Eat Here Now: Boston’s 10 Hottest Restaurants
A restaurant and music hall with a marquee chef, a glamorous rooftop Italian restaurant, a Southern-inspired addition to Southie, and more.
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Where to eat tonight? 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. [Updated September 3, 2021]
The Banks Fish House
[Narrator]: “In a world where seafood lovers are too often forced to choose between straightforward New England classics (ooh!) and fine-dining fare (ah!), one Boston newcomer has arrived to offer both: the Banks Fish House in Boston’s Back Bay. Come because it’s close to your office; stay because chef Robert Sisca can cook up a classic lobster bake or perfectly silky, crispy-skin salmon—with, say, bok choy and cherries in a spring pea-carbonara reduction—with equal aplomb. From the same team that brought you such blockbuster hits as Grill 23, Harvest, and Bistro du Midi, it’s the buzzed-about sequel you’ve been waiting for.”
406 Stuart St., Boston, 617-399-0015, thebanksboston.com.
Cloud & Spirits
We cried like babies when the beloved, bohemian restaurant Cuchi Cuchi in Central Square closed last year—but if the address was going to be inherited by another outfit, we’re glad it’s Cloud & Spirits. Chef Katie Cheung, alum of Barbara Lynch’s landmark Menton, brings the deft touch honed at such fine-dining establishments to a tidy menu that marries New Korean and New American cuisines (the handmade spaghetti rich with kimchi butter, for one, is a total flavor bomb). Beverage director Michael Gander, meanwhile, rains down awesome cocktails in the snug and chic, swinging space, including the signature Cloud 9, which drizzles rye whiskey and amaro down on a puff of cotton candy perched atop a berg of block ice.
795 Main St., Cambridge, 617-945-1158, cloudandspirits.com.
It’s no surprise that this brand-new addition to Back Bay came out of the gate as one of the hottest destinations in town. For starters, it’s a glitzy, Old Europe-inspired rooftop restaurant at the Newbury Hotel, with a glass roof and retractable walls of windows offering open-air dining and views of the Public Garden. In addition, it’s the first Boston restaurant from the aptly named Major Food Group, whose portfolio includes Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. Between the sumptuous pastas (say, spicy lobster capellini), fancified pizzas (topped with littleneck clams or black truffle, perhaps) and a signature Florentine-style steak for two, Contessa is an Italian stunner poised to replicate the group’s success here in the Hub.
3 Newbury St., Boston, 617-536-5700, thenewburyboston.com/dine/contessa.
Global gastropub eats are getting diners to drift by this Inman Square addition, housed in the former home of Cambridge’s late Bukowski Tavern location. Drifter’s Tale keeps alive the latter joint’s dedication to craft brews—there are Tuesday specials pairing plates with complementary suds—but adds to the mix falafel bites, Argentinean empanadas with chimichurri crema, veggie potstickers, and other share-ready small plates in a laidback space made for meeting and mingling.
1281 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-714-5712, drifterstale.com.
Grana (and the Fed)
Following a multimillion-dollar renovation, Boston’s Langham hotel has unveiled two new amenities to whet our appetities: Grana, a refined Italian restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner (bone-in veal Milanese with grilled lemon and balsamic, please) in a grand setting—peep those chandeliers!—as well as the Fed, a bar and lounge whose name references the building’s history as the former Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Unsurprisingly, the watering hole looks like a million bucks. In fact, there’s a bit of a private-clubhouse aesthetic, between the dark timber floors, hand-tufted rugs, artwork sourced from Boston’s own historic Copley Society of Art, book-lined shelves, and—this is very important—bar replete with hard-to-find bottles and even some proprietary spirits.
250 Franklin St., Boston, langhamhotels.com.
Hunter’s Kitchen & Bar
Southern comfort-inspired cuisine comes to South Boston courtesy of the Broadway Restaurant Group, the same folks who have gifted the neighborhood with Lincoln Tavern, Fat Baby, Capo, and Loco Taqueria, four very different concepts with a shared knack for fun, flavorful food and fun, flirty crowds. This fifth entry, outfitted with all the trapping of the absolute coolest hunting lodge you’ve never been able to afford on Airbnb (see: tasteful taxidermy), is the place to find plush biscuits, Nashville-hot fried chicken with Cajun slaw, St. Louis ribs—served dry or slathered in ‘cue sauce—and gumbo loaded with shrimp, crab, andouille sausage, and Carolina rice. Save room for bourbon butter cake and bourbon-based drinks like the She Fancy with herbal Bénédictine and Chartreuse.
110 Dorchester St., South Boston, 617-221-4200, instagram.com/huntersboston.
Let’s get this out of the way: You don’t need to be vegan to love Littleburg. Yes, the plant-based pop-up—which finally found a permanent home in Somerville’s Union Square—is a godsend to those looking for more marvelous, meat-free dining in the area. But Littleburg’s mostly Eastern Mediterranean-inspired eats (a seitan gyro with almond tzatziki, saffron fried rice with falafel and lemon tahini, and flatbread spiced with za’atar and garlic scapes) are outstanding whether you’re veggie or not. Plus, you can get it sent to your home via the operation’s prepared-meals delivery service, or pick it up from the new takeout-only location, a walk-up counter at the roll-up garage door of a former auto shop. Both options are novel; everything you’ll eat is amazing.
5 Sanborn Court, Somerville, 617-863-6652, littleburgveg.com.
Nautilus Pier 4
Only a few months old, this Seaport sibling to Nantucket’s popular Nautilus is still enjoying the kind of hot-openings-level excitement and hype you’d expect of its proven approach to 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.
Premiere on Broadway
It’s hard to find a place in Boston for dinner and a show—harder still to find one where the food is the marquee attraction. But Somerville’s new Premiere on Broadway, a restaurant-slash-performance venue for music and comedy, has quite a headliner in its chef: Dan Bazzinotti was previously at the helm of Terra, an exceptional top-floor restaurant at Eataly Boston. Now he’s taken his inventive Italian-American cuisine, added a few unexpected twists, and premiered plates like grilled oysters fra diavolo, Calabrian chili-slathered street corn, and potato gnocchi with Peruvian beef hearts, as well as the kind of stellar charcuterie he’s well-known for crafting. Add boozy brunch-time doughnuts to the mix, and it’s a lineup you’ll love as the precursor to a performance or as a star attraction all on its own.
517 Broadway, Somerville, 617-996-6838, premiereonbroadway.com.
The Tall Ship Boston
Okay, it’s not exactly a restaurant. It’s a raw bar aboard an antique, 245-foot charter boat, as well as a bustling gateway to the New East Boston. But you’ll find freshly shucked oysters for slurping, cool cocktails for sipping (such as the Gin Blossoms-referencing “Hey Jealousy” with Hendrick’s, green tea, and elderflower liqueur), and a pier-side plaza with room for lawn games, live bands, rotating food trucks, and shipping containers serving (admittedly expensive) tacos and lobster rolls from sibling spots Mija Cantina and Pier 6. But it is, to be sure, a creative concept that’s catching on with crowds—and makes for a hell of a place to day-drink, too.
1 E Pier Drive, Boston, 617-307-7714, tallshipboston.com.