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Photograph: Douglas Friedman

35 best Back Bay restaurants in Boston

Strolling one of Boston’s most beautiful neighborhoods is a must all year round, so here are a few places to dine in the Back Bay.

JQ Louise
Edited by
JQ Louise
Written by
Megan Johnson
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The Back Bay is one of Boston’s most storied neighborhoods. Brimming with historic brownstones, it’s filled with lively bars and restaurants, as well as endless spots to do some shopping along Newbury and Boylston Streets. A true blend of formal standbys and newer eateries, the Back Bay restaurant lineup has a little something for everyone.  Looking for more than just a place to nosh? Check out our Back Bay neighborhood guide for more tips on enjoying this historical community, plus our list of the best bars in Boston and the best things to do in Boston

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

The best Back Bay restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

The recently renovated restaurant—you’ll love the newly brightened space—occupies one of the city's most enviable addresses, right across the street from the Public Garden. The sweeping views, impressive wine list and sophisticated, New England-inspired French fare all make for a delightfully romantic meal. Order the chocolate soufflé for a perfect finish.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Back Bay
  • price 4 of 4

Under the helm of Chef David Bazirgan, Uni is known for its standout sashimi program and inventive Japanese creations. Global street food-inspired small plates, as well as innovative makimono, nigiri and sashimi, are the highlights of this 100-seat izakaya. Grab a seat at the sushi bar to watch the experts at work. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • Back Bay
  • price 4 of 4

Perhaps the city’s most famous steakhouse, Grill 23 continues to be the site of countless carnivorous business dinners and special occasions. High ceilings, marble columns, white tablecloths and waiters clad in white jackets all contribute to the big-ticket atmosphere (as do the swarms of local lawyers and brokers whooping it up over pricey wines and steaks). The wine program has won national awards, as have the perfectly-prepped steaks. And with a recent visit from Lady Gaga, it’s not hard to understand why Grill 23 is so in demand. 

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Back Bay
  • price 4 of 4

Prix-fixe menus can be gateways to lackluster dining experiences, but in the hands of Chef Alex Crabb (of Noma and L’Espalier fame), they’re quite the opposite. Offering a tasting-menu-only format that changes monthly, Crabb and his team serve high-concept dishes in a congenial, pretension-free space (you actually pick out your own silverware from your table drawer). Past dishes have included poached leek with pastrami vinaigrette, BBQ rutabaga and seared foie gras with smashed cucumber and frozen white currants.

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  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

Krasi is the Greek word for wine, and the Back Bay restaurant has the largest Greek wine selection in the country. But there’s also plenty to fill your belly with at Krasi, which is located on Gloucester Street. A diverse menu of meats, cheeses, dips and breads cascades into fresh seafood and meat dishes that are delectable as can be. It’s also a visually-stunning space, with concrete walls and bright peacock-blue booths. 

  • Restaurants
  • Back Bay

Chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette recently added an Italian-inspired restaurant to their fantastic local line-up (Coppa, Toro, Little Donkey), and we’re so glad they did. The seafood inspired menu utilizes fresh ingredients, including in-season produce from the Copley Square Farmers Market. The spacious Back Bay restaurant serves coastal delights including a half dozen crudos, grilled Scituate lobster and an excellent selection of spritzes.

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Back Bay
  • price 2 of 4

It says something about Parish that they’ve managed to stay in business for 30 years. Famous for tapping the city’s best chefs and convincing them to put their signature sandwich on the menu, the beloved locale is celebrating the triple-decade milestone by reintroducing late-night hours from Thursday through Sunday. Sandwiches are currently half-off during those hours to kick it off. Grab a seat on the patio and enjoy some prime people watching. 

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Back Bay
  • price 4 of 4

The glamorous, chandelier-lit dining room at Deuxave creates an elegant ambiance, but there isn’t a hint of stuffiness at this friendly Comm Ave establishment. The kitchen's contemporary French fare is complemented by an extensive wine list. Chef and co-owner Chris Coombs’s talent for hospitality and sumptuous dishes translates to a sophisticated yet relaxed tryst with champagne and caviar, spiced duck breast and French onion soup simmered for a full nine hours.

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  • Restaurants
  • Back Bay

Southern flavors from Chef Jason Santos (of Hell’s Kitchen fame) transport you straight to the Bayou. Think pork belly cracklings, house-made biscuits and oyster chowder. The house-fried chicken is served Southern- or Nashville-style, with sweet and spicy or white BBQ sauce. An oyster bar keeps things light with local bivalves and peel-and-eat shrimp. A second restaurant location in Watertown recently joined this spicy spot.

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  • Restaurants
  • Back Bay

An homage to New England’s long-standing fishing tradition, The Banks Fish House celebrates our love affair with the sea and its bounty. The menu starts on the docks, as Chef Robert Sisca fuels the passion by serving dishes the likes of smoked bluefish pate, cuttlefish spaghetti and Dover sole meuniere, while the first-floor working raw bar offers stellar crudo, oyster and caviar selections. The fried seafood platter is a feast to behold.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

Enjoy Mexicali cuisine in a beachy atmosphere reminiscent of the Baja coast—right in the heart of Back Bay. Citrus & Salt's menu features playful cocktails and shareable small plates. Come for the boozy Dole Whip, stay for the award-winning grilled street corn covered in Flamin’ Hot Cheetos crumbs or fried chicken and waffle tacos.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

If you can spot the shirtless dude in denim shorts painting on Newbury Street, you must be at Sonsie. A piece of Back Bay history, Sonsie is known for its prime seating right at the top of Newbury. In fact, people-watching from the café tables over cappuccinos or cocktails has been a popular pastime for Bostonians and tourists since this spot opened in 1993.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Back Bay
  • price 2 of 4

A line can often be seen forming in front of the Back Bay location of this Japanese chain. A prime spot for students and tourists, Santouka serves nourishing bowls of ramen—including its signature tonkotsu, whose deeply flavorful broth is made by simmering pork bones for 20 hours. Santouka also offers the lesser-known toroniku ramen, made with rich and tender pork cheek meat. The vegetarian option—featuring menma kikurage mushrooms, soy marinated wheat gluten and umeboshi—is also a worthy choice, especially for non-meat-eaters.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

This neighborhood mainstay is a dinner date favorite, thanks to its bright but cozy brownstone space filled with bold-colored walls and tiled tables. The tacos here are never a bad idea, and its signature plates (like the puerco adobado en chipotle y naranja—pork tenderloin marinated in oranges, tamarind and smoked chipotle peppers) are bursting with flavor and just begging to be paired with a strong margarita. In the summer, Casa Romero's serene back patio, adorned with hanging plants, is an intimate retreat beloved by all.

Sorellina
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

Striking with its black-and-white striped interior motif, the oh-so stylish Sorellina could double as a modern design showroom. This Back Bay establishment (and sister restaurant to Mistral) is home to one of the city’s priciest Italian menus. Its array of offerings matches the decor as far as pure glamor goes, with luxurious ingredients decking out nearly every dish (Maine lobster gnocchi and prime beef meatballs included). The varied wine list is equally splurge-worthy, perfect for those expense account-powered dinners meant to woo potential clients.

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Perhaps the newest spot on the list, Little Whale is a delight… if you can grab a seat. The popular restaurant serves up classic New England seafood, like Maine halibut in a savory green curry shellfish broth, in a lively setting on Newbury Street. Take a browse at the stunning interior, as well: You’ll notice a framed shot from an iconic scene of Jaws by the bar. 

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

This Back Bay raw bar and seafood emporium is known for pushing the limits of customary fish preparations—and having a whole lot of fun while doing it. From its lobster frites to its whole branzino, this place is well worth the wait for a seat in its brownstone space or on its patio. Other noteworthy coastal attractions: its selection of New York-style smoked fish used to top a bagelette and cream cheese, as well as an incredible assortment of tinned seafood, including imported sustainable caviar and new char-grilled tins from Spain.

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  • Bars
  • Hotel bars
  • Back Bay
  • price 2 of 4

Steeped in history, Oak Long Bar + Kitchen turned 110 this past August. A classic Boston experience, the gilded location inside the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel features a locally-sourced menu, with many of the ingredients often purchased at Copley Square Farmers Market. Cap off your meal with the chocolate chip skillet cookie topped with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Back Bay
  • price 4 of 4

Spanish for “oyster,” chef/owner Jamie Mammano's fish-focused Mediterranean restaurant in Park Square is an enthusiastic nod to the bounty of the sea. Top quality branzino, sea bream, Spanish octopus and monkfish—some flown in from the Mediterranean—are smartly prepared, while the paella “Valenciana Style” is a playground for all sorts of underwater creatures. Its extensive raw bar, crudo and caviar service is a highlight. 

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

This sprawling and lively brasserie features contemporary French fare by Chef Phil Lewis. The airy, multi-level space is always humming, with servers leaving the open kitchen carrying trays of classics, such as chicken liver and foie gras mousse, steak frites and rotisserie chicken. Take to the outdoor patio for a oui bit of fresh air as the weather permits, or stick around for Rochambeau After Dark on the weekends for a bit of dancing in the late-night lounge.

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  • Restaurants
  • Back Bay

Southern flavors from Chef Jason Santos (of Hell’s Kitchen fame) transport you straight to the Bayou. Think pork belly cracklings, house-made biscuits and oyster chowder. The house-fried chicken is served Southern- or Nashville-style, with sweet and spicy or white BBQ sauce. An oyster bar keeps things light with local bivalves and peel-and-eat shrimp. A second restaurant location in Watertown recently joined this spicy spot.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

Brought to you by Michael Serpa, this cozy bar supplies Back Bay with the ocean's most beautiful bounty. Marrying New England seafood with Mediterranean techniques, the menu features must-eats like its signature blue prawns a la plancha, "taverna style" whole roasted sea bream and its own, saffron-infused spin on bouillabaisse. While some diners enjoy a multi-course feast, others stop in for a quick oysters-and-wine fix.

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  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Back Bay
  • price 1 of 4

Greco is a great spot to grab fresh Greek fare in Back Bay—and fast. Tucked amongst the stretch of high-end shops that line Newbury Street, Greco slings traditional gyros, salads and plates crammed with flavorful spit-roasted meats and grilled veggies. Fries here are must (they're served hot and topped with feta and oregano), and you can't beat the homemade Loukoumades, Greek donut holes that are decked out with a variety of sweet garnishes like honey, nuts and cinnamon.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Back Bay
  • price 4 of 4

As a Northern Italian-inspired steakhouse, Davio’s is the place to go for feasting on the finest cuts of meat, alongside beloved specialties like tagliatelle bolognese and Maine lobster risotto. The flagship Boston location resides on the busy corner of Arlington and Stuart Streets, giving guests a front row seat to all of the bustling Back Bay action. The high-ceilinged space is perfect for large groups and celebratory dinners, and there's an on-site bakery where desserts, pastries, ice cream and breads are all prepared fresh daily.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Fenway/Kenmore
  • price 3 of 4

Located inside the Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, the Boston outpost of the globe-spanning Japanese izakaya serves sophisticated plays on sushi, robata skewers and tempura. Enjoy pristine nigiri and top-shelf sake in classy environs.

Capital Grille
Photograph: Courtesy Capital Grille

28. Capital Grille

This national chain has always had a strong presence in Boston. Corporate types fill its tables, dining on dry-aged steaks that are hand-cut onsite by the restaurant’s own butchers. Beyond red meat, the menu is filled with fresh seafood, creative sides and celebratory desserts. The expansive wine list features more than 350 labels from around the world—we'll raise a glass to that! 

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  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

Located in the heart of Back Bay, Porto is led by award-winning Chef Jody Adams. The cuisine is a delicious culinary journey through Italy, with memorable housemade pastas and entrees that are memorable. The Mediterranean vibe is embraced on the oversized seasonal patio, the perfect place to catch up with friends. 

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Back Bay
  • price 3 of 4

A city staple since 1978, Atlantic Fish Company has thrived on letting seafood shine by keeping it simple. Daily catches can be broiled, sauteed, fried or blackened—but if you’re feeling fancy, you can always try the lobster ravioli or cioppino. This is the place to go when you need to impress out-of-towners with the allure of New England seafood.

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • South End
  • price 3 of 4

Just steps from Copley Place, The Salty Pig is best known for its in-house charcuterie and meat-forward dishes. However, Executive Chef Andrew Hebert balances things out with an infusion of options including stone-grilled pizzas, handmade pastas and other regionally-inspired Italian dishes. You can even create your own personalized charcuterie board alongside other dishes, creating the perfect mix-and-match meal. They also keep a robust supply of Old World Wines, craft beer, and specialty cocktails. 

  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • Back Bay
  • price 4 of 4

This national chain has always had a strong presence in Boston. Corporate types fill its tables, dining on dry-aged steaks that are hand-cut onsite by the restaurant’s own butchers. Beyond red meat, the menu is filled with fresh seafood, creative sides and celebratory desserts. The expansive wine list features more than 350 labels from around the world—we'll raise a glass to that! 

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • South End

The Colonnade Hotel is a legendary piece of Back Bay, and their new American neighborhood restaurant has found its footing since opening in 2021. Serving up pizzas, pastas, and a lively brunch menu that includes cronuts, Lucie has a prime location steps from the Prudential Center and the Christian Science Center’s reflecting pool. 

  • Restaurants
  • Back Bay

One of the hottest reservations to snag in the city, Contessa draws locals, tourists and celebrities alike. Located at the top of The Newbury Boston, the stunning setup provides sweeping views of downtown Boston, including the Boston Public Garden’s sprawling green oasis. One of the most popular items on the menu is the squash carpaccio, topped with pumpkin seeds, arugula and agrodolce. 

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