Forget the Summer of Gronk, the Summer of Pedro, and the Summer of The Rock. This has been the Summer. Of. Food. The Boston dining renaissance continues, and local chefs have been extra busy feeding the sun-soaked masses. Here are 20 new Hub restaurants you should check out immediately.
Super-chef Mario Batali has finally landed in Boston with Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca, an offshoot of his NYC flagship Babbo Ristorante. The sleek space is organized around three Carrara marble-topped bars, while the menu is organized around wood-burning brick oven pizzas, like quattro formaggi and pancetta with crimini and robiola. Of course, signature pastas such as the Bucatini all' Amatriciana are also in the mix alongside Italian small plates (gnoccho fritto) and house-made gelati (dark chocolate, graham cracker). For cheesemongers, be sure to check out the formaggio list with locally made wonders (Babbo ricotta, Wolf Meadow caciotta).
Folks went crazy for Moody’s Delicatessen when the sandwich/charcuterie mecca first opened in 2014, and the team is already expanding into The Backroom for a more formal dining experience. The mouth-watering charcuterie (e.g. sobrasada) still takes center stage, but Moody’s also offers “smallish plates” (scallop crudo, bourbon bathed pork belly), pasta and flatbreads (Parisian gnocchi, carnitas flatbread), and grilled selections like the succulent smoked wagyu brisket. If you’re in the mood for a man’s meal, go for the colossal 32oz Prime Cowboy Steak with grilled asparagus and topped with béarnaise. (Gonna.)
The Gallows Group (of the famed Blackbird Doughnuts and The Gallows) is already keeping the South End well-fed, and now they’re just showing off with the recently launched Banyan Bar + Refuge on Tremont St. This modern Asian gastropub melds Eastern and Western flavors into mashups for both its dishes and its drinks. Must-haves include the Umeboshi Old Fashioned (preserved plum-infused rye, Demerara simple syrup, yuzu bitters), kung pow sweetbreads, and cast iron duck confit crispy rice with corn relish, gochujang ketchup, and poached egg. However, the crown jewel is the fried chicken done Ptang-style with dried lime chimichurri and furikake.
BISq, short for Bergamot Inman Square (#clever), is a New American restaurant helmed by Executive Chef Daniel Bazzinotti, Bergamot’s former sous chef wunderkind. The menu focuses on charcuterie and small plates like salmon tiradito, grilled peaches with house-made ricotta, and cherry-glazed lamb ribs. If you want the full monty, order the “Bazz Hook Up Board” with an assortment of house-made charcuterie such as braised pork au torchon, âté grandmere, and kabanosy... which is essentially a Polish Slim Jim. The wine and beer programs have been carefully curated for proper pairings and contain some exotic selections like Ace Pilsener from El Salvador.
We all shed a tear for Estelle’s, but Chef Brian Poe (Tip Tap Room, etc.) and his crew have retooled the former southern depot into CLUCKIT!, a “hot chicken and cold beer” destination for those in need of both. And really spicy food. The main offerings are piri piri marinated chicken, steak, and shrimp available in three heat levels (mild, medium, scorching), with 100+ beers to douse the flames. They also plate killer apps (chorizo & clams in a spicy piri broth), and Estelle’s much-loved burger remains on the menu. Bonus: drink all the beers in 180 days and join the elite CLUCKIT! Mugger’s Club complete with personalized glassware that lives at the restaurant.
Take a trip to the Mediterranean without leaving Boston at Committee, a meze-inspired eatery that pays homage to Greek, Lebanese, Turkish, and North African flavors. All plates are meant to be shared (or not), and come in two varieties: Arhi (cold) and Pioteros (warm). On the cold side, there are zippy dips such as tzatziki, baba ganoush, and North African-style hummus, plus snackables like grape leaf dolmades and salt-roasted beets. On the warm side, grilled octopus, souvlaki (with marinated lamb), and grilled haloumi are mandatory for the table. Drinks also tilt exotic, and you need the well-balanced Blood Orange Old Fashioned fueled by Bulleit rye, blood orange syrup, grapefruit, orange oleo-saccharum, and bitters.
Deep within our Little Italy, Crudo breaks the culinary mold with pan-Asian tastes and a mix of old/new Japanese cuisine. Executive Chef Kenichi Iwaoka (Ginza, OSUSHI) blends unique ingredients for dishes like Oyster Pearls, a tempura-fried tempter with truffle-honey aioli and fried cilantro; and Lobster Tsunami Makimono with lobster salad and fried leeks perched on a lightly grilled rice cake. If you’re really hungry, dive into the Seafood Pan Fried Noodle loaded with calamari, shrimp, and scallops, and wash that down with the Social Mule (cucumber vodka, ginger liqueur, organic sake, ginger beer).
Boston is going dumpling crazy, and now you can get your fix in Back Bay at Dumpling Palace, the “Mini-Me” of Chinatown’s award-winning Dumpling Café. Chefs Peter Wang and Chef Chen have brought along all of your Chinese and Taiwanese favorites such as steamed (or fried) pork and leek dumplings, Taiwan-style grilled sausages, and striped bass with bitter melon soup. To quench your thirst, Dumpling Palace makes tasty bubble teas (strawberry, almond, etc.) and milk shakes (banana, watermelon, etc.) Bonus: while you’re perusing the extensive menu, watch the crew at work from their glassed-in kitchen.
Fort Point Channel
Just when you thought Menton couldn’t get any better, they added a stylish new destination within their already stylish destination. The Gold Bar, a collaboration between Chefs Barbara Lynch and Scott Jones, trends posh-casual with metallic leather banquettes, gold pendant lights, and a stunning Giallo Siena marble bar. Also stunning are the drinks and bites, a playful fusion of the two chefs’ mad skillz. The truffled butter brioche melts in your mouth, and the petite jamon sandwich perfectly balances rich and salty courtesy of Spanish ham, a quail egg, and béarnaise. The cocktail menu features jazzed-up classics ranging from lighter daiquiris and margaritas to beefier highballs and Old Fashioneds.
Brookline’s popular Hops N Scotch exported its wares to Inman Square for more beer and whiskey action... and more of those diabolical Southern Scotch eggs. (Yes!) Residing in the defunct Haveli location, Hops N Scotch’s new corner stronghold keeps things real with 40 drafts, 40 more bottles/cans, and over 100 brown liquors. And it serves serious man food like house-made beer bread, the Hops Cubano, and the HnS Steak, a 12oz NY strip served with wedge potatoes.
Kenmore Square just got a whole lot fancier with the arrival of Josephine, a casual-chic Parisian outpost from owner Samuel Gosselin and Executive Chef Stefano Quaresima (Petit Robert South End). Pretend you’re on the Seine while savoring contemporary French cuisine such as opera de foie gras, kale croquant, and homard à l’américaine, a stunning lobster presentation. Josephine is also brunching on Saturdays and Sundays with classics like quiche Lorraine and the house specialty Chef Sandwich with pork belly and truffle mayo on focaccia.
Cambridge St is totally the new hotspot (with BISq, Loyal Nine, etc.), and Allston legend Lone Star Taco Bar throws gas on the proverbial fire at its new East Cambridge branch. Tucked into the former Lizzy’s/Pug’s spot, Lone Star sticks to its Texas-sized guns with plenty of signature tacos (house-made chorizo, carnitas pork), ‘ritas (El Diablo), and cheap Tecate cans ($3.50). You’re also getting grilled street corn, its gimme-more-of-that guac, and Victory Club Nachos. Special Cambridge-only menu item: the Sonoran Dog, a bacon-wrapped Pearl frank crowned with refried beans, longhorn cheese, roasted salsa chipotle mustard, and crema.
We’re heading back to France, except this time our host is internationally acclaimed Chef Jacky Robert, one of only 200 Maitre Cuisiniers de France (along with Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert). Chef Robert is joining forces with Sam Sosnitsky to revamp her Pierrot Bistro into Ma Maison featuring both traditional plates and standards with a twist. Start with pan-seared foie gras and Gruyere and Muenster onion soup, then settle into duck magret with kimchee duck confit purses or the braised short ribs bourguignon with croquette potatoes. For beverages, try a French cocktail like Le Château boosted by house Champagne and Grand Marnier.
Inspired by Austin and Portland food parks, Naco Taco is an urban taqueria presenting creative spins on Mexican street food. Owners Brian Lesser and Alex Tannenbaum teamed up with consulting chef Michael Scelfo (Alden & Harlow) to bring you a rotating selection of tacos, tortas, sides, and cervezas so you can create your own south-of-the-border fiesta. Upon arrival, you should order the smoked agave michelada, because sipping gives you time to figure out how many al pastor tacos you’re going to eat. Or you could save your strength for a mighty lamb belly torta on house-made corn telera. Salsa and crema fanatics can score a trio ($15) with choices like salsa roja, smoked almond, and spicy guajillo chile crema. PS, it has a mega patio on Mass Ave.
Cambridge (between Harvard Square and Porter Square)
Susan Regis (UpStairs on the Square) and Rene Becker (Hi-Rise) are the new dynamic duo in town, and they cordially invite you to Shepard, their farm-fresh kitchen in the old Chez Henri spot. The menu will morph depending on local/seasonal goods, but representative dishes include smoked bluefish pate, gnocchi with morels, and bavette steak with green garlic. During this inaugural summer, indulge in the belly-busting Shepard Clam Bake with lobster, steamers, new potatoes, and grits. However, you need to save room for the grilled doughnut, a glazed yeast masterpiece lightly seared by the flames and served with coffee ice cream.
The Varano Group, known for Nico and their many Stregas, expands their mini-empire with Rina’s, a casual Euro-style joint on Hanover St. A massive Neapolitan Italian brick oven dominates the kitchen, and it cranks out serious pizzas such as the quattro stagioni maxed out with tomatoes, mushrooms, peas, artichokes, and olives. It has tempting starters (Rosetta’s Famous Meatballs for $5), calzones, pastas, paninis, and a genius dessert: more pizza. Yep, you can get a personal pan pizza, again... FOR DESSERT, with either Nutella and noci or fresh Italian ricotta. If you live or work nearby, stop by Rina’s in the morning for various coffees and assorted breakfast goodies.
The newly renovated Park Plaza is ready to strut its stuff with Off the Common, an elegant-but-chill lounge and restaurant located in the hotel’s iconic lobby. First off, it’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 6:30am until midnight, and the stately eye-catching bar is open until 1am. Every day. In the morning it’s all about lobster Benedict, while the midday meal calls for the grilled Angus burger on a pretzel roll. Luxuriate during dinner with baked local cod loin with romesco sauce or house smoked rotisserie chicken with wilted mustard greens. The cocktail list pays tribute to the city with gems like the Emerald Necklace (Plymouth gin, muddled cucumber, fresh lime) and Ask Kennedy (Bully Boy rum, lime juice, grapefruit, Luxardo).
The Varano Group is clearly busy these days, first with Rina’s and now with Strip by Strega, the latest in their line of high-end steakhouses. The posh leather and wood interior provides an ideal setting for the posh fare, and you must begin your evening with wine from its globe-trotting list. And since you’re at the grown-ups table, it’s only appropriate to feast on the Strip Seafood Tower and Wagyu Carpaccio followed by prosciutto-wrapped veal tenderloin or rack of lamb. But you’re probably there for beef, and you’ll have a tough time choosing between the 14oz. Niman Ranch prime sirloin, the 24oz prime porterhouse, or the hulking 28oz long bone-in prime Delmonico. (Whoa, that escalated quickly.)
Brought to you by the geniuses behind jm Curley, Sunny Boy is set to dominate breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Washington Square... and beyond. The menu is loaded with treats for any time of day, which means you should visit early and often. Standout items are the scratch-made latkes, the towering turkey club on house-baked bread, and the juicy prime rib. For those exercise-types on the move, Sunny Boy also stocks its grab & go station with healthy fare like smoothies, chia pudding, and cous cous salad. The liquor cabinet is fully stocked, too, from 30+ craft beers to a pirate’s bounty of rum. (That’s a lot.) Bonus feature: it has charging stations attached to the side of the bar. #convenient
Located beneath FiRE+iCE on Berkeley, underFiRE (get it?) is a casual resto/lounge that’s turning up the heat. Literally. In addition to the signature grilled ishi-yaki options, diners can experience table-top lava rock cooking that sears proteins (steak, scallops, tuna) at 600 degrees. (Oven mitts optional.) It'll also have a build-your-own-burger bar so you can cover your patty with whatever you want, like Sriracha mayo. Since its May opening, underFiRE’s tacos have already become a crowd favorite, and you need The Club with Peruvian-style grilled chicken, braised pork belly, and jalapeño-garlic aioli.
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1. underFIRE205 Berkeley St,
2. Sunny Boy1632 Beacon St, Brookline
3. Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca11 Fan Pier Boulevard, Boston
4. The Backroom at Moody's Delicatessen468 Moody Street, Waltham
5. Banyan Bar + Refuge553 Tremont Street, Boston
6. BISq1071 Cambridge Street, Cambridge
7. CLUCKIT!782 Tremont St., Boston
8. Committee50 Northern Avenue, Boston
9. The Gold Bar (at Menton)354 Congress Street, Boston
10. Hops N Scotch1306 Beacon Street, Brookline
11. Josephine468 Commonwealth avenue, Boston
12. Rina's Pizzeria & Cafe371 Hanover St, Boston
13. Off the Common50 Park Plaza, Boston
14. Strip By Strega64 Arlington St, Boston
15. Crudo78 Salem St., Boston
16. Shepard1 Shepard St, Cambridge
17. Naco Taco297 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge
18. Ma Maison272 Cambridge St, Boston
19. Lone Star Taco Bar479 Cambridge St., Boston
This quirky, inviting bar and restaurant is located underneath FiRE&iCE (get it?!). They're turning up the heat with tabletop lava rocks and have an awesome build-your-own burger option. Whatever you do, make sure you order the Club with Peruvian-style grilled chicken, braised pork belly, and jalapeño-garlic aioli.
This all-day establishment serves three separate meals with loads of homemade treats and fresh menu items. Their grab and go station is stocked with healthy favorites like chia pudding and cous cous salad. With over 30 craft beers and an arsenal of rum, it's as good for saddling up to the bar as it is for dining in.
Babbo Pizzeria, brought to us by the famous Mario Batali, features signatures pizza and pasta dishes, along with a cheese list full of locally made cheeses. It's located in the Seaport district of town, and all the pies are made with organic wheat flour (100%!) and California tomatoes. A fan favorite is Babbo's goat cheese pizza with pistachios, red onions, and truffle honey.
From "smallish plates" or scallops or pork belly to giant steak dishes, there is something for everyone at The Backroom.
From the team behind The Gallows and Blackbird Donuts (so you know it's good), the South End's Banyan Bar + Refuge is an eclectic Asian gastropub with enormous tree-branch light fixtures on its ceiling and tasty oddities like scallop rangoon dip, mapo frito pie, pastrami fried rice, and fried cornish game hen on its menu. Banyan's craft cocktails and their clever names are equally intriguing, such as the Svelte Sumo (vodka, sake, lemon, cucumber), Sad Panda (gin, watermelon, aloe, lime), and Dharma Chameleon (shiso-infused gin, burnt cinnamon, lemon).
The small plates from BISq has pretty big flavor, like salmon tiradito, grilled peaches with house-made ricotta, and charry-glazed lamb ribs.
If you drink all of the beers in 180 days, you'll become a member of the CLUCKIT! Muggers Club and get complimentary personalized glassware that lives at the restaurant. Talk about a reward!
Committee is a Mediterranan spot located on the waterfront in Boston's Seaport District. It's a shiny, sleek, modern take on your typical Greek deli or butchershop: both the lunch and dinner menus offer traditional Greek staples (chicken and lamb gyros, grilled haloumi, souvlaki) and house specialties (the Committee Club, a turkey sandwich on kalamata olive loaf). The brunch menu is what really sets it apart from alternative Greek options, however. To give your regular brunch group a break from mimosas and poached eggs, order a Santorini soda and a breakfast gyro here instead.
The only thing more beautiful than The Gold Bar's decor is their truffled butter brioche. It will melt your mouth and your heart.
If you go here without trying the Southern Scotch eggs, it's like you never went at all.
Get ready to add some chic contemporary French cuisine to your brunch rotation.
This molto Italiano pizza spot wins the topping game, so don't be afraid to pile 'em on there.
Go for the full hotel bar experience and order something lobster-y, Angus-y, or rotisserie.
The fact that this steakhouse is located in Boston's boogie Back Bay should tell you most everything you need to know. This popular spot is the prime dinner location if you're ready to splurge on a three-course meal consisting of gnocchi, lobster bisque and a prime porterhouse alongside a martini (and if you want to impress dates or colleagues). If you're not, dropping by for eggs benedict and a mimosa at brunch won't set you back nearly as far (and it won't be as crowded, either).
Getting a mix of old/new Japanese cuisine in the heart of LIttle Italy? Count us in!
This neighborhood restaurant on Harvard Square is a farm-fresh destination that changes its menu depending on the availability of local and seasonal goods. The food is vaguely French, though it wouldn't be a New England restaurant without a fine selection of seafood either. The space feels light and airy with white walls and a marble bar.
Nouveau tacos and empanadas inspired by food parks, Naco is the ultimate Mex-American Instagram-able nosh spot.
Internationally acclaimed chef Jackie Robert joins forces with Sam Sosnitsky to create a French bistro featuring updated versions of traditional standards. The food is sublime and the cocktails, like the Le Château with champagne and Grand Marnier, won't disappoint.