AMERICA'S GREATEST FOOD CITIES

Homegrown Boston

Barbara Lynch runs five local restaurants—all serious hits. She's also a Southie native with a taste for burgers and beer. In other words, she's the perfect guide to Boston's best food.

By Christine Liu, Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 12:00 AM

Cassoulet at Boston's Pigalle (Michael Piazza)

Why my town
"Boston has a culture that encourages curiosity. There are classics like steamed lobster with drawn butter, but also forward-thinking food made from brilliant ingredients."

Early-bird special
"Sofra Bakery and Cafe in Cambridge opens at 8 a.m. My go-to is the full Turkish breakfast and the Siena Farms baby greens, which taste so incredibly fresh." 1 Belmont St., sofrabakery.com, Turkish breakfast $9.

Best Venezuelan picnic
"Orinoco in the South End makes an arepa stuffed with shredded chicken and sliced avocado. When the weather's good, I'll grab my order and find a spot in one of the little parks nearby." 477 Shawmut Ave., discovervenezuela.com, arepas from $4.75.

Old-school pub
"At Tom English's Cottage, I always bump into someone I grew up with, and we'll catch up over Heineken, Cheez-Its, and pool." 118 Emerson St., 617/269-9805.

Edible souvenirs
"Formaggio Kitchen is filled with dozens of cheeses and so many other unusual finds—salted rosemary caramels, spices, grits, these addictive salted oat cookies. I never walk out of there empty-handed!" 244 Huron Ave., formaggiokitchen.com.

Your grandmother's Italian
"Nebo is this informal little place on the edge of the North End near the Garden (so it's packed before and after Celtics games). The owners make honest Italian food, and it's not unheard of to see their mother, Angelina, in the back making pasta by hand." 90 N. Washington St., neborestaurant.com, pasta from $15.

Bar snacks with class
"At Pigalle, I take a seat at the bar and order either the steak tartare or the spicy tempura tuna roll—a huge chunk of tuna wrapped up and fried." 75 Charles St. S., pigalleboston.com, appetizers from $12.

At my place
"I love, love, love oysters. I've been known to eat dozens in one sitting at my spot, B&G Oysters, along with a couple of glasses of Chablis." 550 Tremont St., bandgoysters.com, oysters from $2.50 each.

WHERE TO EAT NOW