JP already has a great dining scene, so this top-notch Italian restaurant is a cherry on top. Neighborhood residents Claire Makley and Luke Fetbroth, together with partners David Doyle and Mari Pérez-Alers, are filling a void with a restaurant that draws inspiration from the everyday trattorias, enotecas and aperitivos that make Italian dining truly special. The menu isn’t extensive, but these are the small plates and dishes that make you want to hop a plane to Rome subito. Fennel salad, roasted squid, wood-roasted pies, and gorgeous pastas like lumache with wild mushrooms and creme fraiche and chitarra with clams and breadcrumbs. A curated list of cocktails and wines by the glass (including three orange wines) make your drink ordering easier.
How to book: Via Tock
Chef and owner Emily Vena is reimagining the dinner party in a second-floor, convivial setting in the Coolidge Corner Arcade. Four tables, one seating, 12 guests, BYOB: It’s as close to a private party as it gets. The five-course, prix-fixe Italian menu takes its cue from the seasonal vegetable haul. Right now, it’s a menu of harvest Caesar, a butternut mac & cheese, a wagyu polpette, and a pumpkin cake; while in the summer you might get a spinach dip and berry crumble.
Huzzah! Another place to get your fried clam on. Michael Serpa has revamped his former Grand Tour space into a classic New England seafood spot, complete with a long marbled bar and seafood-centric wine list. The menu is everything you crave, done impeccably but not overthought: lobster rolls (both hot and cold), clam chowder, a sprawling raw bar, and entrees like Maine halibut and Gloucester swordfish. Add in Grand Tour holdovers like the steak frites, and you have your new favorite date-night spot. Or stop in for a late afternoon snack or meal—the restaurant is also open during lunch time.
Do we really need more seafood restaurants? Uh, absolutely, especially when the team from Giulia is involved. Inside the onetime Chez Henri space is a wonder of global, seasonal fare: marinated mussels with green tomato salsa, Maine lobster spaghetti, smoked fish rillette, green crab custard. It’s the kind of restaurant where you should bring many friends so you can share more plates. Save room for a surprisingly robust dessert menu that includes unusual orders like miso peanut gelato and hazelnut financier.
The restaurant’s origin story begins in Brighton. Five years and oodles of loyal customers later, the tiny noodle shop has set up a more ambitious restaurant in the former Equator space. This is not Americanized Chinese comfort fare—and hurray for that. Yunnan, or Dian, cuisine leans heavily on ancient cooking methods and ingredients: fried pea jelly, sizzling braised chicken in a clay pot, boiled fish filet in chili oil, stir-fried udon noodles. If you really must, you can dip a toe in the “classics menu” with dishes like garlic shrimp and beef with broccoli, but why play it safe when you can explore a new Chinese province on your plate?
We miss Eastern Standard as much as the next person, but we also celebrate the further augmentation of our city’s sushi scene. The maki at Blue Ribbon Sushi is plentiful, but this is one of those times when you’re probably eating around the maki menu. Start with sushi bar specials like the fluke Usuzukuri, then go deep on the sushi and sashimi menu, which is divided between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Now’s your chance to sample amberjack and salt water eel in the same sitting. And yes, the sake menu is terrific, but that means tearing yourself away from the Japanese whiskey list.