Boston's Hidden Restaurants

C.F. Donovan's Pub (CLOSED)

112 Savin Hill Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02125
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--- Winner, Best American (Traditional) Restaurant in Boston Area, 2007 and 2006 ---

Photo of CF Donovan's, Dorchester, MA C.F. Donovan's Pub in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood may be a hidden gem, but the truth is, hundreds of THOUSANDS of people drive by it every day. How is that possible? Well, drivers are perhaps 100 feet from C.F. Donovan's when they go under the Savin Hill Avenue bridge, which is where the restaurant resides. Now as far as actually getting to Donovan's, well, that is another story. Basically, you get off at Columbia Road and, well, um, no, you drive up Morrissey Boulevard and, no wait...ok, click the map above, as there isn't enough space here to describe the directions!

Once inside C.F. Donovan's, you will find a restaurant that is absolutely charming, with an almost upscale feel to it, though the clientele is mostly close-knit and working-class, as much of this old-fashioned Boston neighborhood still is. The menu at C.F. Donovan's has everything from a hearty turkey dinner to a delicious baked haddock to fantastic steak tips (one of the best items here) to the oddly-appealing fried pumpkin ravioli to the thin-crust pizza. Also, the freshly made soups at Donovan's are worth getting (the beef vegetable, which is sometimes offered, is especially good here). And, being a pub, C.F. Donovan's has a great beer selection, including such standouts as Harp and Smithwick's.

Dorchester, like many parts of Boston, has more and more attractive options for dining these days. From the Vietnamese soup houses of Fields Corner (including Pho Hoa, Pho So 1 Boston, and Pho 2000) to the improbably quirky Common Ground in Lower Mills, to this wonderful little restaurant and pub tucked away in Savin Hill, this Boston neighborhood really has come a long way. I personally go out to eat in Dorchester often these days, and the place that appeals to me most is C.F. Donovan's. Check it out, and while you're up there, wave to the 200,000 people who are driving past, oblivious to the hidden gem that is above them.