Eat Here Now: Boston’s 10 Hottest Restaurants
For when you’re sick of the grocery store, 10 restaurants you’ve just gotta try.
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Believe it or not, new restaurants—both physical spaces and takeout-only “ghost kitchens”—continue to open during the pandemic. It can be hard to keep up with knowing where the buzz is, so we’ve gathered a few of the most notable additions to the dining scene here, as well as a few established spots that are giving us reason to return right now. Keep coming back here for regular updates, and new inspiration on where to get dinner tonight.
If it’s outdoor dining options you seek, we’re happy to help: Why, just check out this dozens-strong list of restaurant patios, roof decks, and other al fresco areas that will put a spring in your step (and delicious dinners on your table). Although it won’t debut until April 15, we’ve little doubt Bambara will join the must-visit lineup—after all, its outdoor setup, dubbed Bambara’s Backyard, will fill the courtyard at the Kimpton Marlowe Hotel with plenty of seating (including lounge areas and private alcoves) an open-air bar, live entertainment on weekends, and lawn games like bocce, corn hole, and Connect Four. In addition, the first Sundays of May, June, July, and August will feature DJ-soundtracked drag brunches to raise money for BAGLY, an LGBTQ youth organization. There’ll even be grab-and-go picnic baskets for moving your mealtime over to the grassy banks of the nearby Charles River.
25 Edwin H Land Blvd., Cambridge, 617-868-4444, bambara-cambridge.com.
Deep Cuts Deli
We’ve all been pining for a comeback of local live music. (Honestly, somebody drop the curtain on COVID, already.) In the meanwhile, feed your ear, soul, and stomach with a trip to Deep Cuts Deli, a highly anticipated project from a small team of vets in Boston’s restaurant, craft beer, and music scenes. What started as a pop-up is now a brick-and-mortar sandwich shop with selections like the ICP (Insane Chicken Pesto), Big Trouble in Little Boston (roast beef with kimchi and kewpie mayo), and Chick Chick Boom (curry chickpeas with pickles and veggies). While you’re there, though, you can also pick up vinyl records from local bands, prints by local artists, or even indie biz-made candles you probably wouldn’t find on a concert merch table.
472 High St., Medford, 781-219-3815, deepcuts.rocks.
A gray-haired grandma with bright red spectacles is the adorable logo-mascot for Jinny’s, which is named for co-owner Lydia Reichert’s nan, whose big personality and huge heart gave the chef early childhood lessons in food, family, and hospitality. We’re sure she’d be proud of the wood-fired pizzeria her granddaughter just opened with the same clan behind several other beloved Newton restaurats (Buttonwood, Little Big Diner, and Sycamore). Here, slow-fermented dough heads into a Tuscan-imported oven topped with Italian sausage, Calabrian chilis, Ligurian oregano, anchovies, olives—you get the idea. You should also get a cocktail like the Under the Tuscan Sun; it’ll warm you up with gin, Cocchi Americano, anisette, and lemon.
1231 Centre St., Newton, 617-467-4764, jinnyspizza.com.
What do you do when the Sonoran chef behind some of Boston’s best Mexican restaurants opens a taco shop on Newbury Street? Easy: You plan yourself a day of retail therapy on Back Bay’s main shopping street, refueling along the way with homemade tortillas that are filled with chipotle-sauced shrimp, tender steak, spicy chorizo, flavorful refried beans, and more. There’s some burritos, quesadillas, and tortas, too, and they all come from Allan Rodriguez, whose finessed spins on family recipes have been bringing us back to his small group of El Centro restaurants for many years. Now, add La Neta to the mix.
255 Newbury St., Boston, 857-284-7399, lanetataco.com.
You’ve probably noticed chef Will Gilson’s name popping up here often. Well, that’ll happen when you’re a super-talented toque who just opened three new restaurants (Cafe Beatrice, Geppetto, and the Lexington), all within a few months at the same hulking building in Cambridge Crossing. Right now, though, it’s the Lexington on our radar, because this week the spot finally opened for full-service dining. If the modern American menu isn’t enough to get you there (and really, the miso mayo-topped burger with truffle jus should do the trick), then maybe the gorgeous roof deck, connected to the dining room with wide walls of retractable windows, will seal the deal.
100 N First St., Cambridge, 617-945-1349, thelexingtoncx.com.
Nautilus Pier 4
In April, Boston finally received the highly anticipated Seaport sibling to Nautilus, a buzzy destination in Nantucket for New England-sourced, globally-inspired food and drink. We already gave you a first look at the menu, which covers tapas-style small plates (like charcoal-grilled prawns with roasted chili paste, fried garlic, and coconut vinaigrette), some large-format feasts such as whole roasted Peking duck, and of course, streams of sake to wash it all down. Now, though, you should go take a look yourself—and scoop up cans of Nautilus’s new brand of canned rosé wine while you’re at it.
300 Pier Four Blvd., Boston, 857-957-0998, thenautilus.com.
Stoked Wood Fired Pizza
Stoked is definitely the word to describe how we feel now that one of the best Boston-area pizza joints has finally launched its second location in Cambridge, within a ground-floor space at the newest Harvard Law School building. Naturally, the Neapolitan-inspired pizzeria, which has added here a number of additional vegan options to its menu of Neapolitan-inspired pies and snacks, couldn’t help but pay tribute to one of Harvard Law’s most maverick former students: late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Although Stoked is only serving beer and wine for now, it’ll soon roll out a tropical-leaning cocktail menu like the When There Are Nine, a nod to Ginsburg’s answer when asked, “When will there be enough women on the Supreme Court?” Served on a lace collar-inspired doily, it’s a blend of rums with Swedish punsch, pineapple, and Tahitian vanilla; $1 from every drink sold will benefit the Ginsburg-founded Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU.
1611 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-945-0989; 1632 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-879-0707, stokedpizzaco.com.
A “beer hall for all” is coming to Belmont as soon as it’s totally safe to snag a seat with strangers at Trinktisch’s long communal tables, tip back brews (and ciders) from its 40-tap bar, and drink and clink to the heart’s content. Until then, though, this new venture from the folks behind Craft Beer Cellar—a small group of stores that is beloved by beer geeks—is already open to takeout and delivery orders of all-canned suds, wines, and cocktails. Importantly, though, the ratskeller-ready grub more than keeps up: Platters of bratwurst, cheeses, and charcuterie, sides of cider vinegar-spiked German potato salad, offerings of deviled eggs, and gorgeous visions of chocolate sauce-slathered Belgian waffles are intoxicating attractions on their own.
87 Leonard St., Belmont, 617-484-2337, trinktisch.com.
Nothing gold can stay—and neither, apparently, can Uni chef-partner Tony Messina, who just announced that he will end his nine-year run with the restaurant on May 1. During that time, Messina helped transform Uni, once a smallish sashimi bar tucked below star restaurateur Ken Oringer’s late, legendary Clio, into a bigger and better version of itself. He’s been honored with love in our pages (we named Uni the best restaurant in Boston a few years back) and nationally, earning the Best Chef: Northeast award from James Beard in 2019. Before Messina moves to Los Angeles and Uni starts its own next chapter, make a point to experience once more Messina’s singular approach to contemporary izakaya cuisine.
370A Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-536-7200, uni-boston.com.
Wood Fired Love
Pizza, apparently, is in high demand lately. (Isn’t it always, though?) Here’s yet another new pie-slinger to put on your hit list: Wood Fired Love, which has replaced the Squealing Pig in Mission Hill. Its oven is now fired up and turning out pies topped with ingredients from New England farms and artisan makers—say, cheese from Narragansett Creamery and Jasper Hill, as well as greens and herbs from Little Leaf Farms and Eva’s Farm.
134 Smith St., Boston, 617-322-5299, woodfiredlove.com.