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 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.

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  • 1. No. 9 Park

    $$$$ | Beacon Hill | European

    Welcome to the first and now flagship restaurant in acclaimed chef Barbara Lynch's empire. Even after 20 years, No. 9 Park continues to win...Read More

  • 2. Café Algiers

    Cozy, clustered tables fill both floors at this genuine Middle Eastern café, where you can peer at soaring, wood-paneled cathedral ceilings...Read More

  • 3. Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse

    $$$$ | Seaport | Steakhouse

    This popular Boston-born restaurant splits its focus between grilled all-natural steaks and chops and hearty, Italian-inspired dishes. Diners...Read More

  • 4. Grotto

    $$$ | Beacon Hill | Italian

    Intimate, romantic, and tucked away, this small, Italian-inspired restaurant makes for a great date spot, which may have something to do with...Read More

  • 5. Menton

    $$$$ | Fort Point Channel | French

    Those for whom price is no object will want to dine here, at Barbara Lynch's luxurious, France-meets-Italy-inspired eatery that's arguably the...Read More

  • 6. Cuchi Cuchi

    $$$ | Central Square | International

    Fabulosa, Cuchi Cuchi's sexy creature outside its front door, serves as a siren welcoming you to a sensual experience of boas, beaded lampshades...Read More

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