The 50 Best Restaurants
The four-cheese fonduta from L’Andana
The Butcher Shop
When chef Barbara Lynch opened this South End boîte, she proved that slabs of fat-streaked, air-cured meats and stylish Bostonians made an excellent, albeit unlikely, pairing. Eight years later, snagging a seat here still guarantees prime people-watching, as the stellar wine list, cured meats, and creative pastas have only gotten better. >> Order This: Charcuterie; capellini with lamb ragu. >> Great For: Standout wine list.
552 Tremont St., Boston, 617-423-4800, thebutchershopboston.com.
Ken Oringer is a tinkerer — he’s one of just a handful of local chefs to toy with techniques like dehydration and spherification — and that makes for some of Boston’s most intriguing plates. But he’s also tweaked his 14-year-old flagship over the years, adding a notable cocktail program and planning a decorative revamp, so it’s no surprise that Clio still feels fresh. >> Order This: Foie gras terrine; miso–dark chocolate crémeux. >> Great For: Date night, business engagement, creative cocktails, standout wine list.
370 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-536-7200, cliorestaurant.com.
The Citizen Publick House and Oyster Bar
We’ve long been enamored of the Franklin Cafés; the restaurants do cocktails and late-night brilliantly well. But we confess that lately we’ve been straying — and with their younger sibling, no less. Can you blame us? The raw bar here is one of the city’s best, the drink list superb. And with a crowd that’s so reliably spirited, it’s our new go-to for noisy nights out with friends. >> Order This: Grilled clams with jalapeño butter; roasted organic half chicken. >> Great For: Group gatherings, creative cocktails.
1310 Boylston St., Boston, 617-450-9000, citizenpub.com.
Is it worth an hour wait? Put it this way: We’d stand in the February cold for the whipped lardo crostini. We’d get pelted with hail for the cavatelli with chicken sausage. We’d pace Shawmut Avenue in August to get our hands on the charred thin-crust pizzas. And when it comes to the house-cured meats, we’re like the Postal Service: neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night…. >> Order This: An assortment of salumi, especially the soppressata and mortadella. >> Great For: Date night, creative cocktails.
253 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-391-0902, coppaboston.com.
Craigie on Main
Few chefs do both upscale and low-key fare as well as Craigie’s Tony Maws. Nor do many offer them side by side, as he does at his Cambridge restaurant. Bar patrons happily devour burgers, spicy pig tails, and craft cocktails, while guests in the dining room savor a menu of hyperseasonal fare that’s both earthy and urbane — think corn-flour pasta with kid-goat ragout, and a pork trio (rich confit, spiced rib, and grilled belly). No wonder everyone from Harvard kids to visiting chefs from around the globe adore this place. >> Order This: Grilled octopus; pork three ways. >> Great For: Date night, business engagement, vegetarian dining, creative cocktails, standout wine list.
853 Main St., Cambridge, 617-497-5511, craigieonmain.com.