Boston Restaurants

In a city synonymous with tradition, Boston chefs have spent recent years rewriting culinary history. The stuffy, wood-paneled formality is gone; the endless renditions of chowdah, lobster, and cod have retired; and the assumption that true foodies better hop the next Amtrak to New York is also—thankfully—a thing of the past.In
In a city synonymous with tradition, Boston chefs have spent recent years rewriting culinary history. The stuffy, wood-paneled formality is gone; the endless renditions of chowdah, lobster, and cod have retired; and the assumption that true foodies better hop the next A
In a city synonymous with tradition, Boston chefs have spent recent years rewriting culinary history. The stuffy, wood-p

In a city synonymous with tradition, Boston chefs have spent recent years rewriting culinary history. The stuffy, wood-paneled formality is gone; the endless renditions of chowdah, lobster, and cod have retired; and the assumption that true foodies better hop the next Amtrak to New York is also—thankfully—a thing of the past.

In their place, a crop of young chefs has ascended, opening small, upscale neighborhood spots that use local New England ingredients to delicious effect. Traditional eats can still be found (Durgin-Park remains the best place to get baked beans), but many diners now gravitate toward innovative food in understated environs. Whether you're looking for casual French, down-home Southern cooking, some of the best sushi in the country, or Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, Boston restaurants are ready to deliver. Eclectic Japanese spot o ya and iconic French restaurant L'Espalier have garnered widespread attention, while a coterie of star chefs like Barbara Lynch, Lydia Shire, and Ken Oringer have built mini-empires and thrust the city to the forefront of the national dining scene.

The fish and shellfish brought in from nearby shores continue to inform the regional cuisine, along with locally grown fruits and vegetables, handmade cheeses, and humanely raised heritage game and meats. But don't expect boiled lobsters and baked apple pie. Today’s chefs, while showcasing New England’s bounty, might offer you lobster cassoulet with black truffles, bacon-clam pizza from a wood-burning oven, and a tomato herb salad harvested from the restaurant’s rooftop garden. In many ways, though, Boston remains solidly skeptical of trends. To wit: the cupcake craze and food truck trend hit here later than other cities; the Hawaii-inspired poke movement has only recently arrived. And over in the university culture of Cambridge, places like the Harvest and Oleana espoused the locavore and slow-food movements before they became buzzwords.

Recommended Fodor’s Video

Sort by: 42 Recommendations {{numTotalPoiResults}} {{ (numTotalPoiResults===1)?'Recommendation':'Recommendations' }} 0 Recommendations
CLEAR ALL CLEAR ALL
Loading...
  • 1. Eastern Standard Kitchen and Drinks

    $$$ | Kenmore Square | American

    A vivid red awning beckons patrons of this spacious brasserie-style restaurant with menus for breakfast, lunch, midday, dinner, and late night...Read More

  • 2. Island Creek Oyster Bar

    $$$ | Kenmore Square | Seafood

    As the name indicates, this Hotel Commonwealth restaurant specializes in seafood, beginning with oysters that come fresh from the restaurant...Read More

  • 3. Myers + Chang

    $$ | South End | Chinese

    Pink and orange dragon decals cover the windows of this all-day Chinese café, where Joanne Chang (of Flour bakery fame) taps her familial cooking...Read More

  • 4. Neptune Oyster

    $$$ | North End | Seafood

    This piccolo oyster bar, the first of its kind in the neighborhood, has only 22 chairs, but the long marble bar adorned with mirrors has extra...Read More

  • 5. Oleana

    $$$ | Mediterranean

    With three restaurants (Sofra in Cambridge and Sarma in Somerville) and two cookbooks to her name, chef-owner Ana Sortun continues to bewitch...Read More

  • 6. Posto

    $$ | Italian

    A central wood-burning oven at this Davis Square spot churns out over a dozen varieties of excellent tomato or "white" bubble-crusted pies ...Read More

  • 7. Select Oyster Bar

    $$$$ | Back Bay | Seafood

    Snug quarters and no desserts can't quell the stream of diners pouring into this uptown enclave eager to savor oysters and such seductive seafood...Read More

  • 8. Sweet Cheeks Q

    $$ | The Fenway | American

    Red Sox fans, foodies, and Fenway residents flock to this meat-lover's mecca, where Texas-style barbecue is the name of the game. Hefty slabs...Read More

  • 9. Toro

    $$$ | South End | Spanish

    The opening buzz from chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette's tapas joint, which now has an outpost in Manhattan, still remains loud—for good...Read More

  • 10. Alden & Harlow

    $$$ | Harvard Square | American

    This boisterous subterranean restaurant with a 30-seat bar and industrial-chic design specializes in rustic, seasonal snacks and small plates...Read More

  • 11. All Star Sandwich Bar

    $ | American

    This brightly colored place with about a dozen tables turns out fresh, high-quality sandwiches all served with coleslaw, dill pickle, and a...Read More

  • 12. Atlantic Beer Garden

    $$ | Waterfront | American

    If you happen to be visiting the ICA, take a break at the Atlantic Beer Garden. Just steps from the art museum, the bar and restaurant has dozens...Read More

  • 13. Babbo Pizzeria

    $ | Downtown | Italian

    With his signature ponytail and orange clogs, celebrity chef Mario Batali is the name behind this bountiful pizzeria with three bars and a 1...Read More

  • 14. Barking Crab Restaurant

    $$$ | Waterfront | Seafood

    Decked out in cheery colors of yellow, red, and green, this is, believe it or not, a real seaside clam shack located smack dab in the middle...Read More

  • 15. Bella Luna & The Milky Way

    $$ | Jamaica Plain | Italian

    Tucked away in The Brewery Complex, home to myriad small businesses, including Samuel Adams beer, this restaurant-cum-nightclub offers sci-fi...Read More

  • 16. Black Rose

    $ | Government Center | Irish

    If all that shopping and snacking has made you thirsty, you might want to stop for a pint at the Black Rose; take a right at the far end of...Read More

  • 17. Durgin-Park Market Dining Room

    $$ | Government Center | American

    You should be hungry enough to cope with enormous portions, yet not so hungry you can't tolerate a long wait (or sharing a table with others...Read More

  • 18. Eldo Cake House

    $ | Downtown | Chinese

    Never considered bean paste for dessert or eaten a Chinese-style pork bun? Expand your horizons at Eldo Cake House, which has both sweet and...Read More

  • 19. Estragon Tapas

    $$$ | South End | Spanish

    The urbane 1930s decor makes this South End Spanish restaurant feel high-class, but the tapas plates and easy-to-share fish and meat dishes...Read More

  • 20. Flour Bakery + Café

    $ | South End | American

    A good spot to refuel on a budget is Flour Bakery + Café, a perennial candidate for Boston's best sandwiches and stuffed bread. Also superb...Read More

No Restaurants Results

Please try a broader search, or expore these popular suggestions: