22 Best Restaurants in South Boston
From the stronghold diners to the late-night haunts, here's where to eat in Southie right now.
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Just how much has Southie changed since Amrheins first opened? Well, the 130-year-old tavern still stands—for now— but it’s just a short walk down Broadway from Boston’s newest Top Chef-run hotspot, Bar Volpe. The historic, working-class neighborhood of South Boston is changing by the day with soaring new high rises and moneyed new residents, but the community’s strong sense of identity is ever-present. (And luckily, so are all the Irish pubs.) Below, check out 22 of the best restaurants in South Boston—from the stronghold diners, to the boozy brunch bars, to the late-night haunts. Here’s where to eat in Southie right now.
This guide was last updated in December 2023; stay tuned for periodic updates.
Bardo’s Bar Pizza at Castle Island Brewing
Although Castle Island Brewing has a South Boston-inspired name, the brewery’s first location is down in Norwood—inland from the South Shore, but close enough to the regional specialty that is South Shore-style bar pizza. So it’s fitting that the Southie location’s in-house food purveyor, Bardo’s, specializes in bar pizza, with its signature lace-like charred edge and mozz-cheddar cheese blend. (Try the pickle-topped pie.) This is one of the best versions of the style you’ll find this far north of the South Shore. (Bardo’s parks a trailer at the Norwood taproom, too, so you can get your pizza fix at either location.)
10 Old Colony Ave., South Boston, 781-951-2029, bardospizza.com.
Chef Karen Akunowicz’s Southie-based ristoriante e pastificio is the sibling spot to Fox & the Knife (see below), and its menu features all manner of handmade pasta inspired by Akunowicz’s time living in Italy and working as a pasta maker. From pillowy dumpling-like culurgiones swimming in tomato basil sauce to tender orecchiette tossed in savory lamb ragu, there’s a pasta dish for every palate, but the other parts of the menu hold just as much promise thanks in part to the impressive wood-fire oven—including dishes like merluzzo al forno (wood-fired cod served with gremolata pangrattato, artichoke, and saffron broth).
170 W. Broadway, South Boston, 617-865-7100, barvolpe.com.
This great location was once Southie’s longtime Boston Beer Garden. The same owners refreshed the space in 2017 to align with today’s neighborhood needs—which include weekend brunch with booze-infused doughnuts, and creative cuisine like wood-fired cinnamon roll pizza, “street corn” nachos with poblano-corn salsa, and a fried chicken sandwich that’s finished with Japanese-inspired flavors (namely togarashi hot honey and pickled cucumber-daikon slaw). The bar program is more advanced now, too, with a solid craft beer selection and cool cocktails like an espresso martini on nitro tap.
726 E. Broadway, South Boston, 617-307-6480, thebroadwaysouthboston.com.
The homey decor and soul-warming food at this cozy Polish Triangle restaurant, on the edge of Dorchester, make you feel like your own babushka is making you dinner. Whether that dinner is 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—doesn’t matter?
611 Dorchester Ave., South Boston, 617-269-0110, cafepolonia.com.
Doughboy Donuts & Deli
The Doughboy team probably considers shoutouts like this to be a “big deal outta nothin’“—but we’d be remiss if we didn’t include the Southie icon on this list. Boston has very few 24-hour establishments, but this is one of them, letting honey-dip cruller and jelly stick lovers get the goods at all hours of the night via the drive-through. (The deli portion of the business is not open 24/7; you’ll have to get your sandwiches and pizza at more traditional lunch and dinner hours.)
220 Dorchester Ave., South Boston, 617-269-7560 (doughnut shop), 617-269-8741 (deli), doughboydonutsanddeli.com.
Fox & the Knife
James Beard award-winning chef Karen Akunowicz’s bold and soulful ode to the Emilia-Romagna region reimagines Italian simplicity with new classics like fennel panzanella, saffron spaghetti with clams, taleggio-stuffed focaccia, and pizzelle-gelato sandwiches. Can’t get a reservation, thanks to the well-deserved hype surrounding the two-time Top Chef competitor’s ownership debut? Arrive for aperitivo hour—which in Southie starts at 4:30 p.m.—and snag a seat at the bar as a walk-in. Or, head over to the relatively spacious dining room and bar at Bar Volpe [see above] for more Akunowicz originals.
28 W. Broadway, South Boston, 617-766-8630, foxandtheknife.com.
Open since late 2019, this sibling natural wine bar to American Provisions elevates what the next-door grocer has been doing so well since 2012: Making stellar wines and world-renowned cheeses accessible to everyone. Chef Gabe Branch—a Sioux City, Iowa transplant—lets seasonality and comfort drive his eclectic menu of shareable plates, including: hiramasa crudo with pine nuts, green apple, tarragon, and jalapeño; grilled carrots served over tahini hummus with harissa maple syrup and za’atar-coated cashews; and a damn good cheeseburger. The wine list features many of the same sips you’ll find at American Provisions, so if you really love something you try at Gray’s, you can pop over and pick up a bottle (or four) to enjoy at home.
615 East Broadway, South Boston, 617-269-1001, grayshall.com.
Hunter’s Kitchen & Bar
Fireplace alert! This is a great spot to cozy up, especially in colder months, over some satisfying, southern-inspired comfort food. Think: shrimp and grits; shrimp, crab, and andouille sausage-packed gumbo; family-style fried chicken dinner; and brisket sandwiches. Add a cocktail—such as a fall-spiced Old Fashioned—to round out the meal.
110 Dorchester St., South Boston, 617-221-4200, hunterssouthboston.com.
For your upscale date-night or special-occasion needs, Lenox Sophia—a relative newcomer to the neighborhood—offers beautiful, genre-defying tasting menus in an intimate, non-fussy space. (Reserve one of the four counter seats looking into the tiny open kitchen if you can.) Chef and owner Shi Mei describes the cuisine as “modern American,” but you’ll see hints of inspiration from all over in the high-technique dishes. And don’t forget to bring some wine: Lenox Sophia holds a BYOB license, a Boston rarity.
87 A St., South Boston, 617-597-2170, lenoxsophia.com.
Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant
This Southie standby is an indispensable reason to get out of bed in the morning—and a prime place to stay up late. But daily brunch and food ’til 1 a.m. are just some of the reasons to love Lincoln. Other reasons include pizza, piles of pancakes, and the fact that the owners got such a warm welcome, they have since debuted a mini-empire on Broadway. The eclectic group of Broadway sister spots—each also worth a visit—includes Loco Taqueria, Capo ristorante, and Fat Baby Sushi and Cocktails.
425 W Broadway, South Boston, 617-765-8636, lincolnsouthboston.com.
Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar
The second effort from Lincoln Tavern owners Eric Aulenback and Michael Conlon, this boisterous cantina serves a fresh mix of street tacos, snacks, and seafood—and plenty of sweet-and-salty takes on tequila. It’s suddenly a fiesta when fun-flavored margaritas pair with uncommon combinations like street corn doused in spicy mojo sauce; crab and mango guacamole; and a carnitas “crunchwrap” with tangy jack queso and smoked guacamole. Check out the huge location in the Fenway, too, which debuted in 2023.
412 W. Broadway, Boston, 617-917-5626, locosouthboston.com.
This casual and cozy café is fully vegan—although omnivores shouldn’t be dissuaded from visiting, because the flavor-packed, Mediterranean-inspired food pleases anyone, regardless of diet. Grab a sweet treat (double chocolate cheesecake, anyone?) and a spiced sesame latte, or settle in for more of a meal with a seitan shawarma bowl, tahini-drizzled lemony lentil soup, or roasted cauliflower panini with spiced labne.
246 W. Broadway, South Boston, 617-420-4070, lulugreen.com.
Dumplings and Double Awesomes! In 2023, Fenway restaurant Mei Mei relocated to a spacious South Boston address, opening a dumpling factory, café, and event space. The focus is dumplings—cheddar, scallion, and potato dumplings; curried sweet potato dumplings; lemongrass pork dumplings; etc.—but some other old favorites and new treats appear on the menu, too, such as the iconic oozy-egg-filled scallion pancake sandwich known as the Double Awesome.
58 Old Colony Ave., South Boston, 857-250-4959, meimeidumplings.com.
A one-time Olympic-bound gymnast, Los Angeles stuntwoman, and Boston College Honors Program grad, chef Asia Mei brings fierce and fun intensity to everything about her first ownership venture, a neighborhood fave open since 2015. It starts with creative brunch and burger specials, and lights up through fiery flavors like “angry chili sauce” on meltingly tender fried chicken wings, and jalapeño-crab Rangoons drizzled in spicy honey. Oh, yeah: Jell-O shot specials are served during brunch and dinner service to amp things up.
152 Dorchester Ave., South Boston, 617-752-4191, moonshine152.com.
This longtime favorite’s original A Street location closed to make way for a condo development, but unlike much of long-lost Southie, it found a new home in the fast-changing neighborhood. After first establishing a suburban outpost in Melrose, My Diner returned to South Boston in 2018 with the same gigantic plates (eggs and home fries, whipped cream-laden French toast, hot turkey lunches, club sandwiches, and more) that make everyone want to call it their own.
455 E First St., South Boston, 617-765-8654, mydinerboston.com.
A joint effort from Rachel Titcomb, formerly of Nautilus and Broadway Restaurant Group, and Mike Shaw of Loco and Fat Baby, Petula’s opened its doors in the summer of 2023 in the former Sixth Gear space. The all-day menu includes: a stunning whipped ricotta toast topped with pickled onions and herb honey; an edamame falafel wrap that uses house-made pita; and all sorts of 12-inch pizzas. Plus, the beverage menu features an impressive lineup of craft beer, cocktails, and natural wines curated by South End’s Neighborhood Wines.
81 L St., South Boston, 617-752-4531, petulasboston.com.
Publico Street Bistro & Garden
An eclectic menu of street food-inspired fare—like tuna crudo tacos, truffle and ricotta gnudi, funghi flatbread, and half a chicken grilled asado-style—complements a range of experiences at this bistro and garden. The energetic bar teems with drinks dreamed up by co-owner Teodora Bakardzhieva, the first woman to tend bar at the legendary Locke-Ober. The dining room offers a communal table and cozy banquettes. But the amenity that’s most “for the public good“? That’s the vine-draped central atrium, which opens seasonally to light up the outdoor bar. It’s extra homey in wintertime with roaring fireplaces and lodge-inspired decor.
11 Dorchester St., South Boston, 617-622-5700, publicoboston.com.
Rondo’s Sub Shop
Expect a crowd during peak hours, but the wait for a hefty tuna salad sub, chicken parm, or a lean-and-loaded steak and cheese is well worth the wait. Keep in mind that this is another old-school spot where cash is king.
134 West Broadway, South Boston, 617-269-0274.
This family-friendly, all-day Kendall Square import (and sibling to Watertown favorite Branch Line) is known for rotisserie chicken and good vibes. Start the day with fried chicken and waffles with maple-dijon syrup and Frank’s Red Hot whipped cream (what?!); head into lunchtime with a hearty greens-and-grains bowl or bacon chili burger; and wrap up the day with rotisserie piri piri chicken or steak frites with chimichurri. Working remotely? Don’t miss Shy Bird’s welcoming options, with food and drink deals and access to wifi, printing, and other amenities.
12 Old Colony Ave., South Boston, 617-766-8309, shybird.com.
Six / West
Located at the Cambria hotel on the corner of Traveler Street and Broadway, this Southie rooftop bar is certainly a hotspot on hot days. All day, every day, though, the ground-floor restaurant serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus remixed cocktails.
Six / West, Cambria Hotel, 6 West Broadway, South Boston, 857-496-0245, sixwestbroad.com.
Sullivan’s Castle Island
This seasonal institution overlooks Pleasant Bay—not a bad place to wait in line for beach-shack snacks like fresh lobster rolls, soft-serve ice cream, raspberry lime rickeys, and snappy hot dogs, made exclusively for Sully’s by Chelsea-based Kayem Franks. Sound like a local and order those dogs “all around,” with mustard, relish, and onion.
2080 William J Day Blvd., South Boston, 617-268-5685, sullivanscastleisland.com.
Just a little more elevated than its Somerville and South End siblings (Five Horses Tavern), this Broadway-facing bar boasts 40 craft beer tap handles, plus a leather-bound lineup of 100-plus whiskeys. The gastropub fare takes global inspiration. Think: honey mustard-glazed wings; mussels served in saffron tomato white wine sauce with grilled baguette; bourbon-spiked bread pudding for dessert. It’s also one of the only places in Boston where you’ll find deep-dish pizza pies.
22 W. Broadway, South Boston, 617-752-4206, wordenhall.com.