The 50 Best Restaurants 2009

It's a simple question: "Where should we go for dinner?" Yet ask it and brace for a cacophony of opinions, as every magazine, newspaper, and user-generated-review website vies to serve as your gastronomic guru. Wouldn't it be nice if there were a way to pull it all together, to herd that surfeit of recommendations into one single, convenient, yet statistically meaningful index? To have a Metacritic, of sorts, for local grub? We thought so, too. Presenting the ultimate ranking of Hub dining, as determined by every major dining expert and amateur critic out there.

Best Dish?

best dish

Photograph by Bob O’Connor

If we’d applied our rankings methodology to dishes instead of restaurants, what would have come out on top? We’d put our money on No. 9 Park’s famous prune-stuffed gnocchi with foie gras, which must be the most uniformly gushed-over order in the city:

“Pure bliss.” —The Phantom Gourmet

“I have dreams about it.” —Yelp

“To die for.” —Zagat

“Humble gnocchi never had it so good.” —Boston Herald

“Irresistible.” —Boston magazine

“I’d rather have a T-bone than a filet any day, especially my last one…but I’m not sure what I’d actually ask for if my time were up. I might go highbrow and demand No. 9 Park’s prune gnocchi.” —Boston Globe

“OMG. SO yummy!” —Chowhound