The best Boston restaurants

From well-established local favorites to the latest hot tables, these are the Boston restaurants you need to know about right now

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A perfectly composed plate at Bondir, one of the best Boston restaurants

A perfectly composed plate at Bondir, one of the best Boston restaurants Photograph: Andrew Ryan

While the city may be better known for its sights and museums, culture and universities, Boston restaurants are becoming an attraction in their own right. An impressive roster of local culinary talent is fostering a dining scene to rival that of New York or Chicago—in fact, some local stars, such as Ken Oringer, who opened an NYC location of Toro in 2013, are expanding into other food capitals. The city may be small, but its many neighborhoods offer plenty of diversity. In the North End, Boston's "Little Italy," Old World-style cooking is a way of life, whereas a high proportion of frequently cited destination restaurants are in Downtown Boston and Back Bay. Some of the most ground-breaking chefs tend to emerge in up-and-coming enclaves of Cambridge, Somerville and Jamaica Plain.

Pizza

Towne Stove and Spirits

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Great for brunch, lunch, dinner or afternoon cocktails, this latest haunt from Lydia Shire serves the international fare for which the celebrated local chef is known. New England clam chowder shares menu space with house-made maki, wood-grilled pizzas, veal osso bucco and Peking duck. The cozy but expansive space leaves room for everyone—despite the bustling Back Bay location—with a quieter second-floor dining room set above the sophisticated bar area.

  1. 900 Boylston Street, (at Gloucester Street)
Book online

The Salty Pig

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

With plenty of flatbread, sandwich and pizza options and a seasonal patio, the Salty Pig is a welcome post-work spot for the Back Bay suit-and-tie crowd. Make a selection from the ever-changing draft list over the slightly-fudged cocktails—The Salty Pig’s hard liquor options are limited to cordials and liqueurs.

  1. 130 Dartmouth Street, (at Columbus Avenue)
More info

Posto

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Posto is serious about pizza. Mozzarella is handmade in house, produce is locally sourced and each wood-fired pie is made according to guidelines laid out by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. But Posto is more than just a pizza joint—it’s a cozy Italian restaurant that works just as well for a first date as it does for a group dinner with friends. Warm wood and brick abound in the dining room, while the menu offers classic Italian favorites like meatballs made with nonna’s recipe, caesar salad with white anchovies, gnocchi with braised beef short ribs, veal saltimbocca and, of course, a wide variety of both white and red pizzas.

  1. 187 Elm Street, (at Windom Street)
Book online

Chinese

Myers + Chang

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Not to be confused with chain restaurant giant P.F. Changs, this hip South End gem serves Asian fusion cuisine from local culinary darling Joanne Chang and restaurateur Christopher Myers. Menu highlights include fall-off-the-bone tea-smoked spare ribs, spring rolls with a ginger dipping sauce, an exceptional Peking dumpling and dan dan noodles. The vibrant but intimate spot is great for date night—especially on Mondays and Tuesdays between 5pm and 10pm when the prix fixe meal for two is just $45. Menu options include “The Pig Out Date” and “The Healthy Date.”

  1. 1145 Washington St, (at E Berkeley Street)
Book online

East by Northeast

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

This small Chinese bistro is located slightly outside Inman Square, but it's worth the extra few minutes to sample chef Phillip Tang's nuanced take on his family's oldest recipes. Small plates of noodles, dumplings and pickled vegetables make up the bulk of the menu, with daily specials ensuring that there is always something new to try. Bring a few adventurous friends who like to share, and don't forget to check out the cocktail list—it's as inventive as the cuisine.

  1. 1128 Cambridge Street, (at Elm Street)
Book online

Italian

No. 9 Park

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Although the word "timeless" is much bandied about by No.9's admirers, Barbara Lynch's flagship can also (despite its head-on view of Boston Common) seem oddly placeless, thanks to its sleekly cosmopolitan air. The former mansion's good looks demonstrate how "smooth" and "sharp" can be synonyms; the service—from the remarkable bartenders to the splendid sommelier, Cat Silirie—hits the heights of professionalism. And the French/Italian-based cuisine? Rarely less than luscious, for all its elegance—especially the finely wrought pastas.

  1. 9 Park Street, (at Beacon Street)
Book online

Grotto

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Sink below street level in Beacon Hill for a cozy and decadent Italian meal surrounded by exposed brick, shelves of wine and locally sourced artwork. Tables are crowded close (but not too close) and lights are turned down low, and the menu is classic Italian with a creative twist. For a place that just begs to be at the top of your date night destination list, a three-course prix fixe menu of sizeable portions (available seven days a week) is almost too good to be true. Ask the friendly, knowledgeable staff for suggested wine pairings.

  1. 37 Bowdoin Street, (between Beacon & Cambridge Streets)
Book online

Bricco

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4

With name chefs blowing in and out of its kitchen, this dark, suave neighbourhood pioneer of alta cucina has hit its share of rough patches over the years. But its capacity for comebacks is astounding. Give it a go when you're feeling flush—chances are you'll score some marvelously silky pasta (the meatball-studded timpano is a wonder), rounded out by intriguing seasonal contorni-like foie gras-laced butternut squash or potatoes mashed with pink grapefruit. Meanwhile, the allure of the obscure tints the all-Italian wine list.

  1. 241 Hanover Street, (at Richmond Street)
Book online

Pomodoro

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

While it can be difficult to find a bad Italian meal in the North End, Pomodoro still shines as a beacon of freshness and flavor. It’s well worth the wait for a spot in the tiny dining room, and not just for the free tiramisu that always pops up around dessert time. Favorite entrees include Italian classics like the seafood fra diavolo, chicken carbonara and veal scallopini—all cooked to perfection and served with friendly flair.

  1. 319 Hanover Street, (at Prince Street)
More info

Sportello

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Tucked away in Fort Point, Chef Barbara Lynch's sleek iteration of the classic diner offers up supremely tasty trattoria-inspired Italian cuisine. Sit at the large communal counter that showcases the action in the kitchen, or grab a bite to-go from the bakery counter's rotating selection of pastries, soups and sandwiches and find a bench along the channel for a waterside picnic.

  1. 348 Congress Street, (at A Street)
Book online

Rialto

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

For its tenth birthday in 2006, Jody Adams gave Harvard Square's premier celebration destination a head-to-toe makeover. The now breezy, spruce interior mirrors a menu stripped of its former pan-Mediterranean flourishes to reveal a regional Italian core. Which isn't to imply that the new order is minimalist—Adams' cooking remains as luscious as ever, staying true to its rustic roots while branching out in deluxe directions.

  1. Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett Street, (at Eliot Street)
Book online

Burgers

Craigie on Main

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The buzz surrounding this culinary hotspot has been palpable since renowned chef Tony Maws moved his tiny bistro into a new, larger space. It's retained the quirkiness of the previous location, while expanding its capacity to better accommodate the growing number of devotees who pack the house most nights for Maws' latest Franco-American creations—each born of his intense dedication to using the best local, organic ingredients. Craigie on Main's knowledgeable and friendly staff (including a handful of smiling cocktail mavens) will guide you through the seasonal menus. The ten-course tasting menu is a favorite, and might include crispy Florida frog's legs, hirmasa sashimi salad or rhubarb-hibiscus mousse. And the grass-fed beef burger is the stuff of legend.

  1. 853 Main Street, (at Bishop Allen Drive)
Book online

Beacon Hill Bistro

  • Price band: 2/4

This bustling French-style bistro and bursting corner bar sit in the ground floor of the charming Beacon Hill Hotel. Skip the huge line at the Paramount just across the street and tuck in to a more low-key brunch experience. Hotel guests and locals alike go gaga for the the early morning options (such as eggs with crispy chicken hash, a smoked salmon omelet or vanilla pancakes), but the duck and the burger are can't-lose items for later in the day.

  1. 25 Charles Street, (at Branch Street)
Book online

Russell House Tavern

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

With patio seating, a stylish tavern upstairs and a cozy subterranean dining space below, Russell House has a place for everyone. In summer months, sip a cocktail from their list of classics and enjoy the prime people-watching location of the patio and the breezy open windows of the upper level. In chillier months, slip downstairs for pan-seared arctic char, slow-cooked chicken or a grass-fed burger. Russell House is also a popular brunch destination, serving up favorites like eggs benedict and stuffed brioche french toast alongside more inventive options such as a slow-roasted pork loin with hoisin-ginger sauce and a “dirty” caesar salad made with black kale. Anyone looking for classier late-night fare will love their $1 oysters, available every night of the week after 11pm.

  1. 14 John F. Kennedy Street, (at Brattle Street)
Book online

Kirkland Tap & Trotter

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

KTT is the latest from chef-about-town Tony Maws and his most casual offering yet. The space feels like a neighborhood hangout, with mismatched chairs, chalkboard specials and vintage ephemera on the wall, perhaps belying the quality of the food served there. The dishes are much more straightforward than his almost overwrought menu at Craigie on Main; there’s a house-made kielbasa platter with kraut and fries, a hearty vegetable and barley stew and, of course, a grass-fed cheeseburger with kimchee Russian dressing and emmentaler. Burgers are Maws’ signature, and while KTT’s isn’t the same as the bar menu legend at Craigie, it is a worthy sibling.

  1. 425 Washington Street, (at Beacon Street)
Book online

JM Curley

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

With its locally-sourced ingredients, cozy interior and friendly staff, JM Curley is an oasis for the Financial District’s office crowd. The only downside is that this place is packed during the post-work hours. Plan to arrive early or prepare to wait. If you do manage to snag a table, the burger is the favorite, but also take the time to check the ever-rotating chalkboard specials­—which offers weekly variations of a burger, a daily catch and a “square meal.” Night owls can wait for the masses to subside and swoop in for the late night menu, which offers a smaller, slightly cheaper version of the star burger and dessert “concretes” (vanilla ice cream whipped with “tasty treats” including pretzels, bourbon soaked blueberries and bacon).

  1. 21 Temple Place, (at Tremont Street)
More info

French

Les Zygomates

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Vintage posters and red banquettes, a zinc bar and a live jazz line-up—Ian Just's vrai, vrai français bistro has long been one of the lone bright spots in the nightly deserted Leather District. And all that glitters is not vibe. A fiercely eclectic and fairly priced wine list accompanies the carte of slightly tweaked standards: wonderful wilted salads, earthy vegetarian crêpes and precision-cooked steak frites.

  1. 129 South Street, (at Kneeland Street)
Book online

L'Espalier

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Marriage proposals and six-figure deals are par for the course at chef-owner Frank McClelland's New French New England legend. Make that par for seven courses, rather: the main menu is a prix-fixe degustation, breathtaking in its creativity, scope, execution and, of course, asking price. Served in a posh, intimate brownstone by hyper-attentive waiters, it has no local equal—and the cellar wine director Erik Johnson has built is tremendous too. L'Espalier makes its home in the posh Mandarin Oriental hotel.

  1. Mandarin Oriental, Mandarin Oriental, 30 Gloucester Street, (at Newbury Street)
Book online

Petit Robert Bistro

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Simplicity isn't simple: Boston's dearth of authentique French bistros is proof enough of that. Or was, until Maître Cuisiner de France Jacky Robert came along and made it all look supremely easy. Comfy, unfussy and affordable, his townhouse kitchen is reacquainting diners with the hearty joys of proper quenelles, no-nonsense soupe a l'oignon gratinée and boeuf bourguignon—topped off with a terrific, rustic tarte tatin.

  1. 468 Commonwealth Avenue, (at Charlesgate West)
Book online

Foundry on Elm

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Serving classic French fare, Foundry on Elm is one of the classier joints in the student-saturated Davis Square area. The spacious dining room is modeled after a traditional French brasserie, with black and white mosaic tiles, a 43-foot Italian marble bar and brass wall sconces. An ever-present raw bar and a rotating charcuterie board top the menu, with entrees like a cobb salad, steak frites and pan-roasted salmon with English pea sauce rounding out the dinner options. The cocktail menu features classic cocktails and the strong beer program highlights local and regional craft brews.

  1. 255 Elm Street, (at Chester Street)
Book online

Seafood

Neptune Oyster

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Opened in 2004, Neptune Oyster is a delightful paradox—at once exemplary and exceptional. This place looks and feels exactly as an East Coast raw bar should: tiny, lined with pressed tin, subway tiles and etched glass, it possesses retro gleam and unmistakable charm. If the daily oyster roster is definitive, the rest of the menu is startlingly original. The fearless locale will try just about anything—pairing fried oysters with pickled beef tongue, say—and so will the adventurers they've made of their fiercely loyal regulars (of whom there are many—expect long waits at peak hours). Grab a marble topped table or a seat at the bar, and you're in for a treat.

  1. 63 Salem Street, (at Morton Street)
More info

Island Creek Oyster Bar

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Island Creek oysters are to local raw-bar crawlers what a pint of Guinness is to a thirsty Irishman: the go-to choice that is eminently satisfying. Sustainably farmed year-round in Duxbury Bay, the bivalves are sweet, briny and delectably fresh. Expectations are high for any restaurant bearing the farm’s name and Island Creek Oyster Bar exceeds them. The space blends the rosy-cheeked rusticism of an oyster farm with the polish of next-door neighbor Eastern Standard (chef Jeremy Sewall and bar manager Jackson Cannon have their hands in both spaces). A long bar reminiscent of Duxbury Bay’s Powder Point Bridge anchors the front, while tables filled with locals, suits, trendsetters and students stretch toward the rear of the restaurant, where the back wall is lined with cages filled with oyster shells, creating a mesmerizing texture of gray ripples and crags.

  1. 500 Commonwealth Avenue, (at Kenmore Street)
Book online

Central Kitchen

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

At this point, chef-owner Gary Strack’s New American outpost is a Central Square classic. While the bar upstairs has rotated in theme and feel, Central Kitchen maintains the elements that make it a bright spot amid the chaos of Mass Ave.—intimate seating, lovely staff, a kick-ass wine list and a menu packed with skillfully executed dinner favorites like steak frites and seared bluefish as well as apps like scallop and shrimp ceviche and a half-dozen east coast oysters.

  1. 567 Massachusetts Avenue, (at Pearl Street)
Book online

East Coast Grill

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

On paper, the concept must have looked pretty fuzzy: how could the then-unknown Chris Schlesinger possibly pull off a tropically tinged seafood shack/barbecue pit complete with raw bar and tiki lounge? But the disparate elements proved wildly harmonic; 20-plus years on, the chow's still as spicy as the attitude, and the crowd's full of jumping beans.

  1. 1271 Cambridge Street, (at Prospect Street)
Book online

Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

There's nothing to complain about the options for beers on tap and cocktails, but the real draw is the 100+ whiskey varieties. Try them all and you’ll get your own bottle of single barrel bourbon and an engraved whiskey glass. Also, drunk. If you're also looking to consume some solids, the eponymous oyster bar is a great option, with bivalves shipped in from local purveyor favorites like Wellfleet and Island Creek. Pop in on the weekend to brunch on huevos rancheros or buttermilk ricotta pancakes. The dinner star is the ground sirloin burger, but fancier diners may opt for the hanger steak frites or risotto con funghi.

  1. 1310 Boylston Street, (at Jersey Street)
More info

American

Eastern Standard

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

For some it evokes the Gare du Nord, for others New York's Balthazar—but among them all, this big, bustling American brasserie is a smash hit, accessible in every sense of the word. It's open early and closes late, is staffed by energetic sorts (including expert mixologists) and frequented by equally lively folks: the huge bar and heated patio are rocking. The menu is deceptively simple but appealing, sneaking in oodles of offal between the chilled shellfish and comfort classics such as steak frites and schnitzel.

  1. Hotel Commonwealth, Hotel Commonwealth, 528 Commonwealth Avenue, (at Beacon Street)
Book online

Sweet Cheeks Q

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

If you’re famished by the time you reach this BBQ joint on the outskirts of Kenmore Square, you’re in luck.  The food comes out fast (sometimes quicker than the libations) and is served in big portions.  The brainchild of Tiffani Fiason (of Top Chef fame), Sweet Cheeks is a casual place—entrees are served on metal lunch trays, cocktails drank from mason jars and napkins and silverware plucked from cans on the table. Pair the brisket or buttermilk fried chicken with the collard greens and coleslaw. If you think you can manage, start with the bucket o´ biscuits and honey butter for the table.

  1. 1381 Boylston Street, (at Brookline Avenue)
More info

Hungry Mother

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

This adorable spot manages to combine a commitment to sourcing ingredients locally with inspiration from far away—specifically from the base of the Mississippi River Delta. The concise menu bursts with Southern tastes and flavors, from crispy grits to cornmeal catfish with dirty rice. Conveniently located across from the Kendall Square Cinema, dinner here before 6pm will result in discounted movie tickets—Hungry Mother will even pick them up for you.

  1. 233 Cardinal Medeiros Avenue, (at Bristol Street)
Book online

Tupelo

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

While a few southern-style options have popped up all over the Boston area, Tupelo nails the home-cooked feel more than any restaurant maybe ever. The cozy dining space, tucked away in unassuming Inman Square, offers a modest bar, dark woods and low lighting—the perfect atmosphere for the Thursday night "Date Night" menu made to share. The tattooed staff serves specialty cocktails in mason jars and locally brewed beers, and locals swear by the hangover-curing properties of the biscuits and gravy.

  1. 1193 Cambridge Street, (at Tremont Street)
More info

Bondir

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Chef Jason Bond spent 20 years in the kitchens of other people’s New England restaurants before venturing out on his own with Bondir. The small menu rotates regularly depending on the availability of ingredients and tends to showcase local seafood and meats. Bond is in close contact with his farmers, emailing and calling everyday to see what’s good. The wine list will be selected to complement the menu seasonally. 

The most notable feature of the space is the huge brick fireplace, a lounge area where anyone can pop in for a hot cider or a glass of wine and just sit for a while. The benches that line the charming, 28-seat dining area are actually pews salvaged from an old church; the butcher block in the kitchen was used in a Cambridge butcher shop over 100 years ago; the service station in the back once lived in an MIT lab.

  1. 279A Broadway, (at Columbia Street)
Book online

Highland Kitchen

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Winter Hill's southern-style eatery is worth the trek (literally uphill from pretty much anywhere) for the shrimp and grits, but if you've got a long afternoon to burn through we'd recommend trying a bit of everything—from buffalo-fried brussels sprouts to the pulled pork sandwich to the spicy coconut curried goat stew. The cocktail list is dominated with bourbon and gin, and ranges from old-school classics to local favorites and house-made concoctions. A respectable wine list plus a wide variety of local and imported beers are also available.

  1. 150 Highland Avenue, (at Central Street)
More info

Bergamot

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Don’t let the cartoony bee motif turn you off, Bergamot is the place to be for impeccable service, inviting atmosphere and a really high-quality bread basket (seriously, the focaccia that shows up on your table is incredibly hard to resist). The cuisine is as bright and friendly as the staff: Appetizers include roasted golden beets with whipped feta and roasted asparagus with “Basque sauce” while entrees on offer range from pan-roasted cod to grilled flank steak with sunchoke cream.

  1. 118 Beacon Street, (at Washington Street)
Book online

Alden & Harlow

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Taking over the subterranean digs of former Harvard Square institution Casablanca, the expansive Alden & Harlow has plenty of space for eating and drinking between brick walls lined with reclaimed wood and vintage cookbooks. The cocktails echo the modern American fare, with ingredients like parsnip puree, honeyed kumquat and fennel infused lillet.

  1. 40 Brattle Street, (at Church Street)
Book online

Marliave

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Though the current iteration is only five years old, the Marliave has occupied its back-alley location since 1885. The top floor offers white tablecloth dining, but more casual imbibers can grab a bar stool or large booth in the main bar area. One or two selections from the extensive list of Prohibition-era cocktails are usually a welcome relief from the commotion of downtown.

  1. 10 Bosworth Street, (at Province Street)
Book online

South End Buttery

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Boston brunchers know that the South End is the place to be every Sunday morning (...or early afternoon), but the classic tastes of the Buttery often top neighborhood favorite lists for lunch and dinner, too. Enter through the bakery and coffee shop and descend into the grotto-like subterranean dining room, where cozy banquettes and colorful bud vases decorate the fireplace-warmed space. The continental menu is small but sufficient, with options that range from braised beef cheeks and eggplant parmigiana to house-made veggie burgers. Be sure to order a side of fries—they are some of the city’s best.

  1. 314 Shawmut Ave, (at Union Park Street)
Book online

Contemporary and fusion

Cuchi Cuchi

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

It's hard to think a Charo-inspired space could be anything but tacky, but here it is. The decor was inspired by the intensity of the Latin siren's performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in the '70s, combined with the belle époque beauty and early Hollywood glamour. The result is surprisingly intimate and romantic, the perfect place to share a cocktail and a few small plates with a date. Just don't call it a tapas place; the owners will be quick to correct you—tapas are from Spain exclusively, while Cuchi Cuchi traffics in globe-trotting international fare.

  1. 795 Main Street, (at Windsor Street)
More info

Journeyman

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Hidden deep within the recesses of Somerville’s Union Square, Journeyman is a culinary experience unlike anything else you’ll find in the Boston area. Serious diners seek out the industrially outfitted space for inventive, multi-course prix fixe tasting menus built on local produce and the whim of chefs Diana Kudajarova and Tse Wei Lim. You won’t get to pick your dinner, but you can choose between three, five or seven courses and let your server know if you’d prefer vegetarian or a more omnivorous feast. Each course is small, but true foodies will appreciate the utmost care that goes into each bite of artfully plated pork rillette or shaved frozen foie gras or celeriac brûlée.

  1. 9 Sanborn Court, (at Union Square)
More info

Rendezvous

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Local loyalty to Rendezvous's Steve Johnson runs justifiably deep. As a host, he's discreetly perceptive; as a chef, he's equally judicious, arranging exuberant Mediterranean ingredients within a delicate framework (which a simply decorated dining room showcases in turn). Lemon buttermilk pudding with a seasonally-changing berry sauce is a lovely example.

  1. 502 Massachusetts Avenue, (at Brookline Street)
More info

Tavern Road

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Bringing much-needed dining and drinking options to the once-sparse Fort Point area, Tavern Road provides prime after-work eats like charcuterie platters, plates of fennel-cured salmon with grapefruit and brussels leaves and hand-cut tagliatelle with smoked bacon. The loft-like dining area sports spacious grey wood tables, industrial lighting and a massive mural in gritty grays and blacks. The bar is arguably the best in the neighborhood, with service, quality and selection clearly each a priority. Short on time? Head next door to TR Street Foods, the restaurant’s take out counter that caters to the Innovation District startup crowd with inspired sandwiches, international street food like beef tacos and turkey kebabs, and salads like chilled shrimp over Thai noodles.

  1. 343 Congress Street, (at Farnsworth Street)
Book online

Ten Tables

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

On any given night, the lucky few who score reservations at this diminutive bistro have front-row seats for the show put on by the crew in the open kitchen. Then they get to enjoy the results, distinguished by owner Krista Kranyak's commitment to locally grown organic produce and own-made fare, from charcuterie and pastas to ice creams. The superb fish stews warrant special mention.

  1. 597 Centre Street, (at Pond Street)
Book online

Trade

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Chef/restaurateur Jody Adams has taken her talents to the Waterfront with this airy space featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, artistic light fixtures and a cluster of high-top tables perfect for after-work crowds seeking cocktails and light fare. The menu is made for sharing, which is great because you’ll want to try every small plate it offers. Go for the smoked pork rib, grilled octopus or avocado with green mango-tamarind-peanut chutney.

  1. 540 Atlantic Avenue, (at Congress Street)
More info

Sam's at Louis

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

It’s hard to beat this harborside location when it comes to views, not to mention the general chicness that comes with sitting just a floor above the city’s premier boutique. Seek out Sam’s in patio season to get a seat on the deck and dine on entrees like spiced halibut, roasted half duck and grilled sirloin. The restaurant's proximity to the Institute of Contemporary Art makes it a great spot for post-museum cocktails, any day of the week.

  1. 60 Northern Avenue, (at Fan Pier Boulevard)
Book online

West Bridge

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

West Bridge’s soaring yet cozy space is one of the area’s great successes when it comes to softening the office-block feel of Kendall Square’s many restaurants. It traffics in inventive and expertly created dishes made for sharing, with a menu divided between appetizer-sized small plates, larger entrees and entrees meant to feed two to three. The Egg in a Jar (a duck egg baked in a mason jar with hen of the woods mushrooms and potato puree) is a cult favorite small plate, and it sits on the menu alongside options like lamb belly with juniper and pear, gnocchi with goat cheese and mushrooms with burgundy snails. Plaid-shirted bartenders are quick to recommend a cocktail if you’re not sure what you’d like—and the rotating tap list has been known to include sparklier options like prosecco.

  1. 1 Kendall Square, (at Hampshire Street)
Book online

Matt Murphy's

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

One of the better Irish pubs in a city that has no shortage of them, Matt Murphy's is well worth a journey into the Brookline outlands. The Guinness poured here is sublime, but what makes it such a hit among locals is its grub. The fish and chips (served wrapped in newspaper, natch) is deservedly famous and the shepherd's pie superb. The kitchen even makes its own ketchup. If it's not as youth-oriented as some of the city's Irish bars, Murphy's still gets its customers moving once the music starts—if they're capable of moving after dinner, that is.

  1. 14 Harvard Street, (at Webster Place)
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Sushi

Oishii

  • Price band: 4/4

Cross a Zen meditation garden with a slick postmodern lounge, and what do you get? Something like the urban outpost of Oishii—which is to say nothing like the modest 15-seat original in suburban Chestnut Hill. And that's just fine: if anyone's earned the right to a little flashy immodesty, it's the folks who brought Bostonians their first taste of Tokyo-grade sushi. Hype, you scoff? Go for the omakase (house special) before you answer that question. The spectacularly colorful combinations look as sensational as they taste.

  1. 1166 Washington Street, at Perry Street
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Snappy Sushi

  • Price band: 1/4

Along the stairs leading down from Newbury Street into this (literal) bargain basement of a sushi bar, it's often standing room only—but the few tables in the tiny dining room turn over quickly, a good sign for freshness freaks and speedniks alike.

  1. 144 Newbury Street, at Dartmouth Street
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Small plates

Casa B

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Stylish and romantic, Casa B is a hidden gem in Somerville’s Union Square. Run by a husband and wife team of former caterers, the menu of shareable small plates mixes his Puerto Rican roots with her Colombian background. The result is a fusion of Latin and Caribbean flavors manifested in tablas (wooden boards of dips, cheeses, ceviches or other bites), pinchos (a different take Basque-style bar food like cod salad with guacamole and sauteed chorizo) and an impressive array of tapas. On warmer nights, get a table in the airy upstairs dining room with a view onto the square, or travel below ground for the larger dining area with date-night-friendly banquette seating and entertaining open-kitchen views.

  1. 253 Washington Street, (at Union Square)
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Orinoco: A Latin Kitchen

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Amid the twee boutiques and dog bakeries of the hyper-gentrified South End, this twinkling little tribute to the Venezuelan roadside restaurant known as a taguarita comes as a total surprise. So does the bold yet delicately nuanced food, served in a mask- and basket-lined dining room. The smaller plates in particular burst with flavors and textures: after a round of antojitos such as cheese-filled, deep-fried plantain chunks and rich, gooey bacon-wrapped dates, share a couple of the stuffed corn pockets called arepas -- the shredded beef and mojo-laced roast pork really stand out).

  1. 477 Shawmut Avenue, (at Concord Street)
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Tres Gatos

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Tres Gatos offers fancy Spanish tapas in the front and houses an indie bookstore/music store in the back. The inviting, candlelit restaurant space is broken into small rooms that spill into one another, all in deep blues, soft grays, and smoky oranges.  Take advantage of the business’ split personality with a stop at the sleek bar for a glass of cava followed by a stroll through the small store in the back, where new books meet used and CDs meet vinyl. The menu is a feast of Spanish cuisine with lots of vegetarian options, and mostly well-sized for the price. The chilled tortilla Española with pimentón aioli is perfection, and the grass-fed beef empanadas, wrapped in a beautifully cooked pastry, have a floral appeal. Grab a seat out on the sunny patio or at the high-tops in front of the big bay window, where you can survey the bar and gaze out onto bustling Centre Street.

  1. 470 Centre Street, (at Roseway Street)
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Toro

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Ken Oringer's smash take on a tapería is an atmospheric spot. With its exposed brick and wooden beams, central communal table and blackboard chalked with drink specials, it effortlessly captures the rustic spirit of Spain - which its customers invariably catch in turn, swigging wine from juice glasses or cava from porrónes. The food is superb. Buttery, cider-simmered foie gras sausage, immaculate salt cod croquettes and seasonal treats showcasing glass eels or green chickpeas prove the much-touted grilled corn with aioli and crumbled cotija (pungent aged cheese) is no fluke.

  1. 1704 Washington Street, (at West Springfield Street)
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Oleana

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Two tiny, coolly pretty dining rooms and an enormously popular garden patio provide a showcase for chef-owner Ana Sortun's passion for and mastery of the hauntingly aromatic cuisines of Turkey, Greece, Armenia, Morocco, Egypt and Sicily. Most of the small plates are memorable, while many of the desserts are downright extraordinary.

  1. 134 Hampshire Street, (at Elm Street)
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Users say

1 comments
emma b
emma b

Yes we all knows that Boston is better known for its sights and museums, culture and universities and many more Historical places.But there are so many places in Boston where we can enjoy to the fullest.The list here is a proof that Boston is also very famous for awesome food. This list will be always with me now whenever i will visit Boston.I am planning to visit this beautiful city in this Christmas and i am sure we will have some extra fun there.Here is my list and information about city of Boston http://goo.gl/T7BJtF

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