Where to Eat in Boston Right Now
Brand new Middle Eastern spot, ramen bar in Chinatown, and Italian takeout.
We ordered takeout five times last week—that’s how much we want to be supporting our local restaurants. So as the bad news drags on pretty much across the board, there’s one good thing you can keep doing: putting your money where your mouth is. If you’re anything like us, you’ve been leaning pretty heavily on your old faves these days, but there’s also no better time to check out some of the city’s newest entries. Yes, believe it or not, recent times have still yielded several exciting openings, from a downtown Middle Eastern spot to a no-nonsense ramen bar to a brand-new Italian takeout option from a favorite Cambridge chef. 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 have made the hard decision to hibernate for the winter.
The gist: A modern Middle Eastern restaurant that debuted with a casual breakfast and lunch menu that has now expanded to formal dinner offerings.
The food: Executive chef Claudio Cavalleri lures you in with breakfast delicacies like spanakopita and nutella-filled croissants, gets you excited for lunch again with kebab wraps and ancient grain pizza, and then shakes up your dinner routine with lamb adana kebab and an Israeli-style grass-fed burger.
The cost: Appetizers are $8-12, pizzas are $14-16, mains and dishes to share are $16-28. Cocktails are $15, beers are $7-$8 and wines by the glass $14.
How to order: Order via Toast.
The gist: Over the summer, Puritan & Co. Chef Will Gilson made lemonade out of lemons, offering an outdoor preview of his three concept restaurants: Cafe Beatrice, The Lexington, and Geppetto. Well, all three are now officially up and running in a takeout capacity, Geppetto being the most recent to debut a limited to-go menu.
The food: Cafe Beatrice and The Lexington are together doing all-day pastries, bagels, and lunch sandwiches, while Geppetto grants you quarter or half pans of Sicilian pizza as well as specialties like fried artichokes, Italian chopped salad, kitchen sink lasagna, and braised pork sugo.
The cost: Pastries are $4-6, lunch sandwiches are $10-12, Geppetto takeout is $9-$20
How to order: Order takeout and delivery online from all three through the website
The gist: A new ramen entry from the team behind Japanese restaurant Tora, and a most welcome one at that, given how hard the pandemic has been on some of our other beloved ramen joints.
The food: A menu of five different ramen choices gives you options while also letting you cut to the chase: original, spicy, black garlic, Shoyu, and vegetarian miso broth, with an extensive menu of add-ons. Throw in a couple of hot apps, and you have a comfort meal that can carry you through any bad news week.
The cost: Appetizers are $4-8; ramen is $13-15.
How to order: Call 857-233-4680 to order takeout.
The gist: The chance to try several different Latin American cuisines at once, with an extensive menu of classic Venezuelan, Cuban, Colombian, and Peruvian dishes that’s also reflective of the season.
The food: Kick it 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. Its grab-and-go roast chicken is also a fantastic weeknight takeout option.
The cost: Tapas are $3.50-17.50; mains are $19-31; drinks are $10-13.
How to order: Order takeout through Toast.
The gist: Chef/owner Anthony Caldwell opened his fruition of a long-held dream in late February, and despite everything he has kept going—and thrived—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 ambrosial (there’s also a cauliflower version).
The cost: Appetizers are $6-11. Sandwiches are $13-16 and entrees are $16-28.
How to order: Order takeout on 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 learned chef/owner Rovert Carl Dooley had another trick up his sleeve: a simpler, neighborhood restaurant, perfect for our current Covid times.
The food: Think season-specific apps, sandwiches, pastas and specials: 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 $14-20, pastas and entrees $15-28.
How to order: Make a reservation online or order takeout via Season to Go.
The gist: 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, think cheeses, think dips, and think other glorious Greek small plates like moussaka tartar, with filet mignon marinated octopus, fried mussels, and a daily changing Greek rotisserie. Have we mentioned the tableside tzatziki? 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 seat online; or order food, beer, and 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: This 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 inside or in a patio igloo or order takeout via the restaurant site.
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 online or order delivery via 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, 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; order online for takeout.
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: half or full orders of wonders like mushroom ragu and spaghetti bolognese. The current, shortened menu also includes all-day snacks like radishes with butter and divine sandwiches, including a truffled grilled cheese.
The cost: Most snacks are $9-14; pasta dishes are $22 and sandwiches are $14-19.
How to order: Make a reservation online (walk-ins also welcome) 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 Cracker-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 reservations online; ditto takeout
The gist: In normal times, TABLE is a family-style affair, with just two nighty seatings at communal tables. But restaurateur Jen Royle has continually shifted gears, currently offering an eight-course affair in addition to two early seatings for her Sunday Supper. And then of course there’s her new provisions market, Table Mercato, already a tabloid darling thanks to an incognito visit from one Mister Leonardo DiCaprio.
The food: Beloved Italian classics: fried ravioli, pan-roasted artichokes, caprese salad, ricotta gnocchi, chicken parmesan, short rib bolognese (the menu changes constantly).
The cost: Eight-course meal is $95 per person; Sunday Supper is $38 per person
How to order: Reserve a communal table space online; order takeout on ChowNow
Fox & The Knife
The gist: The debut space from Top Chef finalist and James Beard winner Karen Akunowicz brings her Italian techniques front and center, earning her “Best New Restaurant” accolades from Food & Wine in 2019. One more reason we’re in love? Because it’s the rare (only?) all-woman-run restaurant in town.
The food: What are you eating? 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 online or order takeout and homemade pastas and sauces to go through the website.
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: This is a place to excite your palate. But don’t expect a tour through familiar Thai classics--this is South Asian fare in all its breadth and glory, with dishes from Vietnam, Southwest China, Singapore, and Indonesia (and Thailand too, of course).
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, beers $6-9.
How to order: Reserve indoor dining by calling 617-547-8888 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or order takeout online
The gist: What’s hunkar begendi, you ask? A Turkish speciality, for one, 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, a sultry new South End dining entry in the former Parish Cafe space.
The food: Ilona is all about underserved Eastern Mediterranean cuisine: Georgian, Turkish, Lebanese, Israeili, Egyptian. The mezze 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 kebabs and roasted lamb will calm tamer eaters
The cost: Meze is $7-18; kebabs are $12-15.
How to order: Currently takeout only; order takeout online or delivery through UberEats or 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: Seasonally driven, to be sure, but current highlights include butternut squash soup, squid ink fettuccine, and braised pork shank. Splurge on a couple of glasses of wine 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 $12-26, entrees $25-28.
How to order: Reserve a table via Resy or order takeout online, via Caviar or by calling 617-714-5584
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, as it turns out).
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 $6-11 and wines by the glass range from $11-15.
How to order: Reserve a table on Resy, or order takeout (free local delivery!) online