The 50 Best Restaurants

80 Thoreau’s bone-in pork chop with winter squash

Posto

They say man cannot live by bread alone, but for Posto’s bruschetta, we’d be willing to try. With candy-sweet roasted tomatoes, creamy goat cheese, and the perfect crispy/chewy ratio, it’s almost enough to make you forget the rest of the menu. But that would mean missing the expert pastas, superfresh seafood, and pizza so authentic it’s been certified by Neapolitan authorities. >> Order This:  Margherita pizza; steak burger with cheddar; affogato with vanilla gelato. >> Great For: Group gathering, vegetarian dining, standout wine list.

187 Elm St., Somerville, 617-625-0600, pizzeriaposto.com.

Prezza

Chef Anthony Caturano is a guy’s guy. He’s a big-game hunter, a fisherman, a carnivore to the core. So it’s no surprise that some of Prezza’s best stuff comes from the wood grill — a veal porterhouse with saffron-lobster risotto; a prime rib spun for hours on the rotisserie. And everything from the pumpkin ravioli with mascarpone to the mussels with chorizo polenta is bold, bold, bold. You want dainty food? Go somewhere else. You want big flavor and even bigger red wines? This is your kind of place. >> Order This:  Wood-grilled squid and octopus; spicy mussels; the rotisserie special. >> Great For: Business engagement, group gathering, standout wine list.

24 Fleet St., Boston, 617-227-1577, prezza.com.

Rendezvous

Long before the skinny-jeans crowd claimed Central Square, chef Steve Johnson made it a cool spot to dine. For six years now he’s been putting out inventive western Mediterranean fare (sourced from local farms and a rooftop garden), serving it all up in a rehabbed Burger King. Add in the bang-for-your-buck wine list and tasty sippers (the “Nehru,” made with saffron and cardamom, is a must), and it’s a diamond in the rough-around-the-edges neighborhood. >> Order This:  Turkish pizza; braised pork-and-veal meatballs with toasted orecchiette. >> Great For: Date night, group gathering, vegetarian dining, creative cocktails.

502 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-576-1900, rendezvouscentralsquare.com.

Rialto

Poor Charles Hotel. How many people pass through its lobby nightly, ignoring its staffers’ smiles and glazing over its décor? Blame Rialto: The second-floor restaurant has such pull, no one seems to notice anything else. Patrons make a beeline for the bar. They angle for tables, antsy to try the olive oil–poached lobster and slow-roasted duck. They come in for the prix-fixe menus inspired by regions of Italy. And then they skitter away, only to return the next time they crave butterscotch budino. >>  Order This:  The four-course “Regional Cuisine” menu. >> Great For: Date night, business engagement, group gathering, vegetarian dining, creative cocktails, standout wine list.

One Bennett St., Cambridge, 617-661-5050, rialto-restaurant.com.

80 Thoreau

It’s hard not to be annoyed when great local chefs decamp to other locales. So we’re ecstatic that when Carolyn Johnson left Rialto, she stayed within our sphere. At 80 Thoreau, she wows Concord with appealing (but not too out-there) fare like a bone-in pork chop with winter squash, and seared scallops with melon, peppers, and almonds. If our city’s thunder has to be stolen, let it always be done like this. >> Order This:  Anything grilled. >> Great For: Group gathering, vegetarian dining, creative cocktails.

80 Thoreau St., Concord, 978-318-0008, 80thoreau.com.

  • 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 http://www.tablezest.com 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!