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. In this new day of dining-room capacity limits and online ordering, 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. Keep coming back for regular updates, and new inspiration on where to get dinner tonight.
It’s always exciting when a new restaurant arrives to Charlestown, a neighborhood whose dining landscape seems to be a bit more stagnant than most. Even more exciting: Dovetail comes from the team behind Brewer’s Fork, a beloved nearby favorite that happens to turn out some of Boston’s best wood-fired pizzas. There were no pies on the menu when Dovetail opened in December, although the New American offerings did include plenty of pastas, rustic-refined mains like veal schnitzel with pickled apples, and seasonal small plates such as squash and burrata salad with spiced pistachio and fermented honey. Although the pandemic prompted the full-service dining room to close until March, per a rep from the restaurant, you can still get a taste of things at the Shop at Dovetail, its still-operating take-away market serving soups, salads, and sandwiches for lunch and dinner. We’re partial to Le Tuna, a baguette loaded with olive oil-tinned tuna, white bean and basil puree, white anchovy, olives, and egg; and the Southeast Asian Cackalacka, smoked pulled chicken with a mustard-based barbecue sauce, cabbage and Thai chili salad, and pickled red onion on a brioche bun.
1 6th St., Charlestown, 617-337-5230, dovetailcharlestown.com.
Modern twists on traditional Italian set apart this third (and as far as we know, final) restaurant that chef-owner Will Gilson brought to the mixed-use Cambridge Crossing development. Coming hot off the heels of Gilson’s pastry-stuffed Cafe Beatrice and rooftop eatery the Lexington, Geppetto looks to plates like Kitchen Sink Meat Lasagna with porcini béchamel, tortellini soup with kale and roasted chicken, fried artichokes with meyer lemon aioli and parsley-chili oil, and some particularly stellar fried meatballs in a tomato-brown butter sauce. Don’t miss the quarter-pans of Sicilian-style pizza, too.
100 North First St., Cambridge, thelexingtoncx.com/geppetto.
Ghost King Thai
It’s big news whenever the James Beard award-winning team of Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette add another venture to their restaurant empire—even when their latest project doesn’t (technically) have a storefront. Though it operates out of the kitchen at Toro, their South End tapas spot, Ghost King Thai is the duo’s “ghost restaurant,” part of a growing category of concepts that lack signs, front doors, and physical dining space. Focused on buckets of spicy, Thai-style fried chicken and a few sides, like green papaya salad, Ghost King, which only accepts online orders for pickup or delivery, is ready to rule over a landscape of virtual openings that is only expected to expand post-pandemic.
1704 Washington St., Boston, 617-536-4300, ghostkingthai.com.
La Saison Bakery
For years, Soheil Fathi helped run his family’s successful bakery in Tehran, Iran. After moving to America, though, he had to start from scratch—and incidentally, “made from scratch” also describes the breads and sweets you’ll find at the just-opened, latest incarnation of La Saison in Cambridge. Discover amazing apricot-pistachio and fig-walnut loaves of sourdough; flaky kouign-amann (which is similar to a croissant); feta-za’atar scones; fudgy “marble” brownies with swirls of cheesecake; and crispy crackers spiced with turmeric or smoked paprika.
407 Concord Ave., Cambridge, 617-547-0009, lasaison-bakery.com.
At some point in early 2021, chef Katie Cheung and mixologist Michael Gander plan to open Cloud & Spirits, an upscale-casual Cambridge restaurant offering New American cuisine with notes of Korean influence. Until then, though, its physical address is home to Mikkusu Sando, Cheung’s takeout-only destination for sandwiches on shokupan, or Japanese milk bread, that has quickly garnered a cult following. Baked fresh daily (and sure to sell out quickly), the super-fluffy white bread—served with the crusts cut off—is used to deliver delectable combinations like panko-fried pork with tangy katsu sauce; tuna salad tossed with kewpie mayo, house brined pickles, and nori furikake seasoning; and even a sweet sando of satsuma mandarins with whipped cream and caramel sauce. You’ll also find some specialty drinks, like the honey matcha latte spiked with cream liqueur.
795 Main St., Cambridge, 617-945-1158, mikkusu.square.site.
It may require a quick car ride outside the city, but we highly recommend doing some reconnaissance of the menu at Northern Spy. Housed within the former home of America’s first copper mill at the nine-acre Paul Revere Heritage Site, Northern Spy comes from the team behind Cambridge’s Loyal Nine, which cleverly reinterprets New England cuisine. This suburban sibling offers scratch-made, family-friendly fare built around chef Marc Sheehan’s wielding of the restaurant’s wood-fired hearth: think flatbreads topped with smoked tomatoes and shallots, Berkshire pork chops with roasted cream corn, and a stout-imbued beef stew with flame-kissed veggies. You’ll also find some delectable desserts, including a maple pie with poached cranberries and whipped creme fraîche, as well as cocktails and wine. Just order your dinner in advance: Northern Spy is open for takeout and delivery only for now, and it’s been popular enough to need to cut off orders once nightly supplies dwindle.
4 Rolling Mill Way, Canton, 781-989-1850, northernspycanton.com.
Only a few months after NU Burger got up and running at Time Out Market, the pandemic arrived and closed down food halls across the city. Now the concept, which focuses on globally inspired burgers, is operating out of its parent restaurant Anoush’ella in the South End. Online pickup and delivery orders are now being accepted for patties like the pancetta-topped Pesto Basilico Burger, the Asian slaw- and kimchi sauce-heaped Korean Bulgogi Burger, and the Umami Truffle Burger with fried egg and balsamic shallot.
35 W Newton St., Boston, 857-265-3195, nu-burger.com.
Saltie Girl Seafood Pizza
Now that Saltie Girl has moved into the neighboring Back Bay space previously occupied by sibling Met Back Bay, its more intimate, original address has transformed into Saltie Girl Seafood Pizza, a parlor that covers its pies in combinations of octopus, lobster, Jonah crab, clams, and more; above is a shot of the smoked salmon pizza with chive, egg, and trout roe. Negroni cocktails and amaro dominate the beverage side, although you can also opt for a family-style caviar-and-pizza splay that serves half a dozen guests—and includes a bottle of bubbly to boot.
281 Dartmouth St., Boston, 617-267-0691, saltiegirl.com/seafoodpizza.
The modern Malaysian pop-up Sekali is one of the brightest silver linings to the dark cloud that COVID-19 has cast over the local dining scene. Chef Derrick Teh launched the project after he was furloughed from his position at Momi Nonmi restaurant last March, and as the months rolled on it earned raves through appearances at Little Dipper, a funky diner in Jamaica Plain, the new Artifact Cider Project taproom in Cambridge, and elsewhere—as well as through recurring, regularly-changing takeout and delivery menus that might include chicken char siu with spicy sambal ikan bilis sauce; shrimp roasted with ginger and scallion; and nasi lemak, a dish of coconut rice with blue pea flowers, short rib rendang, hard boiled eggs, crispy anchovies, and walnuts. Keep an eye on their Instagram account to see where and when it’s available.
At Source, chef Brian Kevorkian aims to craft his gastropub menu using ingredients sourced (get it?) from within 100 miles of the restaurant. The result? A salad of beets from Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon and goat cheese from First Light Farm in Hamilton, scallop ceviche with kohlrabi from New York’s Norwich Meadows Farm, and pizzas topped with local burrata, mushrooms, and more.
27 Church St., Cambridge, 857-856-6800, sourcerestaurants.com.