Where To Eat In Boston Right Now
Probably the only good part of the pandemic? The excuse to spend months stuffing your face. And that’s it -- that’s the only good part. So whether you’re ordering in for the 50th time or forcing yourself out of your PJs to breathe some fresh air and support some local businesses, there’s no better time to check out the city’s newest and finest restaurants. Yes, believe it or not, the last six months have still yielded several exciting openings, from an intimate Southern fusion spot to a suburban wine bar to a Greek tapas haven. And, if you're still hungry, keep scrolling for our current lineup of other newer places to get your eat on (with apologies to all the greats that haven’t yet been able to reopen for one reason or another).
The gist: Chef/owner Anthony Caldwell opened his fruition of a long-held dream in late February, and despite everything he has kept going, thanks to an irresistible soul-Asian fusion menu.
The food: Once you’ve tried the three must-haves -- shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and St. Louis ribs -- you can eat your way through a deep menu of sandwiches, wings, sliders, and fusion bowls. Do not skip over the bang-bang shrimp appetizer, which is beyond irresistible.
The cost: Appetizers are $6-11, sandwiches are $13-16, and entrees are $16-28.
How to order: Make a reservation online for patio seating or order takeout through Toast.
Season To Taste
The gist: It’s gone! No wait, it reopened! The despair we felt when learning The Table at Season to Taste had permanently closed was quickly tempered when we realized chef/owner Robert Carl Dooley had another trick up his sleeve: a simpler, neighborhood restaurant.
The food: As the name suggests, there are season-specific apps, sandwiches, pastas, and specials. Standouts include fried plantains with cilantro-lime crema, watermelon and arugula salad with feta cheese, a double patty burger, and butter-poached lobster campanelle with charred corn, cherry tomatoes, and basil. Vegan and vegetarians will exhale over dishes like Indian-spiced cauliflower and summer squash.
The cost: Snacks are $5-7, starters are $8-16, sandwiches are $14-20, pastas and entrees are $15-28.
How to order: Make a reservation online or order takeout via Season to Go.
The Lexington At The Picnic Grove
The gist: Puritan & Co. Chef Will Gilson is making lemonade out of lemons. While the openings of his three concept spots at Cambridge Crossing have been delayed until fall, he’s pairing up with Puritan’s pastry chef Brian Mercury to offer an outdoor preview.
The food: It’s the summer barbecue you’ve been desperately missing. You can order oysters, grilled bacon-wrapped scallops, lobster rolls, Wagyu hot dogs, and burgers. Oh, and the buttered lobster toast is a must as a starter.
The cost: Snacks are $7-16, grill items are $7-21.
How to order: Reservations required and can be made through OpenTable.
The gist: This is another exciting wintertime opening that quickly got overshadowed, but Greek tapas and wine will never stay down for long.
The food: Meze, meze, meze. Think charcuterie, cheeses, dips, and other glorious Greek small plates like moussaka tartar, with filet mignon marinated octopus, fried mussels, and a daily changing Greek rotisserie. And the plates demand wine pairings, specifically glorious Greek selections sourced from Crete, Santorini, Ioannina, and more.
The cost: Plates are $6-22, wines by the glass are $12-20.
How to order: Reserve a patio seat online, or order food and drinks wine online.
Woods Hill Pier 4
The gist: Once upon a time, locals took out-of-towners to Anthony’s Pier 4 for lobster, popovers, and old-school harborside ambiance. Now, finally, another family-owned restaurant has taken over the highly coveted Seaport location.
The food: An authentic farm-and-sea-to-table experience, with meats and produce sourced from owner Kristin Canty’s The Farm at Woods Hill in New Hampshire, as well as other local purveyors. Come for the caviar service, stay for the New England raw cheese, crispy lamb ribs, and IG-worthy shaved whelk. Oh, and the lobster popover.
The cost: Salads and appetizers run $14-19, entrees $28-28, cocktails are $14-18, beer and wine is $8-18.
How to order: Make a reservation for dining on the patio or order takeout through Toast.
The gist: The team behind Branch Line has created a Kendall Square go-to for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with Branch Line’s famous rotisserie figuring into all three menus.
The food: Breakfast and lunch are casual café affairs, but dinner is far more formal with a short but lovely wine list and offerings such as roasted salmon, steak tips with fries, and Branch Line’s beloved sugar snap pea salad in addition to, duh, the famous rotisserie chicken.
The cost: Starters are $6-13, entrees are $11.75-20, with a whole chicken dinner for two coming in at $30.
How to order: Make reservations for the covered patio or order delivery through Caviar.
The gist: When L’Espalier shuttered at the end of 2018, we couldn’t predict what chef/owner Frank McClelland would do next. But it’s safe to say we didn’t predict a North Shore second coming.
The food: Frank is a day and night café offering a more casual approach to McClelland’s decades-long commitment to hyperlocal ingredients. The dinner menu is all about simple, impeccable classics: crispy roasted half chicken, skirt steak with frites, cassoulet, and crispy duck confit.
The cost: Soups and salads are $10-15, pastas and entrees $24-$46, most cocktails are $13, and wine and beer by the glass is $5-15.
How to order: Call 978-998-4946 to reserve a table or order takeout through Toast.
Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar
The gist: A bigger outpost of its sister restaurant in Waltham, Gustazo brings impeccable, modern Cuban fare to Cantabrigians.
The food: The tapas-centric dinner menu is helpfully divided between vegetarian and non, and is a delight of ingredient-driven indulgences like bacon-wrapped maduros (plantains), squash fritters with a goat cheese mousse, and oxtail tacos. Don’t skip out on the cocktails from Sam Treadway, co-owner of Backbar, including Cuban classics like the Hemingway daiquiri.
The cost: Tapas are $9-15, and larger plates hover around $25.
How to order: Make patio reservations online or order takeout or delivery through Toast.
The gist: We expect competence from our hotel restaurants and don’t hope for much more. But the city has been on a roll with its in-house hotel dining, and Peregrine, the second solo venture from the revered Juliet team, might represent the acme.
The food: This is pasta heaven. Think half or full orders of wonders like asparagus and artichoke lasagna and wild mushroom ravioli with brown butter and hazelnuts. Heartier appetites will be satiated with saffron-marinated chicken breast or striped bass alla ghiotta.
The cost: Most snacks are $9-14, pasta dishes are $22, and sandwiches are $14-19.
How to order: Call 617-826-1762 to make reservations for the new patio, or order delivery or takeout online.
The gist:Chopped champ Sarah Wade has taken her self-described “junk food expertise” to the next level with high-falutin’ comfort fare that’s unlike anything else in the city.
The food: Everything bagel popcorn? Vegan pork rinds? Chicken-fried ribeye? Ritz-crusted fried chicken thighs? That’s some cheeky fare right there. But dishes like crispy smoked chicken wings and spaghetti pomodoro let you play it a little safer.
The cost: “Sexy snacks” are $8-15, entrees $15-38, cocktails are $12-15, and wine by the glass $10-13.
How to order: Make patio reservations or order takeout online.
The gist: In normal times, TABLE is a family-style affair, with just two nighty seatings at communal tables. But restaurateur Jen Royle has seamlessly shifted gears with her current a la carte menu in addition to the just-reintroduced eight-course affair.
The food: Beloved Italian classics include fried ravioli, pan-roasted artichokes, caprese salad, ricotta gnocchi, chicken parmesan, short rib bolognese.
The cost: Entrees are $22-38, and the eight-course meal is $85 per person.
How to order: Walk-ins only for patio dining, reserve a communal table space online, or order takeout on ChowNow.
Fox & The Knife
The gist: The debut space from Top Chef finalist and James Beard winner Karen Akunowicz highlights her Italian techniques, earning her “Best New Restaurant” accolades. One more reason we’re in love? Because it’s the rare all-woman-run restaurant in town.
The food: Get the taleggio-stuffed focaccia as a starter, a spritz to go with it, and then a homemade pasta dish, like the wild boar tagliatelle Bolognese or maybe the campanelle with feta and pistachio-mint pesto.
The cost: Antipasti are $11-16, pastas and entrees $19-39, cocktails are mostly $13, and wines by the glass are $11-16.
How to order: Book a table indoors or on the patio online, order takeout via Caviar, or order homemade pastas and sauces to go via Upserve.
The gist: Chef/owner Douglass Williams draws from Italian influences and places a premium on seasonal ingredients to turn out sophisticated yet homey fare.
The food: Mida is all about humble, beautiful cooking, like chilled octopus salad, lobster scampi, sweet corn ravioli, and pork milanese. The menu rotates regularly, but the wine list remains committed to both Northern Italian and French bottles (although a Negroni starter doesn't hurt).
The cost: Regulars know to pop in on Monday nights for all-you-can eat pasta ($35).
How to order: Open for dining in, or get takeout and delivery through Caviar.
The gist: The crowds here tell you all you need to know. This is a place to excite your palate. But don’t expect familiar Thai classics -- this is South Asian fare is all its breadth and glory.
The food: Yes, you’re getting out of your comfort zone, but with dishes like steamed snapper dumplings, roasted duck salad, Singapore chili beef, and Javanese Gule kembing of lamb shank curry, you’re really just expanding your repertoire. Vegetarians will rejoice over the separate veggie menu, and all will rejoice over the Thai tea caramel custard with salted caramel ice cream.
The cost: Starters are $3.50-12, salads $10-14, main dishes $15-$30, wines by the glass are $7-10, and beers are $6-9.
How to order: Reserve patio or indoor dining by calling 617-547-8888 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or order takeout through Toast.
The gist: Boston chefs have given Greek fare more than its fair share of attention these past few years, but Ilona is all about underserved Eastern Mediterranean cuisine: Georgian, Turkish, Lebanese, Israeili, Egyptian.
The food: What’s hunkar begendi, you ask? A Turkish speciality, in this case made with braised short ribs instead of lamb, served over smoked and spiced eggplant. But it’s also the perfect encapsulation of the piquant flavors you’ll encounter at Ilona. The meze menu really lets you sample the restaurant’s range of sensory experiences, from the uber-rich cigeri hummus (your favorite chickpea dip topped with roasted chicken livers and schug, a serrano chili hot sauce) to kibbeh, a Lebanese lamb and bulgur fritter containing scallions, eggs, and cilantro.
The cost: Meze is $7-18, kebabs are around $14, and entrees are $16-20.
How to order: Takeout through Toast or delivery through Uber Eats and Grubhub.
The gist: Husband and wife team Conor Dennehy and Danielle Ayer (Tallula is the couple’s daughter) have married their dual loves for travel and seasonal ingredients to produce a curated menu of unfussy, flavor-forward dishes.
The food: Try celeriac soup with spiced pine nuts, chestnut spaetzle, miso-glazed local cod. And splurge on the wine pairings to get a taste of the couple’s relationships with winemakers across the globe, including those in lesser-known regions.
The cost: Starters are $10-17, pastas are $12-26, and entrees are $25-28.
How to order: Takeout available online.
Ivory Pearl Bar
The gist: Blossom Bar and Baldwin Bar owner Ran Duan just keeps on trucking, even through a pandemic. His latest venture, an oyster bar and seafood haven, continues his delightful takeover of Brookline’s sleepy dining scene.
The food: Impeccably sourced seafood is the story here, starting with the New England-centric raw bar (spring for the caviar service!), then moving onto dishes like fluke crudo and local striped bass. Of course, it’s hard to resist the whole Maine lobster done up with ginger scallions.
The cost: Plates are $9-19, platters are $39-59, cocktails are $14-16, and wines by the glass $12-18.
How to order: Reserve patio and indoor seating online (walk-ins are also accepted when possible).
The gist: Co-owners Panupak Kraiwong and Nutthachai “Jeep” Chaojaroenpong understand the allure of a next-level noodle -- it’s why they named their place DakZen, which roughly translates to “chow down” (the exact translation is a bit more ribald).
The food: Kraiwong and Choajaroenpong have harnessed the power of culinary nostalgia—both were born and raised in Thailand -- to bring authentic, Bangkok-style street food to the Somervillian masses. Brightly flavored dishes like khao soi, boat noodles, and ba mee moo dang are all still available, as are DanKen’s renderings of classics like spring rolls and Pad Thai.
The cost: $6 for street snacks; $9 for almost all noodle and street food dishes
How to order: Order for pickup online
The gist: Step into -- or onto the patio of -- this tiny Peruvian spot and you’ll worry you’ve crashed someone’s private dinner party, what with the cranking music and genuine warmth from the hostess (co-owner Maria Rondeau).
The food: The menu is small and concentrated with expert ceviches, terrines, and stews from chef JuanMa Calderón, also a noted indie filmmaker back in Peru. Be sure to start with a pisco sour.
The cost: Starters are $10-20, entrees are $19-28, beers are $6-1, and wines by the glass range from $11-15.
How to order: Reserve a table on Resy, or order takeout and free local delivery online.