The 50 Best Restaurants

East by Northeast’s house-made wheat noodles with pork ragout.


The Royal Sonesta hotel, a stone’s throw from the CambridgeSide Galleria, isn’t everyone’s idea of a posh spot. But ignore the glowing P. F. Chang’s across the way. Once you pass through the glass entry into Dante, you’re in another world — one where gnocchi are fluffy, never leaden, and flirt with roasted peaches. A world where Brussels sprouts with pancetta are good enough to build a meal around. When you finish dinner, you won’t want to return to that neon-lit madness outside. But leave you must. Otherwise, how can you come back? >> Order This:  Veal tonnato; tagliatelle with rabbit; cavolini. Great For: Business engagement, group gathering.

40 Edwin H. Land Blvd., Cambridge, 617-497-4200,   

East by Northeast

The name says it all: This tiny Inman Square spot cooks up Chinese-style dishes with New England ingredients, to delicious effect. The menu is a mix of street-food staples (scallion pancakes, pork buns) and eclectic offerings such as pork-and-cod meatballs in miso butter sauce, and house-made thick-cut wheat noodles with pork ragout. Plates are tapas-size, so you can sample a wide variety; signature cocktails are mixed with the restaurant’s own sodas. >> Order This: Garlic green beans with crispy rice; dumplings. >> Great For: Vegetarian dining.

1128 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-876-0286,

Eastern Standard

This Kenmore Square stalwart is a lot of things to a lot of people: a go-to spot for a lunchtime frisée aux lardons; a post-Fenway watering hole; a bar fit for cocktail connoisseurs; a late-night haunt for twentysomethings and restaurant industry folk. It excels on all fronts — which is why we can’t stay away for very long. >> Order This:  The Jack Rose cocktail; steak frites; frisée salad. >> Great For: Business engagement, group gathering, creative cocktails, standout wine list.

528 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-532-9100,


Peter McCarthy was doing farm-to-table before practically anyone else, and his “Home Grown” menu, annotated with a list of the producers, is still an example of local sourcing done right. Such virtue! Such responsibility! So much positivity that we almost feel bad saying, Who the hell cares? Just give us more of that coriander-encrusted sirloin. Don’t skimp on the duck-fat fries. Load up our portion of chocolate-banana bread pudding. These plates, whatever the ingredients, are delicious. >> Order This:  The “Home Grown” menu; the “Chinese box.” >> Great For: Business engagement, group gathering, vegetarian dining.

350 Third St., Cambridge, 617-661-3866,

51 Lincoln

A rooftop garden. Colorful paintings by the chef. A globe-spanning menu. No, it’s not the latest city restaurant — it’s 51 Lincoln, the tiny Newton eatery that’s been pleasing MetroWest palates since 2006. Chef-owner Jeffrey Fournier celebrates the seasons with well-balanced dishes like Long Island duck breast with lake-grown wild rice and roasted apples, and chicken under a brick accompanied by Concord-grape risotto. He also does the classics proud, as in his “famous rigatoni Bolognese.” >> Order This:  The polenta fries with truffle-Parmesan dip. >> Great For: Date night, vegetarian dining, creative cocktails, standout wine list.

51 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, 617-965-3100,

  • 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!