Best of Boston

2003 Best Inman Square Restaurant, Neighborhood

East Coast Grill & Raw Bar

Celebrated grill god Chris Schlesinger’s Inman Square spot is its own Cambridge institution—part community hangout, part nationally known restaurant, part vacation. Wild décor (from the blackboard that shouts daily fresh fish specials to the kitschy “live volcano”) and even wilder mixed drinks (like the scotch bonnet pepper—infused “martini from hell”) set the scene for equatorial specialties from the world’s most spice-obsessed regions. That means terrific barbecue, sweetly rich fried plantains, wasabi-laced tuna, and an inventive postmodern pupu platter to die for. Hot-food connoisseurs shouldn’t miss “Hell Night,” a fiery food challenge featuring some of the spiciest foodstuffs on the planet.

1271 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-491-6568,