Each American cuisine flourished in Boston’s best restaurants for a long time—it is, after all, the birthplace of the American Revolution and a city that takes real pride in its history. But as the thriving education and technology sectors here engaged more and more with cultures from around the globe, diversity began to thrive here, too. Although lobster rolls, clam chowder, and steakhouses still very much reign supreme, Boston has reached its culinary stride. Today, the city has moved beyond traditional New England classics, offering everything from high-brow French to Asian street food, and everything in between. Somehow, combining those cuisines with New England’s tradition of foraging and fresh seafood feels more “Boston” than ever. Here, our snapshot of 35 Best Restaurants in Boston through this complex and world-class city.
1. The Table at Season to Taste
- Address: 2447 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02140
- Phone: (617) 871-9468
- Visit Website: https://www.cambridgetable.com/
Eater Boston’s 2016 Chef of the Year is Chef alum Carl Dooley, it is at the helm of this intimate fine-dining Cambridge restaurant which is built into the front of an existing catering company. Diners can grab a small snack at the wine bar or settle in for the restaurant’s centerpiece, the four-course prix fixe ($99 per person, inclusive of tax and tip), which focuses on Dooley’s impeccable technique and love of seasonal ingredients. The menu’s always changing, but recent dishes have included goat cheese agnolotti with morels; lamb shank bisteeya; ancho chile red snapper stew; and more.
2. Dakzen Restaurant in Boston
- Address: 195 Elm St Somerville, MA 02144
- Phone: (617) 718-1759
- Visit Website: https://www.dakzen.com/
Davis Square Thai newcomer Dakzen is one of the best Casual Restaurant in Boston. The busy, well-lit restaurant has an aura of happy chaos, with a service model that falls somewhere between counter-service and full-service and a menu that doesn’t shy away from heat and funk. Those already familiar with Thai flavors — beyond Thai-American takeout staples — will be delighted to find them here, and newbies will quickly learn what they’ve been missing. Highlights include the khao soi, the tom yum noodle soup, and the ba mee moo dang.
Soup in a Thai-style bowl decorated with a rooster. There are pink barbecue pork slices in the soup, as well as an egg, ground pork, ground peanuts, crispy wonton strips, and more. The bowl sits on a metal tray.
3. Yume Wo Katare
- Address: 1923 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140
- Phone: (617) 714-4008
- Visit Website: https://www.yumewokatare.com/
This tiny Porter Square ramen destination isn’t just a restaurant — it’s a place where founder Tsuyoshi Nishioka wants to make everyone’s dreams come true, starting by encouraging diners to literally stand up. And it shares those dreams out loud (after successfully finishing a giant bowl of ramen, of course). Aside from occasional seasonal specials, the simple menu only includes one type of ramen — “Jiro-style,” heavy on pork and garlic — with a choice of adding extra noodles and/or extra pork to an already hearty portion.
- Address: 1682 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138
- Phone: (617) 441-2800
- Visit Website: http://www.giuliarestaurant.com/
Among the Italian food standbys in the Boston area, Giulia is an especially coveted destination near Cambridge’s Porter and Harvard squares thanks to its impressive pasta and a warm staff. The pappardelle with wild boar is a favorite choice that doesn’t budge from the otherwise changing menu, but a diner can’t go wrong with anything at Giulia. Chef and owner Michael Pagliarini previously worked as executive chef at the now-defunct Via Matta, an Italian mainstay in Back Bay, and has also worked under renowned Chicago chef Grant Achatz. Plan ahead; Giulia is in high demand, and reservations can be tough.
5. Tasting Counter
- Address: 14 Tyler St, Somerville, MA 02143
- Phone: (617) 299-6362
- Visit Website: https://tastingcounter.com/
The ultimate special occasion destination, Tasting Counter — tucked away inside Aeronaut Brewing — offers an elaborate, multi-course adventure of high-technique plates that highlight as many Massachusetts products as possible. Here diners sit at a counter, watching everything prepared right in front of them. As a show, it’s a ticketed event; diners pay in advance online and don’t have to think about money at all at the restaurant. Here food price is depending on the day, lunch is $75 to $85 a person, while dinner is $225 to $250. In Tasting Counter with less of a special-occasion price tag, there are also wine bar hours.
A restaurant interior features a sleek bar, white and light wood accents, and shelves of wine. There are also herbs growing on shelves in front of a window.
- Address: 21 Bow St Somerville, MA 02143
- Phone: (617) 616-5319
- Visit Website: https://celesteunionsquare.com/
Celeste is a dreamy little spot in Somerville’s Union Square, serving flavorful Peruvian in a neighborhood that — to be fair — already has its fair share of Peruvian options. All are worthy destinations, but Celeste is the spot for bright ceviche, fragrant Lomo saltado, and the feeling of sipping pisco as the honored guest at the joyfully crowded dinner party of co-founders JuanMa Calderon and Maria Rondeau, who ran a supper club out of their home before opening Celeste.
- Address: 21 Union Square, Somerville, MA 02143
- Phone: (617) 718-0958
- Visit Website: http://www.julietsomerville.com/
Juliet, Eater Boston’s Restaurant is one of the popular restaurants and is simply doing lots of things right — and with a lot of heart. Diners can find everything from a takeout breakfast taco and a cup of coffee to a fancy multi-course dinner (and many things in between), all in one cozy space. Delicious breakfast and wonderful lunch options at the counter, not to mention a variety of a la carte snacks, meals, and baked goods. Juliet is trying to be a lot of things, and who’s to say it can’t succeed at being all of them? It’s a neighborhood favorite, and other neighborhoods should be a little jealous.
8. Brewer’s Fork
- Address: 7 Moulton St Charlestown, MA 02129
- Phone: (617) 337-5703
- Visit Website: http://www.brewersfork.com/
From the opening in early 2015 in a section of Charlestown mostly devoid of restaurants, Brewer’s Fork has brought a bustling, pizza-loving crowd to the quiet block. The specialty is wood-fired pizza (the “killer B” pizza is a must-try), but there are also hearty brunch sandwiches, oysters, and one of the best beer lists around. When weather permits, the patio is the place to be.
9. Puritan & Company
- Address: 1166 Cambridge St Cambridge, MA 02139
- Phone: (617) 615-6195
- Visit Website: http://www.puritancambridge.com/
An homage to New England, Puritan & Co. dresses up local classics beautifully — this isn’t your grandmother’s baked cod unless she serves it with lobster stew, salt cod fritters, and wax beans. It’s the place to go for spot-on scallops or roast chicken, but it’s also the place one might find a late-night bar pizza special or a gluttonous brunch pastry basket.
10. Cafe Sushi
- Address: 1105 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02138
- Phone: (617) 492-0434
- Visit Website: http://www.cafesushicambridge.com/
It has been serving up amazing and affordable sushi for more than 30 years, a favorite of industry folks and general sushi lovers alike.
Chef Seizi Imura’s omakase is the real treat, that bounce joyfully between traditional preparations and funkier combinations. The omakase price varies and has crept up over the last few years, but it is generally around $100 per person.
- Address: 134 Hampshire St Cambridge, MA 02139
- Phone: (617) 661-0505
- Visit Website: https://www.oleanarestaurant.com/
The ornament of Greater Boston’s restaurant world goes hand in hand with its Somerville sibling, Sarma, in serving quality, memorable meals night after night, drawing inspiration from Turkey and elsewhere around the Middle East. The cozy restaurant has one of the most romantic patios around, and its seasonally rotating menu delivers a different experience with the same hospitality time after time. It is operated with a cordials license, and the restaurant has an inventive cocktail menu, with a wide array of sherry and aperitifs, and it’s famous for its baked Alaska dessert.
A dramatic baked Alaska dessert full of toasted meringue sits on a brown plate, the background of the photo obscured in shadows.
- Address: 1030 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02138
- Phone: (617) 864-2300
- Visit Website: http://www.waypointharvard.com/
In a time when what remains of Harvard Square’s unique character is being threatened more than ever, this little sibling to Alden & Harlow has cemented its place as a great dining destination in the neighborhood.
It brags the highest absinthe selection around, a vibe that careful toes the line between trendy and casual, and a menu jam-packed with creative seafood dishes and more. Smoked whitefish pizza? Sure thing. Big, shareable hunks of roasted meat? Yep.
- Address: 928 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02139
- Phone: (617) 945-1761
- Visit Website: https://www.pammyscambridge.com/
Chris and Pam Willis call their hospitable Cambridge restaurant Pammy’s a “new American trattoria,” but the Italian influences are strong, from the not-to-be-missed pasta dishes (made with flour milled in the restaurant) to the aperitivi. The place is captivating, as is the staff, and the lumache with a gochujang-spiked Bolognese sauce belongs in every pasta enthusiast’s regular rotation.
A big white bowl on a white tiled surface, filled with lumache in a red sauce and garnished with a thinly sliced green herb.
14. Regina Pizzeria
- Address: 11 1/2 Thacher St Boston, MA 02113
- Phone: (617) 227-0765
- Visit Website: http://www.pizzeriaregina.com/
This North End mainstay has been in operation since 1926; it’s one of the city’s best pizzerias. (Go to this particular location — the original — rather than one of many offshoots.) The secret to Regina’s success is a combination of the oven — it was built in 1888, and its cooking surface remains intact to this day — and the dough, which is left to proof for up to six days. The crust on a pizza from Regina is simultaneously chewy and crispy, and there are ample bubbles on the exterior ring. There will most likely be a wait outside, but it will be worth it. Sit at the bar if you can, order a pepperoni and mushroom, and drink a pitcher of Peroni.
The exterior window of the original Regina Pizzeria location in Boston’s North End includes red and green neon signage that says “Regina,” as well as printed red, green, and white signage reading “Pizza to Go,” “Pizzeria Regina,” and “Beer & amp; amp; Wine.”
15. KO Pies at the Shipyard
- Address: 256 Marginal St Boston, MA 02128
- Phone: (617) 418-5234
- Visit Website: http://www.kocateringandpies.com/east-boston
It is known to all that Australian meat pies and beer sound good enough on their own. Now add the fact that this casual spot is hidden away in a shipyard in East Boston, which happens to be filled with cool art installations and glorious views of downtown. The Irish beef stew meat pie is one of Boston’s most iconic dishes and should be eaten on the patio when the weather allows. Note: KO is likely closing later this year as chef and owner Sam Jackson plan to leave the city, so lovers of meat pies should visit as soon as possible.
16. Craigie on Main
- Address: 853 Main St Cambridge, MA 02139
- Phone: (617) 497-5511
- Visit Website: https://www.craigieonmain.com/
Yes, Craigie on Main makes a downright iconic burger. It’s everything everyone says it is, and you should go to eat it if you haven’t. But it’s definitely not all about burgers at Tony Maws’ upscale Cambridge stalwart, which is also known for its seasonal, local tasting menu, a recent version of which included dishes like house-made farro conchiglie with lamb ragout; roasted heritage pork loin with house-smoked kielbasa; and a long-standing dish on the menu, the confit and roasted pig’s head for two with spicy pumpkin sambal and boudin noir-hoisin sauce. Sticking with Craigie’s commitment to sourcing locally, the beers on tap are all born in New England. Go for a special dinner, or go to the bar for a cocktail or two (and an a la carte sampling of Craigie food).
17. Neptune Oyster
- Address: 63 Salem St # 1Boston, MA 02113
- Phone: (617) 742-3474
- Visit Website: http://www.neptuneoyster.com/
Neptune Oyster is one of the few non-Italian restaurants in the North End. It is the busiest, noisiest seafood spot that consistently generates long lines at all hours, but the wait is worth it for one of the best high-end lobster rolls in town. Also necessary: oysters and fried clams. Even the burger (topped with fried clams, of course) is great.
18. Area Four
- Address: 500 Technology Square Cambridge, MA 02139
- Phone: (617) 758-4444
- Visit Website: https://www.areafour.com/
As far as Neapolitan-adjacent pizza in Greater Boston goes, it’s hard to beat Area Four in Kendall Square. The dough ferments for 30 or more hours and is made with a sourdough starter. It’s then cooked at a high temperature in a wood-fired oven, which provides the perfect amount of char on the crust. The “not pepperoni” pizza (which is topped instead with soppressata) and the sausage and pickled peppers pizza are both high on the list of must-order pizzas in and around Boston. Area Four isn’t strictly a pizzeria — diners can order salads and meatballs and lasagne, for example — but the pizza is certainly the restaurant’s main draw. Either the list of mostly local beer isn’t bad.
19. Villa Mexico Cafe
- Address: 121 Water St Boston, MA 02109
- Phone: (617) 957-0725
- Visit Website: https://www.villamexicocafe.us/
Villa Mexico Cafe was located inside a Beacon Hill gas station and now located in its own downtown Boston space. Villa Mexico is run by Julie King, her daughter Bessie, and a friendly team that churns out grilled burritos, fish tacos, and a signature black salsa. The restaurant is a popular lunch stop for Financial District workers, especially on Fridays when King offers specials and dispenses free cookies to the masses.
Cross-section of a stuffed chicken burrito. A wrapped starlight mint is on the side of the plate.
- Address: 45 Province St Boston, MA 02108
- Phone: (617) 208-6000
- Visit Website: https://www.haleyhenry.com/
Haley Fortier’s teeny-tiny industry haunt in Downtown Crossing doesn’t have much kitchen space, but it more than makes up for that with its selection of fancy tinned kinds of seafood from Spain, Portugal, and the United States; its spectacular wine list; its ship-like ambiance; and its sense of humor. This is the place to go for those who want to eat Portuguese tinned smoked eels, perfectly paired with a funky, hard-to-find wine. Also on the compact menu: “biggie small plates,” such as prime rib sliders; “bone thugs & charcuterie,” such as lamb tartare; and more. Plus, Alton Brown approves.
21. Deep Ellum
- Address: 477 Cambridge St Allston, MA 02134
- Phone: (617) 787-2337
- Visit Website: http://www.deepellum-boston.com/
Deep Ellum was a fantastic beer bar before most folks knew. Its draft list always boasts a number of good German beers or English beers (or both), as well as one of the city’s best arrays of locally brewed beers. The cocktail list is long and varied, and the bartenders are knowledgeable and always willing to work with customers to figure out what drinks might best suit their tastes. Deep Ellum’s kitchen is also sneakily great. Stick to the beer bar playbook and order the excellent burger, or share plates with friends and order whatever house-cured charcuterie is on offer, some tinned fish, and the gorgonzola-covered fries. This Allston joint’s late-night menu also offers one of the city’s best-fried chicken sandwiches. When the season permits, snag a patio seat.
22. Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe
- Address: 86 Bedford St Boston, MA 02111
- Phone: (617) 482-1888
- Visit Website: https://sites.google.com/site/geneschineseflatbreadcafe
Gene’s offers Xi’an-style Chinese cuisine, a little bit difficult to find elsewhere in Boston, and while the restaurant’s name refers to the flatbread sandwiches stuffed with beef or pork, the real highlight of the menu is the chewy, garlicky hand-pulled noodles. Cash-only, counter-service, no-frills, and only open for lunch and early dinner.
Heavily dusted with chile powder, a black plastic bowl of thick hand-pulled noodles, and topped with greens and a generous dollop of garlic. A wooden skewer of lamb pieces sits across the rim of the bowl, which is on a Chinese Zodiac placemat on a red tray
23. O Ya
- Address: 9 East St Boston, MA 02111
- Phone: (617) 654-9900
- Visit Website: http://o-ya.restaurant/
Sushi lovers who have not yet embarked on O Ya’s iconic 20-course grand omakase have not yet lived ($285 per person, or $185 for the smaller 17-course omakase). And it’s not just the seafood — the tender wagyu beef strip loin is stunning (with a price tag to match: $70 for two ounces, $280 for eight).
Covered in the Leather District, this tiny spot has accumulated numerous awards, including a James Beard for the chef and co-owner Tim Cushman.
- Address: 9 Tyler St Boston, MA 02111
- Phone: (617) 423-7888
- Visit Website: http://shojoboston.com/
The loud, energy-packed Shōjō brings a new spin to Asian fusion, upping the ante with dishes like the “Son of Shojonator” burger (complete with kimchi Velveeta), bulgogi beef bao, and a killer cocktail list. It’s a bit of modern flashiness in a neighborhood of old-school classics, and it somehow simultaneously stands out and fits right into Boston’s Chinatown.
- Address: 348 Congress St Boston, MA 02210
- Phone: (617) 737-1234
- Visit Website: http://www.sportelloboston.com/
Of all the Barbara Lynch restaurants, Sportello is perhaps the most approachable in terms of prices and vibe while still showing off that Lynch magic. Minimalist diner meets trattoria with a small open kitchen, counter seating, and a menu of pleasing portions of pasta and more. And oh, that spicy tomato soup.
26. Row 34
- Address: 383 Congress St Boston, MA 02210
- Phone: (617) 553-5900
- Visit Website: http://row34.com/
It is a lively “workingman’s oyster bar” — the manifestation of Boston’s current New England dining scene — has a bit more of a casual ambiance than its big sibling over in Kenmore Square, Island Creek Oyster Bar. Row 34 is one of the key players in the Fort Point restaurant boom, drawing massive crowds to a once-quiet section of town. With a creative beer list, ultra-fresh seafood, and some of the best lobster rolls in town, Row 34 is one of the trickiest reservations to snag.
27. Mei Mei
- Address: 506 Park Dr Boston, MA 02215
- Phone: (857) 250-4959
- Visit Website: https://www.meimeiboston.com/
Mei Mei, a food-truck-turned-restaurant founded by a trio of siblings, has been a trailblazer in Boston’s restaurant world, from providing equitable wages to ethically sourcing meats and other ingredients. The Li family poured itself into the restaurant to create an even bigger family — dining here feels like coming home, with classic dishes like the Double Awesome sandwich (cheesy eggs loaded into a scallion pancake) and house-made dumplings headlining a menu that shifts with the seasonality of new England’s ingredients. The casual, counter-service restaurant also offers dumpling-making classes, family-style dinners, and dinner club events.
The interior of Mei Mei, in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood
- Address: 21 Drydock Ave Boston, MA 02210
- Phone: (617) 531-5591
- Visit Website: https://www.chickadeerestaurant.com/
Chickadee resides in the intersection between seasonal New England ingredients and Mediterranean influences, with a touch of Portugal, too. Highlights include the squid ink fusilli, the sea scallops, and the roasted porchetta. Worth the trek to the far end of the fast-developing Seaport District, Chickadee already feels like it’s been running smoothly for years, an impressive feat for first-time owners daSilva and his fellow No. 9 Park alum Ted Kilpatrick, who opened the restaurant in 2018.
29. Sweet Cheeks
- Address: 1381 Boylston St Boston, MA 02215
- Phone: (617) 266-1300
- Visit Website: https://www.sweetcheeksq.com/
The first of chef and restaurateur Tiffani Faison’s Fenway businesses, Sweet Cheeks has been a reliable barbecue destination for the better part of a decade, serving high-quality meats and can’t-miss biscuits. Now part of the Big Heart Hospitality empire that Faison runs with her wife Kelly Walsh, Sweet Cheeks has several siblings (and Fenway neighbors): Tiger Mama (Southeast Asian-inspired cuisine), Fool’s Errand (snacks and cocktails in a standing-room-only space), and Orfano (Italian-American).
A sidewalk patio full of patrons outside of a restaurant with “BBQ” signage
30. Fox & the Knife
- Address: 28 W Broadway Boston, MA 02127
- Phone: (617) 766-8630
- Visit Website: https://www.foxandtheknife.com/
Fox & the Knife is one of the best new restaurants in the United State of America, and it’s Akunowicz’s love letter to Italian cooking. Its team consists of master bakers, pasta makers, and chefs who turn out beautiful dishes, cocktails, and desserts. Stop in on the early side of dinner for aperitivo hour (snacks and cocktails) and stay for curly pasta, cheesy focaccia, and braised lamb.
31. Kava Neo-Taverna
- Address: 2112, 315 Shawmut Ave Boston, MA 02118
- Phone: (617) 356-1100
- Visit Website: http://www.kavaneotaverna.com/
Boston’s seen some major growth in its Greek food scene over the last few years, and one of the new-ish arrivals, Kava Neo-Taverna, has really made a niche for itself in the South End. Hungry diners will happily wait several hours to get into the small, no-reservations restaurant for a taste of loukaniko, keftedes, and oktapodi; in-the-know diners will save room for the honey-drizzled Greek yogurt dessert.
- Address: 1704 Washington St Boston, MA 02118
- Phone: (617) 536-4300
- Visit Website: https://www.toro-restaurant.com/
Toro had been opening for over a decade in the South End serves modern and traditional tapas ranging from simple grilled corn to elaborate dishes pairing seafood and charcuterie with rich, bold flavors that keep the crowds lining up at the energetic spot.
33. Bar Lyon
- Address: 1750 Washington St Boston, MA 02118
- Phone: (617) 904-4020
- Visit Website: https://www.barlyon.com/
Bar Lyon’s key company, the Columbus Hospitality Group, they know how to create an upscale mainstay: Restaurants like Mooo and Mistral have been holding down the Boston fine-dining fort for years. But the team went a little more casual, a little more affordable, with the newest addition, and it seems to be paying off. Bar Lyon has only been open since fall 2018 but already seems poised to inhabit the neighborhood forever, serving French classics, from escargots to steak frites, not to mention one of the best French onion soups in town.
34. Bintimani Restaurant
- Address: 1127 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02119
- Phone: (857) 417-0154
- Visit Website: http://www.bintimani.com/
It is a Sierra Leonean restaurant that is tucked away inside a small mall called Mr. G’s Plaza in Dudley Square, and as such is sort of hidden in plain sight. Duo Baidu and Sahr Josiah husband and wife make up the front-of-house staff, the back-of-house staff, the management, and the ownership team. The kitchen at Bintimani is tight and sparsely equipped, but you’d never know it by the food they’re turning out.
The double dining rooms as an office and a storage space — can accommodate eight eaters at most. Sahr, who lived in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade, told Eater that he couldn’t find food from Sierra Leone during that time. They set out to open a restaurant that could serve people food that tasted like their mother’s home cooking. Whoever grew up with home cooking as good as the food coming out of Bintimani’s kitchen is the luckiest person on earth. Order the whole fried tilapia, and eat it with rice, spicy okra sauce, and crain crain, which is a dark green stew made of mallow-leaves.
35. The Haven
- Address: 2 Perkins St Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
- Phone: (617) 524-2836
- Visit Website: https://thehavenjp.com/
The Haven provides beers and a solid menu of Scottish foods, as well as a packed events calendar. Also, it’s probably the only place one can eat haggis in the Boston area. Boston, the Scottish headquarters appearance great beer, a cheerful ambiance, and the hospitality of owner Jason Waddleton.