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Food shopping in Dorchester

After 8-ish years in the Medford/Davis Square area we are moving to Dot. My go to's right now are Dave's Fresh Pasta, McKinnon's, New Deal, Wilson's Farm, Union Square FM, WF and S&S.

Are there any great meat markets, fish mongers, or veggie places not to be missed?

We're on the South End side of Dot. I don't really want to break the bank on a regular basis, so Butcher Shop would be saved for 'special' dinners.

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  1. I'm not sure that I would call the place "great" - but you should check out Lambert's on Morrissey Blvd for fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as a pretty good deli section.

    1. I am not from the area, but some of the things I would poke around at.

      South End: Lionette's, Morse Fish, Formaggio.
      Dorchester: Gerards & Greenhill, the Polish Sausage place which folks have posted about before.
      Roxbury: Lord Jeffs (a different world from McKinnon's, but worth trying. I am a fan, but avoid the Saturday rush)
      A bit further: Tutto Italiano in Hyde Park, HiLo in JP, KamMan. I think there are some Greek and Armenian places in the area (roslindale? hyde park?)
      South Boston: Flour, I might give Sea to You another chance some Saturday, but its possibly a lost cause at this point.
      Validated parking for shopping at Haymarket and North End (Puritan Beef again is different than McKinnon's, but worth a stop and validate, Sulmona doesn't validate but a necessary stop)... East Boston and Chelsea and Revere and Saugus aren't so far via the Tunnel/Rt 1.

      Seem to be more and more options for CSA deliveries in the area, plus farmers markets in season for produce. Super88 South Bay must be improving at this point (Malden is definitely better and ok for produce, although not 100%)

      I would hit up galangatron for some SE Asian store suggestions and more.

      Prepared foods, I posted about Boston's Food for the Soul a while back and am curious, but haven't gotten around to having someone in their delivery area order for me:


      4 Replies
      1. re: itaunas

        Thanks itaunas! How is Lord Jeff's different from McKinnon's?

        Knowing me I'll end up making Wednesday my shopping day in the summer, hop on the redline and hit Davis for the day.

        I'm going to miss 'my' square.

        1. re: tallullah

          Lord Jeffs is a wholesaler which does a huge retail business to the African American, Caribbean, and some Latino. So there is a lot more pork, turkey, chicken, as opposed to pot roast, steak tips, and corned beef/ribs. They have various items out for sale which are in pre-weighed packages (10 lbs of chicken wings, 5 lbs of breast), plus all sorts of packaged items. There is some meat in the freezers too. Everything else you wait in line at the butcher counter and they cut to order -- pork ribs, oxtails, slab bacon, and country ham are all popular. For beef cuts not all the prices are out some things they will cut to order others are by the piece... some they don't carry (for instance they carry tri tip, but won't carry the nearby top sirloin butt, even by special order... except maybe by the case). So its good prices, lots of options for making Southern food, but intended a bit more for purchasing in bulk.

          There are other cash and carry options in the area, including some of the larger companies (I think Cambridge Packaging will even do it, but may have a minimum). Taurus doesn't do as much retail as Lord Jeffs, there is a food club warehouse nearby which I don't know much about. So its worth checking out the area -- Chinese Spaghetti Factory, Liquor Land is just over on Washington St. Speed, M&M, The Hen House...

          There also is company I think in Dorchester which sells marinades and marinated meats which I have meant to check out, but am not certain where it is. And K Street Market in Southie.

        2. re: itaunas

          Gerards is a restaurant and a crappy convenience store. Not sure why you'd go there.

          Greenhills is a very traditional Irish bakery.

          Milton Market has good produce at very reasonable prices.

          Ashmont liquors at the corner of Ashmont and Adams sells very good steaks in the back. They cut the meat themselves.

          Kam Man in Quincy is heads and tails the best asian market around.

          The South Bay Stop and Shop carries a lot of hispanic goods.

          The N. Quincy Stop and Shop's wine and beer department is the best part of the store.

          1. re: C. Hamster

            Gerards simply because Irish bacon is an essential food group, but I am sure there are plenty of other options. As I said, this isn't my hood, but I do enjoy checking it out. I'll definitely try some of your suggestions! The N Quincy S&S must stock wines very differently from Malden which is better than the Shaws in Watertown, but pretty far from what Liquor Land or another reasonable independent market carries. Its a lot further, but if I lived on the south shore I would give Luke's Liquors in Rockland a visit from time to time (and there is an Ocean State Job Lot across the street for pasta and other packaged goods).

        3. The Polish delis near Andrew Square.

          1. Milton Marketplace is a better one stop alternative to Lambert's. It's located near East Milton Square.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Guinness02122

              Another vote for the East Milton marketplace. They have the best vegetables around, Iggies bread and a good selection of meat and seafood. It an be pricy, but it doesn't have to be if you are selective, and the quality is worth it.

              Another find is the Kam Man marketplace with an excellent array of asian vegetables and lots of other food stuff.

              There are a couple of small vendors in the Littel Q block of Hancock Street in quincy with olives, lentils and Indian spices.

              Esprit du Vin on the north side of Milton is excellent for wine, bread and cheese.

              The list goes on!

              Fruit Center Marketplace, Milton
              10 Bassett St, Milton, MA 02186

              1. re: chowfamily

                Right. There's also:

                Flatback Coffee just off Dot Ave on River Street (I think that's the street)
                The Ice Creamsmith on Dot Ave.
                The Common Ground on Dot Ave
                Gene and Pat's (might have it wrong) meat market on Dot Ave
                Numerous Vietnamese grocers on Dot Ave.
                All of Newmarket Square near South Bay
                Whatever the name of the place that replaced Patty's Pantry on Dot Ave
                Bell's Market on Dorchester Street in South Boston
                Boston Street Market , DJ's and Euromart in South Boston (there's another better one I can' think of at this time across from Palonia, which is owned by Palonia, I believe)
                Prevites and Roxies in Quincy.
                Babycakes and This Takes the Cake in Quincy

                1. re: Guinness02122

                  How does the Icecreamsmith compare to Cambridge favourites such as Toscanini's or Christina's?

                  1. re: Prav

                    Much smaller operation that the one's you mention. I'd say the banana and mocha that I've had at each don't compare with Ice Creamsmith.

                  2. re: Guinness02122

                    Just as an FYI, I believe Prevites has relocated to Weymouth. Quincy location is closed.

                2. re: Guinness02122

                  I agree that Milton Marketplace is much better than Lamberts. Great fruit, veggies, meats, prepared foods, cheese and wine.

                3. In January sometime i saw where you possibly we're looking for veal bones. If this is the case please contact me at 360-318-5684.

                  1. Thanks everyone! We are really excited to explore our new neighborhood.

                    1972broker, I'll give you a ring after we are settled into our new place.

                    1. Is there still a farmer's market in Field's Corner?

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        I believe there was a farmers market in Fields Corner last summer, since a vendor i frequent in the Milton farmers market told me she goes there occasionally. I've been meaning to check out the Quincy one just to see what's different, but it'll be a few months. Sigh. The Fruit Center and Kam Man are great consolation in this cold weather.

                        1. re: chowfamily

                          Where is the farmer's market in Quincy? In Milton? I work near Copley and buy there but would love to frequent one closer to home.

                          I agree about the Milton Fruit Center. Everything is top notch there.

                          We eat a lot of frisee and it's almost always in stock and almost always very fresh. And it's a steal.

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            Quincy market is in the parking lot across from the courthouse, Fridays 11:30-5pm. This is a far cry from Copley but they are trying . You will find Stillmans (Glen runs this one, his daughter and son-in-law are at Copley) with a good variety of vegetables, fruit, flowers and meat. Fretias Farm from Middleboro, Long Island Shelter (certified organic), O'Briens Bakery, local eggs, and an assortment of diffeent local vendors with cookies, jams, etc, although sometimes they are there, sometimes not. The Market Manager has been trying hard to expand the market so it will be interesting to see it this year. Stillmans & Long Island make it worthwhile right now.

                            1. re: pasta

                              TNX. I am often home early on Fidays so will check it out.

                            2. re: C. Hamster

                              The Milton market is on the lower mills side of Milton, under a big shade tree in the little park next to the Milton T stop on the Mattapan trolly line. It is small, trying to grow,and the people and produce are very nice. Hours last year were 1-6 on Thursdays. They've had regional cheeses, Iggy's bread, local produce and such.

                              1. re: chowfamily

                                EVen better. I can ride my bike there!


                          2. re: C. Hamster

                            The Fields Corner Farmers' Market is Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. There are actually quite a few other Farmers' Markets in the Dot. There is a Codman Square Market on Thursdays from 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm, and I believe that Franklin Park and Bowdoin Square have Farmers' Markets. Also there will be a Farmers' Market in Peabody Square (across from Ashmont station) on Fridays starting this summer. The market probably closest to the South End side of Dot though is in Roxbury in the Dudley Town Common. It's run by the Food Project and is on Tue and Thur from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

                          3. If you're on the SE side of Dot, here's something good to know -- it took me years to figure it out -- the Whole Foods in Symphony validates parking for an hour in the garage right behind it. I'm surprised at all the responses to your post. I find Dot a bit of a wasteland in terms of fresh, high quality food. Plenty of my neighbors make long treks to Russo's, Wilsons, etc.. to get good green stuff. The Milton/Lower Mills farmer's market is much better than the Field's Corner one, but that's a long haul from the north end of Dot, as is the Milton Marketplace. Government Center is easier to get to on the T, for a farmer's market. South End Formaggio & Foodies are good stops in the South End. Dim Sum at Chau Chow City on the weekends is a great cheap date, as are the sandwiches at Ba Le in Savin Hill. Avoid all pizza ;-)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: SpicyTea

                              I've already figured out my new route to Russo's! I do hope that some of these Dot suggestions work out for us. I don't mind making the long haul to the farmer's markets. Union square and Davis are my favs during the summer.

                              Lack of good pizza will disappoint the hubs, but he works next to Emma's so he should be covered.

                            2. I haven't seen anyone yet mention the Baltic Deli, 632 Dot Ave or the outstanding Cafe Polonia just up and across the street, an excellent Polish foodstuffs purveyor and restaurant, respectively.


                              3 Replies
                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                Right -o! Cafe Polonia is fantastic -- friendly, cheap, excellent food & an astonishing array of eastern european beers. I don't remember seeing anyone mention 224 Boston St., the best thing walkable in , uh, "north dorchester," for drinks, apps & a cozy room.

                                1. re: SpicyTea

                                  We took a ride around the neighborhood to see what was walkable and saw 224. Any reviews?

                                  1. re: tallullah

                                    I live in Southie and like 224 it's a nice go-to place during the week if we feel like going out but not too far. The menu is a nice combination of entres, sandwiches and small pizzas. Full liquor license. Sadly my last few visits seem to have slipped a bit, but I continue to return. In the nice weather there is limited outdoor seating.

                              2. Since Dorchester is so large and incorporates many neighborhoods, you might get better immediate advice if you specified a specific neighborhood and whether you'll be traveling by car, rapid transit, bus, or by other means.

                                That might help locals help in your new neighborhood during the moving process when you just want something from around the corner.

                                Many of the recommendations are easy access off of 93, and the Red Line and buses are options as well.

                                In any event, welcome to the area.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: chowfamily

                                  We'll be right in Edward Everett Square. Some days I'll have a car, some days I won't. Walking or the Redline will be my modes of transport on the days I don't.

                                  1. re: tallullah

                                    You could jump on/off the redline at Broadway in Southie for Sophia's Cafe, a great coffeeshop in the Macallen building (espresso's hard to come by in EE Square, this is the closest spot), and now the new Franklin Cafe across the street on Dot Ave., too. And if you're driving, it's very quick to get from where you'll live to Myers & Chang by shooting up Dot Ave., taking a left at the Macallen onto West 4th St, which turns into Berkeley St. Lots of good stuff between you & the Butcher Shop. Gaslight has free parking - a great thing for Dot-ites, too ;-)

                                    1. re: SpicyTea

                                      You definitely have to check out Dorchester Market referred to above as Gene and Pat's(that is the old sign from prior owners they kept for nostalgia) at Dot Ave and East Cottage. Both current owners Kevin and Peter are butchers-their meat is fresher and cheaper than any supermarket, plus they have fresh fish every Thursday. They will cut to order, right now they are featuring their house cured corned beef. They also carry the best Italian sausages from a local company in E. Boston. Oh and they deliver for free locally.

                                      Their veg selection is very limited and just OK-try to go in on Thurs/Fri when they just get it in. I prefer to buy all my meat, fish and deli meat there-and organic milk.

                                      Also check out the new pizza place on the next block across from Eagle Liquors ( my other local vendor who is great) can't remember the name right now but depending on who is making the pizza it is the closest I have ever come to NY pizza-we had a slice yesterday that tasted just as good as Stella's of Watertown.

                                      Worth mentioning are the Vietnamese restaurants in Field's corner.

                                      Welcome to the neighborhood!

                                      1. re: Marmalade

                                        We're at East Cottage and Columbia --we'll definitely check out the Dorchester Market!

                                        I'm a creature of habit (to a fault) and all these recommendations are making me feel sooo much better.

                                        1. re: Marmalade

                                          I think the pizza place is now called Pantry Pizza, a nod to the old Patty's Pantry.

                                        2. re: SpicyTea

                                          another nod to Gaslight for Dot residents. it is ridiculously easy to get to and with free parking!

                                          1. re: DotDiner

                                            We love Gaslight for cocktails and nibbles. Especially with the free parking.

                                            But their onion soup is horrible, sorry to say.

                                            McKenna's across from the Savin Hill T stop is good for breakfast. CF Donovans (same location) is generally reliable pub grub.

                                    2. it might seem a bit wierd...but if you are near the redline, i find the whole foods in the west side to be very convenient. I go as I'm leaving the city, walk a block to MGH and shoot back down to Savin Hill.