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The Boston Food Delivery Heatmap: Where to Live If You Love to Order In!

December 02, 2015

Boston is spoiled with dining options, but what if you're just too lazy to go out for your meals?

Real talk: when the hunger pangs start stickin' like duct tape and your inner sloth takes over, you'd be lucky to get off the couch, let alone change out of your sweatpants and venture into the elements for your food. Better just admit it and move to a neighborhood where plenty of delicious foodstuffs can come to you.

The Giant Boston Food Delivery Heatmap by AddressReport

(Click map to open the full-size / zoomable version)
The Boston Food Delivery Heatmap by Rentenna
How to read the Food Delivery Heatmap:

  • Red indicates areas with the greatest density of restaurants that deliver.
  • Green indicates areas with average food delivery selection.
  • Blue indicates areas where you'd better load up that Charlie Card or learn to cook, because you're going to run out of delivery options real fast.
  • The knife and fork icons highlight the 50 top-rated restaurants (according to online reviews by Bostonians) that offer delivery -- Boston's "local favorites."

Get the Boston Food Delivery Heatmap for your own site! Just copy and paste the html snippet from the box below:

The Best Places to Live for Food Delivery in Boston

The Back Bay and Beacon Hill offer snooty-but-delicious menus that stand up to the best (and most expensive) in the country. The North End's still boss when it comes to throwback restaurants that have been in The Family for generations. For a trendier, more modern experience, head to the South End. For a more relaxed atmosphere, there's plenty to enjoy in Brookline, Newton, and Wellesley. And of course a cheap slice in Allston can really soak things up after a night at the bars.

That all sounds great if you're into showering, wearing clothes, and having actual human contact.

But how do the neighborhoods rank as far as catering to your unimaginably slothful need for great food delivery options?

Based on an analysis of over 1,500 restaurants in Boston and the suburbs that offer delivery, AddressReport's Boston Food Delivery Heatmap (below) reveals the neighborhoods that offer up the best access to the most chow in The Hub -- from Chestnut Hill and Brighton in the west to Boston's North End in the east. (The Cambridge / Somerville edition is currently in the works -- and not to give anything away, but let's just say life across the Charles is good as well).

Ranking Boston's Neighborhoods by Food Delivery Score

As the map reveals, most of Boston enjoys food delivery options galore, with the bulk of the city from Old North Church to the Back Bay and Fenway bathed in bright red, with flecks of green. That said, Kenmore is the best area to live if food delivery is your thing.

But after Kenmore, it turns out that several areas outside of Boston can give the city a run for its money (fortunately for those who already have to commute in for work, and want to maximize their laziness after finally getting home). Neighborhoods within Brookline like Coolidge Corner, Central Village, and Washington Square offer great food delivery, as do Allston (although Lower Allston, near Harvard Business School, leaves most of the MBA crowd shaking their fists) and Brighton.

And although they don't score as highly, Jamaica Plain (not quite visible on the map), Lower Roxbury, and Southie are no slouches for food delivery, either.

Here are the top 15 neighborhoods in Boston and its immediate surroundings (excluding Cambridge / Somerville), ranked by breadth & depth of food delivery options:

  1. Kenmore
  2. Coolidge Corner (Brookline)
  3. Allston
  4. Fenway
  5. Back Bay
  6. Prudential
  7. Brookline
  8. Central Village (Brookline)
  9. Longwood
  10. Allston/Brighton
  11. South End
  12. Cleveland Circle (Technically part of Brighton, but the BC kids know it's its own little world)
  13. Washington Square (Brookline)
  14. Brighton
  15. The Theatre District

A note on neighborhood delineations and rankings:

The neighborhood borders outside the city are often an overlapping, mish-mashy mess, and many sub-neighborhoods could be considered neighborhoods in their own right. Hence we've included not just Allston and Brighton, but also the interlocking region of Allston/Brighton (often recognized as a distinct neighborhood) in the list as a discrete entity. And hence we've included Cleveland Circle (which is technically part of Brighton) as a separate entity. Several areas that technically sit within Brookline (like Coolidge Corner) get called out on their own as well.

Deciding what to break out is an inexact science. If this greatly offends you, just ignore the rank list and let the Delivery Heatmap's red, green and blue areas be your guide -- and be sure never to follow college football.

Variety of Cuisine Options Available for Delivery in Boston

Pie Chart of Boston Cuisine Available for Food Delivery

While the types of cuisines available are diverse and plentiful, pizza represents a full quarter of Boston’s delivery options, followed, in order, by American, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai. Seafood, for which Boston is so famous, has significantly lower representation -- but do you really want some bringing you the day's catch in his bicycle basket?

Why the Food Delivery Score Matters for Renters

Americans are more frequently than ever making the financially flexible choice to rent in urban areas rather than settle down and buy houses with giant yards and a white picket fence. As these renters decide where to live, issues beyond price are becoming primary drivers of their decision-making: Quality-of-life issues like amenities, access to public transportation, proximity to parks / green spaces, and convenient access to great food are major considerations for renters searching for their next apartment.

If having every type of food -- from pizza, to Chinese, to sushi, and more -- available at your door with a simple click or phone call is an important factor for your quality of life (be honest), check out the Food Delivery Heatmap above and search Boston apartments on AddressReport to see how their neighborhood shapes up.