Moving to Boston - starting list for places to buy ingredients for cooking

We are moving soon from San Diego to Boston and just went to Boston to find housing and schools and know now that we will live in Watertown.
We love to cook and obviously we will go through old posts here and on Chowhound (and other sources) to start creating long lists of different places to get all the ingredients but we hope that you could help us to start such lists. We are looking for places all over the Boston area, large and small as long as they are unique or good at some ingredients.

Supermarkets (what are the best supermarket chains in this area):

Butcher (preferably organic and grass fed but if not available at least high quality and not CAFO meat. We don’t eat much meat and so are happy to pay more for good quality)

Produce (we might miss California produce most, so where are the best places for it in Boston):

Indian supermarkets:

Middle East Supermarkets:

Asian Supermarkets:

Mexican Supermarkets:

Beer, Wine, Liquor:


Bread (we are looking for places with European style bread, e.g. sourdough, whole wheat, rye etc)


Spices (any shops specialized in spices ?):


Anything else:

Thanks a lot for the help

Wow - big question.

I will say in Watertown you’ll have Russo’s for produce which is awesome.

You’re not too far from wilson’s farm as well.

I still haven’t found a great butcher and the ones people love are a total PITA to get to from our area. But there is a place called Prime in Arlington I like but don’t get too very often.

I’m amazed there aren’t more fish mongers but there aren’t. Most people I talk to go to the grocery stores and you can get better fish there than I could where I was from before I moved. So I do use them.

Watertown has some great Armenian markets too.

Oh and for bread - iggy’s is the local bread place (there are others of course). You can find them in many places but their shop in Cambridge (Belmont?) isn’t that far from you either.

Russo’s has some good breads as well.

But I will say I could get better and a better variety of fish in Ohio than I’ve found in Boston - so coming from SD you may need to get ready for “fish shock”.

Which butchers do people like (even if they are far away) ?

That’s surprising as I expected to be in fish buyers paradise

Also I forgot to ask where are the best Farmer’s Markets and are there any during the winter months inside ?

MF Dulock in Somerville is a treasure and the people who run it are just great business owners. It will fit the bill for your criteria nicely. If Dulock doesn’t have what you need, Savenors in Cambridge is close by. However once you build a relationship at Dulock, they will generally get what you want particularly if you let them know ahead of time.

Some other suggestion from your list to get you started, however far from inclusive and not really taking geography into mind:

Supermarkets: I prefer Wegmans. Many people like Market Basket, however the one nearest me (Somerville) is hell. Whole Foods has regrettably spread far and wide in this area. I find them over priced and not top quality in much of anything.

Produce: Yes, you will definitely miss your CA produce, particularly during the winter. I like Wilson Farm (Lexington), and the various area farm-stands when in season. The Russos suggestion is a good one as well, particularly if you can get there on weekdays.

Middle East Supermarkets: You are smack dab in the middle of them in Watertown. Arax and Sevan are 2.

Asian Supermarkets: H Mart (Cambridge/Burlington), Reliable Market (Somerville)

Beer, Wine, Liquor: Gordon’s (Waltham) for a place that does it all; Craft Beer Cellar (several locations); Federal Wine & Spirits (Boston) specifically for scotch and wine.

Cheese: Wasick’s (Wellesley); Formaggio (Cambridge & Boston)

Bread: Clear Flour (Brookline); Bricco Panetteria (Boston / North End) note that parking is extremely challenging in the North End

Spices: Penzy’s (Arlington) and it is easy to mail order from them as well. People may suggest Christina’s in Cambridge but I find their freshness and product availability unreliable.

Fish: New Deal (Cambridge); Red’s Best (Boston); Alive & Kicking (Cambridge) for lobsters; the fish vendors at the various farmers markets; Wegman’s has a great fish counter as well.

Welcome to town.


Just looked at MF Dulock and it seems to be exactly what we are looking for

Go to MF Dulock on a Saturday and you can also visit the farmers market in nearby Union Square, Somerville, or the winter farmers market about a block away from MF Dulock at the Armory. Both markets also sell local meat, as do the Boston Public Market and most of the other local farmers markets.

You will miss the Calif. produce…I moved here from the SF bay area in 1989, and I’m still mourning, but you do begin to absolutely treasure the fleeting joys of our short growing season. We don’t get tomatoes and corn until early August, but right now we have a few weeks of asparagus and fiddlehead ferns. I would love to live in Watertown…the armenian/middle eastern markets close to Sevan and Arax…there are several more of them in that area including Sophia’s Greek shop…and Russos are wonderful. I personally really like Christina’s spices in Cambridge. Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge and the South End, Boston, are among the best cheese shops in the US and also carry gourmet and speciality items from all over the world.

check out for details. Yes, there are several winter markets (lots of root vegetables!).

In case you were planning on checking them out, Dulock will be closed from May 30 through June 6.

There are lots of farmers markets around. Some of your decisions may depend on which side of Watertown you are. If you’re east getting to some of these Cambridge/Somerville places won’t be as rough. If you’re west you may consider some of the options heading the other way.

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Get a fish share from

Watertown has it’s own farmer’s market as well:

And check out the Watertown public library. If you like to cook they have an awesome program called Cook the Books where everyone brings a dish they have made to share with the group.

For winter markets:

Boston Public Market -

Cambridge Winter Market -

Dorchester Winter Market -

Mahoney’s Winter Market in Winchester -

Or if you’re heading the other direction there is also Wayland . . .

Supermarkets: Market Basket is a local NE chain with an old-school aesthetic and great prices on standard grocery items. Store managers have a lot of disgression in customizing their inventory for the local community. They’re mostly to the north of Boston but have been expanding despite setbacks. The one in Waltham is big and new and probably your best bet, unlike the old, small, and crowded one in Somerville (greater Camberville could use a new MB closer than Chelsea but I assume politics and real estate are issues).

Friends of mine in Arlington routinely do grocery drives up the Middlesex Turnpike in Burlington to hit the Market Basket there (another big new one), Hmart, a Trader Joe’s, and then Wegmans (bigger than the one in Chestnut Hill). I wouldn’t do it on a weekend though.

also, for cookbooks, the minuteman library network is extensive, and I’ve always been able to order lots of recent cookbooks, as well as all kinds of other books, for pick up at my local branch library in Somerville.

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H-Mart has a huge array of very fresh fish - a greater variety and lower prices than Cape Ann Fresh Catch, which has no Watertown site, though Cambridge or Boston might work for the OP. That stretch of Middlesex Tpke is worth the trip for grocery shopping, but traffic is a real problem. H-Mart and Wegman’s are open later but most of the stores there close at 9pm weekdays and are mobbed on weekends. After 7pm or early morning on weekdays are your best bets. There’s also Roche Brothers in Burlington - not on Middlesex Tpke; about a mile away on Cambridge St., a parallel road.