Everywhere You Need to Eat in Boston Right Now
A plethora of new Italian restaurants, a long-awaited food hall, and more.
Kids are getting vaxxed, adults are getting boosted, and igloos are sitting poised to make their wintertime debuts. In other words, eating out is still on the docket. And that’s great news because our dining scene shows no signs of skipping a beat with a slew of exciting openings hitting us this fall. In fact, many of our city’s long-delayed restaurant openings have finally come to fruition, which gives us even more reason to treat ourselves to a brand-new dining experience. The newest offerings are as varied as they come, from a tiny Parisian bistro to several Italian options to a long-awaited food hall. And have we mentioned that the Island Creek Oyster team has finally opened its new restaurant across the street from the beloved Duxbury farm? If you’re still hungry, keep scrolling for our lineup of newer hotspots and slightly older faithfuls to get your eat on.
The gist:The Charles Hotel just got a whole lot more interesting. Chef Mark Ladner, of the famed NYC restaurant Del Posto, has returned to his roots (he began his career cooking at a small Harvard Square restaurant and then moved onto the Olive’s kitchen).
The food: This Italian destination features impeccably sourced meat and seafood, housemade pastas, and farm fresh vegetable dishes that use produce from the Harvard Square farmers market located just outside the hotel’s entrance. It’s a smorgasbord of indulgent pleasures: linguine in white clam sauce, pork alla Milanese, chicken breast paillard, and for us the star: shake and bake hake. A terrific lineup of traditional cocktails, including many sparkling options, just seals the deal.
The cost: Appetizers and antipasti $6-$25, mains $22-$32, cocktails $12-$15.
The gist: Chef Karen Akunowicz just can’t stop, won’t stop—and we sure as hell don’t want her to. Her latest South Boston venture is located just a few blocks down from her famed Fox & the Knife and lures in her loyalists with Southern Italian cooking.
The food: It’s all about wood-fired seafood, rotisserie chicken, vegetable-centric entrees (peppers, artichokes, and eggplants in particular), and as expected, more housemade pasta, which you’ll also be able to buy in the restaurant’s pastificio or pasta shop. Start with divine negronis before moving on to Akunowicz’ own eponymous wine label and her debut pour, a Sangiovese-Merlot blend that rings in at just $10 a glass.
The cost: Starters and antipasti $8-$19, entrees $19-$60, most wines by the glass $16.
The gist: A Parisian bistro brought to us by a husband-and-wife team born and raised in France? Cue the stampede of local Francophiles. Antoine and Anaïs Lambert cut their teeth at local spots like Petit Robert, Frenchie, and Colette Wine Bistro before opening their first restaurant in the former Hsin Hsin Cafe space.
The food: Quiches and steak frites are absolutely represented, but don’t expect a strictly old-school menu. Instead, get excited for dishes that feature Vietnamese and North African influences: banh mi, roast chicken with fried plantains, and lemon sole with harissa and Tunisian couscous. The space is currently open for brunch and dinner and is oh-so-close to obtaining its liquor license.
The cost: Small plates $15-$18, mains $19-$32.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating
The food: In keeping with its waterside locale, Coquette celebrates coastal French cuisine, from raw bar offerings to crispy monkfish to seared squid, wood fire-roasted fish and lobster, and white clam flatbread. But landlubbers will hardly go hungry, what with the ribeye, porterhouse, and petit tender steak, all served with frites.
The cost: Snacks and small plates $15-$21, “feasts” $55-$115, cocktails $15, wine by the glass $12-$35, beer and cider $8-$22.
How to book: Reservations via website.
The gist: Will Gilson’s Gepetto actually made its initial appearance during the pandemic way back in January, teasing us with the kind of takeout we craved: half pans of Sicilian pizza, fried artichokes, kitchen sink lasagna, braised pork sugo. But the “Italian-ish” spot has now formally opened to bring us creative, seasonally driven pastas, proteins, and salads in a moody yet inviting 65-seat space.
The food: You have scallop crudo, you have fried mozzarella, you have homemade pasta dishes (spinach tagliatelle, hand-cut porcini pappardelle). Which is to say, you have everything you need. And for those with bigger appetites, you can split hearty plates like pork chop milanese and the grilled grass-fed ribeye.
The cost: Crudos and appetizers $15-$18, pastas $20-$23, plates to share $35-$45.
The gist: Finally: the answer to all your pre-game eating dilemmas. Located just steps away from the TD Garden, Hub Hall is populated by 16 new eateries and two bars. The wait has been long but well worth it.
The food: The choices are vast and wide, from fried chicken sandwiches at Lily P’s to bowls of ramen from Momosan to roast beef sandwiches from Cusser’s to slices at APizza, Douglass Williams’ much-anticipated venture into New Haven-style pizza. It’s also a one-stop opportunity to hit several institutions at once: Imagine a world where you can get an Italian sub from Monica’s Mercato, cannolis from Mike’s Pastry, and a lime rickey from Sullivan’s, all in one visit. It’s right here.
The cost: From a $4.75 lime rickey to a $36 full rack of ribs.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating
The gist: This isn’t a new opening in the strictest sense; Lucie, located inside The Colonnade hotel, has been serving breakfast on a daily basis and brunch on Sundays. But now the restaurant has begun dinner and bar service inside its moody, funky interior.
The food: You’ll excitedly graze your way through a global menu of pizzas, pasta dishes like carbonara and bolognese, roast chicken, and several steak cuts with your choice of sauce. Add in cocktails both classic and new-fangled and a region-forward beer list, and you’ll soon be booking your return dates.
The cost: Appetizers $8-$19, pizza and pasta $15-$24, mains $23-$38, cocktails $14-$17, wines by the glass $11-$30, beer $7-$11.
The Winsor House
The gist: We may have all wept when the Kenmore Square Island Creek Oyster Bar closed, but the ICO team had another trick up their sleeve. Last spring they bought a shuttered restaurant, the Winsor House Inn, located next to their namesake oyster farm, and have reimagined the early 1800s space to celebrate all things aquaculture.
The food: Besides the expected raw bar offerings and caviar, you’ll spend multiple visits noshing your way through tuna and beef tartare, fried oyster sliders, halibut poached in brown butter, whole grilled striped bass, and the Winsor House Float Dinner: shrimp, clams, smoked sausage, corn, potato, onion, and all the sauces. The bar program focuses on rums and barrel-aged cocktails, and all the wines—many natural—pair well with oysters.
The cost: Starters and small plates $6-$26, mains $9-$75.
The gist: We knew this one was something special when former 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 brunch menu also provides a nice change of pace from the city’s usual fare, with its salmon hash and seafood Newburg atop grits.
The cost: Starters and small plates $4-$24, mains $18-$60, cocktails $15-$16, beer and wine by the glass $6-$18.
Hunter’s Kitchen & Bar
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 are the 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 Nautilus Pier 4
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 like Berkshire pork belly buns, blue crab fried rice, housemade dan-dan noodles. But there are also lots of new dishes to explore, including za’atar-spiced Colorado lamb chops and a rotisserie-roasted Peking duck.
The cost: Starters and small plates $11-$24, mains $27-$36, cocktails $7-$16, beer and wine by the glass $5-$32.
Buttermilk & Bourbon
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). Needless 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.
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 local stuffed squash, half-roasted orange duck, and pan-seared black bass. 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-MP, cocktails $15-$19, beer and wines by the glass $10-$28.
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, sachertorte, 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: Reservations via tablein.
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. Just plan ahead, because this is the most coveted reservation in the city; the new lunch menu may be your best bet.
The cost: Starters and shareables $14-$28, pizzas $21-$25, mains $20-$26, beverage prices vary.
The Banks Fish House
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 fishermen, 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—plus, you can add a half steamed lobster to any of the landlubber offerings.
The cost: Starters and shareables $9-$26, mains $17-$57, cocktails $13-$20, beer and wine by the glass $6-$39.
The gist: Our beloved Gaslight left us last 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, moules frites, rotisserie chicken, and 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.
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, Mexican street corn). A host of shareables plus meaty mains, delectable desserts, signature cocktails, and a distinctive wine list push things firmly into date night territory.
The cost: Pizzas and shareables $8-$17, mains $39-$45, cocktails $12-$14, beer and wine by the glass $6-$15.
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? Tuna sashimi tostaditas? 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.
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.
Flora’s Wine Bar
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 bonus is the surprisingly expansive cocktail list.
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
Ivory Pearl Bar
The gist: Blossom Bar and Baldwin Bar owner Ran Duan just keeps on trucking. This 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 (duh), starting with the New England-centric raw bar (spring for the caviar service!), then moving onto more substantial picks like white fish ceviche, Peking hamachi collar, and local striped bass. The tentacle hot dog is a must for your IG followers. 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: Reservations via Tock
Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar
The gist: A 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 not, 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.
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 breast, 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.
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. But don’t pass by the patatas bravas, among the best in the city. 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.
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, shrimp rojo 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.
The cost: Mains $5-$18, tacos and bowls $13-$24, cocktails $13-$15, beer and wine by the glass $5-$13.
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 slider.
The cost: Starters $8-$12, pizzas $14-$16, mains and shareables $16-$28, cocktails $15, beer and wine by the glass $7-$14.
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: Reservations via Tock.
The gist: Chef-owner Anthony Caldwell’s long-held dream came to fruition with 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). And alert your employers: 50Kitchen is now offering catered boxed lunches.
The cost: Starters $6-$13, wings and sliders $15-$34, mains $12-$20.
Season To Taste
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. Current delicacies include blue hubbard squash soup, bone marrow, duck confit leg, and crispy cod cheeks. Vegans and vegetarians make a beeline to dishes like goat cheese-stuffed honeynut squash .
The cost: Snacks and starters $5-$16, sandwiches $14-$20, pastas and entrees $15-$28.
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-MP, wine by the glass $12-$20.