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Sarma
Photograph: Courtesy SarmaSarma

The 26 best restaurants in Boston right now

There's no shortage of fantastic food in the Hub, but these Boston restaurants made our shortlist of the city's top eats

Olivia Vanni
Written by
Olivia Vanni
Written by
Eric Grossman
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Temperatures are slowly creeping downward, the days are growing shorter, and our city’s trees are already practically naked—all of which means one thing: It’s time to cozy up in one of Boston’s best restaurants. When late fall descends upon The Hub, our local eateries serve as welcomed refuge from those dark and dreary days, providing comfort and comfort food to downtown-dwellers and visitors alike. Most spots pack up their patios for the season, having guests pass these chilly nights cuddled up inside. As we approach that pre-holiday stretch, we’d suggest you take a pause and escape the nippy air at the very best in town, huddling up by the fireplace at places like Deuxave, going to town on a hearty bowl of ragù at top Italian establishments like Giulia, or snuggling up on a date at romantic haunts like Harvest. In any case, we simply encourage you to fall in love—or rediscover—all of the best restaurants in Boston this month.

29,000 sq ft of indoor and outdoor space for enjoying the best of the city

  • Restaurants
  • Fenway/Kenmore

Like some variety when you go out to eat? Time Out Market Boston has you covered. Boston's first contemporary culinary hub boasts a tantalizing variety of curated food offerings, a demo kitchen, two top-notch bars and lots more. There is plenty of seating—both inside and on a roomy patio with ample heaters—and some of the biggest culinary names in Boston are delivering a variety of delicious dishes and 'Gram-worthy bites. Housed in the 401 Park Drive building, an Art Deco masterpiece built in 1929 as a Sears, Roebuck and Company warehouse, the Market follows in the footsteps of the wildly popular Time Out Market Lisbon, which opened in 2014 and is now Portugal’s most-visited attraction.

Best restaurants in Boston

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Somerville
  • price 3 of 4

As the casual sibling of Ana Sortun’s celebrated Oleana, Sarma is one of the areas best spots to find big, bold Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors crammed into small bites. All items from chef-owner Cassie Piumas prix-fixe culinary experiencefrom the sesame fried chicken to the merguez pinwheelsare served in a traditional family-style format. Vegetarians can rejoice, as the eatery offers an entire menu of meatless meze. The bar also deserves an applause for its aromatic cocktails featuring ingredients like cardamom, orange blossom and fenugreek. 

  • Restaurants
  • North End

You might think that an Italian restaurant in the North End would just blend into the neighborhood’s relatively one-note food scene, but that’s not at all the case with Table. The Hanover Street eatery truly stands out from the crowd, thanks to its unique, family-style dining experiences. Guests here all sit down together at communal tables and share a feast of Italian-American favorites—reminiscent of those marathon Sunday dinners at nonna’s house. All of the meals are prix fixe, taking you through seven courses of fantastic food, courtesy of chef-owner Jen Royle. Homestyle dishes, combined with a warm and friendly atmosphere, will make you feel like you're amongst newfound family and friends.

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  • Restaurants

Just north of the city, you’ll find this intimate, plant-packed and rattan-accented oasis serving up refreshing, Vietnamese-inspired cuisine. Chef-owner Rachel Miller is at the helm of this female-forward kitchen in Lynn, which first started as a pop-up venture before becoming a brick-and-mortar establishment in 2019. The menu dazzles with delicate yet decadent dishes that offer playfully unexpected flavor combinations, such as the frothy, vanilla-laced lobster glacé, foie gras with grilled coconut sticky rice and sour cherries, and warm Mediterranean olives tossed in sesame and Asian aromatics. More substantial plates include a rotation of hand-pulled noodles (normally served in some sort of bliss-inducing broth) and fried rice (go with the bone marrow variety for an extra dose of umami). Be on the lookout for indulgent seafood specialties like the Viet Cajun shellfish boil or live sea urchins crammed with glass noodles, tomato water nuoc cham, pickled peppers and charred tomato hollandaise—the latter of which is hidden under a smoke-filled cloche and theatrically revealed tableside. Ask the extremely friendly staff to guide you through their highly curated selection of wines, customize a spritz to your liking or go with an Southeast Asian-influenced cocktail (i.e. its signature saigon cigar club, a blend of bourbon, thai banana and black cardamom).

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Somerville
  • price 2 of 4

New American cuisine and Old World wines intermingle at this intimate Somerville eatery and bar. Located in the center of Davis Square, this cozy little sanctuary is all about thoughtful curation, both in terms of its diverse wine list and the ingredients its kitchen procures from local purveyors. Spoke keeps its short list of modern New England small plates dynamic, regularly swapping out dishes for new ones to reflect the seasons—but no matter what time of year you stop into this spot, you’ll find effortlessly elegant bites to accompany whatever pour you prefer. If our descriptors haven’t tipped you off yet, this place is super small, so reservations are highly recommended.  

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Leather District
  • price 4 of 4

Clear out your bank account and clear your weekend, because o ya’s singular dining experience is one to be savored. Owners Tim and Nancy Cushman set a new bar for special-event dining with o ya’s opening in 2007, but even today, the restaurant regularly wins accolades as one of the best restaurants in all of New England. The sushi and omakase menu is a marvel of both flavor and presentation, with every morsel—from the foie gras nigiri to the bluefin tuna and smoked salmon sashimi—proving to be a delectable work of art. 

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • North Cambridge

What started as a supper club is now a charmingly tiny restaurant located just a short stroll from Somerville’s Davis Square. As chef-owner Erin Miller puts it, this place strives to be “whimsy and unpretentious”—a feat that it easily accomplishes with its elevated New American fare and casually chic space. Enter this intimate eatery—which immediately feels more like someone’s apartment rather than a restaurant—and you’ll find a weekly menu of hyper-local food prepared with purpose and a keen eye for balance. With a slightly European approach, the kitchen here (which is literally in the dining room) takes its time and places an emphasis on savoring the experience, so don’t expect a mad dash of a meal.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Somerville

Paola Ibarra and Yhadira Guzmán bring the brightness of their beloved Mexico City to Somerville’s Union Square with Barra. This eatery may be small on space, but it’s big on acid and is sure to leave patrons’ taste buds tingling -- whether it’s with its guacamole piled onto freshly fried chicharrón, its cactus salad or its aguachile. Alongside a selection of top-notch tacos and seasonal tamales, diners can sip on flights of the finest mezcal, refreshing pints of michelada and margaritas rimmed with chapulines for a truly Mexican touch.

  • Restaurants
  • Peruvian
  • Somerville
  • price 3 of 4

What started as Juanma Calderón and Maria Rondeau's home-based pop-up has now become the city's top-rated Peruvian restaurant. Located a short stroll from Union Square, Celeste attracts Somerville and Cambridge residents, who get a front-row seat to all of the open kitchen action as they eat. Diners fill the small space to nosh on Peruvian standards—ceviche, causa, lomo saltado—done in style. When you go, don't miss out on the bar program, which focuses on pisco-based cocktails.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seaport District

A piece of the Grey Lady has found its way to the mainland. Nantucket favorite Nautilus has expanded its island operation and has settled in the Seaport, bringing Boston its Asian- and Latin-inspired eats full of fresh seafood. Don’t be fooled by its chill branding and laidback lingo, this restaurant means business when it comes to its selection of small plates, shareable entrees and “table feasts.” (A whole roasted peking duck stuffed into steamed buns? Yes, please). Going above and beyond the typical wine list, this spot earns extra kudos for its impressive sake selection. 

  • Bars

Nestled in Brookline Village, Mahaniyom serves Thai tapas and cocktails with finesse. The team behind this neighborhood hangout strives to share a piece of Thailand with guests through flavors that feel like home. The menu here is filled with street food favorites—think Chicken Ka-Prow—as well as spectacular small plates, like Muk Yang Ka-Min (grilled spiced squid) and Yum Ngoh (a rambutan salad studded with fried shrimp, toasted coconut, cashews, fried shallots and garlic, and chili jam). And as far as the bar goes, this place knows how to punch up classic Western libations with serious Southeast Asian touches, such as a Sazerac made with Thai tea-infused rye and a chrysanthemum-flavored gin and tonic.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Harvard Sq
  • price 3 of 4

Situated between Central and Harvard Squares, this hip trattoria has a slightly retro feel thanks to the amber glow of its globe lights and double-sided fireplace. The globally minded menu heavily relies on Asian ingredients, often applying them to Italian preparations and creating fantastically flavored fusion food. Nosh on handmade pastas, like its renowned lumache with bolognese and gojuchang, and strike up a conversation with your dining neighbors at the vintage communal table. Sexy cocktails, including its draft aperitivi, are not to be missed.

  • Restaurants
  • Soul and southern American
  • Dorchester

This restaurant is basically chef Anthony Caldwell's love letter to food and his neighborhood. The Dorchester native, who started his culinary journey in his 40s, brought 50Kitchen and its fusion of Southern and Asian cuisines to Fields Corner as a way of giving back to the neighborhood that raised him. Among the "beautiful food for beautiful people" that can be found at this Dot spot: shrimp and grits, St. Louis ribs, Jambalaya egg rolls, kimchi and collard Greens, and a Chinese Five Spice pulled pork sandwich called the 50K.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Porter Sq
  • price 3 of 4

Chef-owner Michael Pagliarini and his staff pamper their guests with friendly, professional service and killer pastas, which are prepared daily on a custom-made table that accommodates large groups at night. Brick walls and candlelight keep the vibe romantic and rustic. The all-Italian wine list pairs well with the menu, some of which is inspired by the chef’s travels throughout Italy. Be sure to save room for dessert—particularly the pistachio gelato with sour cherries and anise pizelle—because this eatery does dolci right. 

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Somerville
  • price 2 of 4

Hidden away from the chaos of Union Square, Field & Vine is kind of like Somerville’s own secret garden. Wander down the alleyway between Bronwyn and The Independent, and you’ll find this New American eatery specializing in locally sourced farm fare—all prepared and served in small plate format. Given its laser focus on seasonal ingredients, Field & Vine has an ever-changing menu that offers guests items ranging from lighter nibbles (think raw oysters) to heftier bites (like squash loaded with bacon and feta), all prime for sharing. The Scandinavian-esque interior of sleek seating and light wood furnishings is filled with foliage and flowers (fresh blooms sit in bud vases atop the tables, while dried bouquets and branches embellish every other surface that can be seen). At the center of this spot, marked by a dramatic web of gnarled vines overhead, there’s an open kitchen that gives guests a front row seat to all of the culinary action while awaiting their parade of small plates. Sips of its curated beers and wines keep folks occupied in between amusing mouthfuls.

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  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • South End
  • price 3 of 4

Ken Oringer’s wildly successful take on a tapas bar is one of the South End’s most atmospheric spots. With its exposed brick and wooden beams, central communal table and chalkboard-listed drink specials, Toro captures the rustic spirit of an upscale, chef-driven taperia. The kitchen churns out an assortment of Barcelona-inspired hot and cold small plates, and the beverage program features well-made classic cocktails and an eclectic, curated wine list.

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Seaport District
  • price 3 of 4

The seasonal menu at this Seaport hotspot—named after our state bird—is Mediterranean-influenced, but features ingredients from local farms, markets and producers. Its starters, such as the smoked sea trout dip with salt and vinegar rye chips, typically combine the best of both regions, while the lunch menu focuses on meze and spectacular pitas. (Check out the slow roasted porchetta wrap with broccoli rabe and giardiniera). Dinner offers more to explore, including pasta dish highlights like the lobster campanelle fra diavolo and squid ink fusilli.

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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Somerville
  • price 4 of 4

Chef Peter Ungár’s Somerville establishment provides one of the most progressive dining experiences in the area. A veteran of several French kitchens, Ungár is unafraid to push the envelope across his multi-course tasting menus. Creative dishes are prepped in front of the 20-seat counter, providing a multi-sensory, dining-as-theater experience. Almost setting a theatrical tone from the start, this restaurant only has ticketed, pre-purchased reservations.

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

This hip South End gemnamed after its owners (and culinary bigwigs) Joanne Chang and Christopher Myers—is a must-go for Asian fusion cuisine. Menu highlights include tea-smoked spare ribs, Thai pork lettuce wraps, wild boar dan dan noodles and Indonesian fried rice. The vibrant but intimate spot is a smart choice for a romantic rendezvous—especially when you order off the inexpensive date night menu. And if you're someone well past your courting days and want to bring the kiddos, there's an extensive child's menu as well.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • South End
  • price 3 of 4

Boston’s first Venetian-style osteria and wine bar, SRV (“Serene Republic of Venice”) balances its focus between modern interpretations of cicchetti and spectacular pastas. Creative small plates feature fresh ingredients, with flavors that pop thanks to microgreens and garnishes grown nearby. Meanwhile, its rich pasta dishes—not to mention its risi e bisi—keep regulars coming back for more. An exclusively Italian wine list complements the menu, and guests looking for something stronger can opt for a number of classic Italian aperitivi. 

  • Restaurants
  • Roxbury
  • price 3 of 4

MIDA takes its cues from Italian cuisine, with chef-owner Douglass Williams prioritizing three things: ingredients, wine and hospitality. Dishes are ideal for sharingfrom the North Shore fritto misto and Waygu beef bresaola, to the handmade ricotta gnocchi cacio e pepe and smoked short rib lasagna. The wine list tends to favor Northern Italian and French bottles, with an emphasis on lesser known producers. And, of course, this South End joint expertly executes classic Italian cocktails, like the Negroni. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Harvard Sq
  • price 3 of 4

Duck into this subterranean Harvard Square hideaway and discover a bustling, multi-room dining and drinking destination that balances a rustic laid-back vibe with an industrial edge. Chef-owner Michael Scelfo’s creative cuisine reflects a similar juxtaposition—chef-driven home-cooking with an edge. Most dishes are under $20, encouraging patrons to sample an assortment of vivid, offbeat flavor combinations.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • South Boston
  • price 3 of 4

Chef Karen Akunowicz, inspired by her time living and working in Modena, is the powerhouse behind Fox & the Knife. This modern enoteca is as much on a mission to foster a sense of community in South Boston as it is to create innovative, Italian-influenced food. All of the eatery's pasta is rolled fresh onsite, just like Akunowicz learned in Emilia-Romanga. We strongly suggest you get the celebrated pepe e cacio, a reinterpretation of the Roman classic cacio e pepe that the Foxes sprinkle with pink peppercorns and goat butter.

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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Seaport District
  • price 4 of 4

Menton may be Barbara Lynch’s most expensive fine dining establishment, but with good reason. Its elevated, French and Italian Riviera fare can be enjoyed either à la carte or via a tasting menu customized on the "chef’s whim", with dishes spotlighting decadent ingredients like foie gras and periwinkles. Plush details—from French linens to Austrian crystal—and attentive service will make you feel utterly pampered. Also impressive is the chef’s table, a private space with a glass wall providing intimate views into the kitchen.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Harvard Sq
  • price 4 of 4

Since 1975, this refined Harvard Square stalwart has led the farm-to-table charge, celebrating regional ingredients with elegant, seasonal menus. The kitchen takes pride in creating a sophisticated New England dining experience; it thoughtfully transforms its homemade pastas and locally sourced seafood and meats into imaginative dishes that please the masses. It's a hit amongst professionals coming in for a powerlunch, as well as couples looking for a romantic night out. Come summer, a seat on the garden terrace is one of the most coveted spots in Cambridge.

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

The glamorous, chandelier-lit dining room creates a special occasion-feel, but there isn’t a hint of stuffiness at this friendly, Back Bay cornerstone. Deuxave's contemporary French fare is complemented by a voluminous wine list that features more than 20 options by the glass. Chef and co-owner Chris Coombs’ talent for hospitality and sumptuous dishes translates to a sophisticated yet relaxed enviroment, where champagne and caviar, spiced duck breast and native lobster with spätzle are the norm.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Downtown
  • price 3 of 4

This Downtown Crossing restaurant maintans the same 19th-century mahogany bar and supper club ambiance that made the previous inhabitant, Locke-Ober, one of the city’s most revered eateries. Regarding the cuisine, Chef Juan Pedrosa looks forwards, not backwards, with an assortment of international snacks, social plates and large-scale “feast” platters, such as a two-pound Niman Ranch ribeye. Well-made cocktails, including several large-format options, are best enjoyed in the handsome library bar.

Local chefs, restaurants and concepts we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market

  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • South End
  • price 1 of 4

A colorful mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes are served throughout the day, catering to South End residents in search of a quick, healthy meal. Warm, thin flatbreads are used to scoop up flavorful dips and spreads made from local, organic ingredients. A customizable menu ensures customers can combine whichever flavors they like. Salads and grain bowls delight the medical professionals who pop in for a healthy meal.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • price 3 of 4

Alta Strada offers an approachable, accessible option that’s popular with area families and couples. Some choose to nibble on small plates at the antipasti-wine bar, others prefer the casual, open dining room. Chef Michael Schlow’s menu includes influences from various Italian regions—Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, and the Amalfi coast. Antipasti, fresh pastas, crispy thin-crust pizzas, and a well-chosen wine list round out the experience. For Schlow's inspired takes on pasta and pizza, head to Time Out Market to check out Michael Schlow's and Monti, respectively.

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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Inman Sq
  • price 3 of 4

Recognized in the past by Wine Enthusiast as one of America’s best wine restaurants, BISq boasts a unique, French-focused wine program at its home near Cambridge’s Inman Square. You’ll find small production wines from grower-producers, as well as natural wines, champagnes, and other interesting selections of sherry and madeira by the glass. Chef Alex Sáenz and his culinary team churns out an inviting assortment of small plates, and are behind the BISq eatery—which specializes in creative sandwiches and juicy fried chicken—at Time Out Market.

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

Mooncusser may have started as a fish house, but nowadays, this Bay Village spot has become so much more. Under the direction of Chef Carl Dooley, this restaurant has undergone a culinary makeover, with a new focus on offering four-course tasting menus. The prix fixe selection, which comes with optional wine pairings, changes every month, allowing guests to always discover new plates and fresh perspectives with each visit.Yes, seafood absolutely still plays a role here, but now fish dishes—like barbecue unagi or potato gnocchi with salt cod—share the spotlights with other, internationally inspired stars, such as Sichuan pork sausage consomme and venison with Hungarian dumplings. Perched above Stuart Street, folks can rest assured that the view from the dining room is just as delicious as the parade of edible delights coming out of the kitchen. Patrons looking for something lighter can visit the Moon Bar, and for those in a hurry, there's Cusser's, a street-level takeaway spot specializing in seafood and roast beef. (Or, to experience the latter eatery's greatest hits in a buzzy culinary-focused environment, stop by the Cussers at Time Out Market Boston).

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  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Back Bay
  • price 2 of 4

Cusser’s is Mooncusser Fish House’s tiny takeout operation, a slightly upscale version of a classic North Shore seafood hut. Roast beef sandwiches and lobster rolls emerge from the street-level takeout window. Other treats on offer may include beer-battered fish and chips, burgers, fish tacos and more. To experience their greatest hits in a buzzy culinary-focused environment, stop by the Cussers at Time Out Market Boston.

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

Mooncusser may have started as a fish house, but nowadays, this Bay Village spot has become so much more. Under the direction of Chef Carl Dooley, this restaurant has undergone a culinary makeover, with a new focus on offering four-course tasting menus. The prix fixe selection, which comes with optional wine pairings, changes every month, allowing guests to always discover new plates and fresh perspectives with each visit.Yes, seafood absolutely still plays a role here, but now fish dishes—like barbecue unagi or potato gnocchi with salt cod—share the spotlights with other, internationally inspired stars, such as Sichuan pork sausage consomme and venison with Hungarian dumplings. Perched above Stuart Street, folks can rest assured that the view from the dining room is just as delicious as the parade of edible delights coming out of the kitchen. Patrons looking for something lighter can visit the Moon Bar, and for those in a hurry, there's Cusser's, a street-level takeaway spot specializing in seafood and roast beef. (Or, to experience the latter eatery's greatest hits in a buzzy culinary-focused environment, stop by the Cussers at Time Out Market Boston).

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian
  • Boston
  • price 1 of 4

Revolution Health Kitchen is one of Boston’s most popular options for healthy types looking to follow a whole food, plant-based diet. Friendly staffers help customers navigate the lengthy menu of nutritious, plant-based foods and beverages. Local moms and office workers pop in for made-to-order juices, smoothies, bowls, and toasts, along with healthful grab-and-go treats. Customers fully committed to following Revolution's diet approach can follow cleanse programs, meal plans, and customized packages. 

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Somerville
  • price 1 of 4

Just follow the crowds and the aroma of fried dough. The uber-popular bakery has made waves from day one, turning out inimitable flavors like maple bacon, berry pistachio and sea salt bourbon caramel. Having grown into a larger space, Union Square Donuts has evolved to serve even more quick-to-sell-out options, including donut holes and vegan versions.

Explore Time Out Market Boston

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  • Restaurants
  • Beacon Hill

If we had a dollar for every time we wished that there were a restaurant solely dedicated to charcuterie, we would take them and spend them all at Kured. This Beacon Hill spot, which opened its doors on Charles Street earlier this summer, specializes in locally sourced cured meats, artisanal cheeses and traditional accompaniments, like house-made pickles. Kured is kind of like Sweetgreen—only it lets guests come in and customize their own charcuterie cones and boxes instead of silly salads. Folks who are too indecisive to choose their own snacking adventures fear not; this place also sells a selection of pre-curated offerings.

Best restaurants in Boston by cuisine

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