Boston is a melting pot city that is rich in cultural diversity thanks to its many immigrant communities, including those communities made up of people from the African diaspora. And the city’s dining scene reflects this fact: in Dorchester, diners will find excellent Cape Verdean food; West African, East African, North African and Black American soul food in Roxbury; Jamaican tariff in Mattapan and Jamaica Plain; and Haitian food in Hyde Park. And that’s just to start with.
While Boston is known for its clam chowdah and baked beans, there are many other notable cultural dishes such as cachupa or ackee and saltfish that can be eaten in gemstones across the city.
These cold winter months – when al fresco dining has rejuvenated, hibernation has set in, and small local restaurants choose to be run-only – provide the perfect opportunity to sample the diverse cuisines of the African diaspora that make up Boston’s restaurant industry . Here is a selection of Boston Diaspora restaurants offering takeout and delivery options.
Blue Mountain Jamaican restaurant
884 Morton St., Mattapan, Boston, MA 02126; 617-533-7255
Jae’da Turner / Esser
Savor traditional Jamaican flavors at Mattapan’s Blue Mountain Jamaican Restaurant, whose name is inspired by the longest mountain range in Jamaica. This restaurant has been open for about a year and a half and already has a reputation for having some of the best Jamaican dishes in Boston.
The ackee and salt fish – Jamaica’s national dish – are a must and a popular breakfast at Blue Mountain. The lunch and dinner options are huge and you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Fair warning: Blue Mountain can get quite spicy, and your meal choices will depend on your heat tolerance. The spiceophobic should try the steamed chicken, a slow-cooked, hearty chicken dish with a hint of sweetness. For a dash of heat, try the rasta pasta and the sweet and flavorful chicken. The Jerk Chicken at Blue Mountain has just the right amount of seasoning without overwhelming the senses. And if the seasoning proves overwhelming, grab a bottle of Tropical Rhythms by Grace Foods (a popular line of juice drinks) or a slice of carrot cake to soothe your taste buds.
Most of the plates at Blue Mountain have a variety of side dishes, such as sweet plantains or rice and peas, all of which are meticulously consistent. You may notice that the peas are actually red kidney beans – don’t question it.
Dining at Blue Mountain is affordable and tasty. An eater can hop on and off and spend less than $ 20. And it’s as good a spot for a quick snack as it is for a full meal: the beef patties and coconut bread always hit the spot. In addition, the combination of soft, sweet coconut bread and a flaky, slightly spicy beef patty is the definition of * Chef’s Kiss *.
Blue Mountain is open for takeaway and delivery via DoorDash, ezCater, Grubhub, Ordering, Seamless, and Uber Eats.
Farah’s Cafe Restaurant
1158 River St., Hyde Park, Boston, MA 02136; 617-910-3203
Jae’da Turner / Esser
Massachusetts has the third largest Haitian community in the country, according to the United States Census Bureau. In Boston, this population is concentrated in Mattapan, Roxbury, Dorchester, and Hyde Park. So it makes sense that Boston has some outstanding Haitian restaurants and that Hyde Park is a prime destination for them.
Griot is a fried pork dish that is typical of Haitian cuisines and is usually best prepared by a grandma. But Farah’s Cafe Restaurant makes a great version too. Located right on River Street in the heart of Hyde Park, Farah’s is one of the many Haitian restaurants in town. It’s a favorite of the locals in the neighborhood.
When you cross the threshold at Farah’s Cafe Restaurant, you will be greeted by decor inspired by the tropics, the sounds of Haitian Creole music and the smells of traditional island dishes. Be sure to order some fritay, a selection of fried foods like plantains, sweet potatoes, and malanga (taro) that can be eaten as a snack or with meat and rice to make a full meal. These Haitian street foods are often served with Creole sauce and a spicy pickled coleslaw called pikliz. Never forget to order the picliz.
Farah’s Cafe is open to take away and just above the restaurant. Call 617-910-3203 to place an order.
Down Home Delivery & Catering
2 Bowdoin St., Dorchester, Boston, MA 02124; 617-288-0813
Jae’da Turner / Esser
At Down Home Delivery & Catering, in the heart of Dorchester’s Four Corners, you’ll find tasty soul food. Soul food combines southern and African influences and recipes have been passed on from generation to generation in many Black American families. Soul food staples include dishes like fried chicken, mac, and cheese, as well as sweets like homemade peach cobbler and chocolate cake. Down Home has all of these and a few more covered.
Start with the jumbo starter with fried chicken wings. Like all starters at Down Home, it is served with two side dishes and a corn muffin. Of course, picking two sides can be a challenge here. Everything at Down Home is exceptional, especially side dishes like collard greens flavored with smoked turkey, classic mac and cheese, and sweet candied yams. Life changing things happen when the candied yam juices touch the mac and cheese. The potato salad is also a popular choice at Down Home and can be just as good as the version your favorite aunt makes.
Down Home is open for takeout and delivery and is available directly from the restaurant at 617-288-0813 or through Uber Eats.
66 Bowdoin St., Dorchester, Boston, MA 02122; 617-282-1998
Jae’da Turner / Esser
Cape Verde is a country off the coast of West Africa, and Boston is an excellent place to learn about the archipelago’s rich culinary history. According to the American Community Survey 2012-2016, Massachusetts has the highest population of Cape Verdean immigrants of any US state. Boston is the second largest community in the state after New Bedford. Restaurants serving traditional Cape Verdean cuisine can be found throughout the greater Boston area. Restaurante Cesaria in Dorchester is one of the best.
The restaurant has many take-away options, but prior to the pandemic it was best known as a hangout with regular live music in its lovely, recently renovated dining room. Keep this point on your radar for a night once things are safer.
Now for the food. Since it is in the middle of the Atlantic, seafood is indispensable for Cape Verdean cuisine – and the pride and joy in it. Hence, Cesaria’s menu is full of fish. Baked fish, fried fish, grilled fish, blackened fish, fish soup, fish with rice, fish and vegetables. It is a seafood lover’s paradise.
Even for those who aren’t fish fans, there are tons of other dishes on the menu to fall in love with, like the canja soup (pronounced cahn-juh). This chicken and rice soup is thick, filling, and comes in small and large sizes.
Likewise, one cannot talk about Cape Verdean food without mentioning cachupa (or katchupa, as stylized on Cesaria’s menu), a hearty stew made from corn and beans filled with vegetables and usually pork or beef. It is considered by many to be the national dish of Cape Verde, and it is a must at Cesaria.
Cesaria Restaurant is open for indoor dining, takeaway, and delivery via Caviar, DoorDash, Grubhub, Hazlnut, Seamless, and Uber Eats.
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