Where to Eat in Boston Right Now

From date night-worthy patios to casual raw bars slinging ocean-fresh oysters.

It might not have been the hot vax summer of our dreams, but it certainly has been an epic season for dining. Why settle for lukewarm take-out when we could keep meeting up with friends for divine patio meals at our favorite places around town? And if you’re anything like us, you expanded your horizons in order to spread your culinary love far and wide—which means there’s no better time to check out some of the city’s latest debuts, from a floating oyster bar to a rooftop Italian retreat to a tiny dessert and wine bar determined to keep cell phones off the table. Still hungry? Keep scrolling for our lineup of new hotspots and old faithfuls to get your eat on.

The Pearl

South Bay

The gist: We knew this one was something special when Boston Mayor Kim Janey celebrated her birthday here on opening weekend. The Pearl is the brainchild of co-owners Luther Pinckney, Teda DeRosa-Pinckney, Malik and Mika Winder, and Reggie Cummings, who wanted to bring celebratory family seafood recipes to a sleek, convivial neighborhood space that takes all pretension out of the oyster bar experience.
The food: The potent cocktails immediately get the conversational juices flowing, but they’re just a precursor to a lovely dining experience featuring chargrilled oysters, lump crab cakes, shrimp scampi, and a lobster roll served both hot and warm.
The cost: Starters and small plates $4 - $24, mains $18 - $60, cocktails $15 - $16, beer and wine by the glass $6 - $18.
How to book: Reserve via Resy

The gist: Soul food meets Southie in the Dorchester Street space formerly occupied by The Junction.
The food: You’ll be hard-pressed to settle on a single order when so many delectable Southern snacks await: popcorn chicken, hush puppies, honey butter cornbread, brisket sliders, the list goes on. But the signature fried chicken and waffles is a must, as is family-style suppers spanning either brisket, ribs, or fried chicken.
The cost: Starters and snacks $10 - $15, mains $18 - $35, cocktails $12 - $13, beer and wine by the glass $6 - $17.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

The gist: The second outpost of the revered Nantucket restaurant is definitely larger and more urbane, but still accessible and fun. And have we mentioned those waterfront views?
The food: Those familiar with the ACK original will be heartened to see so many familiar Asian-inspired dishes (i.e. Berkshire pork belly buns, blue crab fried rice, housemade dan-dan noodles). But there’s also lots of new dishes to explore, including za’atar-spiced Colorado lamb chops and a rotisserie-roasted Peking duck. Those looking for some daytime fun can’t do much better than the weekend raw bar on the breezy patio.
The cost: Starters and small plates $11 - $24, mains $27 - $36, cocktails $7 - $16, beer and wine by the glass $5 - $32.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

Buttermilk & Bourbon

Various locations

The gist: Jason Santos is at it again, opening the second outpost of his New Orleans-inspired restaurant at Watertown’s Arsenal Yards development, a moody, dreamy 160-seat counterpart to its Back Bay sibling.
The food: It’s all the Southern indulgences you’ve come to expect and crave. Expect poached shrimp, alligator fries, roasted oysters, Memphis-style baby back ribs, and of course, Santos’ famous buttermilk fried chicken (wings, thighs, or a bone-in halves). Needles to say, you’re saving room for both the beignets and the soft serve of the day.
The cost: Starters and shareables $3 - $21, sides $8 - $18, cocktails $12 - $16, beer and wine by the glass $5 - $16.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable, order take-out via Toast (Back Bay, Watertown), or get delivery via Caviar, GrubHub, and Seamless.

Punch Bowl

Brookline Village

The gist: Josh and Jen Ziskin of La Morra fame have opened a second venture paying homage to 18th century taverns of Brookline yore—although the space itself is pure 21st century sleekness.
The food: Drop by one night for after-work charcuterie and calamari, then return another evening for a more formal dinner of grilled Berkshire pork chop, roasted half chicken, and ChalkStream trout. The classic-heavy cocktail list gets the job done with standouts spanning the divine Ward 8 and a juicy paloma.
The cost: Starters and shareables $12 - $24, mains $16 - Market Price, cocktails $15 - $19, beer and wines by the glass $10 - $28.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out via Toast.

Zuzu's Petals

Inman Square

The gist: A cell phone-free wine and dessert bar?! We can think of no greater addition to the city’s culinary landscape.
The food: It’s hard to say whether you’re here for the sweets or the vino, because both are strong draws. The tightly curated wine collection includes pours from France, Croatia, Slovenia, and the Finger Lakes with a steady nod toward harder-to-find varietals and small-batch production. Desserts, however, skew classic and impeccable (i.e. tiramisu, creme brulee, almond torte, and vanilla bean chocolate mousse). For those who seek a bit of savory, there’s also local cheese and charcuterie boards to elevate all those glasses.
The cost: Cheese and charcuterie boards $3 - $48, desserts $14 - $17, wine by the glass $12 - $36.
How to book: Reserve via tablein.

Tall Ship Boston

East Boston

The gist: This is as quintessential Boston as a restaurant gets—a floating oyster bar docked at Pier One in East Boston stocked with three polished mahogany bars set around the ship’s grand mast.
The food: The menu gets right to the point: oysters, shrimp and lobster cocktail, sushi, charcuterie boards, and many a summery cocktail, including five frozen concoctions. On the pier surrounding the boat are additional dining options, including tacos, tuna poke bowls, and a lobster roll.
The cost: Starters and raw bar $2.50 - $38, cheese and charcuterie boards $18 - $23, beverage prices vary.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or reserve a lounge area online.

Contessa

Back Bay

The gist: This rooftop oasis perched atop The Newbury Boston is the cherry on top of the city’s most exciting vertical suite of luxurious offerings. From hospitality company Major Food Group, Contessa is a 4,000-square-foot grand trattoria space, luxuriously appointed in Art Deco details that almost—almost—pull you away from the sweeping skyline views.
The food: The Italian menu invites you to dine on prosciutto from five different regions, tortellini en brodo, pizzas, and dry-aged bistecca fiorentina. Start with a spritz, move onto a Negroni or martini, and revel in an evening spent with your head literally in the clouds.
The cost: Starters and shareables $14 - $28, pizzas $21 - $25, mains $20 - $26, beverage prices vary.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

The gist: It’s Chris Himmel’s nautical answer to his beloved Grill 23, and destined to be just as popular. Himmel and partner and chef Robert Sisca, both lifelong fisherman, celebrate New England’s oceanic bounty in a grand two-story space that includes two fireplaces and a separate raw bar.
The food: Extensive raw bar offerings including both East and West Coast oysters as well as several caviar presentations lure you in. From there, it’s gorgeous crudo, the best fried calamari you’ve ever eaten (seriously), and mains like bread-crusted halibut and grilled bluefin tuna steak. Rest assured that lobster is well represented, both via the Banks Lobster Bake and the brown butter lobster roll.
The cost: Starters and shareables $9 - $26, mains $17 - $57, cocktails $13 - $20, beer and wine by the glass $6 - $39 (cellar beers excepting).
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Brasserie

South End

The gist: Our beloved Gaslight left us this past winter, but Brasserie quickly swept in to fill the void, sporting a similar Francophile vibe even as it carves out its own identity thanks to owner Jeff Gates and new executive chef Nick Intonti.
The food: Old meets new in the best way possible. There’s steak tartare, there’s moules frites, there’s rotisserie chicken, and there’s steak frites, but there’s also a New England bouillabaisse, a Moroccan-inspired slow-braised lamb shank, and a duck l’orange that’s already a beloved hit.
The cost: Starters $9 - $18, mains $20 - $35, cocktails $12 - $14, beer and wine by the glass $7 - $26.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

T&B Pizza
T&B Wood-Fired | Photo by Tim Wiechmann

T&B Wood-Fired

Union Square

The gist: The heroes behind Bronwyn and the dearly departed TW Food have not only reopened their trendsetting pizzaria, but entirely reconfigured it.
The food: Simple, potent, and satisfying. The namesake wood-fired oven turns out toothsome Neapolitan-style pies in all forms from the straightforward (margherita, salami) to the innovative (hello, kimchi pork). A host of shareables plus meaty mains, delectable desserts, signature cocktails, and a distinctive wine list push things firmly into date night territory. We’re also always overjoyed to see a Pimm’s Cup on any cocktail list.
The cost: Pizzas and shareables $8 - $17, mains $39 - $45, cocktails $12 - $14, beer and wine by the glass $6 - $15.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out via Toast.

Barra

Union Square

The gist: As if we didn’t already love Union Square’s dining scene enough, along comes this tiny hipster hub that cheerfully dares you to expand your understanding of Mexican fare.
The food: Grasshopper tamales? Cactus salad? Yes and yes, plus divine taco fillings like crispy fried shrimp and thinly sliced cured beef. Sip your way through an expansive mezcal menu, or go straight for the prickly pear option. A small back patio means you can indulge under the sun.
The cost: Snacks and starters $5 - $12, mains $11 - $18, cocktails $9 - $16, mezcal by the ounce $6 - $16, beer and wine by the glass $6 - $15.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out and delivery via Toast.

Flora’s Wine Bar

West Newton Center

The gist: This suburban wine bar is back in gear, graciously peddling all the boozy, snacky pleasures we constantly crave.
The food: It’s cheese, it’s charcuterie, it’s small plates like white fish mousse, and of course, it’s a bounty of expertly selected wines by the glass. Enough said.
The cost: Cheese and charcuterie $10 - $12, small plates $6 - $17, cocktails $12 - $14, beer and wine by the glass $6.50 - $17.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out via Toast.

French Quarter

Downtown Crossing

The gist: A near-victim of the pandemic has risen again like a Phoenix, slinging Big Easy-inspired cuisine in a gorgeous, sexy setting.
The food: Everything you’d hope for and more. We’re talking cheese grits, fried crab fingers, hot chicken sandwiches, and gumbo alongside a bourbon pecan pie to rival anything dished up below the Mason-Dixon. Toss in a few French 75s or Hurricanes and you’ll swear you can hear the wilds of Bourbon Street bustling below.
The cost: Small plates $8 - $20, mains $18 - $26, cocktails $11 - $16, beer and wine by the glass $5 - $15.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

Ivory Pearl Bar

Washington Square

The gist: Blossom Bar and Baldwin Bar owner Ran Duan just keeps on trucking. This latest venture, a recently-reopened oyster bar and seafood haven, continues his delightful takeover of Brookline’s sleepy dining scene.
The food: Impeccably sourced seafood is the story here (duh), starting with the New England-centric raw bar (spring for the caviar service!), then moving onto more substantial picks like scallop crudo and local striped bass. And, as per usual, it’s hard to resist Duan’s lineup of boundary-pushing cocktails.
The cost: Snacks and starters $5 - $12, mains $11 - $18, cocktails $13 - $15, beer and wine by the glass $12 - $14.
How to book: Reserve via Tock or order take-out via Clover.

The gist: A newer, larger version of its sister restaurant in Waltham, Gustazo brings spotless modern Cuban cuisine to Cantabrigians. Add in an upbeat soundtrack, fastidious customer service, and reasonable prices, and you have the ideal destination for both weekend group hangs and weeknight quickies.
The food: Let’s start with cocktails from Backbar co-owner Sam Treadway: Besides seamless classics like Hemingway daiquiris and Hotel Nacionals (the signature drink at the famed Havana hotel), the beverage program also makes room for unusual creations like the Westerly Wind (mezcal, papaya, lime, red pepper, chili liqueur). The tapas-centric dinner menu, helpfully divided between vegetarian and non, is a gem of ingredient-driven indulgences like bacon-wrapped maduros, squash fritters with a goat cheese mousse, and oxtail tacos.
The cost: Starters and small plates $6 - $17, mains $24 - $34, cocktails $13 - $15, beer and wine by the glass $6 - $15.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out via Toast.

Grand Tour

Back Bay

The gist: We always put our faith in Michael Serpa. Now, the man who both expertly expanded the city’s oyster bar repertoire and introduced us to the warm lobster roll has gloriously applied his talents to the world of French cooking.
The food: Who'da thunk that caviar omelettes would be the new talk of the town? Work up to it while eating your way through bistro stalwarts like duck rillettes, mussels, and two steak frites variations. Herbivores, take note: There’s a whole separate veggie-friendly menu just for you. The all-American wines-by-the-glass list is another pleasant surprise, while less surprising is the intimate yet lofty space, reminiscent of Select Oyster Bar but with an added layer of eye-catching Parisian flair.
The cost: Starters and snacks $7 - $21, vegetables $7 - $14, mains $19 - $55, beer and wine by the glass $7 - $18.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Atlántico

South End

The gist: A seafood-driven tapas bar from Michael Serpa that celebrates the wonders of Iberian cuisine.
The food: What is Iberian cuisine, you say? Flavorful Spanish and Portuguese nibbles spanning everything from oysters and seasonal crudo to tinned seafood, shrimp, scallops a la plancha, and of course, paella. Boozy, citrus-spiked cocktails act as the perfect palate cleansers.
The cost: Starters and small plates $3.50 - $75, mains $14 - $58, cocktails $14, beer and wine by the glass $6 - $18.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out via Toast.

Cosmica
Cósmica | Photo courtesy of Cósmica

Cósmica

South End

The gist: Opened in February 2020, this joint barely had the chance to put a stake in the ground before COVID-19 reared its ugly head. Take advantage of their recent reemergence by acquainting yourself with a menu of playful spins on Mexican classics.
The food: Fried clam tacos, striped bass ceviche, boozy slushies spiked with generous amounts of rum, and more sipping tequila than you know what to do with takes center stage inside this sure-fire Back Bay hit. Schedule a return visit for the brunch menu, which includes egg quesadillas and huevos rancheros.
The cost: Mains $5 - $18, tacos and bowls $13 - $24, cocktails $13 - 15, beer and wine by the glass $5 - $13.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out and delivery online.

Servia

Downtown Crossing

The gist: A modern Middle Eastern restaurant that debuted with a casual breakfast and lunch menu and has now expanded to formal dinner offerings.
The food: Executive chef Claudio Cavalleri catches your attention with morning delicacies like spanakopita and nutella-filled croissants, gets you excited for lunch with kebab wraps and ancient grain pizzas, then shakes up your dinner routine with lamb adana kebab and an Israeli-style grass-fed burger.
The cost: Starters $8 - $12, pizzas $14 - $16, mains and shareables $16 - $28, cocktails $15, beer and wine by the glass $7 - $14.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out via Toast.

Cafe Beatrice

Cambridge Crossing

The gist: Last summer, Puritan & Co. chef Will Gilson made lemonade out of lemons by offering an outdoor preview of his three concept restaurants: Cafe Beatrice, The Lexington, and Geppetto. Both The Lexington and Cafe Beatrice are now officially up and running for in-person dining and take-out—The Lexington’s rooftop is where it’s at—with Geppetto slated to formally open in the fall.
The food: Cafe Beatrice does all-day pastries, bagels, and sandwiches while The Lexington rounds things out with a heartier menu of seasonally-inspired shareables, soups, sandwiches, and salads plus hefty mains like seared scallops, Wagyu steak frites, and grilled Berkshire pork chop.
The cost: Cafe Beatrice pastries and lunch items $4 - $12, The Lexington starters $3 - $17, soups and salads $14 - $16, sandwiches $16 - $17, mains $23 - $30.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out and delivery via Toast.

Tora Ramen

Chinatown

The gist: A new ramen entry from the team behind Japanese restaurant Tora, and a most welcome one at that.
The food: A menu of five different ramen choices gives you options while also letting you cut to the chase. Broths come in original, spicy, black garlic, Shoyu, and vegetarian miso alongside an extensive menu of add-ons. Throw in a couple of hot apps and you’re looking at the most comforting meal on the block.
The cost: Starters $4 - $8, ramen $13 - 15, soft drinks $3.50 - $4.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order delivery via Uber Eats and Postmates.

Peka

Brighton

The gist: Dip your toes into several different Latin American culinary traditions at once with an extensive menu of Venezuelan, Cuban, Colombian, and Peruvian classics imbued with a seasonal edge.
The food: Kick things off with tapas like empanadas, Cuban-style yuca, and pupusas (the national dish of El Salvador) before moving onto mains like paella and grilled skirt steak with Argentinian chimichurri. The grab-and-go roast chicken makes for a fantastic weeknight take-out feast.
The cost: Tapas $3.50 - $17.50, mains $19 - $31, drinks $10 - $13.
How to book: Reserve via Tock or order take-out via Toast.

50Kitchen

Fields Corner

The gist: Chef-owner Anthony Caldwell’s long-held dream came to fruition in February 2020, and despite it all, he’s not only survived but thrived thanks to an irresistibly soulful Asian fusion menu. His latest triumph? An appearance on Food Network’s Chopped.
The food: Once you’ve tried the three must-haves—shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and St. Louis ribs—chow your way through a deep bill of sandwiches, wings, sliders, and bowls. Warning: Do NOT skip over the bang-bang shrimp appetizer, which is ambrosial (there’s also a cauliflower version for the plant-based crowd).
The cost: Starters $6 - $13, wings and sliders $15 - $34, mains $12 - $20.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order takeout via Toast.

Season To Taste

North Cambridge

The gist: It’s gone! No wait, it’s back! The despair we felt when learning The Table at Season to Taste had permanently closed was quickly tempered when we found out new chef Robert Harris had taken the helm of this neighborhood spot hawking similar delicious cuisine in friendly, simply outfitted digs.
The food: Expect season-specific apps, sandwiches, pastas, and specials like 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. Vegans and vegetarians make a beeline to dishes like Indian-spiced cauliflower and summer squash.
The cost: Snacks and starters $5 - $16, sandwiches $14 - $20, pastas and entrees $15 - $28.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out via Season To Go.

Krasi

Back Bay

The gist: This Greek-inflected tapas and wine emporium claims its rightful place among Boston’s top date night destinations.
The food: Meze, meze, meze! Charcuterie, cheeses, dips, and glorious small plates like moussaka tartar, filet mignon, marinated octopus, fried mussels, and a daily rotisserie number make up the bulk of the festive bill. Have we mentioned the tableside tzatziki? These eats, of course, demand wine pairings—specifically Greek selections sourced from Crete, Santorini, Ioannina, and other breezy European locales.
The cost: Starters and meze $4 - $16, salads and mains $10 - Market Price, wine by the glass $12 - $20.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out online.

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, another family-owned gem has taken over the highly coveted Seaport location.
The food: This is an authentic land and sea experience, with meats and produce sourced from owner Kristin Canty’s The Farm at Woods Hill in New Hampshire in addition to a full roster of 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–yep, it’s that good.
The cost: Starters and salads $14 - $130, entrees $24 - $52, cocktails $15 - $16, beer and wine by the glass $8 - $18.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out via Toast.

Shy Bird

Kendall Square

The gist: The team behind Branch Line has created a Kendall Square go-to for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with the group’s famous rotisserie figuring into all three occasions.
The food: Breakfast and lunch are casual café affairs but dinner is far more formal, with a short but lovely wine list and star dishes like roasted salmon, steak tips with fries, and Branch Line’s beloved sugar snap pea salad in addition to, of course, the ever-famous rotisserie chicken. Be sure to check out the monthly subscription, which plays to the Shy Bird obsessives.
The cost: Breakfast dishes $3.95 - $10.50, lunch dishes $7.50 - $20.95, dinner starters and snacks $5 - $12, dinner mains $7.50 - $30.95, cocktails $12 - $13, beer and wine by the glass $5 - $13.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out and delivery via Caviar.

Frank

Beverly

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 an all-day café offering a more casual approach to McClelland’s decades-long commitment to hyperlocal cooking. The dinner menu is all about unadorned, pristinely executed classics like crispy-skinned roasted half chicken, skirt steak with frites, cassoulet, and a luxe duck confit.
The cost: Lunch starters and mains $3.75 - $36, dinner starters $3.75 - $14, pastas and entrees $14 - $54, cocktails $15 - $17, beer and wine by the glass $7 - $22.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out via Toast.

Peregrine

Beacon Hill

The gist: We expect competence from our hotel restaurants and rarely hope for much more. But the city has been on a roll with inhouse hotel dining as of late, and Peregrine, the second solo venture from the revered Juliet team, might just be the acme.
The food: Half or full orders of carbo-loaded wonders like pasta pomodoro and mushroom ragu are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to pasta delights. The current menu also includes an array of small plates like tomato toast and garlic Gulf shrimp to complement the noodles, plus larger enticements like blackened catfish and a rotating steak cut.
The cost: Snacks and small plates $4 - $24, pastas $22 - $24, mains $28 - $32, cocktails $13 - $15, beer and wine by the glass $10 - $18.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out and delivery via Toast.

Stillwater

Downtown/Financial District

The gist: Chopped champ Sarah Wade takes 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? Ritz Cracker-crusted chicken thighs? That’s some cheeky cuisine right there. Homey standards like smoked chicken wings and a flat patty burger let you play it a little safer.
The cost: Snacks $8 - $15, entrees $15 - $38, cocktails $12 - $15, wine by the glass $10 - $13.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out online.

Chalawan

Porter Square

The gist: If you’re in the mood to liven up your palate, look no further. You won’t find any of the familiar take-out classics here—this is South Asian cooking in all its breadth and glory, with the traditions of Vietnam, southwest China, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand all making memorable appearances.
The food: Yes, you’re venturing out of your comfort zone, but with dishes like steamed snapper dumplings, roasted duck salad, Singapore chili beef, and a Javanese Gule kambing of lamb shank curry, think of it as simply 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 $3.50 - $12, salads $10 - $14, mains $15 - $30, wIne by the glass $7 - $10, beer $6 - $9.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out via Toast.

Ilona

South End

The gist: What’s hunkar begendi, you ask? A Turkish speciality, for one, in this case made with braised short ribs instead of lamb and served over smoked spiced eggplant. But it’s also the perfect encapsulation of the piquant flavors you’ll encounter at Ilona, a sultry South End dining entry that took over the former Parish Cafe space.
The food: Ilona is all about spotlighting lesser-known Eastern Mediterranean dishes spanning Georgian, Turkish, Lebanese, Israeili, and Egyptian influences. The mezze menu guides adventurous guests through a 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. Kebabs and roasted lamb are on hand to satisfy tamer eaters.
The cost: Meze $7 - $18, kebabs $12 - $15, mains $16 - Market Price, cocktails $12 - $15, beer and wine by the glass $7 - $13.
How to book: Reserve via Resy, order take-out via Toast, or get delivery via UberEats and GrubHub.

Meaghan Agnew is a contributor for Thrillist.