The 50 Best Restaurants 2009

Ranked like you’ve never seen restaurants ranked before.

31. Sage* This restaurant has been closed


Score: 60.98 High: Globe *** 1/2
Low: Yelp *** 1/2  Our score: 4


Once a North End upstart, now a South End hot spot, Sage remains a showcase for Tony Susi’s inventive Italian fare, like pillowy lobster gnocchi and Kobe beef carpaccio. Some under-whelmed Yelpers pulled the average down, citing consistency problems and steep prices—neither of which has marred our own experiences here.

ORDER THIS: Rice-smoked duck breast.


32. T. W. Food

Score: 60.62 High: Yelp **** 1/2
Low: Phoenix ** Our score: 4


The beauty is in the details at this Huron Village bistro, yielding complex delicacies such as foie gras “crème brulée” with broiled sugar topping. Some flavor experiments go off the rails, but the kitchen’s skill can be breathtaking.

ORDER THIS: Berkshire pork loin and pan-fried trotter galette.


33. Locke-Ober

Score: 60.28 High: Herald A-
Low: Boston 3


This old-guard institution remains fixed in time, despite Lydia Shire’s much-touted “updating” of the menu and ancient interior. The food is tasty, however, and there’s something appealing about dining on liver and bacon amid such elegance.

ORDER THIS: Lobster stew.

34. Taranta

Score: 59.59 High: Yelp **** 1/2
Low: Globe ** 1/2 Our score: 3.5


Peruvian cuisine is a dizzying fusion of Spanish, African, Asian, Italian, and French influences. At this North End spot, Peruvian meets southern Italian for an even headier mix.

ORDER THIS: Pork chop with sugar cane–rocoto pepper glaze.


35. Rendezvous

Score: 59.57 High: Phoenix ****
Low: Yelp *** 1/2  Our score: 3.75


Steve Johnson calls on Mediterranean flavors from North Africa to Italy, yet his best dishes come from local ingredients, like the rosemary grown on his roof.

ORDER THIS: Gascon duck three ways.


36. L’Andana

Score: 58.66 High: Phantom 91
Low: Globe ** 1/2 Our score: 4


Jamie Mammano of Mistral and Sorellina brings haute cuisine to the ‘burbs, with a Tuscan-inspired menu of pastas and grilled meats. Of his three properties on the list, this one is Boston’s favorite.

ORDER THIS: Veal chop with mushroom Marsala and polenta.


37. The Butcher Shop

Score: 58.42 High: Boston 4; Yelp ****
Low: Chowhound 2.8


This ultimate carnivore’s haunt (and none-too-shabby wine bar) turns out expert charcuterie, plus pasta and meaty entrées like Kobe tri-tip with sweet-and-sour shallots.

ORDER THIS: Truffled tagliatelle.

38. Via Matta

Score: 56.82 High: Yelp **** 1/2
Low: Herald ** Our score: 3.75


When Via Matta hits its groove, it produces the most authentic Italian food in the Hub; a standout is fedelini with tiny clams.

ORDER THIS: Crunchy eggplant with basil-marinated tomatoes and Reggiano.


39. Dante

Score: 56.81 High: Phoenix ****
Low: Herald B- Our score: 3.75


This riverside hotel restaurant serves just-tweaked-enough Italian classics. Our pick for “Best Italian” in 2008.

ORDER THIS: Any of the house-made spaghetti dishes.


40. Scampo

Score: 56.39 High: Herald B+
Low: Globe ** 1/2  Our score: 4


Lydia Shire is all about big flavors and big portions, but she always manages to stay her hand before things get too wacky. The result: creative dishes that still flat-out work.

ORDER THIS: Kurobuta pork.



  • Anonymous

    just go have dinner – don't try to impress everyone with your bad usage of "BIG" words

  • F

    just go have dinner – stop trying to impress us
    with your BAD usage of what you think are BIG words

  • Anonymous
  • Kaitie

    Why are there so many places listed here that have closed within the last year? Without even an asterisk noting that they are no longer open? This is misleading to people who don’t follow the Boston food scene closely.

  • Jamie

    Duly Noted. We just made the adjustments on the 2009 version. The latest issue on newsstands (January), has the 2010 Best Restaurants feature, Where to Eat Now