We totally get if you’ve had your fill of the term “farm-to-table” (I can’t help but think of the Portlandia scene). But this is a great thing! As news about the environmental consequences of the food system pours in, more restaurants are doing their eco-conscious part. It’s beyond a trendy schtick; transparency about where your food comes from can be good for you, local growers, and the environment.
Boston’s flourishing restaurant industry features bright spots with good, clean food at the forefront of their mission. Maybe it’s working with farmers who embrace crop diversity, or promoting fair wages across their staff. The freshest part? Many of the below menu recommendations come at the time of writing, so your options could be completely different based on the day and season. And that’s what we like to hear.
Here are eight of Boston’s best restaurants for farm-fresh food with a mission:
You won’t find any out-of-season fruit or veg on your plate at this Cambridge mainstay. Since 2002, Chef Tony Maws has regularly switched up his French-inspired menu based on his daily haul from his network of go-to farmers, fishermen, and other local purveyors. Try marinated heirloom tomatoes, or head to the restaurant’s bar for their signature burger topped with cheddar from a farm in Shelburne, Vermont.
Craigie on Main, 853 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139, (617) 497-5511, https://www.craigieonmain.com/
An ode to New England cuisine, Bondir’s cozy setting feels like you’ve stopped by a sweet family friend’s farmhouse for dinner. The chef sources pasture-raised meat and quality produce from local vendors who strive to use environmentally-friendly practices. To reduce his restaurant’s carbon footprint, he grows a variety of vegetables on his own two-acre plot using bio-intensive and sustainable techniques. Have a drink around the warm fireplace and look out for a nutty tasting Georgia Candy Roaster Squash on the tasting menu.
Bondir, 279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139, (617) 661-0009, http://www.bondircambridge.com/
Highlights on this Cambridge spot’s French-inspired prix fixe menu include shishito peppers and swordfish confit, and roasted sea scallops with sun gold tomato, wax beans and toasted almonds. Yum. Even better? The chef works with sustainable purveyors on seasonal menus to lower his restaurant’s impact on the ecosystem and to minimize waste. The Table is also gratuity-free to promote fair wages from the back of the house to the front of the house.
The Table at Season to Taste, 2447 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140, (617) 871-9468, https://www.cambridgetable.com
The husband-and-wife duo behind this farm-to-table restaurant curates a menu that reflects their personal relationships with farmers and winemakers alike. Take Jasper Hill Farm, a dairy farm that pays mind to maintaining Vermont’s landscape. You’ll find their Harbison cheese in a brunch omelette at Talulla made with spring onions.
Talulla, 377 Walden St, Cambridge, MA 02138, (617) 714-5584, https://www.talullacambridge.com/
For over a decade, this Jamaica Plain farm-to-table restaurant has worked with a close network of local growers to curate seasonal menus. Many practice sustainable farming, and you’ll also find biodynamic wines, tasting menus for meat eaters and vegetarians, and a warm neighborhood vibe. Dine on seared salmon with Allandale sauteed escarole sourced from a farm that prioritizes improved soil health.
Ten Tables, 597 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, (617) 524-8810, https://tentables.net/
Self-declared to be “committed to the natural world,” Field & Vine glorifies the simple stuff. Everything is made from sustainably sourced ingredients for dishes like grilled sweet corn, fennel and peach salad, and seared green beans with cashew butter and shiitake mushrooms. Even the wine comes from small producers. Field & Vine also charges a kitchen administration fee, which goes to back-of-house staff.
Field & Vine, 9 Sanborn Ct, Somerville, MA 02143, (617) 718-2333, https://www.fieldandvinesomerville.com/
This Inman Square eatery serves up a casual take on traditional New England eats made with locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant gives more meaning to that farm-to-table label, seen through the close relationships between chefs and purveyors. Snack on oysters caught that morning, or opt for mushrooms with brioche, farm egg, and zucchini in a homely environment.
Puritan & Company, 1166 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139, (617) 615-6195, https://www.puritancambridge.com
Think more “tide-to-table.” Every day, the crew at Island Creek Oysters harvest and distribute hauls to over 700 chefs nationwide—including their own restaurant. The Fenway oyster bar aims to dissolve the line between farmer, chef and diner, and believes sustainable aquaculture is one answer to promoting global food production. Go for—you guessed it—the raw bar and seafood straight out of the water.
Island Creek Oyster Bar, 500 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, (617) 532-5300, https://www.islandcreekoysterbar.com