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. Bostonia Public House

    $$$ | Downtown | American

    Airy and classic in atmosphere, this modern restaurant focuses on two things: food and local history (it is, after all, situated in a historic...Read More

  • 2. Legal Harborside

    $$$$ | Seaport | Seafood

    Three huge floors, three different menus, and one spectacular view makes Legal Harborside a worthy flagship for Boston's iconic Legal Sea Foods...Read More

  • 3. Woods Hill Pier 4

    $$$$ | Seaport | Modern American

    Kristin Canty’s brand new restaurant features floor-to-ceiling windows and sweeping, 270-degree views of the Boston Harbor waterfront. Neutral...Read More

  • 4. Alcove

    $$$ | West End | Contemporary

    A mix of New England seafood dishes, European-style charcuterie, and an international flair to most everything else describes what you'll see...Read More

  • 5. Dewey Square Food Trucks

    $ | Financial District | Fast Food

    On weekday mornings and afternoons, locally operated food trucks congregate at Dewey Square plaza on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, ready to serve...Read More

  • 6. KO Pies

    $ | East Boston | Australian

    Picnic tables in a covered patio—or, in-season, a faux-grassy knoll overlooking the East Boston Shipyard and harbor—serve as seating for this...Read More

  • 7. Pier 6

    $$$ | Charlestown | Seafood

    For a meal on the waterfront, try Pier 6 in the Charlestown Navy Yard just steps from the USS Constitution. You'll be treated to requisite...Read More

  • 8. ReelHouse

    $$$ | American

    Modern, shiny, and bright, ReelHouse's dining room serves up waterfront views through large-panel windows and fresh New England line-caught...Read More

  • 9. Rowes Wharf Sea Grille

    $$$ | Waterfront | Seafood

    Sophisticated, pristine, and yet unpretentious, this restaurant pairs nautical flair with light preparations of fresh seafood, fitting for its...Read More

  • 10. Six \ West

    $$$ | South Boston | Modern American

    Within South Boston's brand new Cambria hotel, Six \ West serves drinks and food for every meal of the day in a couple different on-site locations...Read More

  • 11. Sullivan's

    $ | South Boston | Fast Food

    Family-owned and established in 1951, this beach-style dairy bar serves fried seafood, hot dogs, hamburgers, and soft-serve ice cream at Castle...Read More

  • 12. The Barking Crab

    $$$ | Fort Point Channel | 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

  • 13. Trillium Brewing Company

    $$ | Fort Point Channel | American

    When it comes to craft beer, a lot of Bostonians get excited about Trillium, even more so now that the native brewer moved to these much bigger...Read More

  • 14. Yankee Lobster Co.

    $ | Seaport | Seafood

    There's nothing fresher than eating fish the same day it's caught, and that's what you get at this family-owned seafood shack in the Seaport...Read More

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