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,


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,

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,


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,

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,

  • Rebecca

    Find it hard to believe you did not include La Campania in your top 50. It consistently is ranked in the top 10 in the Boston area by Zagat and others. The quality of the food and the exceptional wine list are hard to beat.

  • Jennifer

    You forgot to mention STELLA in the south end, this is an amazing restaurant one of the best in the city ( top 5). It is open until 1:30am with an amazing menu and one of the best brunchs on sundays!!

  • Michael

    Where’s Journeyman?

  • Barbara

    Andy Husbands of 647 Tremont and Sister Sorel is an amazing chef. This is a place not to be missed.

  • Jerry

    You missed 75 Chestnut St.
    Not only GREAT food, but very very reasonable. You should not have to be the most expensive to be on the list.

  • Mannie

    I went there for my birthday and I specifically ordered this dish that included jumbo shrimp. They gave these tiny little shrimp in replacement for the jumbo shrimp. The rice was way under cooked. The waitress was rude. I e-mailed the head chef and complained about the food and service. No reply. She sucks too. Snobby people would probably think this place was good. I would rather go to Chinatown and eat, cheap or expansive. You always get great food.

  • Leoni

    Nice list!

    I just heard of this great site that’s launching soon called TableZest. They let you browse and discover the best restaurants in Boston and also offer personalized restaurant recommendations. It’s great because looks like you can make reservations directly from their site, even for the same day at popular spots.

    Curious to see which restaurants from this list make it on their site!

    They’re at if you want to check it out.

  • Alex

    I’ve been to Sonsie many times and absolutely love it. Think it should be on this list!