Hot Plates: 10 Dishes to Try Right Now in Boston

From inventive Roman-style pizzas to terrific breakfast tacos, your handy list of buzz-worthy plates.


Hungry? We’re here to help. Behold our list of the most crave-worthy, must-try dishes on Boston menus at this very moment. These are the tasty new offerings that have us talking–when our mouth isn’t full, of course. [Updated: July 24, 2019]

Breakfast tacos, a michelada, and more at Cambridge's new Pepita Coffee

Breakfast tacos, a michelada, and more at Cambridge’s new Pepita Coffee.

Breakfast tacos at Pepita Coffee

Rise, shine, and snack on flour tortillas filled with braised pork shoulder, chorizo, fried egg, and other fixings at Pepita Coffee, which recently replaced Longfellows Coffee as the daytime-dining concept inside Lamplighter Brewing Co. Wash ’em down with spicy hot chocolate or, after 11 a.m., a michelada (a tomato juice-spiked beer cocktail). There are tostadas and pastries too, but the tacos are really what bait us out of bed and to this Tex-Mex-inspired café.

284 Broadway, Cambridge, 617-945-0450, lamplighterbrewing.com/pepita.

Pasta abounds at Peregrine. / Photo by Brian Samuels Photography

Tagliatelle alla vongole at Peregrine

The team behind Somerville’s Juliet (which is on our list of the 50 best restaurants around town) has finally opened their long-awaited second restaurant. Peregrine just perched itself inside the new Whitney Hotel in Beacon Hill, and the tagliatelle with clams is rapidly emerging as a signature dish. House-made ribbons of the pasta, which contain a “good dose” of black pepper and black truffles right in the dough, is coupled with clams, white wine, black truffle-salt, and chili oil. Want to know more highlights from the highly-anticipated newcomer? Head here.

170 Charles St., Boston, 617-367-1866, peregrineboston.com

Ribs at the Porch.

Ribs at the Porch. / Photo by Brian Samuels Photography

Rib trays at the Porch Southern Fare and Juke Joint

Trays of barbecue and other Southern-inspired eats anchor the menu at this just-opened Medford restaurant, relocated from a (much smaller) previous location in Wakefield. It’s earned enough buzz to merit the trip to the ‘burbs—and not only for chef Jonathan Post’s sauce-slathered, St. Louis-style spare ribs. (It’s not just the Texas brisket or Nashville-hot fried chicken, either.) The Porch also has a stage for regular live music, and a whiskey-filled, 54-foot bar—so the vibe is a draw all on its own.

175 River’s Edge Drive, Medford, theporchsouthern.com.

The burger at the Longfellow Bar is messy and marvelous. / Photo by Michael Scelfo

Longfellow’s Burger at the Longfellow Bar at Alden & Harlow

Chef Michael Scelfo is officially a burger king. First, his “Secret Burger” at Alden & Harlow became a well-known hit. He followed it up with the WP Burger, topped with tonnato (tuna sauce) to reflect the seafood focus of Waypoint. But Longfellow’s Burger, found at this recently-opened cocktail den housed above his Harvard Square flagship, might be his best yet. It’s loaded with fermented Nardello peppers, grilled onions, and a Tillamook cheddar spread spiked with pickle brine. It’s an insanely delicious napkin assassin.

40 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-864-0001, longfellowharvard.com.

Tomato and strawberry is a saucy combination at Ronsky’s. / Photo by Annie Legasse

Spaghetti with strawberries at Chef Ronsky’s

In May, chef Ron Suhanosky turned his pint-size café and sandwich shop into an intimate trattoria—and what a refreshing change it is. While we loved his simpler stuff, Suhanosky really shines with Italian cuisine—no wonder, since he won a James Beard Award for his cookbook, Pasta Sfoglia, inspired by the eponymous restaurant he founded in Nantucket, and eventually expanded to NYC. Our favorite first taste at his new project? Tremendous house-made spaghetti with fresh strawberries, tomato and balsamic. (But truth be told, all the pastas are winners.)

3A Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 617-903-2159, chefronskys.com.

The clam shack sushi roll at Ruka.

The clam shack sushi roll at Ruka. / Photo by Drew Katz

Clam shack sushi rolls at Ruka

Theres’s no shortage of seafood shack-inspired dishes clamoring for attention during a New England summer, but this downtown den of Peruvian-Japanese and Peruvian-Chinese plates has come up with one of the more creative ideas: rolls filled with (and topped by) fried Ipswich clams, avocado, kimchee slaw with tartar sauce, and lemon soy. Save the rote clam rolls for another day.

505 Washington St., Boston, 617-266-0102, rukarestobar.com.

Sally's Sandwiches smothered brisket and slaw

Sally’s smothered brisket is Gallows Group owner Rebecca Roth Gullo’s mother, Sally’s recipe. / Photo by Troy Ali

Brisket at Sally’s Sandwiches

Now that the team behind the fast-growing Blackbird Doughnuts brand has found a sparkling, sprawling new production facility for their Best of Boston-anointed treats, the kitchen at the original, South End location has been converted to Sally’s Sandwiches. The daytime-only operation serves up a host of not-too-classic sammies—including this standout, based on the favorite recipe of owner Rebeccca Roth-Gullo’s mother, Sally. The beef is braised in a mix of Coca-Cola, ketchup, and aromatics; pumped up with pimento cheese; and served on an Iggy’s sesame torta roll.

492 Tremont St., South End, Boston, 857-449-0443, sallyssandwiches.com.

Karen Akunowicz has created a menu of poke and veggie bowls for a Boston location of Whole Foods

Karen Akunowicz has created a menu of poke and veggie bowls for a Boston location of Whole Foods. / Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Poke at SloPoke

Not only is her Fox & the Knife our recent pick for the best new restaurant in Boston, but in May, chef Karen Akunowicz also branched out into the fast-casual sphere–with SloPoke, a destination for the Hawaii-rooted raw fish salad that is tucked inside a Beacon Hill Whole Foods Market. Akunowicz’s signature bowls include ahi tuna poke with crispy wheat berries and and chili ponzu, as well as Faroe Island salmon with mango salsa and yuzu vinaigrette. There are also standout veggie options, like the Goddess Bowl with local tofu, Brussels sprouts, fried quinoa, green apple, and green goddess dressing. Praise be.

Charles River Plaza Whole Foods, 181 Cambridge St., Boston, wholefoodsmarket.com, Instagram

Photo by Nina Gallant

Roman al taglio pies at T&B Pizza

Despite your New Yorker friends’ claims to the contrary, Boston’s pizza scene is actually pretty awesome right now—if non-monogamous to a single style of pie. In only the last month or so, Avenue Kitchen and Bar brought elusive Detroit-style pizza to Somerville, bigwig restaurateur Michael Schlow opened a Roman-style pizza station at Time Out Market Boston—and chef Tim Wiechmann, once known for more fine-dining ventures, opened T&B Pizza right next to his Bronwyn restaurant in Union Square. Here you’ll find killer cocktails and al taglio pies, characterized by thick, tender, hand-folded dough traditionally square-cut with scissors. Wiechmann’s topping run the gamut, from bacon and jalapeño to smoked salmon with roasted peach.

251 Washington St., Somerville, 617-764-4054, tbpizza.com.

Photo courtesy of Zuma Japanese Restaurant Boston

Robata-grilled ribeye at Zuma

The upscale, international izakaya brand has just opened the doors to its new Boston location. It currently remains to be seen how long the Back Bay outpost it will get to keep its name–but here’s one thing we do know: The restaurant’s stunning centerpiece, a big robata grill, is turning out winners. Among them is a plate of tender, eight-ounce ribeye steak garnished with garlic crisps and wafu sauce, a sharp combination of carrots, apples, celery and onions with rice vinegar. It’s a standout, but there’s plenty more robata selections to get fired up about (plus sushi, sake, and more). For a full look at the stunning space and its concept, head here.

One Dalton St., Four Seasons Hotel (second floor), Back Bay, Boston, 857-449-2500, zumarestaurant.com.