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.

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  • 1. B&G Oysters

    $$$ | South End | Seafood

    B&G Oysters' Chef Barbara Lynch (of No. 9 Park, the Butcher Shop, Sportello, DRINK, and Menton fame) has made yet another fabulous mark...Read More

  • 2. Blue Dragon

    $$ | Downtown | Asian

    Old Shanghai meets stylish South Boston at TV-star chef Ming Tsai's uber-popular Asian gastropub, set in an abandoned triangular diner in the...Read More

  • 3. Craigie on Main

    $$$$ | French

    This soulful, white-cloth restaurant is the project of chef-owner Tony Maws, one of Boston's landmark chefs. With a passion for all things fresh...Read More

  • 4. FuGaKyu

    $$ | Japanese

    The name in Japanese means "house of elegance" and the gracious and efficient service hits the mark at this flagship location, along with the...Read More

  • 5. Post 390

    $$$ | Back Bay | American

    This hopping "urban tavern" tantalizes diners with creative gastropub fare like sizzled crab cakes with champagne-pickled shallots, herb-marinated...Read More

  • 6. Scampo

    $$$ | Beacon Hill | Italian

    In the Liberty Hotel—the former site of the infamous Charles Street Jail—this Beacon Hill hot spot has a prison-chic vibe, complete with barred...Read More

  • 7. Sonsie

    $$$ | Back Bay | American

    Café society blossoms along Newbury Street, particularly at Sonsie (a favorite haunt of the Patriot's Tom Brady), where a well-heeled crowd...Read More

  • 8. Sorellina

    $$$$ | Back Bay | Italian

    Set in an all-white dining room, everything about this upscale Italian spot is oversized, from its space near Copley Square to its flavor-packed...Read More

  • 9. Sportello

    $$ | Downtown | Italian

    Barbara Lynch, the queen of Boston's dining scene (see also No. 9 Park, B&G Oysters, and The Butcher Shop), had the foresight to create...Read More

  • 10. Trade

    $$$ | Waterfront | Mediterranean

    Crowds slip into this Waterfront District eatery for quiet lunches of globally inspired fare, like salmon crudo with chickpea crackers and plates...Read More

  • 11. Uni

    $$$$ | Back Bay | Asian

    Inside the tasteful boutique Eliot Hotel lies an innovative izakaya (informal Japanese gastropub) offering boldly flavored renditions of Asian...Read More

  • 12. Blue Ginger

    $$$ | Asian

    Chef Ming Tsai's nimble maneuvers in the kitchen have caught the nation's eye via a public TV cooking program, Simply Ming, and his many cookbooks...Read More

  • 13. West Side Lounge

    $ | American

    Understated is the buzzword at this relaxed but suave bistro, where the food is as comfortable as the setting. A homey, rotating menu complements...Read More

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