of fresh sauce. My favorites are gnocchi, ravioli, or fettuccine (they usually have spinach, tomato and plain) and I love their house-made bolognese sauce. It’s an excellent solution for a 10 minute at-home meal that tastes like a restaurant-quality dinner. Fun fact: Monica’s also has a pizzeria underneath the market – follow the mural and head down the alleyway to find it! 130 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113

Dave’s Fresh Pasta

Dave’s in Davis Square has everything that you need for your next dinner party. This is a fantastic one-stop shop that really excels with its diverse selection of pastas, cheeses, crackers, sandwiches, and wine. When I need to quickly throw together an at-home social gathering, this is where I go to get everything I need. Don’t miss the hand-made Duck, Porcini, and Great Hill Blue Ravioli — it’s an amazing combination! 81 Holland Street, Somerville, MA 02144

Formaggio Kitchen

Formaggio Kitchen boasts two locations in the Boston-area, and lucky for me, one is in my neighborhood. Their South End shop is tiny and often crowded, but their staff’s recommendations on cheese, meat, and wine pairings are unmatched. Make sure to check out the selection of sweet treats near the register — the chocolate-covered sunflower seeds and chocolate-covered Oreo cookies are delicious! 268 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA 02118

Capone Foods

This Union Square institution has long been regarded for its fresh pastas and prepared foods, but my go-to at Capone’s is its fresh, house-made mozzarella. While Somerville isn’t a stop on my normal route home, if I find myself in the neighborhood around dinner time, I always swing by to check out their selection of frozen entrees (a great option for a quick meal!), and of course, pick up some mozzarella. I love their fresh offerings and the fact that this is a family-run business! 14 Bow Street, Somerville, MA 02143

Bricco Salumeria & Pasta Shop

Hidden down a tiny little alleyway off Hanover Street in the North End, you’ll find Bricco Salumeria & Pasta Shop, a sister business to the popular Bricco Ristorante. I love stopping by to pick up specialty ingredients like truffle oil and authentic nutella, but also recommend checking out the octopus salad, fresh cheeses, pastas, and over-sized Italian sandwiches. Before you leave the alleyway, pick up a loaf of fresh bread at Bricco Panetteria; it’s made right there and absolutely fantastic! 11 Board Alley (behind 241 Hanover Street), Boston, MA 02113

Outfit Details:

Sweater: J.Crew Relaxed Wool Turtleneck with Rib Trim in Heather Camel

Jacket: J.Crew Collection Leather Motorcycle Jacket in Black

Pants: Splendid Heavy-Weight French Terry Leggings in Black

Boots: Chanel Black Leather Bootie (not available online; similar here and here)

Handbag: Fendi 2Jours Shopping Tote in Burgundy (available in black here)

Sunglasses: J.Crew Factory Sunglasses (no longer available, similar here)

Photos by @KateSW

Leave a Comment

  • Chris M
    January 18, 2017

    I heartily recommend American Provisions in South Boston. Great little eclectic food shop with fresh bread, a great cheese, wine and beer selection.

    • Alyssa Stevens
      January 18, 2017 Chris M

      Hi Chris! I have heard great things about American Provisions from friends and definitely need to check it out. They just announced a second location, which is awesome, so it’s on my list to explore. Thank you for the suggestion!