Where should you eat before or after a baseball game at Fenway Park? (Of course you’ll have a hot dog during, but that’s an entirely separate stomach.) There is no shortage of options: The surrounding neighborhood offers everything from handmade Japanese noodles to lobster rolls and oysters to Yemeni stews with fresh-baked flatbreads. Here are 10 places that hit it out of the park.
Nestle into cushions on the floor beside beautiful stained glass windows, and escape the game-day crowds for a bit. Bab Al-Yemen claims the title of Boston’s first Yemeni restaurant, and the halal menu is stocked with gorgeous breads from the clay oven; samboosas, turnovers filled spiced ground beef; fresh salads and lentil soup; vegetable and seafood stews; and tender roast lamb or chicken with rice and sides of broth and chili sauce. For lunch, there are plates and wraps of chicken shawarma, falafel, and more. A Yemeni banana shake or Arabic coffee hits the spot. Don’t miss the iftar buffet, served for the remainder of Ramadan.
468 Commonwealth Ave., Kenmore Square, Boston, 857-250-2943, babalyemenboston.com
Blue Ribbon Sushi
With Garrett Harker opening four new spots in the neighborhood soon, we no longer need to lament Eastern Standard and can enjoy the restaurants that occupy Harker’s former Kenmore Square footprint. Blue Ribbon Sushi, from New York-based Blue Ribbon Restaurants, is among them. Don’t go all “Yankees suck” on me now: Talented local chefs Dan Bazzinotti and Keith Pooler (Bergamot, BISq) are running the kitchens. In addition to super fresh nigiri and maki, Blue Ribbon Sushi has a solid snacking game (cauliflower tempura, wings), chicken teriyaki, and fancy steaks. And there’s a selection of veggie rolls in addition to all the seafood-focused sushi.
500a Commonwealth Ave., Kenmore Square, Boston, 617-264-0410, www.blueribbonsushikenmore.com
El Pelon Taqueria
This O.G. Fenway taco and burrito shop has been in business since 1998 for a reason. Grab one of the outdoor picnic tables on a sunny afternoon and enjoy fish tacos, cheese enchiladas, and El Guapo burritos (stuffed with steak, rice, beans, plantains, and more) while sipping a Mexican soda. It never gets old.
92 Peterborough St., Fenway, Boston, 617-262-9090, www.elpelon.com
The Fenway outpost of the beloved Portland seafood spot has been closed for a couple of months for renovations. It reopens April 3, all spiffed up — and with a full liquor license. Drink to that at the brand new bar, if you’re so inclined. If not, simply settle in for some gorgeous oysters, some chowder, the famous brown butter lobster roll, and whatever else grabs you.
1321 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston, 617-545-1060, www.eventideoysterco.com
On those days when less-hardy souls might feel it’s too cold to take in a baseball game, New Englanders know better — but that doesn’t mean a hot bowl of soup isn’t welcome. Futago serves thick, supple house-made udon noodles in plentiful iterations, from traditional kitsune udon (with fried tofu and fish cakes) to inventions like uni cream udon and beef truffle udon. When it’s hot, there are cold versions too.
508-512 Park Drive, Fenway, Boston, 617-505-6157, https://www.instagram.com/futago_udon
From the team behind O Ya, this “rock ‘n’ roll tavern” is always a good time. Hojoko is worth a visit for the grilled hamachi collar alone — but also for the excellent cheeseburger, the ramen, shrimp toast on milk bread with truffle Kewpie mayo, and other tasty treats. The cocktail menu is fun and inventive, and the sake and Japanese whisky lists are strong.
1271 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston, 617-670-0507, www.hojokoboston.com
Boston has been coming to India Quality since 1983 for its consistently delicious North Indian fare. It’s the perfect place to take folks who don’t eat meat, thanks to its long list of vegetarian specialties. For the carnivores, the rich chicken tikka masala and fiery vindaloos are perpetual favorites.
484 Commonwealth Ave., Kenmore Square, Boston, 617-267-4499, www.indiaquality.com
This charming wine bar from Haley Fortier (Haley Henry) focuses on what’s in the glass: small-production, natural wines made by women. But executive chef Isaac Reyes and crew see to it that you’re well fed along the way. Snack on crispy Brussels sprouts, tuna crudo, lamb brochettes with eggplant, cheese plates, and more.
186 Brookline Ave., Fenway, Boston, 857-317-3884, www.nathaliebar.com
Not to pile on with the Blue Ribbon Restaurants spots, but seafood-focused Pescador (in the former Island Creek Oyster Bar space) just started serving weekend brunch, and that’s a Useful Thing to Know around here. In addition to all manner of seafood cocteles and ceviches, lobster and mushroom pizza, and whole branzino cooked on the wood-fired grill and served with tortillas and sauces, there are now breakfast taquitos, tres leches pancakes, and … so many other things. There’s no shortage of cocktails, either, and tequila and mezcal are a specialty.
498 Commonwealth Ave., Kenmore Square, Boston, 617-532-1050, www.pescadorkenmore.com
Sweet Cheeks Q
Barbecue is perfect game-day food, and Sweet Cheeks is where to go when you’re near Fenway Park. Towering buttermilk biscuits with honey butter are available by the bucket. Trays and sandwiches are piled with pulled pork, ribs, chopped brisket, and smoked chicken, plus sides like collard greens, potato salad, BBQ ranch beans, and broccoli-cheese casserole. If you’re not feeling the Q, there’s always the pimento cheese Big Mac or buttermilk fried chicken. Get a giant Nutter Butter cookie for later.
1381 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston, 617-266-1300, www.sweetcheeksq.com