spectators’ guide

Need carbs? Here’s where to fuel up for the Marathon

Enjoy a pizza from the Salty Pig right around the corner from the Marathon’s finish line.
Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff
Enjoy a pizza from the Salty Pig right around the corner from the Marathon’s finish line.
Adam Hayes for the Boston Globe

From pasta-topped pizza to crispy pig’s ears, the days leading up to Marathon Monday bring a medley of dining delights. Here’s where to carbo-load and get an authentic taste of the city.

North End

Bricco Salumeria & Pasta Shop — Here you can buy a DIY gift for the private marathoner who prefers to gorge at home. A “carbonara” basket includes grated parmesan cheese, pancetta, two pounds of homemade fettuccini, and Country Hen organic farm-fresh eggs ($36.99). They’re on sale from April 18-21. Sister restaurant Bricco serves a protein-packed braised wild boar over pappardelle ($22), popular with runners. 11 Board Alley and 241 Hanover St., 617-248-9629,

Daily Catch — For pure atmosphere, nothing beats this fragrant, frenzied shoebox where dexterous chefs cook up fresh seafood and garlicky pasta in a noisy open kitchen (flames jumping from pans is a common sight). Expect long lines and lots of chalkboard specials. Note: There’s a Seaport location, but this is the true original. 323 Hanover St., 617-523-8567,


Ducali Pizzeria & Bar — This North End pizzeria gets points for carb-on-carb gluttony: In honor of the Marathon, they concoct a $12 pizza topped with mozzarella, pesto, and tortellini. Gulp. 289 Causeway St., 617-742-4144,

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L’Osteria — You rarely read about this cozy, homey Southern Italian hideaway — which is great for those of us who love to sneak in and slurp the luscious linguine with red clam sauce without a wait. Service is friendly, and the prices are fair. 104 Salem St., 617-723-7847,

Tenoch — Boston’s Italian neighborhood is carb country, of course, but you needn’t restrict yourself to pasta. This joyful taqueria offers an affordable way to carbo-load: Indulge in a doughy torta stuffed with spicy chorizo, beans, onions, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, and a sinful slather of chipotle mayonnaise for just $6.50. 3 Lewis St., 617-248-9537,

Hotel Dining

dante — Noted chef Dante de Magistris runs this remarkably good Italian restaurant inside Cambridge’s Royal Sonesta. On April 20, he runs his very own “pasta marathon” — an all-you-can-eat noodle fest. Choose from a variety of pastas and sauces ($16), with sides of meatballs, grilled chicken, or grilled salmon (from $7). Riverfront views don’t hurt, either. 40 Edwin H. Land Blvd., Cambridge, 617-497-4200,

Island Creek Oyster Bar — The Hotel Commonwealth is home to three exceptional supping sanctuaries: Eastern Standard, a brasserie; the Hawthorne, a craft cocktail bar; and Island Creek Oyster Bar, a lively, upscale seafood restaurant. The carefully sourced oysters are exceptional, but for prime carb-loading potential, order lobster roe noodles: a quivering platter of pecorino-slick noodles with hunks of lobster and short rib ($34). 500 Commonwealth Ave., 617-532-5300,


M.C. Spiedo — Respected restaurateurs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier oversee this new restaurant inside the Seaport’s Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. For optimal sustenance, order a grand tortellini and meat torta ($28): ragu, meatballs, mascarpone tortellini, vegetables, and cinnamon, inside a flaky pastry crust. It’s spicy, sweet, savory, and filling. 606 Congress St., 617-476-5606,

Rialto — Chef Jody Adams’s civilized Italian restaurant at Harvard Square’s Charles Hotel has an exceptional bar menu, overseen by a soothing staff. For a quick but lasting bite, request the house rigatoni Bolognese ($14), a gut-warming portion of veal, pork, and beef. 1 Bennett St., Cambridge, 617-661-5050,


Coppa — Ah, beef heart, pig’s bones, and the wine-swilling locals who love them. This wildly creative street-corner enoteca, helmed by star chefs Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer, is the place to experiment with peculiar pastas and pizza. Bone marrow pizza with roasted beef tongue and horseradish ($16) is a must for friskier palates. 253 Shawmut Ave., 617-391-0902,

Dorado — A few blocks from the Beacon Street throngs, this sunny Brookline storefront specializes in Baja-style street food. Fish tacos are the way to go, especially beer-battered shrimp with pineapple and Baja crema ($2.95) or battered whitefish, cabbage, salsa fresca, and pickled onions ($2.95), washed back with a Mexican soda. Order at the counter, then perch on a window-front stool. 401 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-566-2100,

India Quality — No frills here, just consistently excellent, boldly spiced Northern Indian food along the Marathon route, not far from Fenway Park. At lunchtime, shrimp curry ($8.95) is an affordable and unique way to sample Boston seafood; there’s also plenty of vegetarian options. 484 Commonwealth Ave., 617-267-4499,


Mei Mei — This Asian food-truck-turned-restaurant is a solid choice for adventurous groups. Feast on shareable oddities like the Double Awesome, a scallion pancake stuffed with pesto and poached eggs ($7), seared beef tongue tacos, ($14), and kung pao chicken dip ($9). Health-conscious diners might enjoy 24 carrot soup ($7) or house-made granola ($5), thoughtfully prepared and locally sourced. 506 Park Drive, 857-250-4959,

Winsor Dim Sum Café — Who says carbs must come in pasta form? Navigate the maze of Chinatown, walk up a shabby flight of stairs, and find yourself in dim sum heaven. There’s an addictively zingy ginger scallion lo mein, plus steamed shrimp dumplings and tender clams in black bean sauce that induce shameless slurping. You’ll be in, out, and happy in 45 minutes flat. 10 Tyler St., 617-338-1688

Vecchia Roma — This stately, old-school Southern Italian restaurant in Nonantum is a wonderful place to fuel up if you’re staying in the area (even if you’re not, it’s worth the trip). Locals devour superb lasagna ($17.95) and gnocchi in tomato sauce ($17.95). A couple miles from the Marathon fray, it feels like a find. They’re happy to honor special requests. 398 Watertown St., Newton, 617-965-0026,

Near the Route

Deuxave — This upscale Back Bay restaurant opens at 11 a.m. on Marathon Monday with a special menu and patio service. Feast on fried clams ($15), lobster rolls ($24), or the much-ballyhooed Deuxave burger, made with ground sirloin and confit pork shoulder, topped with Grafton cheddar and pickled ramps ($17). 371 Commonwealth Ave., 617-517-5915,

Fairsted Kitchen — Brookline’s Fairsted Kitchen unveils its ivy-wrapped patio on Monday. The patio is open all summer long, but it will be called “Fairsted Biergarten” on Marathon Day from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., serving an assortment of beers and Italian sausages with peppers and onions ($5). Inside, the restaurant will serve dishes from a new, Southern-accented after-hours menu: hush puppies, crispy pig’s ears, and banana pudding. 1704 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-396-8752,

Ribelle — Currently the lustiest dinner reservation in town, the experimental Italian restaurant opens at 11 a.m. the day of the race. They’ll serve a special menu of pizzas, pastas, salads, sandwiches, and brunch dishes, too. (They’re known for an exceptional, diet-devastating truffle egg toast.) 1665 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-232-2322,

The Salty Pig — This pizza-and-charcuterie hangout around the corner from the finish line opens at 10:30 a.m. on Marathon Monday. Indulge with specialty meat-and-cheese platters draped with delicacies like pate de campagne, chicken liver mousse, speck, manchego, and porchetta (from $18). Wash ’em back with cocktail pitchers, and cheer on those more virtuous than you. 130 Dartmouth St., 617-536-6200,

Towne — This Back Bay restaurant is a welcome haven for the group who can’t decide what to order: They’ve got a raw bar, pizza, wood-fired meats, flatbreads — and, on Marathon eve, plenty of carbs. On Sunday, they’ll serve a Marathon Sunday Night pasta menu. Fortify with dishes like veal Bolognese, spaghetti and meatballs, fusilli with roasted spring vegetables, potato gnocchi, or rock shrimp ravioli. 900 Boylston St., 617-247-0400,

Kara Baskin can be reached at