Boston’s culinary scene is among the most vibrant in the US. And many of the best restaurants in Boston owe much to the influence of one person. Julia Child, America’s first celebrity chef who helped popularize French cuisine and culture in the United States, and her passion for cooking were a great inspiration to many newly-opened diners over the years. And we’re presenting you with at least some of them.
Julia Child spent almost 40 years in the capital of Massachusetts, being especially supportive of female chefs. Others picked up, and once called Beantown, Boston’s become much more than baked beans and cod. Thanks to its economic growth, a rising crop of young and talented chefs, and culinary innovations, B-Town has gone through a renaissance both in development and food. While oysters and seafood will always be The City’s important tradition, it’s dining scene is diverse, appealing, and looking ahead today.
Even fish cookery has transformed into a new and unique experience offering smoked and cured seafood boards. Also, “head-to-tail” plates, such as the whole striper fish, are regular meals without shocking effect as they had in the past. Latino and Asian immigrants were creative muses for Boston’s chefs and still are. That’s why East Boston is a mecca for traditional Latin food-lovers, Dorchester is a Vietnamese hub, while Chinatown remained intact with its own specific features and cuisine. That being said, in the sea of so many foodie spots, it’s hard to answer the question: What is the best restaurant in Boston?
Although the city has a lot of growing still to do, that doesn’t mean you won’t find the brasserie to your liking. On the contrary, B-Town boasts an excellent and diverse culinary scene where even those with a refined sense of taste will enjoy. If you’re wondering what Boston’s signature dishes are, we’ll help you learn more about delicacies that Bostonians are proud of before moving to Boston.
What You Must Eat in Boston?
With its reputation for foodie place packed with worldwide known marine products, classic New England meals, and large international culinary scene, B-Town is a place whose plates shouldn’t be missed. If you haven’t tried some of the following specialties, at least one should be on your bucket list after settling down in the City on a Hill:
- Clam chowder
- Lobster rolls
- Baked beans
- Fish and chips
- Cream pie
- Fenway Frank
Where Do Locals Eat in Boston?
If you’re a newcomer and moving from a small town to a big city, you probably don’t know where do locals eat. But, there’s no need to worry. With our help, you’ll find out hidden gems where Bostonians often go. So, if you would like to eat great food at affordable prices, we’ve put the following list of hidden treasures where you can enjoy unique specialties:
- Modern Pastry (North End) – this small Italian bakery offers cannolis with different filling and latte
- North 26 (across from Faneuil Hall Marketplace) – Boston cream pie is something you must try here
- Abby Lane (Theatre District) – itasf you’re in the mood for a pizza, lobster roll, and delicious coleslaw, this is a place to be
- Cho Cho’s (Porter Square, Cambridge) – for Korean and Japanese food aficionados
- Tony C’s (Fenway) – this sports bar offers not only excellent burgers and lobster roll but also tons of games on the multiple big screens
- Fin’s Sushi & Grill (Theatre District) – kimchi seafood ramen, savory broth, and noodles – perfection for your bud taste
- Fenway Franks (Fenway Park) – living in Boston and not being familiar with the smell and taste of iconic hot dogs means you still haven’t tasted sweet Italian sausage and monster dogs. But, if you follow the smell (they’re everywhere in and around the stadium), you’ll come across the pleasure that’s hard to resist.
What Are Fancy Restaurants in Boston Where Celebrities Eat?
Generations-old recipes are made in Bill’s Pizzeria, and they’re so delicious that even some celebrities can’t pass by without dropping by. For example, the actor John Krasinski says that whole wheat crust options are his favorite, and sometimes gyros is on his bill of fare.
Lucky's Lounge and Vinny's
Besides a notable menu and classic cocktails, Lucky’s Lounge offers excellent entertainment and lively atmosphere. Located near Fort Point Market, this is a spot where David Day, Bostonian Editor and DJ often goes for live music and good bites. Also, you can find him at Vinny’s, where he enjoys Sicilian-style cooking.
Misa Kuranga, a famous ballerina, likes to eat at New Ginza, a modern Japanese cuisine & bar in Watertown Square. In addition to sushi and fish plates, sweet tooth people can enjoy excellent desserts, such as Coppa Pistachio, Gelato, Tempura Ice Cream, Coconut and Lemon Ripieno, etc.
Mistral is much more than a restaurant where you can find French specialties. It’s sophisticated, seductive, distinctive, and gracious. Located in the posh neighborhood South End, singer Morgan Brow doesn’t skip an opportunity to take pleasure in Mediterranean cuisine. Fine wines and well-crafted cocktails combined with delicious platters will provide you unforgettable moments.
This top-notch eatery and enoteca is a spot where the most famous actors eat while enjoying indoor or outdoor options. In Bricco, you’ll see Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lawrence, and Melissa McCarthy ordering their favorite appetizers and ricotta pillows with parmesan creamed spinach. Located in one of the best neighborhoods in Boston, North End, it should be jotted down in your foodie bucket list.
To Taste an Authentic Italian Fare, Visit Fox & The Knife and Regina Pizzeria, the Best Italian Restaurants in Boston
“The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again” – George Miller, Director
It’s delicious, rich, irresistible, and it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love Italian cuisine. Even if you’re one of these, you probably satisfy your palate at least once a week with pasta, pizza, spaghetti, and pedigree wines from Toscana. B-Town is packed with plenty of trattorias and ristorante with authentic flavors, atmosphere, and charm that can be found only in Italy. And in Boston.
This unique spirit is evident in Fox & The Knife, where guests come together and celebrate the everyday joys with good bites and irreplaceable company. Dishes are inspired by Modena’s traditional cuisine mixed with modern techniques. If you decide to have dinner at this South Boston’s place, be ready to spend some time studying the bill of fare and finding the right meal. It’s full of interesting specialties that include antipasti, primi, seconde, and dolce at the end. To mention just a few:
- Nectarine panzanella (fennel, tomato, basil, sumac)
- Housemade mozzarella
- Orrechiette cime de rape (broccoli rabe, sausage, chickpea, pecorino)
- Milanese di maiale (crispy pork, saffron aioli, pickled cherries)
- Dirty chai affogato (espresso, housemade chai gelato)
When one is looking for original pizza with handmade dough, where else could he expect to find it than in the North End of the City? There’s no doubt that among the best restaurants in Little Italy Boston stands out Regina Pizzeria. If you ask locals where to get a perfect slice of pizza, the most will tell you right here. Why? There are several excellent reasons why this spot attracts so many Bostonians daily:
- Secret recipe with a special natural yeast – the result is a perfect crust
- The natural sauce is spicy, yet light
- Whole milk mozzarella cheese
- Toppings – fresh and finest veggies and meats, without preservatives and additives
Experience Good Vibes and Unusual Plates in Fun Restaurants in Boston
Sometimes, you need more than a sophisticated environment and great bites, especially when moving to a city alone and wondering how to meet new neighbors. Consider spending several hours surrounded by amazing people, live music, excellent entertainment, and meals at night. Fortunately, B-Town has a bit of everything for everyone. And if you’re looking for the places to grab some brews and blow off some steam, The Hub is the place to be.
Cuba in Gustazo
Did you know that Gustazo brought authentic Cuban flavors, original decor, and spirit of Havana in the middle of Cambridge and Somerville? Located just two blocks from Porter Square, this venue is perfect for taking pleasure in modern interpretations of classic Cuban cuisine made with the finest ingredients. In this lively neighborhood brasserie, you’ll feel at home while being tucked in a cozy ambiance and enjoying selected compilations of Cuban music. And you will forget about moving away from friends for at least a couple of hours.
Myers + Chang Is One of the Most Innovative and Modern Restaurants in Boston
If you need a place for weddings, private events, or corporate functions, choose Myers + Chang, which is open seven days a week. This swanky eating spot in the South End boasts a dynamic and playful interior, just like small, Asian-inspired plates offer soul food. You can’t go wrong with anything you order. The choice is large – Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese specialties are on the bill of fare.
What can you expect here? First, there are no boundaries of what elements can be paired and mixed. Second, if you have children, you can spend plenty of time together. With a kid-friendly menu, your kiddos will be happy to be in a situation where they can decide what meal to eat. And the choice is quite wide:
- Steamed edamame
- Scrambled eggs
- Crispy pork dumplings
- Plain udon noodles
- White rice + chicken
- Chocolate douha mousse with cocoa nib + sea salt
Select Oyster Bar and No Relation Are Among the Best Sushi Restaurants in Boston
One thing is for sure: when you don’t know what to eat, sushi is always a good idea. In B-Town, there are plenty of spots where you can order pure perfection or marine products covered with mountains of truffles and fresh ingredients.
No Relation offers nothing less than the always-changing menu, the freshest ingredients, and top-notch service. This South End eatery boasts a cozy atmosphere serving traditional Japanese sashimi and nigiri interpretations. Knowledgeable chefs are willing to show tips for at-home cooks. Expect a great sake selection for the pairing to complete your meal. So, if you’re addicted to sushi and Japanese cuisine, this place will blow your mind.
Select Oyster Bar is an excellent crustacea spot in Back Bay, serving high-quality meals, including raw food, such as local oysters. The rest of the plates will satisfy even the pickiest guests – crudo, local shellfish, octopus, ceviche, swordfish, which are skilled, prepared, and flavored with seasonal spices. Creative meals, the most delicious lobster roll in the B-Town, and fresh fish are just some amenities this place provides.
There’s no Better Love Story Than in Romantic Restaurants in Boston – Mariel and Cafe du Pays
When looking for a romantic getaway, a warmly candlelit table with tasty plates and excellent wines is a must. Luckily, there are plenty of romantic things to do in Boston, including visiting excellent dining spots. Whether you’re looking for elegance and carefully selected menu items, or domestic-feeling meals with international fares, The Hub has it all.
Located in Downtown Crossing, Mariel is a swanky spot that will fascinate you both with its interior and great plates. This upscale place offers Cuban specialties and craft cocktails served in elegant and dreamy surroundings. Empanadas, cheese puffs, crispy fish, octopus, ceviche, you name it – whatever you order, you’ll be crazy about specific flavors. If you love louder music, good vibes, and excellent service, Mariel is a site where you’ll find sparkles and magic.
Now imagine an antique-filled room and table full of plates crammed with French-Canadian specialties. It sounds like an excellent introduction to a romantic evening. Located in Kendall Square, Cafe du Pays is a perfect meeting point to break the ice before watching a movie at the nearby Kendall Square Cinema. Besides appetizers, cheese and charcuterie, and vegetables, you can order some of these:
- Chou Farci (yellow peas, mushroom, celery root tahini)
- Roasted Monkfish (mussels, celery root, leeks)
- Duck Confit (cranberry beans, delicata squash)
- Pork Cutlet (braised cabbage, maitake)
- Big steaks in family-style.
And for those who prefer sitting at a counter, sipping a drink and whispering sweet words, the wide choice of different cognacs, whiskeys, Armagnacs, coffees, and teas will make their evening perfect.
Best Restaurants in Chinatown Boston Are the Places You’ll Always Come Back to
For gourmets, there is no better place in B-Town than Chinatown. Whether you love dumplings, hand-pulled noodles, dim sum, ramen, sushi, hot pot, or something else specific for Chinese cuisine, you’ll satisfy your cravings in this neighborhood. Still, if you decide to have a decent meal, you should be familiar with dining options this area offers. Especially if you’re a newcomer, this might be a risky undertaking. To shorten your research and wander the streets of The Hub, we’ve singled out two spots ideal to start your Chinese dinner or lunch.
Each Plate Is a Masterpiece in O Ya
Eating in O Ya is a truly amazing and unique experience where each plate is presented as “a work of art.” Don’t be surprised with small plates – they are full of Japanese flavors and unique bites, such as wild bluefin chutoro tartare with homemade ginger kimchi and wild spot prawn with garlic butter. Does this sound unique and exotic? If yes, that’s because it is. Prices are a bit higher, but these delightful bites are worth every cent.
At Night or During the Day, Eat Well in Peach Farm
With an overwhelming offer, you’ll be tempted to come every evening until you try all the specialties. Fish products, lobster with ginger, or Peking duck – whatever you order, you’ll leave the eatery satisfied and with a full stomach. The great advantage of Peach Farm is its night service, so you can drop by late at night and find fresh and delicious meals.
Table Reservation Is a Must in the Best French Restaurants in Boston
Known all around the world, French cuisine is a joy both for eyes and taste buds. Julia Child always had only words of praise for French cuisine: “I had my first French meal and I never got over it. It was just marvelous…”
In The Hub, it’s possible to have a good time tasting the same delicacies as in Paris or Provence. B-Town features many top-notch Gascony eateries, bakeries, and cafe options worth exploring. Besides, eating French dishes is a feast for the soul and the stomach. That’s why you need to find places for your liking, with extraordinary plates and appealing interior – just make sure to reserve your table several weeks ahead. In the Back Bay neighborhood, you can try the same cuisine in two different spots. And decide which one you love the most.
Grand Tour Evokes the Spirit of Parisian Bistros
This is the ideal spot for special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, or business lunch. With its classy but comfortable ambiance, the Grand Tour will leave no one indifferent. Besides a cozy and inviting atmosphere, France’s authentic flavor will provide you plenty of excellent bites. While sitting here and nibbling your cheese, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of Paris.
Ideal for All Types of Events – Rochambeau
With two levels, two dining rooms, two bars, an outdoor patio, and a cafe, Rochambeau seems to be an ideal location to spend time with your loved ones or just drinking a cocktail. Thanks to its exceptional layout, boundaries do not exist. During summertime, you can enjoy magnificent views sitting outdoors, and if it rains or snowing, there is enough space inside to organize a great party or wedding. Providing brunch, lunch, and dinner options, Rochambeau will be your favorite spot to please your appetite or have a fun time with friends.
Best Lunch Restaurants in Boston – Pammy’s and Committee
What’s the first thing that pops into your head when wondering where to have lunch in B-Town? Perhaps enjoyable outdoor patio, excellent bill of fare, impeccable service, or all together? In B-Town, you can choose everything – a neighborhood that suits you the most, surroundings, type of cuisine, and views while eating your main course and drinking top-notch wine.
One of the most exceptional recommendations is a chic but homey space in Central Square, where you will find housemade pastas, fine wines, and a fireplace. Pammy’s will attract you not only by its appealing decor but that specific family mood thanks to chefs, wife and husband. This is a perfect place if you want to spend some quality time with dear people eating finger-licking specialties.
It’s said that Mediterranean cuisine is the healthiest one, and it should be eaten at least two times a week. And if you have a chance to spend your lunchtime in a big Greek foodie spot with a reliable menu, lucky you. Located in the Seaport District, Committee offers Greek specialties and outdoor brasserie, which is ideal during summer months. Also, you can enjoy a buffet service and smaller, intimate gatherings. Table d’hôte is based on modern Greek cuisine with meze, seafood, and meat options with always fresh cocktails available. The whole concept rests on the fact that you should order several small plates and try several different things. So, get ready to come here when you’re not in a hurry because your lunch will last a little longer than expected.
Experience Unforgettable Moments in Family Restaurants in Boston – Reunion Woods Hill Pier 4 and TABLE By Jen Royle
A kitchen is where family members spend unforgettable moments together, eating their favorite meals, and having relaxed conversations. This experience might become even deeper if you decide to get out of home and try something different somewhere else. The Hub is a place with plenty of kid-friendly eateries and environment adjusted to children’s needs. And the greatest thing is you can choose a dining spot according to your preferences and budget. Healthy and various ingredients with unique surroundings is probably the priority to every parent when planning lunch or dinner with kids. We’ve got you covered with some interesting spots offering plenty of things to do in Boston with kids, besides eating.
Flatbread Company Brighton is an eatery where each family member will be happy – children can run around between the bites thanks to plenty of space, while excellent beer selection, several tasty pizza options, and salads are definitely things that will amuse parents. After dinner, you can stay for some bowling and spend pleasant moments with friends and family.
If Jamaica Plain is going to be your prospective neighborhood, it’s good to know that Canary Square is situated here. This casual and fun eatery offers classic American cuisine with unique flavors and a creative approach. Dishes are prepared with locally grown seasonal ingredients, which can be paired with extraordinary wines, craft beers, and excellent cocktails. Your kiddos will be thrilled due to ample seating for families and entertainment options, such as crayons for children and parents alike.
Eat Well and Save Money in the Best Affordable Restaurants in Boston
If Oyster Plate Is Not Your Favorite, Your Palate Will Be Satisfied at Kelly's Roast Beef
For meat-lovers, there’s no better place than Kelly’s Roast Beef in Medford. With classic American meals, such as cheeseburger, fish and chips, hotdogs, onion rings, roast beef, this venue has become a favorite location for families and all others who prefer a mix of old-style dishes and modern culinary delicacies at reasonable prices.
Wang's Chinese Cuisine - Great Place for Late Bites
Located in Somerville, this small eatery offers Northern Chinese cuisine dominated by dumplings. You can choose pork, chicken, or vegetarian dumplings at prices from $6.95 to $18. If you become hungry late at night and want something different, non-American style meal, Wang’s Fast Food is well-known for its late-night deliveries.
Fresh and Tasty at Tasty Mo:Mo
This Nepalese eatery in Somerville has become popular thanks to its momo – a type of steamed dumpling with some filling of your choice. Momo is a traditional delicacy in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and many regions in India. In Tasty Mo:Mo, each of momos is freshly made with perfect flavor. If you want to enjoy handmade Nepalese specialties and save your money at the same time, you won’t be disappointed with Mo:Mo.
Try Portuguese Plates at Neighborhood Restaurant
Somerville boasts one more family-run brasserie where you can try Portuguese-American baked goods, homestyle breakfasts, homemade jellies, syrups, sweetbread wines, soups, etc. The Neighborhood Restaurant is a local gem, well-known for its huge portions, and fresh fruit, or a bowl of cream of wheat which come with entrée. With the warmer weather, you can sit on the patio under the grapevine and order your lunch – seafood platter, roasted chicken, or shrimp with rice. After your meal, order excellent lemonade or orange juice, and if you’re addicted to caffeine, coffee will cost you only $1.
Peruvian Barbecue in Machu Chicken Will Leave You Speechless
If you’ve never tried Peruvian cuisine, Machu Chicken will provide you with natural, juicy, and unique flavors from Peru. Besides the roasted chicken, you can order salads, sandwiches, grill, or make your own combination – be sure that your cravings will be satisfied. You can rest assured that portions are large enough, so even the hungriest will be full after a half chicken, salad, and fries. If you’re in search of a decent place to have an exotic dinner, Machu Chicken in Somerville is a must-try.
Impeccable Service and Excellent Plates Feature the Most Expensive Restaurants in Boston
Rare Steakhouse - $250 per Person
Would you like to try certified Kobe beef? In Rare Steakhouse it’s possible, but be ready to put aside $220 for 4 ounces. Actually, the cheapest items on the menu are craft beers – between $9 and $17. Boston’s most expensive dining place, located in Everett, is an unforgettable life experience, not just in price, but its elegant setting, top-notch dishes, and flawless service.
Mooo Restaurant - $215 per Person
Located in a pricey and historic neighborhood Beacon Hill, Mooo is famous for its classic but very expensive steaks. With a beautiful interior, knowledgeable staff, superb cocktails, and “to-die-for” plates, this is a venue for special occasions. It is the politicians’ favorite destination as well as wealthy ladies who often lunch Caviar ($100), porterhouse ($60), or bone-in filet mignon ($58).
Tasting Counter - $210 per Person
This eatery, in a hidden corner of Somerville, is a perfect place for all those looking for creative plates. You can either have lunch and dinner here – lunch includes three courses ($70), while dinner includes nine courses ($210) and lasts about two hours. If you would like to sit at the counter, watching the chef preparing your meal, and converse with him, this unique experience is possible. Tasting Counter is a new American eatery where you can order small bite appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
No. 9 Park - $125 per Person
This French and Italian restaurant in Beacon Hill serves masterpieces of European cuisines and first-rate wines. If you need a venue to celebrate a birthday or just spend some quality time with your loved ones, No. 9 Park is the right choice. You can expect a sophisticated setting, excellent bar options, and seven-course chef’s tasting menu available for $125. Delicious entrees plates include grilled Bavette steak ($45), halibut ($43), bluefin tuna ($41), Giannone Farms chicken ($39), and duck ($45).
Grill 23 & Bar - $90 per Person
Perhaps Boston’s most famous steakhouse, Grill 23 & Bar is located in Back Bay and is a favorite destination for business people and special occasions. What you will find here is excellent beef, seasonal produce, New England seafood, irresistible desserts, Grand Award-winning wine list, and warm hospitality. Meat portions range from $17 (12oz Choice Brandt New York Beef) to $45 (32oz Prime Brandt Porterhouse Beef).
Best Restaurants in Boston Are Amalgam of Different Cultures, Tastes, and Tradition
When relocating to Boston, one shouldn’t be worried about the future life. If you’ve done your research before hiring professional Boston’s movers, and their moving and packing services, you’ll know that the cost of living in Boston is 48% higher than the national average. Still, B-Town is less pricey than New York or San Francisco. With an average annual salary of $72,000 in Massachusetts, The Hub ranks in second place, just behind NY ($73,000).
That being said, your monthly and yearly income will be enough to cover all your expenses, and even more, it will allow you to indulge in some pleasures. Luckily, there are tons of unique things to do in Boston, and you can choose among a variety of eateries, culture events, outdoor activities, you name it. Some of the best restaurants in Boston will be on the bucket list of gourmets, while those interested in Skywalk Observatory or live music in dance clubs, will be fascinated by Boston nightlife.
Whatever your reasons to move are, you want to make sure the place you move to has an excellent culinary scene and spots where you can enjoy mouth-watering plates and pleasant moments with family and friends. Even top-notch eateries in the suburbs of Boston will provide you a real culinary adventure. Whether you’re moving to the suburbs or fancy neighborhoods, be ready to immerse yourself into different cuisines, flavors, fresh ingredients, spices, and you’ll discover the whole new foodie world. Just remember the words of great Julia Child: “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”