6 Top Places for Pre-theater Dinner in Boston

Our top picks for where to get a great meal before the show, according to where you're headed.

Don’t sacrifice a good meal just because you have tickets to a show. Wherever you’re headed, whether it's stages in the Theater District or concert halls in Cambridge, nearby restaurants serve up delish fare and are guaranteed to get you in and out by curtain call. Here are our top picks. 

If you’re headed to the Shubert or the Wang …

Eat at: Abby Lane Food & Spirits

Jason Santos’ casual restaurant is made for pretheater dining—plus, it’s conveniently situated next door to the Shubert and across the street from the Wang. Menu boasts amped up takes on American comfort food, like, say, baked mac ‘n cheese with black truffle cream and a buttery crust, or General Gau fried chicken with Hawaiian fried rice. As for the signature dessert? Doughnuts, of course.

Where: 255 Tremont St., Boston, MA, 617.451.2229

If you’re headed to Symphony Hall …

Eat at: Brasserie JO

This longstanding Huntington Avenue restaurant is a popular hangout for patrons before the show and performers afterward, always with a glass of red wine in hand. Kitchen offerings are utterly French; mussels marinière, Parisian steak with pommes frites, and coq au vin are all specialties of the house. Check out the daily specials: cassoulet, bouillabaisse, codfish beignet, and more. Don’t miss the Alsatian tartes flambées.

Where: 120 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA, 617.425.3240

If you’re headed to the Opera House …

Eat at: Legal Crossing

Fitting of its name, Legal Crossing is a crossroads of all Legal Sea Food concepts; the menu serves up favorite dishes from each. This place is situated across the street from Boston’s Opera House—as well as the Paramount and Modern theaters—which means diners can sip the bar’s colorful cocktails right up until show time.

Where: 558 Washington St., Boston, MA, 617.692.8888

If you’re headed to Jordan Hall …

Eat at: Woody’s Grill & Tap

Northeastern University meets Berklee, New England Conservatory, Wentworth and a few other colleges in this section of the city—that is to say nonstudents need to hunt down solid restaurants. Luckily, this tucked-away gem serves really tasty food without pretension. Pizzas are excellent, but so are dishes like the wood-oven roasted chicken and the rigatoni Bolognese. The half-mile walk back to the New England Conservatory campus is a surefire way to aid digestion.

Where: 58 Hemenway St., Boston, MA, 617.375.9663

If you’re headed to First Church or Loeb Drama Center …

Eat at: Alden & Harlow

Harvard Square is rife with great restaurants, but its easy to grab a seat at the bar at Alden & Harlow, especially if you go around 5 pm when it opens. Menu is great for sharing, with snacks like the chips and three-onion dip and other items like crispy baby bok choy, roasted bone marrow with brioche, and egg raviolo. Plus, chef-owner Michael Scelfo is famous for his secret burger—get one while it’s still available.

Where: 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA, 617.864.2100

If you’re headed to Sanders Theater …

Eat at: The Kirkland Tap & Trotter

Foodies, Cantabrigians and theatergoers love Tony Maws’ sophisti-casual neighborhood restaurant with equal measure. Grilled meat and veggies arrive at the table as soon as they’re ready, which makes it fairly easy for diners to eat quickly (considering there’s a show to catch) yet still savor and enjoy the meal. Even though its address is in Somerville, KT&T is only a quick walk to Sanders and Harvard Yard.

Where: 425 Washington St., Somerville, MA, 857.259.6585

A Map of Pre-theater Dinner Recommendations in Boston