The 50 Best Restaurants
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, restaurantdante.com.
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, exnecambridge.com.
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, easternstandardboston.com.
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, evoorestaurant.com.
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, 51lincolnnewton.com.