Best Restaurants in Boston 2012

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

Eastern Standard boston 50 best restaurants 2012Eastern Standard: By the Numbers (Photo by Bruce Peterson / Styling by Kara Butterfield)


COPPA South End

WHY IT’S GREAT: This South End enoteca is both rollicking and intimate, offering some of the city’s best pastas (crafted with ingredients like smoked pancetta or briny squid ink), pizzas (topped with fried calamari rings and spicy house-made sausage), and two-bite seasonal antipasti. WHAT TO ORDER: Salt cod baccalà; linguine nero; bone-marrow pizza. INSIDER TIP: Try a few different half portions of pasta for a sampler effect. Coppa, 253 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-391-0902,

CRAIGIE ON MAIN Central Square

WHY IT’S GREAT: Way before snout-to-tail cooking became de rigueur, Tony Maws was working everything from pig brains to trotters into his haute yet homey dishes. Arrays of glacéed vegetables and texture-rich pastas welcome non-carnivores, too. WHAT TO ORDER: Grilled Spanish octopus; crispy fried pig tails. INSIDER TIP: The legendary bar-only burger is available in the dining room during brunch. Craigie on Main, 853 Main St., Cambridge, 617-497-5511,


WHY IT’S GREAT: With a dark-wood-and-glass interior, technique-driven plates like the crackly-skinned duck with foie-stuffed prunes, and playful desserts (see: deconstructed PB?&?J), an evening here is the ultimate in Back Bay swank. WHAT TO ORDER: Spiced duck breast; crispy wild mushrooms; gnocchi with lobster. INSIDER TIP: On a cold night, try the nine-hour French onion soup, which, despite its name, actually takes three days to make. Deuxave, 371 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-517-5915,


WHY IT’S GREAT: Chef Phillip Tang’s New England-meets-modern-Chinese concept translates to an abundance of bold, bright dishes infused with the best of the seasons. WHAT TO ORDER: Kohlrabi-and-carrot salad; pork buns; scallion pancakes; the day’s specials. INSIDER TIP: The flavorful house sodas will excite non-imbibers, and act as great mixers for the rest of us. East by Northeast, 1128 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-876-0286,


WHY IT’S GREAT: This brasserie simply excels at everything, from expert charcuterie to porky mac ’n’ cheese to, best of all, agenda-setting cocktails produced in astonishing consistency and volume. WHAT TO ORDER: Moules provencal; grilled flatbread with camembert; frisee aux lardon salad. INSIDER TIP: The late night menu is packed with snack-friendly bites like salt cod arancini, shrimp tacos, and brisket hash. Learn more about Eastern Standard: By the Numbers. Eastern Standard, 528 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-532-9100,