Where to Eat in Boston Right Now

Tapas, tacos, t-bones, and everything in between.

Praise the culinary gods, our dining lives are finally starting to look a little more normal. No longer is life just about lukewarm take-out—between the onset of patio season and the new fully-vaxxed world order,  we’re currently blessed with all sorts of ways to support our local bars and restaurants. And if you’re anything like us, you leaned heavily on old faves throughout the winter months, which means there’s no better time than the present to check out some of the city’s shiniest debuts. 

Major kudos to all the restaurateurs brave enough to spearhead these much-appreciated additions, from a revamped French brasserie and a reimagined wood-fired tapas bar to a tiny Mexican street food vendor guaranteed to change the taco game for good. Still hungry? Keep scrolling for our lineup of top Boston places to get your eat on, including all the celebrated venues that have recently emerged from winter hibernation.

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 collar, and a duck l’orange that’s already a beloved hit. 
The cost: Appetizers $9 - $18, entrees $20 - $35, cocktails $12 - $14, beer $7 - $26, wine by the glass $9 - $15. 
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, buttered crab and jalapeño). 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 $14 - $17, share plates $8 - $16, large plates $39 - $45, cocktails $12 - $14, beer $6 - $11, wine by the glass $10 - $15. 
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating 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: Fried grasshoppers? 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 margarita. 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 $6 - $13, wine by the glass $9 - $15. 
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out and delivery via Toast.

Flora’s Wine Bar

West Newton Center

The gist: Another early 2020 debut that obviously suffered as a result of the pandemic, this suburban wine bar is back in gear peddling all the boozy, snacky pleasures we’ve so dearly missed.
The food: It’s cheese, it’s charcuterie, it’s small plates like white fish mousse, and of course, it’s a bounty expertly selected wines by the glass. What more do you need?
The cost: Cheese $10 - $10.50, charcuterie $11 - $12, small plates $6 - $17, cocktails $12 - $14, beer $6.50 - $8.50, wine by the glass $10 - $17. 
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out via Toast.

French Quarter

Downtown Crossing

The gist: Another 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 baked below the Mason-Dixon. Toss in a few French 75 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 $5 - $11, wine by the glass $10 - $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, pandemic or no pandemic. 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 fluke 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 $5 - $12, 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 quick-bites. 
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: Small plates $6 - $17, mains $24 - $34, cocktails $13 - $15, beer $6 - $10, wine by the glass $8 - $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 culinary talk of the town? Work up to it while eating your way through bistro stalwarts like duck rillettes, mussels, and two steak frites options. Herbivores, take note: There’s a whole separate veggie-friendly menu just for you. The all-American wines-by-the-glass menu 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 $7 - $12, wine by the glass $13 - $18. 
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Atlántico

South End

The gist: A seafood-driven tapas bar from Michael Serpa that we couldn’t wait to try—until the damn pandemic delayed that opportunity by a full year. Thankfully, the hibernation is over, which means it’s high time to sample 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: Small plates $3.50 - $75, large plates $14 - $58, cocktails $14, beer $6 - $11, wine by the glass $11 - $18. 
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out via Toast.

Cosmica
Cósmica | Photo courtesy of Cósmica

Cósmica

Back Bay

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, calamari fritos, 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 upcoming brunch menu, which includes egg quesadillas and huevos rancheros. 
The cost: Mains $5 - $18, tacos and bowls $13 - $24, cocktails $13 - 15, beer are $5 - $9, wine by the glass $11 - $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 lures you in with breakfast delicacies like spanakopita and nutella-filled croissants, gets you excited for lunch 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 $8 - $12, pizzas $14 - $16, mains and shareables $16 - $28, cocktails $15, beer $7 - $8, wine by the glass $14. 
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating 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 and take-out with Geppetto slated to reopen in the fall after showcasing a limited to-go menu over the winter.
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 heft mains like roasted duck and wild mushroom lasagna.
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, given how hard the pandemic has been on some of our other beloved noodle joints. 
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 forms 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: Appetizers $4 - $8, ramen $13 - 15, soft drinks $3.50 - $4.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or call 857-233-4680 for take-out.

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 option. 
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—eat 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: Appetizers $6 - $11, sandwiches $13 -  $16, mains $16 - $28.
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 chef-owner Rovert  Carl Dooley had another trick up his sleeve: A neighborhood spot hawking the same 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. Vegan and vegetarians make a beeline to dishes like Indian-spiced cauliflower and summer squash. 
The cost: Snacks $5 - $7, starters $8 - $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: Another exciting 2020 opening that quickly got overshadowed, this Greek-inflected tapas and wine emporium is reclaiming 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? The eats, of course, demand wine pairings, specifically Greek selections sourced from Crete, Santorini, Ioannina, and other breezy European locales. 
The cost: Tapas and mains $6 - $22, 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: Salads and appetizers $14 - $19, entrees $28 - $28, cocktails $14 - $18, beer and wine $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 offerings such as roasted salmon, steak tips with fries, and Branch Line’s beloved sugar snap pea salad in addition to, duh, the ever-famous rotisserie chicken. Be sure to check out the monthly subscription, which plays to the Shy Bird obsessives.
The cost: Starters $6 - $13, entrees $11.75 - $30.
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 hyperlocal cooking. The dinner menu is all about unadorned, pristinely executed classics like crispy-skinned roasted half chicken, skirt steak with frites, cassoulet, and luxe duck confit. 
The cost: Soups and salads $10 - $15, pastas and entrees $24 - $46, cocktails $13, wine and beer $5 - $15. 
How to book: Call 978-998-4946 to reserve 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 spring risotto are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to pasta delights. The current menu also includes an array of all-day snacks like tomato toast and garlic Gulf shrimp to complement the noodles.
The cost: Snacks $9 - $14, pastas $22, sandwiches $14 - $19. 
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? Chicken-fried ribeye? Ritz Cracker-crusted chicken thighs? That’s some cheeky cuisine right there. Homey standards like smoked chicken wings and spaghetti pomodoro 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 getting out of your comfort zone, but with dishes like steamed snapper dumplings, roasted duck salad, Singapore chili beef, and 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: Call 617-547-8888 to reserve 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 new South End dining entry in 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. 
How to book: Order take-out via Toast or delivery through UberEats and GrubHub.

Meaghan Agnew is a contributor for Thrillist.