If you like good food, you’ve come to the right place. Boston has obvious geographical advantages with a ready supply of outstanding seafood landing daily into Boston harbor. But there’s more to Boston restaurants than awesome chowder! There’s also the wealth of ingredients from the farmlands of New England and plenty of different ethnic cuisines to add to the heady mix. A new generation of creative young chefs are challenging the established big hitters creating a lively food scene that’s a joy to explore. Check out 5 of our favorite restaurants to explore in Boston.
In New England, you're never far from a lobster dinner. At Summer Shack, the emphasis is on fresh local seafood, served with few frills in a laidback, child-friendly atmosphere. Encased in a crisp coating, the fried clams ($14) are luscious and creamy; order these to start. The lobsters are available in various sizes, and can be boiled, baked, wood-grilled, or pan- or oven-roasted. For a delicious departure from tradition, try one pan-roasted with bourbon, chervil and chives. Finish with Indian pudding, a classic New England dessert with cornmeal, cinnamon, and molasses. 149 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, +1 617 520-9500 and 50 Dalton Street, Boston, +1 617 867-9955, summershackrestaurant.com. Open daily 11.30am-10pm. Mains from $19
East Coast Grill
Entering East Coast Grill, you are transported to a marine-inspired tiki lounge, complete with an island-themed bar and umbrellas tucked into somewhat lethal cocktails. To start, order the tuna tacos – lightly seared ahi tuna, accompanied by crisp jicama and watercress – along with punchy buffalo shrimp, likely to disappear from the plate within seconds. The kitchen at East Coast Grill is equally proficient in dishes from land and sea, and a slab of the dry-rubbed ribs are a must, with a hunk of fresh cornbread and a cooling wedge of watermelon. For dessert, head just two doors down to Christina's Ice Cream, for some of its ambrosial homemade ice cream. 1271 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, +1 617 491 6568, eastcoastgrill.net. Sun-Thurs 5.30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5.30pm-10.30pm, Sunday brunch 11am-2.30pm. Starters from $7, mains from $18
No. 9 Park
Any restaurant that occupies an elegant old townhouse in Beacon Hill might give the impression of a stuffy, out-of-date sort of place. No.9 Park is instead a warm, inviting place to dine. Ever since Barbara Lynch opened the doors of her flagship restaurant, Boston diners have enjoyed gracious hospitality and some of the most remarkable food in the Northeast. Classically trained and undeniably creative, Lynch – and No 9 Park – has won the culinary honors, including “Best Chef Northeast” from the James Beard Foundation. Pastas are her forte; her gnocchi with prune and foie gras and the pasta Bolognese are award winners, but other entrees shine as well. The pumpkin risotto with rare lamb is highly recommended. The dining room is lovingly appointed from the polished wood floors to the lovely ceilings. Service matches the menu – sophisticated, smart and warm. The ever changing wine list is composed of some of the best wines from small wineries from around the world. 9 Park Street, 617 742-9991, www.no9park.com Lunch Monday – Friday. Dinner Monday through Saturday. Closed Sundays.
Alex Crabb opened Asta in early 2013 and, after just nine months, Boston Magazine named it "Best New Restaurant". The restaurant offers three, five and eight-course menus which change regularly, showcasing Crabb's creativity and impeccable technique in whimsical dishes such as "after the storm" (seaweed, salmon roe and mussels) and "the great escape" (escargots, market bounty, green goddess dressing) While the combinations may seem esoteric, the flavours are surprisingly complementary. The wine list is expertly curated and, if you're feeling decadent, order the eight-course menu with pairings. The casual decor features an open kitchen surrounded by a dining bar; perch at the counter for an inside look at Crabb and his highly skilled crew. 47 Massachusetts Avenue, +1 617 585 9575, astaboston.com. Tues-Sat 6pm-10.30pm. Three courses $45, five courses $70, and eight courses $95
This tiny charmer is a welcome addition to the dining scene in the North End. Rather than the ubiquitous Italian fare found at most of the neighbors, Neptune Oyster is a seafood lovers dream come true. You can almost smell the sweet salt air as you walk in the door. Then, in the window, you’ll see the mounds of achingly fresh oysters that have been gleaned from seas far and wide. The room is lovingly appointed with old-time tile floor, a long counter and several small tables, with colors of red and black and mirrors all around. In addition to the oysters, stars include the lobster roll which is prepared here with an artful flair. Oddly enough, the burger is also a winner, partly due to the crispy fried oysters on top. Service is friendly and the staff will be more than happy to help you find the perfect wine pairings from the Wine Spectator magazine’s ‘Award of Excellence’ winning wine list. Neptune Oyster is cozy, smart and not to be missed. 63 Salem Street, +1 617 742 3474, neptuneoyster.com. Mon-Fri 11.30am-9.30pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am-10.30pm. Mains from $25
If you know of any great places that we’d want to know about…….go ahead and leave a comment below….we always want to be in the know and we hope to see you at a fabulously chic restaurant soon!