Insider Boston Travel Guide: Barbara Lynch Loves Truffles and Spicy Noodles

Influential chef Barbara Lynch owns six Boston restaurants, including No. 9 Park, Menton and Drink (one of our favorite bars in the U.S.). Here, Lynch reveals where to find her city’s best spicy Dan Dan noodles, bar food, shopping and boutique hotel.

    By Alex Vallis

Restaurants

Boston Travel Guide: Mistral
Photo © Kristin Teig.

Go-To: Mistral

My go-to place for pizza is usually Mistral on Sundays. Oh my god, there’s a grilled pizza with—believe it or not—truffled mashed potatoes and beef carpaccio, which is really good. There’s also a spicy tomato one with cheese. They’re big, flat grilled pizzas.

Boston Travel Guide: Sofra
Photo © Janice Goldsmith.

Lunch: Sofra

Days off, it’s Mistral or Sofra, the bakery in Cambridge. Sometimes I say that Cambridge is a little bit more on fire than Boston, but it’s just right over the bridge. Here, Ana Sortun (Oleana) has this hummus bar, so you can pick six or seven items on it: her hummus, shredded beets with tzatziki and raisins, chicken and lamb shwarma. Her husband owns Siena Farms and the greens are so good, so I always get a big salad. It could be beautiful lettuce, watermelon radishes, herbs, all barely touched with vinaigrette.

Boston Travel Guide: Myers + Chang
Photo courtesy of Myers + Chang.

Good for Groups: Myers + Chang

With my friends, we always have a Myers + Chang night. Spicy peanut Dan Dan noodles—gotta have those. I have to have the scallion pancakes and pork buns.

Boston Travel Guide: Scampo
Photo © Eric Levin.

Italian: Scampo

Lydia Shire does an Elephant Ear Walking pizza, which is really good. It’s like a flatbread. Some nights it could just have cheese and white truffles. The wine list and pastas are also great, like pasta carbonara.

Bar Dining: Pigalle

They’ve just gone through a major renovation, so sitting at the bar at Pigalle is always fun. I’ll get whatever chef Marc Orfaly is cooking. I try to tell him not too heavy. He always has interesting salads, fries and tartare on the bar menu.

Best Coffee: Caffe Dello Sport

If I really want an espresso, I actually still go to our little Italy, the North End. The cappuccinos and espressos are right on. The atmosphere is great, especially in nice weather.

Boston Travel Guide: Strip T's
Photo © Rex Dean.

Field Trip: Strip T’s

There’s a place outside of Boston in Watertown called Strip T’s. The chef, Tim Maslow, worked at Momofuku in New York. The graphics are really cool—the logo is a strip of bacon—and when you enter, you go through a little deli and into this back room where he’s making David Chang sort of stuff.

Hotel

Boston Travel Guide: XV Beacon
Photo courtesy of XV Beacon Hotel.

XV Beacon

It’s a boutique hotel, and the rooms are beautiful. It’s in the heart of Beacon Hill, so you can walk anywhere. You can walk to Newbury Street for major shopping. Boston Common and the frog pond are right there, with ice-skating in the winter. And it’s just great hospitality. If I have visitors, the staff always remember them.

Shopping

Boston Travel Guide: Louis Boston
Photo © Eric Levin / Courtesy of Louis.

Louis Boston

I always love Louis for clothes and other interesting things, like furniture—they go to Brimfield for antiques—books, magazines. Their new space on the waterfront is awesome, and there’s a great restaurant upstairs called Sam’s.

Lekker

For modern home goods, this shop is in the South End.

J.E.M

This is another great little home store, where Jane Miller makes most of her furniture.

Things to Do

Boston Travel Guide: The Institute of Contemporary Art
Photo © Iwan Baan.

The Institute of Contemporary Art

For a museum day, I totally love the ICA; I love the shop, and the curator’s awesome. In the summer, they have grilled burgers, and you’re sitting right on the water. There’s also the Boston Harborwalk, so you can walk from the ICA to the North End after that and have coffee or pastries, or go to O Ya and have sushi.

Lynch Names Her Must-Try Dishes...

Boston Travel Guide: Barbara Lynch
Photo © Justin Ide.

No. 9 Park Prune-stuffed gnocchi with foie gras beurre blanc and toasted almonds.

Menton Fresh langoustine taken out of the shell and wrapped in kataifi.

Butcher Shop Steak tartare with truffle aioli. The secret sauce inside is like a spicy simple syrup with spicy tomato paste, a little vinegar and sugar.

B&G Oysters Lobster roll.

Line

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