Best Restaurants in Boston 2012

Our annual list of Boston's top restaurants. Check out all of our 50 Best Restaurants 2012 coverage.

Uni boston 50 best restaurants 2012Uni in Back Bay. (Photo by Anthony Tieuli)


TRADE Financial District

WHY IT’S GREAT: Jody Adams’s long-awaited second restaurant has become a hip, forever-bustling fixture of the downtown scene. The crowds aren’t there just to be seen, though—there’s also the allure of the shareable flatbreads, bold vegetable dishes, and hearty plates like rigatoni with spicy lamb-sausage ragu. WHAT TO ORDER: Pomegranate-glazed eggplant; whole roast trout. INSIDER TIP: Request a seat by the kitchen bar for a front-row view of the roaring wood-fired oven. Trade, 540 Atlantic Ave., Boston, 617-451-1234,

TRES GATOS Jamaica Plain

WHY IT’S GREAT: A tapas place can only be as good as its tortilla española, and here the egg-and-potato frittata becomes a creamy masterpiece after a dunk in garlicky pimentón aioli. So yes, Tres Gatos is skilled with the classics, but it also shines with less-conventional plates like lamb bocadillo with shallots, and bavette steak with smoked eggplant. WHAT TO ORDER: Confit chicken thighs; tortilla española; patatas bravas; gambas all i pebre.  INSIDER TIP: The restaurant recently began serving weekend brunch. Tres Gatos, 470 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-477-4851,

T.W. FOOD Huron Village

WHY IT’S GREAT: While Tim Wiechmann’s seasonally driven dishes make for fantastic plates à la carte, the nightly prix-fixe menus—which feature duck-liver mousse, hearty homemade pasta, and a great sundae for under $50—are also a delicious (and value-driven) option. WHAT TO ORDER: Any of the pastas; soft-scrambled farm egg;“scotch and cigars” beignets with tobacco ice cream. INSIDER TIP: On Tuesdays, Wiechmann’s prix fixes are an even better value, offering themed four-course meals (with wine) for $55. T.W. Food, 377 Walden St., Cambridge, 617-864-4745,

UNI Back Bay

WHY IT’S GREAT: Ken Oringer’s sushi temple has always been the place for an exotic piece of fish or feather-light tempura. But thanks to the space’s recent redesign—wood paneling, leather banquettes, and sleek flooring—it’s become an all-hours hangout that oh, by the way, serves some of the best sashimi around. WHAT TO ORDER: Shishito peppers with bonito; the sashimi sampler. INSIDER TIP: After 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, there’s a special menu available featuring ramen noodle bowls and petite ice cream sandwiches. Uni, 370 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-536-7200,


WHY IT’S GREAT: The defining dish on Michael Schlow’s Italian menu is the thick, savory pasta Bolognese. Don’t agree? Okay, perhaps it’s the buttery chocolate-shortbread “Mascarporeos” cookie sandwiches. Why argue? Go ahead and order both, along with a few glasses of wine from a magnificent list that spans Italy. WHAT TO ORDER: The crispy meatballs; veal with asparagus, morels, and a fried egg; Mascarporeos. INSIDER TIP: Pizza, sandwiches, and other small bites are served in the café until 1 a.m. Via Matta, 79 Park Plaza, Boston, 617-422-0008,     Check out all of our coverage for 50 Best Restaurants 2012.   Correction 10/30/2012, 11 p.m.:  In the original version (and in print), the story states that Area Four now delivers. This has been corrected to state that the restaurant now delivers via the website DiningIn.