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Durgin-Park

340 Faneuil Hall Market Place, Boston, MA - (617) 227-2038
Posted By Michael Stern on 5/27/2009 2:32:00 PM
Like the Old North Church or the swan boats in the Public Garden, Durgin-Park is a Boston landmark. It is a tourist attraction and can be maddeningly crowded, but if you want true, dowdy New England food, there is no more authentic place to taste it.

Dinner begins with a square of grainy yellow cornbread. Then you can move on to such old favorites as lobster stew or Boston Schrod, or pot roast or pork loin. The house specialty is prime rib, a gargantuan cut that overhangs its plate. Side that with a mountain of mashed potatoes (into which the kitchen indelicately slides pats of butter, still in paper wrappers) and a scoop of fresh apple sauce, and you've got a mighty meal.

What could be more all-American than roast turkey with sage dressing ... or New England boiled dinner of corned beef and cabbage? The beans Durgin-Park serves are real Boston baked beans, firm and silky, not too sweet, with a whiplash of molasses. The dessert list is tradition itself, featuring hot mince pie in the autumn, apple pan dowdy, deep dish apple pie, strawberry shortcake on a biscuit, and the quintessential Yankee dessert – Indian pudding, served warm, of course. Perhaps the weirdest thing on the dessert menu is coffee Jell-O ... invented long ago because the management just hated to throw away pots of undrunk coffee at the end of the day. So they jelled it! And they jelled it without sugar! It's actually kind of wonderful if you like coffee: cool, quivery, refreshing ... and served under a mound of sweetened whipped cream.

The Fanueil Hall Market long ago became a modern urban grazing emporium, and Boston is a city rich with up-to-date, polite places to eat. Durgin-Park is not one of them. Its wide-open dining rooms, with brusque waitstaff and elbow-to-elbow communal tables, are neither modern nor polite. The food is old-fashioned, and nobody gets celebrity treatment; nobody is even treated very nicely! Like it or lump it. We like it!

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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The
"The "Durgin cut" of prime rib. That's a good-size plate underneath it."
Michael Stern





Scampi (the appetizer) is basically five huge, delicious shrimp swimming in a bowl of butter, with garlic bread on the side.
"Scampi (the appetizer) is basically five huge, delicious shrimp swimming in a bowl of butter, with garlic bread on the side."
Michael Stern


This just may be New England's best Indian pudding.
"This just may be New England's best Indian pudding."
Cliff Strutz


An order of baked beans to share for the table.  Most loved them, but I found these beans to be too sweet.
"An order of baked beans to share for the table. Most loved them, but I found these beans to be too sweet."
Bill Homan


Fish cakes and beans: a fundamental Boston meal (with mashed potatoes on the side)
"Fish cakes and beans: a fundamental Boston meal (with mashed potatoes on the side)"
Michael Stern


The prime rib is absolutely huge and pretty good-tasting. For a true Yankee meal, couple it with baked beans and mashed potatoes.
"The prime rib is absolutely huge and pretty good-tasting. For a true Yankee meal, couple it with baked beans and mashed potatoes."
Ben Weiner


Indian pudding: do I love it or hate it? I can't decide.
"Indian pudding: do I love it or hate it? I can't decide."
Ben Weiner


Flaky, tender, and crowned with a butter-rich crumb topping, this schrod was everything I had hoped it would be.
"Flaky, tender, and crowned with a butter-rich crumb topping, this schrod was everything I had hoped it would be."
Bill Homan


Coffee Jell-O: try it once.
"Coffee Jell-O: try it once."
Ben Weiner


Fork tender, pot roast is perfect New England fare.
"Fork tender, pot roast is perfect New England fare."
Bill Homan


My Boston schrod came with slaw and two sides.  Of the three, the carrots were my favorite.
"My Boston schrod came with slaw and two sides. Of the three, the carrots were my favorite."
Bill Homan


Warm corn bread is a great way to start your meal.
"Warm corn bread is a great way to start your meal."
Bill Homan


Durgin-Park also makes an excellent version of the New England-only dessert, apple pan dowdy.
"Durgin-Park also makes an excellent version of the New England-only dessert, apple pan dowdy."
Cliff Strutz



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Ben Weiner


Established Before You Were Born: Durgin Park also has that motto on a banner outside.  A lot of history here.  Click on the photo for a readable view.
"Established Before You Were Born: Durgin Park also has that motto on a banner outside. A lot of history here. Click on the photo for a readable view."
Bill Homan


Dealing with a Durgin-Park waitress is half the fun of eating here.
"Dealing with a Durgin-Park waitress is half the fun of eating here."
Michael Stern


Mess-hall amenities and a perpetual crowd make dinner at Durgin-Park a boisterous experience.
"Mess-hall amenities and a perpetual crowd make dinner at Durgin-Park a boisterous experience."
Michael Stern


The dining rooms at Durgin-Park are on the second floor, across from the newly-renovated Quincy Market.  This rare, peaceful view is pre-lunch hour.
"The dining rooms at Durgin-Park are on the second floor, across from the newly-renovated Quincy Market. This rare, peaceful view is pre-lunch hour."
Michael Stern


You want beans, chowder and Indian pudding?  Come on in.
"You want beans, chowder and Indian pudding? Come on in."
Bill Homan


Home of the bean and the cod
"Home of the bean and the cod"
Michael Stern


Durgin Park has been doing things the same way for a long time.
"Durgin Park has been doing things the same way for a long time."
Bill Homan


The patriotic bunting hanging outside Durgin-Park is no affectation.  This place is as American as apple pie.  (And its apple pie is superb!)
"The patriotic bunting hanging outside Durgin-Park is no affectation. This place is as American as apple pie. (And its apple pie is superb!)"
Michael Stern



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