Sometimes, a restaurant that may be hidden to most is certainly not hidden to locals and those in the know, and this is certainly the case with a dining and drinking spot just south of Boston. Indeed, The Fat Cat in Quincy is just such a place, as it is crowded night after night with waits for a table often occurring even on weeknights, but if you mention the Fat Cat to someone from north or west of Boston, the city itself, or certainly a visitor to the Boston area, chances are, you will be met with a blank stare. So why is this? Well, one reason could be its location, as the restaurant resides in the rapidly-redeveloping Quincy Center but in a less-traveled part behind the main section of downtown that you might not find unless you're lost or someone you know is bringing you there. One thing is for sure, though--The Fat Cat has an extremely loyal following, and for good reason, as the food, atmosphere, and service are all top notch night after night.
The Fat Cat is located more or less behind the main drag (Hancock Street) in downtown Quincy, a couple of doors up from an old bar called Sully's and on a side street that until recently has been a bit of a mess, with ongoing work connected to the aforementioned revitalization of Quincy Center making it feel like it had been one big construction zone. This plus various one-way roads in the immediate area help keep the restaurant more or less hidden away, especially to those who aren't familiar with the downtown section of the city. And while the atmosphere outside of The Fat Cat isn't exactly pretty (though it really is starting to shape up now), the restaurant itself is quite charming, with lots of exposed brick, attractive hanging lamps, a beamed ceiling that gives a hint as to the age of the building, and a high partition that keeps the cozy dining section and bustling bar area almost completely separate. The interior of the place is quite dark overall, though the window seats up front have quite a bit of light coming in, especially in the afternoons.
The Fat Cat is one part neighborhood restaurant, one part gastropub, and one part beer bar, with the focus on food perhaps making it more of a combination of the first two, though the place does feature some good beers. The restaurant's menu is all about comfort food, with highlights including some of the best fried pickles in the Boston area, a "haystack" of onion stings with a rich chipotle dipping sauce, tremendous handcut fries that can be ordered with curry sauce, a perfectly-seasoned 10-ounce burger on a ciabatta roll, linguini alfredo that isn't swimming in cream sauce, blackened chicken pasta that is heavy on the garlic, a plate of fish and chips with house-made tartar sauce, and a marvelous version of macaroni and cheese that has four different cheeses and panko bread crumbs (and can be ordered with bacon or lobster--both highly recommended) and you can also ask for buffalo chicken to be mixed in, which adds a nice kick. Cocktails and wine are offered at The Fat Cat, though the focus does seem to be a bit on beers here, with an ever-changing list of craft beers that include some of the best that New England has to offer. Prices at the restaurant are moderate overall, with most meals costing between $10 and $20.
If you live in Quincy, you may say "The Fat Cat isn't a hidden gem," and there is definitely some truth to that; but it is definitely an unknown spot to folks who live away in other parts of the region--and is one that people might want to go to if they like intimate eateries with a local feel to them. It may not be easy to find the first time around, but The Fat Cat is well worth seeking out.
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