Everywhere You Need to Eat in Boston Right Now

A shiny new food hall, coastal Italian fare, and other restaurants you absolutely must try in Boston.

Deciding where to eat these days can be tricky. Our indomitable dining scene, which has swayed but never toppled, is constantly changing with long-time favorites closing their doors, other spots shifting their menus, and an influx of brand new restaurants that are definitely worthy of your attention.

The newest offerings are once more widely varied, including another welcome food hall, a tiny Peruvian hot spot, and a coastal Italian place on Newbury from two restaurant stalwarts. That’s in addition to historic restaurants that have been in Boston for generations and must-visit restaurants that should be on the itinerary of every local and visitor. So from buzzy new spots to slightly older faithfuls, here’s our lineup of the absolute best restaurants in Boston to visit right now.

Lenox Sophia

South Boston
$$$$

The gist: Chef and owner Shi Mei has brought an intimate—like, incredibly intimate—dining experience to Southie with accessible fine American cuisine from a chef who’s cooked in Thomas Keller’s Bouchon and the French Laundry in California and local spots like Asta and Mida.
The food: The five-course, prix-fixe menu lets you settle in for a meal that feels more like a dinner party: incredible dishes like sweet pea custard, Rohan duck leg confit, and agnolotti with ricotta and preserved Meyer lemon. All menus are also available in vegetarian form. And no one can resist a BYOB opportunity, especially when it’s one of the very few in the city.

Available for Reservations

Salt + Stone

Somerville
$$$$

The gist: We’re always excited for a new Assembly Row dining option, and we’re extra-excited for one that plays to multiple needs. Salt + Stone is both an after-work hangout spot and a sit-down dinner spot, with both large and small plates available.
The food: Veteran restaurateurs Sean and Sue Olson lean on their travels and deep relationships with regional farmers and purveyors to bring diners an eclectic menu of seafood platters, charcuterie boards, steak frites, handmade pastas, artisanal flatbreads, and seasonal salads, along with a small but mighty cocktail list and wines by the glass. And did we mention that you can order their boardwalk fries to-go in a paper cone?

Available for Reservations

La Royal

Huron Village
$$$$

The gist: Step into Union Square’s Celeste and you worry you’ve crashed someone’s private dinner party—the conviviality is that striking. Now you can enjoy a similar level of hospitality in the new space from chef JuanMa Calderón and partner Maria Rondeau, who have opened a new restaurant in their own Cambridge neighborhood.
The food: Two small dining rooms dish out gorgeous Peuvian fare: ceviche, seared duck, grilled whole branzino in plantain leaves, and steamed mussels in a wild mushroom broth. Add in pisco sours and a distinct supper club vibe, and you have your new favorite date-night spot.

Available for Reservations
High Street Place
High Street Place | Photo by Brian Samuels

High Street Place

Downtown Crossing
$$$$

The gist: We’ll say it again: we can never have too many food halls, especially one that offers so many dining and drinking options.
The food: The full lineup includes Fuji, North East of the Border, Mike & Patty’s, and Mamaleh’s alongside new concepts like Haley Jane’s (fried chicken), Bubble Bath (a champagne and wine bar that also serves popcorn) and Tiffani Faison’s Dive Bar. Ample outdoor seating and massive TV screens inside make this a perfect after-work hangout spot to catch up with friends and catch a few innings of the Sox game.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating

Faccia Brutta
Photo by Elizabeth Cecil

Faccia Brutta

Back Bay
$$$$

The gist: It’s not as if Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette were resting on their laurels—they just, you know, have a lot of deliciousness going on. But the twin restaurateurs have opened their first joint endeavor in six years, and we’re rejoicing.
The food: This Newbury Street coastal Italian restaurant focuses on seasonal dishes that draw inspiration from Liguria, Sicily, and Sardinia. So the menu features a whole bunch of crudo, burrata, grilled octopus, homemade pastas, and chicken Milanese. But wait, there’s more: Down below is a natural wine bar called Bar Pallino that’s inspired by today’s subterranean Paris wine bars.

Available for Reservations

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. But don’t pass up the patatas bravas, among the best in the city. Boozy, citrus-spiked cocktails act as the perfect palate cleansers.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Available for Reservations

The gist: At Chris Himmel’s nautical answer to his beloved Grill 23, 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, expect gorgeous crudo, the best fried calamari you’ve ever eaten (seriously), and mains like Dover sole meuniere 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.

Available for Reservations
Bar Enza
Photo courtesy of Bar Enza

Bar Enza

Harvard Square
$$$$

The gist: The Charles Hotel’s dining has gotten a whole lot more interesting as chef Mark Ladner, of the famed NYC restaurant Del Posto, has returned to his roots after beginning his career cooking at a small Harvard Square restaurant.
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.

Available for Reservations

Bar Volpe

South Boston
$$$$

The gist: Chef Karen Akunowicz just can’t stop, won’t stop. 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.

Available for Reservations
Thinking Cup
Photo courtesy of American Express

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Barra

Union Square
$$$$

The gist: As if we didn’t already love Union Square’s dining scene enough, along came this tiny hipster hub that cheerfully dares you to expand your understanding of Mexican fare.
The food: Grasshopper tetelas? 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 margarita option.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Available for Reservations

The gist: David Sardella and Patrick Sullivan—veterans of beloved spots like Brick and Mortar, East Coast Grill, and B-Side Lounge—have brought us a hangout spot that’s destined to be a new classic.
The food: Skewers are the first star at this neighborhood bar with wood-fired dishes, and options include steak, shrimp, swordfish, and more complemented with accompaniments like mushrooms and roasted potatoes. From there you could go for a larger meal like the half chicken or the bone-in ribeye or simply check out the expansive cocktail menu of both classics and creative elixirs, plus aperitifs and wines by the glass.

Available for Reservations

Brasserie

South End
$$$$

The gist: Our beloved Gaslight left us at the end of 2020, but Brasserie quickly swept in to fill the void, sporting a similar Francophile vibe even as it continues to carve out its own identity thanks to owner Jeff Gates and 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 a beloved hit.

Available for Reservations

The gist: Jason Santos is at it again with 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). It’ll be tough, but you must save room for the beignets and soft serve of the day.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Available for Reservations

Cafe Sauvage

Back Bay
$$$$

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 about dishes that feature Vietnamese and North African influences: banh mi, roast chicken with fried plantains, and a crepe with ras al hanout and piri piri sauce. The space is currently open for brunch and dinner and has finally obtained its liquor license, which means beer and beautiful wines by the glass. Have we mentioned their new patio is also open?
How to book: Via Tock

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. Just plan ahead, because this is the most coveted reservation in the city; the lunch menu may be your best bet.

Available for Reservations

Coquette

Seaport
$$$$
The gist: Coquette made its September debut inside the Omni Boston Hotel—and as expected from the team behind Yvonne’s, Ruka, Mariel, and Lolita, it boasts a ravishing, sexy interior befitting its name.
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.
How to book: Reservations via website

Dear Annie

Porter Square
$$$$

The gist: The latest addition from the powerful Rebel Rebel and Field & Vine team that spotlights natural wines in all their glory and complements them with small-plate delicacies.
The food: This menu is principally pescatarian, though many vegetarian small plates abound: think sweet potato panini, baked polenta, and black trumpet mushroom toast. It’s the perfect laid-back spot to celebrate meat-free eating as well as sustainable drinking.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating

Geppetto

Cambridge Crossing
$$$$

The gist: Will Gilson’s Gepetto actually made its initial appearance during the pandemic way back in January 2021, teasing us with the kind of takeout we craved: half pans of Sicilian pizza, fried artichokes, kitchen sink lasagna, and 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 like spinach tagliatelle and 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.

Available for Reservations

Hub Hall

North End
$$$$

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 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. Well, you’re living in it.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating

Hunter’s Kitchen & Bar

South Boston
$$$$

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.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating

Ivory Pearl Bar

Washington Square
$$$$

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 swordfish schnitzel. The tentacle hot dog is a must for the photo alone. And, as per usual, it’s hard to resist Duan’s lineup of boundary-pushing cocktails.
How to book: Via Tock

Judy’s Bay

Cambridge
$$$$

The gist: “New England izakaya” is not a restaurant genre we see every day—which makes us all the more excited for this new entry from wife-and-husband duo Kim Vo and Lukas Dow, who have taken over the former Bondir space, cozy fireplace space and all.
The food: The menu provides a Japanese twist on local catches like lobster, clams, and quahogs—Dow is an accomplished fisherman—with all bites designed to be shared. Meantime, the bar menu spotlights sake and soju along with cocktails, beer, and wine.
How to book: Via Yelp

Lucie

Back Bay
$$$$

The gist: Inside The Colonnade hotel, Lucie serves breakfast, brunch, 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.

Available for Reservations

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.

Available for Reservations

Nomai

Hingham
$$$$

The gist: Now you have another reason to hit up Hingham’s Derby Street Shops that doesn’t involve shopping. The folks who brought us Shojo and Ruckus—and did tremendous work to support our local Chinese restaurants during the early days of the pandemic—have debuted their newest concept, continuing a streak of irresistible pan-Asian offerings.
The food: Start with raw bar offerings, move on to appetizers like sea scallop tostadas, then blissfully work your way through larger plates of Japanese crab risotto, steamed sea bass, and lemongrass filet mignon. A year-round patio means you can always eat outside, but the sleek dining room is also a great place to perch.

Available for Reservations

PlantPub

Kendall Square
$$$$

The gist: “Vegan pub fare” sounds like a clear contradiction in terms, but celebrated chef Mary Dumont (Cultivar, Harvest) has pulled off the seemingly impossible: comfort fare that’s entirely plant-based.
The food: The new Kendall Square spot has reimagined all your game-day faves: buffalo wings, loaded nachos, pepperoni pizza, burgers. Yep, they’re all completely vegan (tofu and cauliflower are doing a lot of the work here), complemented by a vegan wine list and craft beers, including some nonalcoholic options. Little wonder that a second outlet is already slated to open to Fenway.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating

Available for Delivery/Takeout

The Pearl

South Bay
$$$$

The gist: 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.

Available for Reservations

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 local stuffed squash, stuffed chicken breast, 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.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Available for Reservations

Ramsay’s Kitchen

Back Bay
$$$$

The gist: This one sells itself. It’s Gordon Ramsay’s first foray into the Boston dining scene, taking up residence in the glamorous, 7,000-square-foot space on the first floor of the Mandarin Oriental. The culinary showcase spotlights dishes from Ramsay’s 30-some restaurants around the world.
The food: Expect his famous Beef Wellington as well as homages to New England ingredients, from a bacon-laden clam chowder and fish & chips to a Maine lobster bouillabaisse.
How to book: Via website

The Winsor House
The Winsor House | Photo by Morgan Yeager

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.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

Wusong Road

Harvard Square
$$$$

The gist: We hear “tiki” or “homage to Aku Aku,” and we go running. Owner Jason Doo wants you to have fun (remember fun?!), in a two-floor Harvard Square space slinging potent cocktails and small plates that recall the American Chinese of your youth.
The food: Bring a posse because you’ll want to order everything. Peking ravioli, house fried rice, and veggie lo mein are the most recognizable small plates, but then things get a little funky: pulled pork or fried chicken bao, dan-dan ragu, and spam musubi. Drinks-wise, definitely go for the classics like a Mai Tai or a Zombie.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating

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 wine, 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.
How to book: Via tablein

Meaghan Agnew has made it her 2022 resolution to eat out as much as possible. Track her orders by following her on Instagram.