Best Restaurants in Boston 2012
Our annual list of Boston's top restaurants. Check out all of our 50 Best Restaurants 2012 coverage.
Five Great New England Cheeses at L’Espalier (Photo by Bruce Peterson / Styling by Kara Butterfield)
WHY IT’S GREAT: With plush chairs, dramatic wine-barrel chandeliers, and service to rival any downtown restaurant’s, this luxe spot offers chef Jamie Mammano’s characteristically bold Italian fare—umami-rich veal meatballs with pappardelle; house-made sausage with wood-roasted peppers—sans I-95 traffic. WHAT TO ORDER: Wood-grilled rib-eye; chicken Milanese. INSIDER TIP: The restaurant’s private dining room—complete with a floor-to-ceiling fireplace and bar—can host up to 70 for dinner. L’Andana, 86 Cambridge St., Burlington, 781-270-0100, landanagrill.com.
L’ESPALIER Back Bay
WHY IT’S GREAT: What you see on the menu—succulent poached oysters, foie gras and truffle-sauced chicken—is but a fraction of the luxury that you’re in for at this Back Bay stalwart. Each meal here begins with a parade of petite amuse bouches—a postage stamp-sized ceviche taco, perhaps, or cloud-like warm cheese gougeres—that surprise, delight, and merely tease at what’s to come. WHAT TO ORDER: Warm Wellfleet oyster with faux gnocchi; beef ribeye with bone marrow custard; mint chocolate souffle. INSIDER TIP: In addition to cheeses, L’Espalier also holds court when it comes to tea—and on Sundays, in-house tea sommelier Cynthia Gold leads “fantasty tea” tastings for $50 per person. Check out five great New England cheeses at L’Espalier. L’Espalier, 774 Boylston St., Boston, 617-262-3023, lespalier.com.
LA CAMPANIA Waltham
WHY IT’S GREAT: The rustic pots and pans, candles, and abundance of fresh-cut flowers will entice those seeking romance. Southern Italian–style pizzas, plates of hand-cut pasta, and wood-grilled meats, meanwhile, ensure that the cuisine is as sumptuous as the surroundings. WHAT TO ORDER: The fig, duck confit, Gorgonzola, and fontina pizza. INSIDER TIP: You can reserve a seat on the charming patio if you call the day of your visit. La Campania, 504 Main St., Waltham, 781-894-4280, lacampania.com.
LA MORRA Brookline Village
WHY IT’S GREAT: The flight of stairs at Jen and Josh Ziskin’s neighborhood treasure may be steep, but you’ll be rewarded with the ideal backdrop—exposed brick walls, rustic wooden seats—for an Italian feast of earthy Tuscan meatballs and smoky wood-fired bruschetta. WHAT TO ORDER: Fried sage leaves; porcini-and-prosciutto meatballs; panna cotta. INSIDER TIP: Gluten-free pastas are available upon request. La Morra, 48 Boylston St., Brookline, 617-739-0007, lamorra.com.
WHY IT’S GREAT: The menu at chef Michael Leviton’s cozy restaurant features diligently sourced ingredients that shine in a sophisticated lineup of elegantly presented bistro-style dishes: silky vegetable soups, crisp roast chicken, and some wonderfully creative desserts. WHAT TO ORDER: Crystal Valley Farm chicken; the chocolate soufflé cake. INSIDER TIP: After a brief hiatus, Lumière’s popular prix-fixe menu has returned, with three courses for $45 Sunday through Thursday. Lumière, 1293 Washington St., Newton, 617-244-9199, lumiererestaurant.com.