It can be hard sometimes to find that diamond in the rough. In Downtown Boston, those “rough” aspects tend to stick out, causing the timid to run home to the suburbs for a meal at Applebee’s. But if you’re willing to take a moment to explore the variety of great shops and restaurants in Chinatown, Downtown Crossing, and the Financial District, you’ll notice that there’s endless options. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites here:
Shop ‘til you Drop: Downtown Crossing is a sea of chain stores, many of them so disorderly that you swear you’re in Haymarket bargaining for bananas. But for major sportswear bargains, head down to the basement of the City Sports (11 Bromfield St.) where you can dig around for serious savings on sneakers and gym clothes. Just down the road at T.J. Maxx (350 Washington St.) scour the shelves for designer beauty products from companies like Bliss Spa at almost half the original price. And while the 24,000-square-foot Walgreens (10-24 School St.) may not be hidden in any way, shape or form, beauty junkies in the know visit this Washington St. behemoth because it’s one of the only places in Boston that carries products from popular lines like Boots No. 7, Klorane, and Demeter. (FYI, there’s also a juice bar inside.) And of course, when your dogs are barking after hoofing it around town all day, stop on over at Happy Feet Spa (150 Lincoln St.) where for $35 you’ll get a half hour of soaking your feet in a barrel and have them massaged and punched by your dedicated masseuse.
Eat Your Heart Out: Head way south of the border to Chacarero (101 Arch St.) for authentic Chilean sandwiches Silvertone Bar & Grill (69 Bromfield St.) is known by the locals as the place for high-quality cocktails and comfort food. Around the corner, The Marliave (10 Bosworth St.) is a vintage-style bar and restaurant with a French vibe. Sip on drinks like the Boston Tea Party, a mix of Lunazul Tequila, Earl Gray tea, ginger beer, and lemon. Get a caffeine fix at area favorite Flat Black Coffee (50 Broad St.) and take home a pound of their Ethiopia Gera Estate ($16.50). Espresso Love (33 Broad St.) is another place for a quick coffee jolt along with fresh sandwiches at lunch time. At Archie’s New York Deli (101 Arch St.) feast on a Chicago Reuben Sandwich, a combo of hot pastrami, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese with Russian dressing. You’ll need a wheelbarrow to get back to the office.
Eastern Promises: The Asian food of Downtown Boston deserves a category of its own. To say My Thai Vegan Café (3 Beach St.) has a cult following would be an understatement. You don’t have to be a tree-hugging grass-eater to enjoy the diverse menu of everything from bubble teas and spring rolls to “chicken” curry. At Avana Sushi (42 Beach St.) you can pop by for reasonably-priced sushi during your lunch break, or visit Irashai Sushi and Teriyaki (8 Kneeland St.) where you’ll find sashimi so fresh you’ll swear came straight from Tokyo.