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The best restaurants in Jamaica Plain

One of the most fun and offbeat neighborhoods in the city, J.P. offers plenty of cool places to eat

Written by
Gerrish Lopez
&
Time Out Boston Staff
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Jamaica Plain is one of the creative, youthful areas in the city. Roughly four square miles, the neighborhood is full of historic houses, independent businesses, and inviting green spaces, most notably parts of the Emerald Necklace (famously designed by Frederick Law Olmsted). Perhaps the best thing to do in Jamaica Plain is enjoying an invigorating stroll at the Arnold Arboretum, and we can think of no better way to burn off some calories before (or after) indulging at one of these top eateries. If nothing here strikes your fancy, you're not far from the best dining destinations in the Fenway, including Time Out Market Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Best restaurants in Jamaica Plain

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Jamaica Plain
  • price 3 of 4

Literally just ten tables, this diminutive bistro offers the lucky few who manage to get reservations front-row seats for the show in the open kitchen. The resulting dishes are distinguished by a commitment to locally-grown organic produce, artisan products, and creativity. Charcuterie, pastas, and main coursessuch as a pan-seared bluefish with juniperare outstanding. 

  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • Jamaica Plain
  • price 2 of 4

For more than 20 years, this cheerily-appointed Jamaica Plain restaurant has served some of the best Cuban food in Boston. From pork tamales and Cuban sandwiches to massive plates of shredded beef piled alongside rice, beans, and fried plantains, El Oriental de Cuba has excellent renditions of all the standards. Tres leches cake is a must for dessert, and the Cuban espresso is worth a stop at breakfast.

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  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • Jamaica Plain
  • price 2 of 4

Browse the indie bookstore/music shop in the back before sitting down for some well-made Spanish tapas. The inviting, candlelit restaurant space is broken into small, connected rooms that keep the place cozy but convivial. Start at the sleek bar for a glass of wine. In good weather, grab a seat on the sunny patio. At the high-tops in front of the big bay window, you can survey the bar and gaze out onto bustling Centre Street.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Jamaica Plain
  • price 2 of 4

One of two great Indian spots in Jamaica, Bukhara is known for addictive mushroom samosas, delicious tandoori specials, and flavorful thali dinners. Vegan options, Bangalore specials, and celebratory dishes like the tandoori rack of lamb are all worth a try, and may require multiple visits.

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Jamaica Plain

Vee Vee serves creative American fare along with a curated selection of craft beers and artisan wines. The menu is locally-sourced, with many ingredients from small, local, and sustainable producers. The cozy, casual spot has a welcoming vibe, whether you're a JP neighbor or not.

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Jamaica Plain

This hip cafe serves gourmet coffee and pastries by day. At night, a shared tasting menu as well as a la carte options is available. The French American fare includes options like trout amandine, mussels, and a burger with smoked green tomato. Creative cocktails, like The Karashi Kid (rum, Japanese mustard, honey, lemon, and furikake bitters), make Brassica a comfortable spot for creative cuisine.

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Jamaica Plain
  • price 2 of 4

Formerly JP’s beloved bowling alley-dance club-restaurant combo has now relocated to the Brewery Complex, home to the Sam Adams Brewery. Though there’s no longer any bowling, the space retains the original’s kooky decor. The large patio is popular with neighborhood families. Inside, friendly bartenders host an eclectic crowd in the spacious bar area. The menu features upscale comfort food and gourmet pizzas.

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Jamaica Plain
  • price 2 of 4

In business since 1882, this old Irish charmer has long been popular with generations of politicos. The ceilings are lofty, the rooms capacious, and the murals—high on the walls, portraying scenes from colonial Massachusetts—are gorgeous. The generous portions of comfort food and wide selection of ales and scotches are a bonus. If you’re lucky, you may even get to taste a brand new brew from Samuel Adams, which makes beer just down the road and sometimes tests out recipes at Doyle’s.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Jamaica Plain
  • price 2 of 4

This low-key spot serves authentic North Indian dishes with a few South Indian dishes. Goat—korma, masala, jalfrezi, and more—is a standout, but more familiar options like chicken vindaloo, mixed vegetables curry, tikka masala, and palak paneer are worthy options. All are flavorful with a good spice level; fresh squeezed lime juice cools any lingering burn. Takeout is popular here, especially less messy options like dosas or tandoori wraps. 

  • Restaurants
  • Soul and southern American
  • Jamaica Plain
  • price 2 of 4

Head to The Frogmore for a taste of the Low Country cuisine. The restaurant has the vibe of a Carolina mansion. Enjoy ribs, fried chicken, and po'boys. The bar offers a rotating selection of craft beers as well as creative cocktails and wines from small producers.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cuban
  • Jamaica Plain
  • price 2 of 4

This classic Cuban cuisine tastes "like what momma used to make" according to Cuban expats. Classic Cubano music sets the stage for a Cuban culinary journey through ham croquettes, cod fritters, shrimp with yellow rice, and Cuban-style fried pork chops. Sandwiches—served on house made Cuban bread—are not to miss, as well as the cream-filled churros.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Jamaica Plain

This neighborhood spot serves brick oven pizza, burgers, pastas, salads, and other comfort fare done well. Rotating draft beers complement the menu. The Dogwood hosts live music every Friday and Saturday, bringing regulars in to support local music. Brunch is popular, and there's a late night menu served until 11pm. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Jamaica Plain
  • price 2 of 4

Recalling the days when coffee shops were convivial places rather than just caffeine, plugs, and wifi, Ula’s relaxed atmosphere maintains a welcoming vibe. Eclectic crowds gather for coffee drinks, fresh-baked pastries, and savory treats. The staff occasionally shuts down its free Wi-Fi during peak hours.

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