Acquired Taste: Live Octopus With Timothy DeLaGhetto and Trevor Wallace
Afghan is a pretty rare cuisine for Boston and Helmand has won numerous awards for its excellent menu. While a bit on the pricier end, both the food and the atmosphere are amazing, with the lamb dishes as the clear stand-out.
Australian: KO Catering and Pies
South End, Seaport
If you’ve never had an Australian meat pie, this is pretty much the only place around where you can change that (while also stocking up on Vegemite). KO always has at least six pies on the menu, along with a rotating pie of the month, various sandwiches and salads, and a number of hard-to-find sweets from Down Under.
With some of the best fries and waffles in the city and an enviable selection of boozy floats, it’s hard to top Saus. The Belgian street food eatery is open late, making it a favorite weekend haunt of hipster 20-somethings with very specific opinions about which ice cream best complements each individual craft beer.
Chinese: Hei La Moon
Two words: dim sum. Rolling carts and all. Beware on the weekends: you’ll have to fight your way to the steamed pork buns and other popular items, which usually disappear fast. Service is slow, but that’s not why you’re going... you’re going because those pork buns will be YOURS.
Ethiopian: Addis Red Sea
Addis introduced this generation of Bostonians to Ethiopian cuisine in 1988 and has been a cultural stronghold ever since. The crowd favorite serves up giant rounds of Ethiopian bread covered in traditional sauces, as well as flavorful lamb and beef dishes.
If you’re sitting here mourning the loss of Sandrine’s (where Bostonians could sit around eating butter-soaked, herb-dusted escargots in special little escargot plates), we can’t help you. But if you’re looking for creative French food that is absolutely top of the line, we can recommend literally anything on L’Espalier’s menu, any day of the week. It’s probably the best waitstaff in Boston, too. Just be prepared to drop top dollar.
German: Jacob Wirth
Bronwyn’s take on German street food is excellent, but we’ve got to give this one to Boston landmark (and that’s not a turn of phrase... it’s actually a national landmark) Jacob Wirth, a downtown beer hall that's been serving Bavarian food for approximately 150 years. If you want to learn the difference between umpteen different types of sausages and impress your date with your schnitzel-versus-spaetzel knowledge, this is the place for you.
Greek: Doretta Taverna
The newly-opened Doretta built its menu on family recipes from Greece and uses local, seasonal ingredients. Most of the dishes consist of fresh seafood or meat paired with traditional Greek salads, but this straightforward simplicity is what we like about it. Try the grilled octopus or the roasted lamb shoulder.
There are a lot of Indian restaurants in Boston, but Tanjore wins our vote for its authentic and regionally diverse menu. We love the array of breads, the South Indian combo plate, and the lamb biryani.
Pretty much everybody extols the virtues of this fresh pasta place, and with good reason. Try the farro cassarecce with rabbit, (which Chef Dave Becker recently called “last meal worthy”) and don’t forget to make a reservation.
It made our Best Sushi in Boston list, and we stand by it; Oishii is a palace of raw fish, tender wagyu beef, and carefully-prepared Japanese vegetables. It’s as much art as it is food. The menu is predominantly traditional sushi fish but also includes three kinds of eel, seven kinds of egg, specialty rolls, desserts, and more.
Korean: Buk Kyung
If you’re looking for no-frills authentic Korean food, here it is. It’s also notable that Buk Kyung serves up great food on the cheap, mostly to local Koreans and their families. We like the japchae plate.
Mexican: Tu Y Yo
Those looking for more Mex than Tex can head to this family-owned restaurant, located just a little outside Davis in Powderhouse Square. Not only do they have the most genuine Mexican in the area, they’re known for dishes that use uncommon ingredients, like deep-fried grasshopper mini-tacos.
Oleana is known for putting a non-traditional spin on staple dishes from the Mediterranean and Middle East. It’s a gorgeous date restaurant that’s vegetarian-friendly, and the award-winning desserts won’t leave you hanging. Plus, all the Turkish coffee comes with Turkish delight -- a delightfully traditional treat that more places should have, because TURKISH DELIGHT.
If you’re searching for momos (and of course you are), Rangzhen has four kinds of steamed dumplings... and for delivery, no less. But if dining in is on your agenda for the night, it’s a cozy spot to chill out and sip some poecha (butter tea).
Taranta serves a fusion menu of Peruvian and Southern Italian, and is home to that kickass guavannolis we’ve told you about. While you can find more traditional Peruvian elsewhere, we're into how this restaurant marries two disparate culinary styles.
Polish: Café Polonia
At this, the best and only Polish place in Boston, you can stuff your face with all the pierogis, goulash, potato pancakes, and kielbasa money can buy. And it’ll buy a LOT here.
Scottish: The Haven
You’ll learn a lot of new words at The Haven, with a menu including items like Cullen skink, housemade lamb haggis, and truffle-honey rutabaga neeps with Drambuie butter. Pair the tipsy laird trifle with one of many obscure Scottish beers and enjoy.
Thai: Brown Sugar Cafe
What’s not to love about great food at completely affordable prices? Nothing. That’s probably why the place is shoulder-to-shoulder with everyone from your grandma to those rowdy BU students who live down the street. Get some Tom Yum Goong and you won’t even care about the crowd -- you'll be in your happy place.
South End (& other locations)
Orinoco is Latin-fusion with a heavy Venezuelan influence. (The experience is more fine dining than bodega, and that’s a good thing). Go for the small plates (empanadas, arepas, and bacon-wrapped dates) and stay for the excellent main courses and patio seating.