Food & Drink

The Top Menu Picks to Try at Dine Out Boston's Restaurant Week

The summer edition of Boston’s Restaurant Week (FKA Dine Out Boston, FKA Restaurant Week) is finally here and open for reservations between the weeks of August 5-10 and August 12-17. So how to choose among the more than 120 participants spread across both the city and suburbs? Turn to us, hungry grasshopper. We’ve combed through the menus to pick out some of the fortnight’s best apps, entrees, and desserts -- so prepare to sample as many as possible, given that a two-course lunch starts at just 15 bucks. Go outside your culinary comfort zone, or revisit an old fave you’ve taken for granted over the years. Just remember the old refrain: Tax, tip, and drinks are not included. (All meals are available Sunday through Friday unless otherwise indicated.)

75 on Courthouse Square


With a new restaurant opening in the Seaport, oh, every half-hour or so, it’s easy to miss a few of the recently debuted gems. Rectify that wrong at the sleek, clubby sibling to 75 Chestnut and 75 on Liberty Wharf, just six months old but already a master of New England-centric comfort fare.
Order: Herbed clam chowder, Nantucket seafood stew, and molten chocolate cake for dinner.
Cost: $33 for a three-course dinner, Saturday included.

Bistro 5

West Medford

Ah, so this is why everyone’s fleeing to Medford: a sneakily sound restaurant scene. Bistro 5 is the neighborhood default other suburbanites crave: Cozy and convivial, with a sophisticated yet informal decor, a marbled corner bar, and of course, sublime food (seriously, the homemade gnocchi will have you pricing out single families in the area).
Order: Summer beets, gnocchi with wild foraged mushrooms, and creme brulee for dinner.
Cost: $38 for a three-course dinner, Tuesday through Saturday and then Tuesday through Friday.

Bistro du Midi

Back Bay

Feeling French this semaine? Don your most European frocks and lean into the restaurant’s classic francophile atmosphere (gotta love a waiter who takes your order down in a leather Moleskine). A springtime changeup in menu and management means the kitchen now toes the line between French and coastal New England cuisine -- which means summer is all about seasonal fish and veggies prepared avec beaucoup amour.
Order: Salmon rillette, croque monsieur, and hazelnut mousse for lunch; mussels, bavette steak, and lemon tart for dinner.
Cost: $25 for a three-course lunch menu (Monday through Friday) and $38 for a three-course dinner menu.

Boston Chops Downtown

Downtown Crossing

No, the $10,000 Instagram Table isn’t discounted for Restaurant Week, but now’s still a prime (heh) time to drink in the sexy-steak atmosphere of Boston Chops’ newly opened second outpost.
Order: Iceberg salad and 6-ounce cast iron-seared filet ($10 supplement) for lunch; oysters, steak frites, and sticky toffee pudding for dinner.
Cost: $25 for a two-course lunch, $38 for a three-course dinner, Monday through Friday.

the butcher shop bos
Wayne Chinnock

Butcher Shop

South End

Barbara Lynch’s twee, European-like wine and charcuterie nirvana is such a South End staple that it’s easy to pass it over for a newer model. Still, stop. And why are we insisting you first return during Restaurant Week? Because they’re bringing back their famous hot dog, no longer a regular menu item but well worth the special visit.
Order: Heirloom tomato salad, TBS hot dog, and coconut cake for dinner.
Cost: $38 for a three-course dinner.


South End

Looking to do a little Loren/Mastroianni role playing? The moody, seductive Cinquecento provides a sublime backdrop. Looking instead to stuff your face with all manner of antipasti and pasta? Cinquecento’s got you covered there, too. While the weather’s still warm, start with a drink at the outdoor shipping container bar.
Order: Corn soup, spaghetti cacio e pepe, and chocolate panna cotta for dinner.
Cost: $33 for three-course dinner, Saturday included.


South End

With its unpretentious yet sophisticated interior, this corner dining spot is all about humble, customer-first cooking. Regulars revel in Italian-influenced fare like arancini, porchetta ravioli, and pork milanese. The menu rotates regularly, but the wine list remains committed to both Northern Italian and French bottles -- and a white Negroni starter doesn’t hurt.
Order: Charred calamari, fazzoletti, and chamomile pavlova for dinner.
Cost: $33 for a three-course dinner.

Glass House

Kendall Square

Come from the futuristic architecture, stay for the nostalgic cooking. East Cambridge used to be the hub of Greater Boston’s glass-making scene, which explains the Glass House’s incongruity: Modern, award-winning setting and familiar New England comfort fare like cider mussels & fries and pan-roasted cod. By the way, it totally works.
Order: Shrimp & grits, mushroom “shepherd's pie,” and honey cake for dinner.
Cost: $33 for a three-course dinner, Saturday included.

The Hourly Oyster House

Harvard Square

It’s what you want from your seafood restaurant. No pretension, just boisterous good cheer to accompany a menu of old friends: Lobster bisque, crab cakes, fish & chips, and of course, an expertly prepared lobster roll (griddled roll, minimum of mayo). All of this is best enjoyed on the patio tucked away in an alley space adjacent to the restaurant proper.
Order: Composed oysters, herb-crusted local hake, and peach semifreddo for dinner.
Cost: $38 for a three-course dinner, Saturday included.

grill 23
Grill 23

Grill 23 & Bar

Back Bay

The city’s paleo patriarch has been giving us our daily protein for three decades now, and it isn’t even close to slowing down. This place is expense account central, what with a three-figure wagyu striploin kicking off the menu (just think of all the backroom business deals that have been made over this dish). In other words: Never, ever, ever pass up the opportunity to dine at Grill 23 for less.
Order: Bitter green salad, 10-ounce prime New York Oscar ($18 supplement), cashew tart for dinner.
Cost: $38 for a three-course dinner.


Fort Point

All of Barbara Lynch’s spots are important in different ways, really. But Menton did something no other Boston restaurant has done: It earned Relais & Châteaux status in 2012. It also introduced us to the inimitable pleasures of butter soup and sold us on the absolute value of a three-figure tasting meal. No aspiring gourmand should leave the city without experiencing Menton once -- so what better time than now, when the restaurants is offering three different Restaurant Week lunch options, all well under three figures?
Order: Tomato and cucumber salad, arctic char, and milk chocolate roulade for lunch.
Cost: $25 for a two-course lunch, $35 for a three-course lunch, and $50 for a five-course lunch, Monday through Friday.

Oak + Rowan

Fort Point

“Hunt. Fish. Farm. Gather.” is the restaurant’s mantra. “Eat. It. All. Now.” is ours. We’ve yet to not swoon over a meal here, be it the paleo entrees like chicken and lobster with foie gras jus or the gloriously decadent brunch (dear god, that pastry cart). Both the lunch and dinner Restaurant Week menus offer a comprehensive glimpse into the kitchen’s wizardry.
Order: Chilled sweet corn soup, grilled summer squash tartine, and chocolate & malt whoopie pie for lunch; clam & pork chowder, sea bream & Maine crab, and sunflower tiramisu for dinner.
Cost: $25 for three-course lunch; $28 for three-course dinner.


Beacon Hill

Lydia Shire: A cooking icon who taught us the timelessness of lobster pizza. You’re not getting that on the Restaurant Week menu (come back for it after), but you are going to be reminded the singular appeals of her upscale Italian cooking.
Order: Potato croquette, “sugar ‘n’ butter” corn ravioli, Lydia Shire’s tiramisu for lunch.
Cost: $25 for a three-course lunch, Monday through Friday.

Les Zygomates

Leather District

Time to take a second look at a quarter-century-old standby. A new chef means a new small plates menu, the better to justify a gloriously expensive glass of wine and a quick snack after work. Otherwise, one of our city’s most iconic French bistros is its same, indelible self -- so stop taking it for granted already and remind yourself of its myriad charms.
Order: Fennell avocado gazpacho, blackened tuna, and Zyg’s sundae for dinner.
Cost: $38 for a three-course dinner.

Select Oyster Bar

Back Bay

Michael Serpa’s townhouse space pays proper homage to New England seafood with dishes like blue prawns a la plancha and whole roasted sea bream. Oysters are aplenty, as are the Jonah crab claws, dressed lobster, and a seafood-friendly wine program -- which might feel more accessible during this fixed-price period.
Order: Smoke bluefish plate and Maine lobster caprese for lunch; for dinner, add the roasted arctic char.
Cost: $24 for a two-course lunch, $38 for a three-course dinner.


Huron Village

Take this August stretch as a cue to visit a must-try new restaurant. Occupying the former T.W. Food space (and, briefly, Self Portrait after that), Tallula demonstrates the same passion for food, travel, and hospitality. The 12-table treasure dedicates itself to seasonality, both in its a la carte and tasting menus; hit it up now to get a flavor of the kitchen’s talents.
Order: Gazpacho, squid ink fettuccine, and corn espuna for dinner.
Cost: $38 for a three-course dinner, Wednesday through Sunday.

Smoke Shop Seaport


If you unabashedly love meat, it's time to pay a visit to the Smoke Shop’s second iteration. Ribs, crispy pork skins, brisket, burnt ends, fried chicken -- it’s all represented, but you can’t order everything at once, which means come now and return later with a posse (the better to eat off your friends’ plates).
Order: Fried green tomatoes and burnt ends sandwich for lunch; The Best hot wings, a full slab of ribs, and butter cake for dinner.
Cost: $20 for a two-course lunch, $33 for a three-course dinner.

Union Oyster House

Faneuil Hall

For what better time to visit the city’s oldest restaurant than during this throwback pricing period? Here there be Freedom Trail classics like fish chowder, Boston baked beans, broiled scrod, and lobster Newburg. JFK loved it here -- you’ll love it too.
Order: Union Oyster House clam chowder, oysters lightly fried, and Indian pudding for lunch.
Cost: $25 for a three-course lunch.

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Meaghan Agnew (@meaghandeth) has eaten at all of these places, and she would do it again.