Boston's Best Restaurants That Bring Guests Back through Their Doors
By Jessica Polizzotti
Boston Local Expert
The best restaurants in Boston have one thing in common: staying power. They are not just what's hot right now, but what's proven its worth.
Boston is filled with its share of great places to get good fish. Row 34, set in happening Fort Point, brings guests through their doors in droves to indulge in freshly harvested and expertly shucked oysters, appetizers and main dishes that are both simple and exquisite.
With a large population of Italian Americans, you can't go wrong with a meal in Boston's North End, but you can get one even better on Boston's Greenway where NEBO has made its home. This family run spot serves meatballs like they were meant to be made and welcomes guests with true Italian hospitality.
Across the Charles River, in neighboring Cambridge, you'll find Oleana where the Middle Eastern fare is served in a warm, almost cozy environment both indoors by the fire or out on the elegant patio. Bostonians love Oleana so much that more than 10 years after they opened you still need to make reservations weeks in advance to get seated at a reasonable hour.
The 10best are spots you'll find the same names on the reservation list time and again because these are the places where locals become regulars.
Bondir serves modern American cuisine in an elegant setting that makes you feel special even before you take a bite of their amazing menu. Only 28 seats and a cozy room complete with a fireplace makes Bondir the place you long to be on cool evenings while its bright interior gives it an airy feel on warm ones.. A true commitment to farm to table cuisine, sourcing the best pastoral and marine bounty from all of New England combined with an expertly selected list of American and European wines and beers. You'll find their daily created menu stocked with vegetables picked that day, fish just caught from the ocean, as well as pasture-raised meats. Bondir takes farm to table to a new level. This popular Cambridge eatery went as far as opening a second outpost in Concord, MA where they can be closer to the farms that source their kitchen. (617.661.0009)
Tico welcomes diners into its warm atmosphere where you'll find people relaxing at the bar sipping one of their specialty (tequila based) cocktails, sipping beer, eating and chatting while the tables are filled with lively groups enjoying the food and the company. Serving fun food that can be shared tapas style or eaten on your own, Tico is a place meant for having a good time. Tico's cuisine is a blend of American, Spanish, Mexican and South American. Serving lunch, dinner and brunch, including a family brunch concert one Saturday each month where kids are encouraged to leave their seats and hit the dance floor, Tico offers a little something for everyone. (6173510400)
This tiny Cambridge spot churns out some incredible New American cuisine with a southern spin. Filled with the flavor you'd think you'd only be able to savor in the deep south, Hungry Mother masters the classics, with a modern twist. The laid back atmosphere welcomes casual attire while the minimalist decor makes you feel like you're at your own dining table. The menu changes daily but could include such delights like a pecan crusted catfish, and Hoppin' John as well as fabulous appetizers like boiled peanuts. Be sure to save room for a side dish because if their skillet corn bread is on the menu, it can't be missed. (6174990090)
Myers + Chang
An Asian diner that serves some of the best Taiwanese soul food and Southeast Asian street food you can find stateside. Favoring lighter sauces, and creating new twists on classics as well as developing new dishes with regional flavors sets Myers and Change apart from the competition. The team is passionate about creating food diners will desire to eat over and over again. Enjoy a light salad filled with flavor, or bites like chicken wings and tea smoked pork ribs or potsticker type, fried dumplings,sandwich style options in rolls, wraps or even a taco, and protein focused meals that welcome their delectable sides or vegetables as accompaniment. And don't forget the dim sum-delicious and served on weekend afternoons. (6175425200)
When a restaurant lists their rules and those rules include, "the customer is NOT always right, and don't be a douchbag", you know you're in a true Boston spot. jm Curley's is that kind of place, where you won't find anything fancy, but you'll get good food, and drinks in a cool setting. jm Curley's is an ode to popular and controversial former Mayor of Boston, James Michael Curley who always got the job done and was loved by his constituents. At this Boston spot, you'll find a whimsical selection of grub that, like Mayor Curley, gets the job done. On the menu you'll find fun choices like pickled deviled eggs, curley's cracka jack, beer and cheese soup, and fried chicken dinner. These dishes may not be good for your waistline, but they certainly warm your spirit. (617)338-5333)
Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House - Boston
Located in Liberty Wharf, arguably the hottest place to dine in the city, especially during warmer months, Del Frisco's offers outdoor waterfront dining on their stunning glass walled patio (to keep it comfortable even if the wind blows). But location alone does not sell Del Frisco's, their steaks are charred on the outside while staying melt in your mouth perfect on the inside, and the service is second to none. Their seafood selection is off the charts, and the wine list wows even the toughest crowds. A meal here will have you encountering more than one waiter whose sole purpose is to make your meal memorable. And memorable it will be because each bite at Del Frisco's leaves you longing for one more. (6173453906)
For great seafood in Boston, head to Neptune Oyster. Home of an award winning lobster roll, served cold with mayo or hot with butter, Neptune does it right. Chunks of sweet meat cooked to perfection are served on a roll that is almost as good as what it holds. Beyond the lobster roll, Neptune offers a small menu of seasonal delights from the sea. Staples include Ipswich fried clams that explode in your mouth upon entry, and Steamed Wellfleet Littlenecks in the most magnificent wine sauce. The raw bar is impressive, serving east and west coast oysters, a variety of clams and other heavenly treats from the sea. (617-742-3474)
A favorite among the Inman Square crowd, this Mediterranean restaurant boasts an innovative menu and pleasant wait staff. Chef Ana Sortun has become a legend in the Boston area, known for sourcing many of her vegetables from her husband's farm in Sudbury, MA, ensuring her dishes are made form the freshest ingredients. Reservations are hard to come by, leaving diners, especially those seeking a spot on her romantic patio waiting weeks for availability. opening at 5:30pm each evening, Oleana often has lines prior to opening their doors, as patrons hope to score one of the non-reserved tables on the spot. Well worth the wait, Sortun has created the spot for Eastern Mediterranean fine dining. Enjoy her meze, but save room for the main course because the flavor profile is sure to play games with your palate. (617-661-0505)
Nebo Restaurant and Bar
For gravy like grandma made head over to Boston's Greenway where NEBO has made its home. This Italian eatery serves homestyle Italian favorites inspired by their mother's recipes and plates them with pride. A modern industrial space has a cozy feel enhanced by its open kitchen and views of the Greenway outside its doors. A small patio allows for outside seating, while the bar inside allows walk ins, without reservations, the chance to dine in style even on the busies of nights. Dive into a plate of their gluten free pasta with a Neapolitan style bolognese that is packed with flavor and quite similar to the real thing, while their gluten free pizza will have you returning for more. (617-723-6326)
Fashionably simple, Row 34 in Fort Point Channel, within the Seaport District, has quickly made a splash in the restaurant scene. Serving fresh seafood, Row 34 churns out plates of local bites to be eaten with enjoyment. Row 34 has a focus on pairing their menu items, including raw bar favorites with beer. Start with a dozen of their crisp, clean, expertly shucked, local oysters alongside a pint of a craft draft or bottle of beer for a coupling you won't soon forget. The main course selection consists of the freshest fish they can find and cooks it up in every way imaginable: pan seared, roasted, grilled, baked, battered and fried. All served with carefully chosen accompaniments that will have you returning for more. ((617) 553-5900)
About Jessica Polizzotti
Born and raised in Boston, Jessica knows her city like the back of her hand. Always looking to uncover something new, Jessica keeps up on the latest and greatest Boston offerings. Although Jessica has been a world traveler since her teens, her favorite trip may always be her Italian honeymoon. Living in a city that allows her to experience a change in seasons equals an opportunity to enjoy a shift in activities. As the old New England cliché says, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.”
Read more about Jessica Polizzotti here.