Food & Drink

The Best First Date Restaurant in (Almost) Every Boston 'Hood

Published On 09/21/2015 Published On 09/21/2015
DAVE BALDWIN/THRILLIST
The Tip Tap Room
DAVE BALDWIN/Thrillist
Flickr/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
Centre Street Cafe JP/Alex Gang
Gaslight Brasserie du Coin
WILLIAM HORNE
Local 149
WILLIAM HORNE
Flickr/Christopher Schmidt
WILLIAM HORNE
WILLIAM HORNE
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1. Deep Ellum 477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134 (Allston Brighton)

Whiskey cocktails and Southern-inspired brunch fare are the name of the game at this Allston cocktail hangout. Deep Ellum's menu features seven types of Manhattans and more than 25 beers on tap, all worth exploring while you attempt to talk over blaring music (tip: get here early for a spot on the quieter, plant-filled back patio). While there is a solid dinner menu (go for the reuben sandwich and truffle gorgonzola fries), the brunch dishes are Boston bucket list-worthy and served seven days a week (!), and include a killer kielbasa & egg sandwich and a BBQ breakfast with braised pork shoulder, cornbread, and a fried egg.

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2. Lone Star Taco Bar 479 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134 (Allston Brighton)

Lone Star is the result of a collaboration between two dudes from Texas and Southern California, so you can feel pretty confident that they know their way around Mexican food. With a menu influenced by taquerias and markets in Austin, Dallas, and Mazatlan, Lone Star serves up a huge range of tacos, from carnitas and barbacoa to refried beans and huevos rancheros. They also do a killer breakfast menu (breakfast tacos! huevos rancheros!) and have an absolute ton of tequilas ready to pour.

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3. Zocalo Mexican Bistro & Tequila Bar 35 Stanhope St, Boston, MA 02116 (Back Bay)

Between its days in Brighton and now in the Back Bay, Zocalo has spent 25 years serving up faves like grilled jumbo shrimp in chimichurri sauce and chicken-stuffed batter-fried poblano peppers accompanied by killer margaritas.

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4. The Tip Tap Room 138 Cambridge St, Boston, MA 02114 (Boston)

Their concept is simple: cook up a variety of meat "tips", ranging from normal (steak and turkey) to exotic (Cilantro Serrano Kangaroo Filet), then pour more than 30 beers from their taps to wash it all down. And don't worry, if for some reason you're not interested in the tips or taps, they concoct a number of cocktails and serve other tasty eats, as well.

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5. Pier 6 Boston Waterfront 1 8th St, Charlestown, MA 02129 (Charlestown)

If you're looking for a restaurant with panoramic views of Boston Harbor, Pier 6 in Charlestown is for you. The three-floor restaurant focuses on New England fare and features a raw bar, a private dining room, and a roof deck.

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6. Gourmet Dumpling House 52 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

If you're looking to stuff your face with delicious pork buns or other doughy comfort foods, this popular place serves cheap, authentic dumplings.

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7. Marliave 10 Bosworth St , Boston, MA 02108 (Downtown Crossing)

Marliave first made its debut in 1885, opened by a French immigrant who brought over a closely guarded cachet of Francophile recipes. It’s had its ups and downs in the 13 decades since, but Marliave really is an undersung institution. Where else can you enjoy French onion soup and rarebit at the bar while savoring a drink called the Chauncey Warbucks (Baker’s bourbon, absinthe, grenadine, bitters)? The first floor reeks of backroom politics gone by, while the upstairs dining space provides a charmingly anachronistic view of Downtown Crossing (you forget how little the architecture has changed here). Oh, and on those deep February nights when you cannot bear to drag your ass out the door? Marliave delivers. Rarebit in bed, baby.

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8. Thaitation 129 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215 (Fenway Kenmore)

Aiming to instill "more authenticity" in the old Brown Sugar space, a longtime BS chef has Bangkok'd the joint out, instituting a legit Thai menu and renovating the interior to "make you feel like you're in Thailand" with "sunshine yellow" walls, authentic Thai artwork, and sweet Thai background music (but oddly, nary a lady-boy).

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9. Centre Street Cafe 669 Centre St #A, Boston, MA 02130 (Jamaica Plain)

This bright, quirky spot sitting happily in Jamaica Plains boasts affordable breakfasts and Italian dinners. The menu's both vegetarian- and college kid-friendly (jackpot if you're both) with reasonably priced dishes like biscuits & gravy in the morning, pancetta-based burgers in the afternoon, and garlic-y corn risotto in the evening.

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10. Carmen 33 North Sq, Boston, MA 02113

Reservations are recommended at this cozy, elegant Italian restaurant, because there are only nine tables. Carmen's boasts a seasonal menu that features items like spice-crusted tuna, seafood brodetto, pan-seared duck, and sautéed haddock Francese.

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11. Gaslight Brasserie du Coin 560 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02118 (South End)

Parisian brasserie complete with cafe tables, communal booths, and an eclectic bar. Extensive wine list with over 20 French wines by the glass, and an impressive menu chock full o' Parisian delicacies.

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12. Trade 540 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02210 (Financial Dist Waterfront)

Trade's industrial/wooded interior is quite the sight to behold until your meal arrives and you forget all about it. Award-winning chef Jody Adams features a menu of internationally inspired chow and specialty craft drinkables, wines and beer.

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13. Local 149 149 P St, South Boston, MA 02127 (South Boston)

The Local 149 puts the emphasis on "Local," offering a cozy and welcoming atmosphere for folks to pick from more than 20 brews on tap and eat delicious and fresh bar grub in South Boston.

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14. Park Restaurant & Bar 59 Jfk St, Cambridge, MA 02138 (Harvard Square)

This place is a class act with comfy couches and killer cocktails. It's got a romantic vibe, and a late night menu.

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15. The Friendly Toast 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

The Kendall Square spinoff of the cult Portsmouth favorite, FT's Fri/Sat 24-hr, 150-seat full-service diner featuring a 22-seat bar, front lounge, and two dining areas adorned w/ lime green walls and hunter green vinyl seats and booths.

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16. Tupelo 1193 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02139 (North Cambridge)

From the owner of Petsi Pies, Tupelo purveys "comfort food with a Southern flair" offering incestually authentic Louisiana recipes in a redwood-walled 45 seat space with white tile floors and chocolate wood tables.

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17. Cuchi Cuchi 795 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (Kendall Square)

Opened in July 2001, CC serves up small plates (don't call them tapas here) and have a full liquor bar available with experienced bartenders making delicious specialty drinks.

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18. Christopher's Restaurant & Bar 1920 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140 (Porter Square)

Christopher's in Cambridge offers up a delicious menu made up of American fare like wings and calamari, as well as great drinks.

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19. Foundry on Elm 255 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144 (Davis)

A joint venture from two industry heavyweights who've dreamed of working together since high school, FOE's a brasserie-tavern hybrid (brassevern!) balancing oft-local hearty fare with delicious artisanal draughts.

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20. Bronwyn 255 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143 (Union Square)

This cozy Union Square restaurant serves up modern twists on traditional and authentic German fare (borscht, massive bretzels, every wurst imaginable). And, in true German fashion, Bronwyn offers dozens of beers (by the liter, boot or bucket) from all over central Europe and New England. Owner Tim Wiechmann was aiming to imitate the atmosphere of a European dive or hostel with this location, and he totally nailed it with its nearly medeival look (dark, heavy wooden tables, worn-leather bar stools, rustic red and blue walls).