In Boston, choosing a restaurant often means working out a few logistics in advance: Choosing where you want to go, getting a reservation, and then (if you're driving) where to park. Like many cities, parking in Boston can be a challenge, especially in neighborhoods with the best restaurants and bars. And while taking the T is usually a good option, sometimes you just want to get in your car and go. Here are five restaurants in and around Boston and Cambridge that have easy parking.
A caveat: Easy parking in Boston is a relative term. It's not exactly as simple as just showing up to park (this is Boston, after all). These restaurant picks were chosen because they offer proximity to free lots, provide discounts or free parking at nearby garages, or both.
Earls Kitchen & Bar
Assembly Row in Somerville is located right on the MBTA Orange Line but also offers a few parking lots, garages and hourly metered spots on the street. And while there are several restaurant options around the Row, Canadian import Earls Kitchen and Bar has been getting a lot of buzz for its craft cocktails, upscale burgers and seafood dishes, along with its sleek design. Keep in mind that as this area has expanded - and with the addition of the new Encore casino which has shuttles from Assembly - parking has become a bit more of a headache, but it's still a very viable option if you're looking for restaurants you can easily drive to.
Gaslight Brasserie du Coin
Gaslight, a French bistro in the South End, sits adjacent to the large parking lot used for the SoWa Open Market. Parking is free every day of the week, although you will have to compete for a spot during the days the market is up and running. Go there in the evening and on non-market weekends, though, and you can park with ease. In addition to the free parking, the restaurant also offers a nightly prix-fixe deal for early-bird diners: Visit between 5 and 6 p.m. and get a three-course meal for $29.95 per person, including a glass of wine.
Harvard Square is a nightmare for parking. Except, that is if you're going to dinner at Park Restaurant, which offers free or discounted parking at the Harvard Square Parking Garage next door. Go to Park for brunch or dinner on Sunday after 10 a.m. or Monday through Wednesday after 5 p.m., and garage parking is free. Go on Thursdays through Saturdays and you'll get $2 off your parking fee. And while you're at Park, be sure to try the meat pie of the day – or just kick back with the day's featured cask in the bar.
S&S Restaurant has been a fixture in Cambridge's Inman Square since 1919. And while parking in Inman can be tricky, S&S has two free parking lots located off Hampshire Street. Meters are also free after 6 p.m. and on Sundays. So find a spot on one of the lots and then feast on matzo ball soup, potato pancakes, and Reuben sandwiches.
Jasper White's Summer Shack
The flagship location of Summer Shack, Jasper White's popular seafood chain, has a free parking lot next to to the restaurant. Recently renovated, the Cambridge Summer Shack location has the city's largest oyster bar, plenty of lobster, and picnic-style favorites such as corn dogs and poor boys. There's also an extensive kids' menu, so if you've got little ones with particular palates, this is a great place to go.
Cinquecento Roman Trattoria
Cinquecento Roman Trattoria, a popular Italian restaurant in Boston's South End neighborhood, has a nice big parking lot right next to it. But more importantly, the food is delicious, especially the bolognese.