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Photograph: Barbara Kraft

The best restaurants for Chinese food in Boston

From Chinatown to Quincy, find the best Chinese specialties in and around Boston

Written by
Tanya Edwards
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Boston has one of the oldest and largest Chinatowns in the country, and its influence has spread all across the region, meaning we have top-notch kitchens creating flavorful dim sum, delicate hand cut noodles and other specialties in Boston, Cambridge and of course, Quincy. Chinese restaurants are a popular late-night dining option in a city that's notorious for shutting down early; several of Boston’s top Chinese eateries are packed after 2am, when many of the best bars in Boston (and best clubs in Boston) close down. Looking for more Asian-influenced eateries? Check out the best Thai restaurants and Korean restaurants in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: See the best restaurants in Boston

Best Chinese restaurants in Boston

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Downtown
  • price 1 of 4

Office workers and hoodie-clad students pack this 20-seat, cash-only noodle house to down steaming bowls of spicy soup and orders of hand-pulled flour noodles (smacked into shape onsite). Carnivores have plenty of choices, such as the stellar cumin-lamb noodles and the namesake pork or beef flatbread sandwiches, which are a staple food in the owner’s Western Chinese region of Xi’an. Due to the limited space and scruffy environs, most customers take their orders to go.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Chinatown
  • price 2 of 4

Some of the citys most famous chefs swear by this barebones, 24-seat Chinatown eatery for its inexpensive, handmade dumplings. Steamed or pan-fried, the doughy purses come in numerous options; fillings include chicken, cabbage, pork, fish and shrimp. The rest of the Szechuan-leaning menu also tantalizes with dishes such as chilled spicy pork ears and spicy salt and pepper shrimp.

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  • Restaurants
  • Pan-Asian
  • South End
  • price 3 of 4

This hip South End gem serves a fusion of Asian cuisines, including Chinese and Taiwanese. Menu highlights include fall-off-the-bone tea-smoked spare ribs, braised pork belly buns, and smoked chicken wings with maple, miso and cashews. The vibrant, intimate spot is great for a dim sum date night. The restaurant is also notable for offering nut-free, shellfish-free, gluten-free and vegetarian menus.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Porter Sq
  • price 2 of 4

Asian art, sleek banquettes and a prominently positioned full bar dispensing exotic cocktails in retro tiki glasses give Changsho’s contemporary dining room an upscale feel. The impression is reinforced by highly professional service—the affable waitstaff will guide you through the menu of Hunan and Szechuan specialties. Popular options include delicate steamed edamame dumplings, sumptuous lobster with ginger scallions, and northern Chinese classics like Kung Pao chicken.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • East Cambridge
  • price 2 of 4

Currently the only Hunanese restaurant in the Boston area, Sumiao Hunan Kitchen is located near Kendall Square, which explains the presence of local techies and office workers in the bright, colorful environs. The restaurant—a labor of love from Sumiao Chen, a female restaurateur and scientist from Xiangtan, Hunan—offers the bold flavors and fiery spices that define Hunanese cuisine, one of the most exciting among regional Chinese styles. The kitchen combines traditional recipes and techniques with high-quality sourcing and modern touches; this approach yields flavorful dishes, including several exotic, unique options.

  • Restaurants
  • Taiwanese
  • price 2 of 4

Even if you don’t live in the area, this consistently packed gem is worth the trek for its freshly prepared, authentic Taiwanese (and Chinese) eats served in a relaxed, contemporary setting (slate floor, dark, Asian-style woodwork). Attentive staff start you off with complimentary pickled veggies and hot tea. Progress to handmade dumplings and stellar savories, such as cuttlefish with scallion and ginger, and stir-fried Chinese watercress with minced garlic.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • West Cambridge
  • price 2 of 4

This tastefully understated Huron Village spot is a cut above the standard-issue neighborhood joint. With a menu that spans Szechuan, Taiwanese and Mandarin fare, everything is cooked fresh to order. This translates to noticeably fresher, lighter flavors, as represented by the Taiwanese spicy mushroom salad and the fiery volcano chicken, which is marinated, fried, and then stir-fried with five spices to create a succulent dish.

  • Restaurants

Specializing in Jiang Nan style noodles and small bites, this homey, family-owned spot in Brookline has a short menu with a lot of flavor. Try the signature steamed chicken dumplings swimming in spicy Sichuan sauce, delightful dan dan noodles, scallion pancakes and out-of-this-world wonton soup.

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  • Restaurants

Locals know that if you can’t get to Chinatown, the place to find a variety of Asian cuisine around The Hub is Quincy. With dim sum delights made to order all day, it’s hard to beat Winsor for classic siu mai dumplings, BBQ pork buns and shrimp and chive dumplings.

  • Restaurants

Tucked away in Brookline Village, in a sophisticated, airy room, is some of the best Sichuan cuisine in the Boston area, like Dan Dan noodles that will make your tongue tingle and braised beef with napa cabbage. However, what truly elevates this spot is Blossom Bar, the in-house cocktail bar that leans heavily into rum-based, tiki-style drinks, which delightfully complement the Sichuan food.

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  • Restaurants
  • Taiwanese
  • Chinatown
  • price 2 of 4

Down a side street and up a flight of stairs, Taiwan Café can be hard to find, making the journey part of the adventure. With more than 100 items, the sprawling menu incorporates something for everyone, especially those with an adventurous palate. (Lily buds, duck tongues and pork intestines make multiple appearances.) Curious types interested in trying Taiwanese-style dishes—including soups, noodles, dumplings, and meats—are well-served. 

  • Things to do

Sometimes you gotta go big, and after a night at the casino tables, a six-course Peking Duck tasting prepared by a Michelin-star chef is pretty big. At Red 8, which is located within Encore Boston Harbor, you’ll also find an à la carte menu with familiar specialties like pork wontons, crab rangoon, noodle soups and even sweet and sour pork—all elevated and served in a sumptuous red and gold room.

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The traditional menu at this old-school Chinatown restaurant (5 Hudson St) features Peking Duck. Other top options include Sichuan-style spicy scallops, seafood in XO sauce, pan fried noodles and walnut shrimp.

  • Restaurants
  • Fenway/Kenmore
  • price 2 of 4

Mei Mei offers creative Chinese-American fusion. House-made dumplings are popular, but not to be missed is the Double Awesome, a scallion pancake sandwich with two eggs, Vermont cheddar, local greens pesto, and bacon or ham.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • North Cambridge
  • price 2 of 4

White walls, utilitarian floor tiles and sparse decor create a somewhat stark setting, but who cares? This cheap-eats fixture in North Cambridge is known for its dumplings (pan-fried or steamed) and vast menu, which includes specialties like Szechuan-style fish with black bean sauce and cumin-spiced lamb.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Chinatown
  • price 2 of 4

If the name conjures up bucolic landscapes, Peach Farm’s dowdy basement digs promptly erase them. Happily, the Hong Kong-style seafood soon makes amends. Spiced dry-fried eel, enormous steamed oysters in black bean sauce, and lobster stir-fried with ginger and scallions are all superlative.

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