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Contessa view
Photograph: Michael Blanchard

16 restaurants with the best views of Boston

From rooftop restos to waterfront dining, catch some spectacular views of Boston while enjoying a meal

Olivia Vanni
Written by
Olivia Vanni
&
Eric Grossman
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There's nothing better than sitting down to a meal and having an amazing view of our scenic city. From rooftop bars to eateries on the water, there are plenty of options when it comes to dining out with a stunning vista on the side. While outdoor drinking and dining are usually preferable, our notoriously fickle weather means that sometimes, going al fresco is a no-go. Fortunately, there are plenty of spots that also offer great views even from indoors. Romantic, lively, cozy...whatever you're looking for when making plans to eat out, you can have it all at these restaurants—all while gazing upon the beauty of Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Restaurants with the best views of Boston

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Seaport District
  • price 2 of 4

As the flagship location within Legal Sea Foods' empire, Legal Harborside offers three floors of dining—all with fantastic fish-focused menus and sweeping views of Boston Harbor. On the first floor, crowds devour raw bar items and casual faves; the second floor is the epitome of elegance with its selection of upscale fare; while the third floor is reserved for private dining. After your meal, join the sea of people on its celebrated rooftop for a cocktail and the ultimate harbor views. 

  • Restaurants
  • Back Bay

Located atop The Newbury Boston, this elegant eatery serves more than just comforting Northern Italian fare—it also serves looks in a major way. The inside of this glass-enclosed, rooftop sanctuary seems like it’s a lush garden patio situated on a Tuscan hillside. But if you’re able to pry your eyes away from the beautiful interior for a minute, you’ll also see that this restaurant offers unreal views of the surrounding Back Bay. Take a seat on one of Contessa’s plush chairs, order yourself a selection of salumi and a plate of fresh pasta, and raise your negroni to the cityscape before you. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Charlestown
  • price 3 of 4

If you’re chasing water views, you’ll certainly find them at Pier 6. Located near Charlestown’s Navy Yard, this marina rooftop provides arguably the most incredible panorama of the Boston skyline. A colorful mix of locals typically congregate on the nautically themed deck to get their fill of fresh seafood and New England classics. A well-stocked bar is on hand to keep everyone hydrated as they drink in that salt air.

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

Woods Hill Pier 4 brings farm-to-table dining to the Seaport, where the iconic Anthony’s Pier 4 restaurant once sat. As the name implies, this restaurant's patio is right on the pier, giving guests a front row seat to harbor views during their meals. As you dine on organic dishes made with the finest ingredients from local purveyors, order a glass of rosé and breathe in that salt air.

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  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • North End
  • price 3 of 4

Aptly named, this modern neighborhood restaurant gives folks an outdoor sanctuary tucked away in the shadows of TD Garden. While the impressive wine list and ever-changing menu of craft cocktails are enough to attract just about anyone, the view is the real clincher here. From its outdoor space, guests can gaze upon the calm waters of Boston Harbor, the Zakim Bridge or the herds of sports fans heading to a Celtics’ or Bruins’ game.

  • 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. While the inside of this restaurant is nothing short of stunning, the view from its outdoor "Nauti Garden" is the true scene-stealer. Pair that spectacular water vista with its Asian- and Latin-inspired eats, stellar wine and sake list, and incredible cocktails, and you've got it made.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • East Boston
  • price 3 of 4

This East Boston spot appropriately reels in a crowd during the summertimemainly because of its expansive waterside patio with stunning views. Because the coastal restaurant is situated in Eastie, its sprawling outdoor seating gives diners a rare look at Boston’s downtown in its near entirety. So pull up a bistro chair, munch down some tuna crudo tacos and feel that Harbor breeze against your face. (And if you're stuck South of the city, check out its sister location on Quincy's Marina Bay).

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Seaport District

While this white table-clothed establishment considers itself a Northern Italian steakhouse, it also seems completely at home by the sea. Davio’s Seaport is located right on Fan Pier, where guests can savor sweeping views of Boston Harbor as they work their way through antipasti, house-made pastas, expertly grilled steaks and fish dishes. The patio’s panorama alone provides enough incentive to pull up a seat at this elegant eatery, but it’s this place’s expansive gluten-free and health-conscious options that also make it a must amongst diners with dietary restrictions.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • North End
  • price 2 of 4

A seafood lover’s paradise, this no-frills joint is perched directly above the harbor on a weathered pier. Sail Loft's kitchen is famous for its overflowing cups of clam chowder and lobster rolls that have so much meat that they're basically burst at the seams. Everything tastes better from one of the sunny outdoor tables, ideal for kicking back and basking in that the killer water view. 

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Seaport District

Where better to enjoy more than 250 varieties of tequila and elevated Mexican cuisine than on a patio with waterfront views? Sit back and watch the wake from this Seaport destination as you dine on inspired items like lobster guacamole, short rib empanadas and grilled skirt steak tampiquena. Wash it all down with the bar's piña picante margarita and a sunset over Liberty Wharf.

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Venezia Restaurant
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Dorchester

Dorchester’s answer to waterfront dining, the Venezia Restaurant is by all means a classic. For more than 25 years, this airy eatery has sat at the mouth of the Neponset River, giving guests exactly what they want: Italian-American favorites and nautical vistas. Nurse an espresso martini on the outdoor deck, or down a dish of cod florentine in one of its glass-enclosed dining roomseither way, you’ll have incredible views of the boats zooming by.

  • Bars
  • Hotel bars
  • Seaport District
  • price 2 of 4

Perched atop the popular Envoy Hotel, this expansive, eighth-floor eatery and bar places an emphasis on luxurious comfort, with stylish lounge seating, upscale cocktails and incredible food. Come for the skyline and sunset views over the Fort Point Channel, and stay for the Seaport Sangria. Pro tip: Go big and reserve the firepit table.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Waterfront

This classy yet casual spot serves fresh, inventive seafood dishes year-round from its Boston Harbor Hotel kitchen. As the name would imply, it's located right on Rowes Wharf, where its seasonal patio sits right on the water. In the summer months, the hotel hosts its live music series, Summer in the City, outdoors during the week, so we suggest snagging a table at the Grille on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday for the perfect evening of food and cocktails, tunes and water views.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Seaport District

On the inside, Lolita Fort Point is a dimly lit, macabre masterpieceand on the outside, it’s a bright and airy waterfront paradise. The patio of this cocina and tequila cantina runs right alongside the channel, giving guests a front row seat to the Seaport skyline as they pound queso and sip margaritas. An added benefit to Lolita’s dockish deck: The refreshing breeze coming off the water really keeps you alert between cocktails.

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • South Boston
  • price 2 of 4

Not many restaurants can say they have a vintage Airstream that’s retrofitted as a bar parked on top of their roof—but Coppersmith can. Yuppies near and far flock to this 3,000-square-foot South Boston joint, camping out at its picnic tables overlooking Southie for eclectic comfort food, pitchers of cocktails and a local-heavy beer list. And on the weekends, Coppersmith is home to both day-drinkers and wounded soldiers who are nursing their hangovers with brunch pizzas, breakfast burritos and the obligatory mimosa flights.

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

Set right along the Fort Point Channel, this red-shingled seafood shack and open-air tent serves as party central during the summer months for locals and tourists alike. Gather at the spot's picnic tables, beneath lamps made of lobster traps strung with Christmas lights, for steamers, fried Ipswich clams or a full New England seafood bake. As you drink in those waterfront views, just remember to stay hydrated and really push those Dels Shandies.

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