The 17 Best Restaurants in Dorchester
The Dot dining scene is flush with exciting offerings, from Fields Corner to Ashmont.
Devoted foodies and restaurant newbies love The Feed. Sign-up now for our twice weekly newsletter.
Boston’s largest neighborhood is also the most diverse. Whether you’re looking for the best Vietnamese cuisine in town, perfect patio dining, or a no-frills counter serving up Trinidadian roti or West African stews, you’ll find it on the Dot dining scene—and there’s great vegan food, local beer, and American fare, too. Check out these picks for the best food in Dorchester, whether you’re near the Polish Triangle, Lower Mills, or anywhere in between.
224 Boston Street
This homey New American restaurant remains a hidden gem despite being around for 30-plus years. That’s partially because it’s truly hidden—you have to walk through the lush garden patio of trellised flowers to enter the cozy tavern. Now owned by Southie restaurateur Eric Aulenback, 224 Boston is worth seeking out for ever-changing comfort food, like oven-roasted chicken wings with chimichurri spice; a quinoa salad with shaved apple and roasted carrots; and a satisfying meatloaf with mushrooms and black garlic gravy.
224 Boston St., Dorchester, 617-265-1217, 224boston.com.
Dorchester has been home to a vibrant Vietnamese community since the 1970s, and this multi-year Best of Boston winner is where to go to get a taste of their homeland. Big bowls of pho and bùn are on the menu, but there is also plenty of less common, homestyle fare, like the seafood-packed bun rieu, with its sweet and tangy golden-red broth; ca kho to (caramelized clay-pot fish); and roll-your-own fresh rolls of tender beef, crunchy apples, and fresh mint.
291 Adams St., Dorchester, 617-265-8889, anhhongboston.com.
Chef-owner Chris Douglass is a Dorchester resident, a culinary instructor, and alum of local high-end eateries before he branched off on his own in 2005 with this stalwart, and Italian favorite Tavolo shortly thereafter. Ashmont Grill is relaxed but refined, with wood-grilled flavor permeating everything from burgers to spicy cauliflower. They’re shucking dollar oysters on Thursdays, and serving up comforting small plates like saffron-scented mussels and bacon-topped “trainwreck fries” every night of the week. In season, it boats two outdoor patios, including a cloistered garden out back that’s one of the city’s best outdoor dining spots.
555 Talbot Ave., Ashmont, Dorchester, 617-825-4300, ashmontgrill.com.
Bánh Mì Ba Le
An excellent banh mi sandwich must begin with excellent bread, and this no-frills counter spot in Savin Hill has that part down pat. House-baked baguettes are soft inside with a crispy exterior—the perfect match for crunchy and bright pickles, unctuous pork pâté and salty cold cuts, and tender lemongrass-marinated beef. This incomparable sandwich will run you less than $5, so there’s no excuse not to order bubble tea, an avocado shake, or a sweet and tasty Vietnamese iced coffee, too.
1052 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, 617-265-7171.
The Blarney Stone
Priding itself on being the first bar in America to sell Guinness on draft, the Blarney Stone has been an essential Fields Corner watering hole for decades. But that doesn’t mean that nothing has changed: In fact, alongside chicken tenders, burgers, and fish and chips is plenty of Latin- and Asian-inflected fare, plus ample choices for people with dietary restrictions, from Thai-style lettuce wraps to a jasmine rice bowl with curried tofu and tons of veggies. There are modern cocktails and craft beers, and the atmosphere is amplified by a fireplace in colder months and a lovely patio the rest of the year.
1505 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, 617-436-8223, blarneystoneboston.com.
The homey decor and soul-warming food at this cozy Polish Triangle restaurant make you feel like your own babushka is making you dinner, whether it’s broiled kiszka (blood sausage) with sweet caramelized onions; Hungarian goulash and house-baked bread; or crisped-up pierogi with a heavenly creamy potato-filled interior.
611 Dorchester Ave., Boston, 617-269-0110, cafepolonia.com.
Cape Verdean cuisine is a unique blend of West African and Portuguese flavors, from seafood to heirloom grains to tropical juices comprising the strong cocktails. There’s no better place to get acquainted with this cooking and culture than at this friendly, upscale spot, which specializes in katchupa—a spicy stew of hominy, beans, pork, cabbage, and linguiça or fish that’s the national dish of the nation of islands. It also serves up live music on the weekends.
266 Bowdoin St., Dorchester, 617-282-1998, Facebook.
Chef Chris Coombs and business partner Brian Piccini, who are also behind the Back Bay’s Deuxave and two Boston Chops steakhouses, launched their Boston Urban Hospitality empire with this neighborhood restaurant-slash-gay-friendly nightclub. Come for great cocktails and cuisine like tuna ceviche with taro root chips, grilled sausage and broccoli rabe flatbread, and duck confit grilled cheese—and stay for the fun and inclusive dance nights and karaoke.
1236 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, 617-265-4490, dbarboston.com.
Dorchester Brewing Company
For its first three years in business, this busy contract brewery and taproom didn’t have a kitchen—but that didn’t stop DBCo. from hosting some of the freshest flavors in Dorchester by hot pop-up operations like Deep Cuts Deli, Buenas empanadas, and Burgundian Coffee & Waffles. But in late 2019, the taproom will transform into Dorchester’s only rooftop barbecue restaurant, when longtime favorite M&M BBQ will establish a counter-service outpost on site. No matter what’s on the menu, house brews like a crisp helles zwickelbier, stone fruit sours, New England IPAs, and roasty porters are equally worth sampling.
1250 Massachusetts Ave., Dorchester, 617-514-0900, dorchesterbrewing.com.
Lower Mills Tavern
Super friendly service is the highlight of any visit to this cozy spot, one of several eclectic local establishments co-owned by Dropkick Murphys frontman Ken Casey. But you’ll also find a nice beer selection, high-end spirits, and fresh fare. Chef Cara Marie Nance sources from locals like Brookwood Community Farm and Foley Fish to comprise dishes like apple-pork belly sliders with celery root purée, and pepita-crusted seared salmon with pomegranate and citrus quinoa and baby kale. There’s live music on Tuesday and Saturday nights, weekend brunch, and a new late-night menu on Saturdays with $10 pizzas and more.
2269 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, 857-267-4461, lowermillstavern.com.
Lucy’s American Tavern
Another approachable upscale American bar, this one is especially appealing for the Adams Village area because of its convenient location right off the Southeast Expressway. The large space offers a lively bar scene with a great beer selection and even wines of tap, plus pub grub like spicy buffalo dip, dry-rubbed chicken wings, and the Burger Royale, topped with aged cheddar, applewood-smoked bacon, bourbon barbecue sauce, and crispy onion strings.
13 Granite Ave., Dorchester, 617-326-6677, lucysamericantavern.com.
This longtime breakfast-and-lunch spot is a favorite haunt of Savin Hill native Mayor Marty Walsh—and seemingly everybody else in town. Don’t let the weekend-morning crowd deter you: Add your name to the list, and grab a cup of coffee from the takeout counter; the wait really won’t be too long. And when you finally sit down, you’ll be rewarded with hearty plates like steak tips and eggs, granola-crusted French toast, or a “turkey stuffer” sandwich with all the fixings. McKenna’s has been around for decades, though one of the current owners is also behind newer neighborhood spots, Savin Hill Bar and Kitchen, and Ghost Pepper Taqueria.
109 Savin Hill Ave., Dorchester, 617-825-8218, mckennascafe.com.
Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor
The Four Corners neighborhood welcomed this healthy option in 2017 and has since grown to love it—the vegetarian haven boasts stellar online reviews. That’s because the food is flavorful, the portions are generous, and the prices are affordable. There’s plenty of filling fare to choose from, like African couscous or brown rice bowls; lentil stews and daily porridges; and veggie sides like curry cabbage, plus fruit-filled smoothies and vegan desserts.
340 Washington St., Dorchester, 617-237-9033, Facebook.
Another standout Vietnamese restaurant around Fields Corner, this spot serves up rich and aromatic beef pho, loaded with tender flank steak, brisket, tendon, and tripe. Going in with a group? The whole fried catfish is also worth the splurge: Crispy, flaky fish, eaten wrapped up in rice paper with vermicelli and fresh herbs, and dipped in a sweet and tangy sauce, it’s unlike anything else in Boston.
198 Adams St., Dorchester, 617-436-1908.
Shanti Indian Cuisine
The Savin Hill area was the first location for this awesome Indian food empire, which has added locations in Roslindale and Kendall Square since its 1999 debut. Fiery vindaloos, flaky samosas, and anything from the tandoori oven is consistently delicious, but you can’t go wrong choosing from the affordable lunch buffet, either.
1111 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, 617-929-3900, shantiboston.com.
Singh’s Roti Shop
Think of this Trinidadian shop’s signature roti as pizza-sized flatbreads griddled to order, then stuffed with bold flavors like curried goat, shrimp, spiced chickpeas and mashed sweet potatoes, and jerk chicken. Spice lovers, do not miss the house-made hot sauce, which is thankfully also bottled to take home. Made with a blend of spicy red peppers, it adds a blistering kick to any dish.
692 Columbia Rd., Dorchester; 617-282-7977, singhsrotishop.net.
Yellow Door Taqueria
Situated on the southern edge of town, almost in Milton, a trek out to this tiny taco shop is well worth the effort. Standout tacos on house-made tortillas are not always traditional but are always balanced, bold, and Instagram-ready, and the busy bar cranks out cool cocktails like Pickled Monk, with tequila, yellow chartreuse, mint, and watermelon shrub. Chef Carolina Curtin took the reins in summer 2019, and has recently expanded the menu with new empanadas, pupusas, and crudo, plus weekend brunch specials.
2297 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, 857-267-4201, yellowdoortaqueria.com.