Food & Drink

The Most Underrated Restaurants in Boston

Published On 10/07/2015 Published On 10/07/2015
Tryst Restaurant
Dave Baldwin/Thrillist
T.W. Food Restaurant
Dale Cruse/Troquet
Dave Baldwin/Thrillist
51 lincoln restaurant
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1. Estragon Tapas 700 Harrison Ave , Boston, MA 02118

The South End is known for its quirky, trendy dining joints and Estragon Tapas fits the bill with the unlikely pairing of authentic Spanish tapas and an extensive wine list with the American diner appeal of its black and white tiled floor, vintage furnishings, and art deco decor. Choose from giant helpings of spiced paellas, vegetable small plates like Coles de Bruselas (roasted brussel sprouts with chorizo), fish options like Gambas al Ajillo (seared garlic shrimp), or land-born offerings like Pincho Moruno (pork skewers with a sesame miso dressing). Out of the Spanish wines, specialty cocktails, and 20 beers, the favorite is the tart and refreshing Tamarind Margarita that you can get by the glass or the pitcher. Pro tip: stop in Monday through Thursday for “Tapas Blitz” (small plates for $5 or less a piece).

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2. Tryst 689 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02720

This 100-seat, modern bistro dishes out a variety of American fare from seafood to boar and offers extensive wine and cocktails lists.

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3. Giulia 1682 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

This 70-seat trattoria in Cambridge is a diamond in the rough, forgotten stretch of Mass Ave between Harvard and Porter. Former Via Matta chef Michael Pagliarini spends hours each day rolling out his handmade doughs at the restaurant's centerpiece pasta table, and the resulting ravioli, fusilli, and pappardelle truly taste like they were made hours earlier. At night, the table transforms from a workspace to a communal dining table that serves family-style tasting meals.

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4. T.W. Food 377 Walden St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Chef-owner Tim Wiechmann brings local, seasonal deliciousness to Cambridge, with a series of tasting menus that allow you to savor a range of his inventive cuisine. Stop by on Wednesdays to experience Kitchen Improv -- a five-course, impromptu menu created on the spot.

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5. Troquet 140 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116

Everything dish on their menu has been paired with a delicious wine, so you always know what to order.

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6. Asta 47 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115

For those times when you'd rather let someone other than Papa Gino order dinner for you, L'Espalier alum Alex Crabb's taken the Back Bay's former 47 Pizza+Pasta and morphed it into a rustic 41-seater that serves a "be cool because this is what you're going to get" three-, five-, and eight-course tasting menu accompanied by an optional wine pairing.

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7. Lineage 242 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

This Brookline establishment serves up a frequently rotating menu of fresh seafood treats -- do yourself a favor and try the lobster tacos.

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8. Ester 2261 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester, MA 02124

Featuring fresh produce from their rooftop garden, Ester also offers some pretty sweet seating on their 60-seat outdoor dining area. Everything from a meatloaf burger, to sauteed baby bok choy, to beef tongue tacos will entertain your palate.

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9. Seiyo 1721C Washington S, Boston, MA 02118

All your favorite rolls are at this underrated sushi spot, along with an epic Nigiri menu and a cost-effective bento box selection. As the name suggests, there’s also an attached wine shop, a jewel in its own right (we’re suckers for an epic bottle display).

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10. 51 Lincoln 51 Lincoln Street, Boston, MA 02111

51 Lincoln celebrates seasonal fare with a fervent commitment not seen in many other restaurants. Food is local and seasonal, yes, but Fournier also promises no hormones or antibiotics, no GMO products, no artificial sweeteners, and no processed ingredients. When the season permits, his famous watermelon steak should be a go-to.