The Most Beautiful Restaurants in Greater Boston

They’re packed with bold furnishings, lush greenery, and luxe designs—and, oh yeah, the food’s pretty great, too.

Wusong Road. / Photo by Brian Samuels

Wusong Road

Chef Jason Doo grew up in his family’s American Chinese restaurant in Malden, so when the Menton alum had the opportunity to open his own spot, he dreamed up an ode to those memories, from tiki mugs to crab Rangoon. Now, he’s filled two stories of the skinny Conductor’s Building in Harvard Square with tiki-style artifacts in every nook and an eye-popping collection of vintage finds (wicker peacock chairs from the 1970s, Navy diving helmets), with a backdrop of tropical wallcoverings and thatch overhangs.

As a result, there’s certainly nothing in Greater Boston that looks quite like Wusong Road. Perhaps most unique is the main stairwell: Inspired by the “three wise monkeys” shrine in Japan and crafted by general contractor Tiki Rancher (a company that specializes in tiki- and tropical-themed spaces), it features dripping greenery and weathered stone.

Photo by Brian Samuels

Doo himself was quite hands-on in the design and building of the space, whether painting resin monkey-shaped lamps from Italy to look like brass or working with a doll dressmaker to design mini fezzes for the monkeys to wear. The work is never quite done—he decorates the space elaborately for Christmastime, and he’s frequently introducing new custom tiki glassware—so there’s always something to explore here, ideally with a Malden mai tai in hand and a few plates of crispy ma la tater tots and classic pork-and-chive dumplings.


See also: Restaurant Review: Wusong Road’s Shot Across the Bao

Rochambeau. / Photo by Brian Samuels


When the Lyons Group decided to close Towne Stove & Spirits in 2019 and renovate and rebrand the Boylston Street space as a French restaurant, owner Patrick Lyons and his team worked with Brooklyn-based Home Studios to go in a completely different design direction. That meant saying goodbye to Towne’s brooding dark wood and hello to a bright and airy space full of pink tones and contrasting white-and-black accents, from subway tiles to striped carpeting. Think a little bit of Gilded Age glamour and a lot of breezy Parisian vibes at Rochambeau, courtesy of curved edges, glass bricks, and pops of foliage.

Photo by Brian Samuels

Strategically placed mirrors make the already expansive two-story space feel even larger, with plenty of room to gather over steak tartare, lobster frites, and Marseille-style mussels. Even better, bring a group to the gorgeous private-dining hideaway on the upper floor, separated from the rest of the room with billowy sheer curtains, to celebrate an occasion over large-format cocktails served in crystal punchbowls. The large outdoor patio is party-worthy, too, when the season allows—it’s tucked back just enough from the bustle of the neighborhood, allowing for equal parts privacy and people-watching.

Back Bay,

See also: What to Expect at Rochambeau, Back Bay’s Sprawling French “Clubhouse”

When it comes to décor, the new Italian steakhouse Prima is all about the drama. / Photo by Assembly Designs


Sure, there are plenty of Italian steakhouses in town, but Charlestown newcomer Prima may be the only one where you can eat your dry-aged porterhouse while feeling like an absolute queen. Behind gold-tasseled maroon curtains, Prima’s dreamy Rose Room—sure to be an in-demand reservation next Valentine’s Day—is dripping with red velvet, pink marble, and an installation of red and white roses that’ll have you singing like the anthropomorphic playing card from Alice in Wonderland. There’s a Tea Rose marble fireplace, too, for maximum coziness.

Prima’s “Rose Room.” / Photo by Assembly Designs

Designed by Boston’s prolific Assembly Design Studio, the restaurant also boasts an attractive main dining room, featuring reclaimed wood and subway tiles anchored by a grand central bar. Our suggestion? Have dinner up front followed by drinks in the Rose Room to enjoy two completely different experiences in one night. And don’t forget a jumbo cannoli—the size of three normal cannoli!—to wrap things up.


See also: Prima Brings Swanky Vibes to Charlestown

Yvonne’s. / Photo by Richard Cadan


Swanky downtown dining and drinking destination Yvonne’s is just eight years old, but it’s faithfully paying homage to more than a century of restaurant history. Located in the space of the extraordinarily long-running Locke-Ober and keeping much of the original architecture—not to mention the air of exclusivity—Yvonne’s offers a sexy, present-day spin on the city’s historical bastion of fine dining.

Take the section dubbed the Library Bar: Illuminated bookshelves surround white-tableclothed seating in a dimly lit, elegant room with a few cheeky details, from cow-print-upholstered chairs to irreverent portraits of famous figures by artist Charmaine Olivia. The portrait of Locke-Ober regular John F. Kennedy is particularly notable, depicting him covered in tattoos. Another Locke-Ober throwback is that its stunning mahogany bar—handcrafted on-site in the late 19th century—remains in use in Yvonne’s dining room, modernized a bit with a white-marble bar top.

Photo by Richard Cadan

Under the umbrella of Boston dining and nightlife empire COJE Management Group, Yvonne’s—like its siblings, including Mariel, Lolita, and Ruka—was painstakingly designed by the group’s in-house team. Equal attention was paid to the eclectic menu, which lets diners feast on globetrotting dishes like Thai-style octopus, lamb kofta, and baked oysters “Savannah” while taking in every last detail, from shimmering chandeliers to bold artwork.


See also: Restaurant Review: Yvonne’s in Boston

Mariel. / Photo by Richard Cadan


“Faded beauty” was the inspiration for the design of the Havana-esque Mariel, which COJE Management Group debuted in the former Atlantic National Bank building in Post Office Square four years ago. Fittingly, the place feels frozen in time, juxtaposing elaborate tilework and dramatic light fixtures (hanging from sweeping 23-foot-high ceilings) with muted colors and graffiti-style murals scrawled across the walls. “We invested a lot of time and energy in making it look old,” COJE cofounder and owner Chris Jamison told Boston when the venue first opened.

Photo by Richard Cadan

Old, but glamorous: Dressy crowds continue to flock here to see and be seen, enjoying a Cuban-inspired dinner upstairs (try the fufú gnocchi, a favorite since day one, and one of four different mojitos) or descending to Mariel’s subterranean nightclub, Underground. There, they splurge on jeroboams of fancy champagne and dance the night away among the raw concrete and metal, decorated with mixed-media art by numerous local artists, each drawing inspiration from Cuba’s past or present.


See also: First Look at Mariel, Downtown Boston’s Gorgeous New Cuban Lounge

Contessa. / Photo courtesy of Douglas Friedman


Seventeen stories above the Public Garden, the Back Bay’s beautiful Contessa feels like a garden of its own, a sunny, glass-ceilinged marvel of pinks and teals, dotted with greenery. The layers of intricate materials and details are a hallmark of the internationally acclaimed designer Ken Fulk, who impressively propelled himself into the field with no formal design training. At Contessa, those details come together to tell a tale of Old World northern Italian estates within a juxtaposition of art deco, midcentury modern, and neoclassical references. In less capable hands, this could feel cluttered and unfocused; here, it’s gorgeous, from the lush velvet seating to the mosaic tile floors to a wood-paneled bar area inspired by a vintage Riva speedboat.

Design by Ken Fulk. / Photo courtesy of Douglas Friedman

Those coming from inside the Newbury Boston, the hotel that houses Contessa, will arrive by elevator to find an entryway covered by a Deborah Phillips mural in which painted red drapery appears pulled back to reveal the serenity of northern Italy’s Lake Como. It sets the scene for an elegant meal—perhaps the delicate capellini with lobster in a kicky tomato sauce, or the luscious Florentine steak for two?—with irresistible views both within the restaurant and beyond the nearly floor-to-ceiling windows.

Back Bay,

See also: Restaurant Review: Contessa Is Worth the Wait

Field & Vine. / Photo by Brian Samuels

Field & Vine

When the setting sun hits Field & Vine’s westward-facing front window just right, streaming gold through shelves of monsteras, snake plants, begonias, and more, it’s like a beam of magic light tying the restaurant’s woodland fantasy ambiance together (you’d be forgiven for peeking around corners looking for a frolicking deer or two). The centerpiece of the space—a tangle of vines and branches, designed by Forêt Design Studio, above the counter seats looking into the open kitchen—enhances the forest-like feel. Below one end of the counter, stacked firewood sits ready to fuel the grill, a hint at what’s to come: maybe grilled arrowhead cabbage, an unexpected stunner topped with savory ’nduja butter and gremolata crumbs, sitting in a creamy pool of blue cheese from Vermont, or crispy monkfish schnitzel livened up with a Buffalo-style sauce made of grilled strawberries.

All of the pieces come together to form a rustic-chic vibe (think fancy barn wedding), including the custom-built heart-pine tables. Throw pillows by Cora Meginsky—dyed with materials such as avocado pit and onion skin—cozy up the intimate space and reinforce the ethos of sourcing ingredients that are fresh, local, and in season.


See also: 2018 Best Neighborhood Restaurant, Union Square

First published in the print edition of the October 2023 issue with the headline, “Sitting Pretty.”