Top Five Desserts in Boston and Cambridge

My parents like telling the story of how when I was younger and we would go out to a restaurant, I would immediately turn to the back portion of the menu to look at the desserts.

Not much has changed, and while now I can discreetly check out restaurant menus online ahead of time, I still pretty much tailor my meals around dessert, always saving room for it, always wanting to end a meal with it. It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth! A humongous, gargantuan, perpetual inclination towards dessert of all kinds.

I often get asked for restaurant recommendations, and while I have been very fortunate to dine at some of the most excellent places here in Boston, I have a select few that are extremely close to my heart (and tummy) because they offer some pretty spectacular desserts. So without futher ado, here’s a round-up of my Top Five Restaurant Desserts in Boston and Cambridge:

Baked Alaska at Oleana

Baked Alaska is basically an ice cream pie topped with meringue. I first tried this one at Oleana in February 2011, and I remember being completely blown away by it. I really loved it, with the sweet coconut ice cream and passion fruit sauce. The base was made of chewy coconut and overall the flavors and textures just melded together so beautifully. To this day I still haven’t had another Baked Alaska to top this one!

S’mores Cup at West Bridge

This is the newest dessert in this list. I’ve had it on both times I went to West Bridge and it is actually a chef’s special so I don’t know if they are keeping it on the regular menu. (But they should! Please, West Bridge?) This was a S’mores verrine: chocolate panna cotta, miso syrup, homemade marshmallow fluff, more miso syrup, and a graham crumb topping. Pretty simple stuff – except for the sophisticated and adult taste of miso – but each component was flawless.

Butterscotch Pudding at Sweet Cheeks

This is probably the dessert I’ve had most often from this list! The first time I tried this at Sweet Cheeks, I called it the “wild card” in our meal. My friends and I were stuffed but they only needed a little convincing (by me, of course) to order dessert. No one expected anything super fantastic but everyone declared this butterscotch pudding their favorite. Since then, I’ve gone back multiple times to Sweet Cheeks, and always order this to end the (giant) meal. Save room in your stomach for this, trust me, it is so worth it.

Side note: check out Mystery Meet’s first ever podcast, where I am the featured blogger and I talk about Sweet Cheeks and this butterscotch pudding.

Hot Chocolate at LA Burdick

Okay, so technically this is the one I’ve had the most since I’ve been going to LA Burdick for years and Sweet Cheeks has only been open for less than a year. My favorite thing to order at LA Burdick  (and I bet it will be yours too, if you try it) is their hot chocolate. This is, quite literally, liquid chocolate in a cup: it’s shaved chocolate (dark, milk, or white) and cocoa powder whisked into steamed milk and topped with foam. It’s the creamiest, thickest, silkiest cup of hot chocolate. It’s different from my beloved tsokolate (Filipino hot chocolate) which, while equally velvety and frothy, has a slight graininess like Mexican chocolate. The LA Burdick version is exceptionally smooth and very intense.

Sweet Ricotta Pie at Abigail’s

It’s cheesecake, but ohhhh it is real good cheesecake. Abigail’s is one of the first restaurants that started the culinary boom in Kendall square last year, and the chef-owner likes to describe it as a blue collar bistro.  The food and restaurant itself is friendly, approachable, with a touch of cool. The desserts are very homey, and this sweet ricotta pie is no exception. It tastes homemade, made with love, and because of the ricotta, it comes with a bit more heft than it’s silken pure-cream-cheese counterparts. It’s also not cloying at all, as some people claim cheesecake to be (not me). The drizzle of dark chocolate ganache is perfect.

Do you have a favorite restaurant dessert in your city? Cheers to sweet endings!

PS – As you are reading this, I am currently en ruta a Espana for a much needed and very much anticipated vacation. So I’ll be taking a blogging break this week, and next week you guys will be treated a special guest post. As you probably expect, I will be trying as many desserts as I can in Spain!


28 Responses to “Top Five Desserts in Boston and Cambridge”

  1. #
    Samantha Angela posted July 25, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I want to recreate that s’mores cup at home.

  2. #
    Victoria (District Chocoholic) posted July 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Mmmmmmmmm LA Burdick hot chocolate. It’s like a melted truffle.

  3. #
    Michelle posted July 25, 2012 at 9:16 am

    The Grand Marnier souffle at Bisto du Midi is one you would adore!

  4. #
    Melissa posted July 25, 2012 at 9:20 am

    These all look fantastic! I wish more restaurants served banana pudding though. Why are they neglecting my favorite sweet treat?

  5. #
    Elizabeth posted July 25, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Ooh, I need to do my own version of this, since clearly we’re one in the same when it comes to dessert. I did love the s’mores cup. I wanted to try the ricotta pie at Abigail’s but never did. I’d have to think long and hard about my additions to this ;)

  6. #
    Daisy posted July 25, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Spain…be still my heart. You are going to have a blast. I love this roundup of desserts. My favorite desserts in Boston/Cambridge are Oleana’s Baked Alaska for sure, The Gallow’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Fluff Brulee, Lulu’s Salted Caramel Cupcake and I just had some awesome desserts last night at Nix’s Mate, specifically their Banana’s Foster Bread Pudding!!

  7. #
    Erica @ In and Around Town posted July 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

    That butterscotch pudding from Sweet Cheeks is SO good! However, I have been dying to try Oleana’s Baked Alaska

  8. #
    Meghan posted July 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Have a wonderful trip!

  9. #
    Amy @Macncheesenpeas posted July 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I’m so sad I haven’t tried any of these! That baked Alaska looks incredible.

  10. #
    Shannon posted July 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    how did the butterscotch pudding at sweetcheeks compare to the one we had at catalyst?? cause i remember that was amazing!! so pretty much next time i go to sweetcheeks i need to order a biscuit and butterscotch pudding… ha.

  11. #
    Alaina posted July 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    My favorite dessert is definitely the chocolate pudding from Sonsie. Paired with a BR Cohn Cab Sauv and it’s the perfect ending to a dinner. :-)

    Have a great time in Spain!!

  12. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted July 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Are the baked alaska and smores not the BEST?! I really need to head to Abigail’s after seeing their cake!!

  13. #
    Sacha posted July 25, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    That baked Alaska is definitely one of my very favorites, too (and I don’t even love meringue). I want to get to West Bridge so badly. I hope the smore’s cup is standard! And you can’t the hot chocolate at Burdick’s. Mmm, dessert.

  14. #
    Simply Life posted July 25, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    ooh, looks like I have some restaurants to try! thanks for the recommendations!

  15. #
    Megan posted July 25, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    That Baked Alaska is definitely one of my favorites. The chocolate terrine with Thai basil ice cream at Ten Tables might just be my absolute favorite. I’ve had some pretty spectacular desserts at Bergamot too.

  16. #
    Baking Serendipity posted July 25, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I would be all over that s’mores cup :)

  17. #
    Joanne posted July 26, 2012 at 6:50 am

    I STILL look at the dessert part of the menu first! You mean that’s NOT the most important part of the meal? :P Have fun in Spain!

  18. #
    Colleen @ Culinary Colleen posted July 26, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I hate to admit that I haven’t tried any of these desserts. I find myself at Abigail’s pretty often though, so I’m going to order the cheesecake next time!

  19. #
    Will posted July 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Great choices! Couldn’t agree more. West Bridge kills it with that Smores Cup.

  20. #
    Molly Galler posted July 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Of the desserts on the list, Burdicks is the only one I’ve experienced. Have a great time in Spain! Churrosssssssssssss.

  21. #
    Sarah posted July 27, 2012 at 1:46 am

    Thank you so much for including us! The Ricotta Pie recipe is a close family friends grandma’s recipe that my partner James grew up eating. It’s an old Italian family recipe and to us being able to serve something so personal to our childhoods is pretty special. I’m so glad to hear how much you enjoy it!

  22. #
    sarah posted July 27, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Thank you so much for including us on this list! The Ricotta Pie recipe is an old family recipe of very close friends that they were kind enough to share with us. My partner James grew up enjoying this delicious pie and was determined to have it on our menu. Its an honor for us to be able to share a wonderful dish like this.
    Thank you again. I’m truly humbled to amongst such great company.


    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted July 29, 2012 at 3:01 am

      Hi Sarah! My pleasure. I was smitten with the ricotta pie upon first bite and I’m looking forward to going back to Abigail’s and enjoying dinner there again soon. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

  23. #
    Rhonda posted July 27, 2012 at 11:19 am

    That smores cup looks like the perfect dessert for me, just the right amount!

  24. #
    Meg posted August 1, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I definitely want to add on to the list what I refer to as THE BEST dessert in Boston, at The Gallows in the South End. It is not on the menu, but is the Banana Fluff-a-nutter Brulee. It’s a ramekin with a bottom layer of Banana’s Foster, then a Peanut Butter layer, then a chocolate layer and topping it with marshmallow that was flambeed. Seriously amazing…

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted August 8, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Hi Meg! I read your comment while I was on vacation and my mouth instantly watered. Now that I’m back in Boston, I’m going to plan a visit to The Gallows soon just to try that dessert! Thanks for letting me know :)

  25. #
    Ranjani @ Four Seasons of Food posted August 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    I can’t believe I’ve never tried any of these! Clearly I need to eat more desserts when I go out…

  26. #
    val posted August 10, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Butterscotch pudding sounds like the best thing, ever.

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