The Best Restaurants in Boston, MA

The 19 Best Restaurants in Boston You Have to Try!

New England cuisine has a meaning all its own. When you think of food found in New England, you likely picture freshly caught seafood that goes into treats like lobster rolls and clam chowder. And while such delights can be found in Boston, you’ll discover that you can truly dine around the world in this stunning city.

From dim sum in Chinatown to pasta and pizza in the North End, the different regions of Boston mirror its residents. This diverse city is home to people of so many different backgrounds, many of whom have brought the food of their cultures for Bostonians to savor. 

With so many places to eat in Boston, you might need help figuring out where to start making reservations. So, we’ve put together a list of some of the best restaurants in Boston – from the oldest restaurant in the United States to a dinner party experience you won’t want to miss. Stick to this list, and you’re bound to have an incredible time eating your way around Beantown!

The 19 Best Restaurants in Boston

1. The Union Oyster House

Best Restaurants in Boston: Union Oyster House
Images courtesy of Union Oyster House

The Union Oyster House is one of the most famous restaurants in Boston and belongs on any Boston vacationer’s bucket list. Not only is it the oldest restaurant in Boston, but it’s also the oldest restaurant in continuous service in the United States. 

Located just a short walk away from the equally historic Faneuil Hall, this beloved restaurant, which is a National Historic Landmark, has been serving customers since 1826. The building that the restaurant is housed in is older still, dating back to Pre-Revolutionary War days. 

From traditional clam chowder to fried oysters to the Ye Olde Seafood Platter, this restaurant is a perfect stop if you’re a seafood lover.

2. O Ya

O Ya turned a 100-year-old fire station in the Leather District into one of the best restaurants in Boston. This Japanese restaurant offers a nightly omakase dinner, a chef’s choice menu of 20 courses featuring sashimi, nigiri, and cooked dishes. 

Diners who spend a meal at this splurge-worthy spot tend to be blown away by every bite. You can never quite guarantee what you’re going to be served at this Boston staple. The only guarantee is that you’ll never have tasted anything like it before!

3. Faccia a Faccia

Cool Restaurants in Boston: Faccia a Faccia
Images courtesy of Elizabeth Cecil

Previously known as Faccia Brutta, this Newbury Street find is now called Faccia a Faccia. Serving up coastal Italian cuisine, the dishes here were inspired by travels through Liguria, Sicily, Sardinia, and many more gorgeous seaside locations. 

Take a seat on the outdoor patio inspired by the al-fresco dining of Italy and order up meals with fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. A mix of rare delicacies, like Squid Ink Trottole, and more traditional Italian fare, like Chicken Milanese, every bite is filled with dancing flavors.

4. Boston Burger Company

What Restaurants to Try in Boston: Boston Burger Company

Craving a burger? At Boston Burger Company, which can be found in a number of locations around Boston, including on Boylston Street, your burger isn’t just a burger – it’s an experience. You don’t come to this restaurant for a patty with a slice of American cheese on it. No, you come for the extravagance of their signature meals. 

From the Vermonster, made with sautéed apples, red onion, bacon, maple mayo, and sharp cheddar, to the King, made with peanut butter, bacon, fried bananas, and cinnamon sugar, you’ll need to arrive with quite an appetite for one of these giant burgers. 

But don’t fill up on meat! You’re going to want to finish your meal off with a #FreakFrappe, ginormous frappes topped with everything from ice cream sandwiches to bacon strips. 

5. Brown Sugar Cafe

Over in Allston, you’ll find a spot with mood lighting perfect for a date night. Brown Sugar Cafe is a Thai restaurant that happens to be one of the best places to eat in Boston, especially if you’re looking for a little romance. And with such a massive menu that includes a bevy of vegetarian options, you’re bound to find something to love. 

But the meal I keep coming back to is the Roast Duck Curry. If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, don’t forget to order a Thai Iced Tea with your meal. It’s the perfect match for anything on the menu.

6. Pho Pasteur

Technically, pho originated in Vietnam, but it does have many Chinese influences. So maybe that’s why you’ll find some of the best pho around in Boston’s Chinatown. And many Bostonians will tell you that the best pho in Chinatown can be found at Pho Pasteur

Pho Pasteur has been serving up oversized bowls of this traditional Vietnamese noodle soup since 1991. It’s an unassuming gem that looks much like a simple diner inside. But once you get your meal, you’ll come to see why Bostonians keep coming back to this beloved spot.

7. Mamma Maria

Unique Restaurants in Boston: Mamma Maria
Images courtesy of Mamma Maria

Boston’s North End is known for its Italian restaurants and bakeries, and one of the top restaurants in the North End and all of Boston is Mamma Maria. Inside this little corner restaurant is a light-filled, romantic setting that makes you feel like you’ve just stepped foot in Florence. Mamma Maria sits atop a small hill, giving you a gorgeous view of downtown Boston while you dine. 

On the menu, you’ll find Italian dishes that change with the seasons. In fall and winter, you’ll discover meals brought over from northern Italy and the mountain regions. In summer and spring, the menu comes from southern Italy, highlighting local seafood. Despite its Italian origins, however, the ingredients at Mamma Maria come from foods grown locally in New England.

8. Empire Garden

What was once a vaudeville theater is now one of the coolest restaurants in Boston. Over in Chinatown, you’ll spot a grand marque that makes it look like it’s still a theater. But inside, you’ll find a massive dining room with domed, gilded ceilings and beautiful, elaborate murals. 

The food at Empire Garden is good, especially if you’re coming for dim sum, but the atmosphere is the real reason why this is one of the coolest restaurants in Boston. It’s truly a hidden gem – so hidden, in fact, that they don’t even have a website.

9. Regina Pizzeria

Must Visit Restaurants in Boston: Regina Pizzeria
Images courtesy of Regina Pizzeria

Regina Pizzeria is a Boston institution. This beloved North End restaurant has been serving up slices since 1926. These days, it has multiple locations around Massachusetts, but the original can still be found amidst the Italian traditions of the North End. 

Best Restaurants in Boston: Regina Pizzeria

The pizzeria boasts an impressively long menu filled with Italian dishes served pizza-style. You can get everything from shrimp scampi to puttanesca on your pizza. And if nothing on the menu suits your fancy, you can always build your own pie. But that traditional Cheese Pizza is so perfect you may not want to stray from it.

10. Cobble

Unique Restaurants in Boston: Cobble
Images courtesy of Allison Sepanek

Over in Brookline is one of the most unique restaurants in Boston, and perhaps that’s because it doesn’t look much like a restaurant at all. Scoring a reservation to Cobble can be difficult, but it’s well worth it. 

When you enter Cobble, you’ll think you must have walked into the wrong place. This restaurant looks more like an apartment that came right out of the pages of Apartment Therapy. This tastefully decorated spot is indeed serving up Italian (or rather “Italianish”) cuisine. 

Located on the second floor of the Coolidge Corner Arcade, Cobble offers up a dinner party experience where you’ll eat five vegetable-forward Italian-inspired courses. The menu changes seasonally, but what doesn’t change is that Cobble is always BYOB. However, the restaurant does offer fresh, house-made cocktail mixers to pair with your menu.

11. Daedalus Restaurant

Finding a rooftop restaurant in Boston isn’t all that easy. Which makes sense when you consider that a good portion of the year is so cold. But Daedalus Restaurant goes to show that rooftop dining is not only possible in the Boston area, but it’s also delicious. 

Daedalus, located in Harvard Square in Cambridge, is one of the best rooftop restaurants in the Boston area, thanks to its stunning views and modern twists on classic fare. The restaurant is a little American, a little Italian, a little French, and, well, a little of everything. 

From burgers to risotto to duck confit, this restaurant is a perfect fit for every palate. Daedalus also boasts an impressive drink menu filled with local beers, aged scotches, and eclectic mixed drinks.

12. Trident Booksellers & Cafe

Trident Booksellers & Cafe is a true book lover and brunch lover’s dream. This little independent bookstore is hiding one of the most unique restaurants in Boston. Located on Newbury Street and surrounded by stylish boutiques and shops, Trident offers both sweet and savory delights that any brunch fan will adore. 

From the crave-worthy Morning Monte Cristo to the Lemon Ricotta Stuffed French Toast, you can’t go wrong with anything on this menu. Don’t forget to check their specials menu, which also features seasonal coffee drinks that’ll surely give you a sugar rush to kick off your morning right.

13. The Dubliner

Best Restaurants in Boston: The Dubliner
Images courtesy of The Dubliner

Irish pubs are easy to find in Boston. So much so that you might think they’re all offering the same experience. But that’s not the case at The Dubliner. Yes, you can grab a Guinness at this Government Center location, but you can also find a menu created by award-winning chef Aidan McGee. 

You won’t find just traditional pub fare here. McGee built a menu inspired by his childhood on a farm in Ireland. If you’re looking for true comfort food, you should come on Sundays, when McGee serves up a traditional Sunday Roast with Yorkshire pudding, gravy, and all the trimmings.

14. Parker’s Restaurant

Best Restaurants in Boston: Parker’s Restaurant

Parker’s Restaurant, located in the Omni Parker House hotel, is one of the most famous restaurants in Boston. In fact, it’s considered one of the most famous restaurants in the United States, thanks to its status as the birthplace of the iconic Boston Cream Pie. 

Parker’s Restaurant is a formal dining experience, with a dining room that looks much like it did when it opened in the 1800s. With elegant chandeliers and intricate molding lining the walls, this restaurant is as beautiful as it is delicious. Parker’s is only open for breakfast, lunch, or brunch, but whenever you go, you can order up a Boston Cream Pie for dessert. 

15. Contessa

Best Restaurants in Boston: Contessa
Images courtesy of Contessa

A reservation at Contessa is easily one of the most coveted reservations in all of Boston. What makes Contessa so beloved? Is it the fact that it’s one of the best rooftop restaurants in Boston, offering an unmatched view of Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood? 

Cool Restaurants in Boston: Contessa

Maybe it’s the stylish Art Deco decor that seems to make everything glitter with gold accents and jewel tones. Or perhaps it’s the menu that’s all at once elegant and yet comforting, inspired by the trattorias of northern Italy. But whatever the reason is, you’re going to want to do all that you can to score a reservation.

16. Hunter’s Kitchen & Bar

Images courtesy of Hunter’s Kitchen & Bar

In South Boston, you’ll find a spot serving up soul food staples for some true Southern comfort. And the location is just as comforting as the food, with dim lighting and rustic decor. 

From Bayou Shrimp & Grits with a creamy Cajun sauce to bourbon barbecue-laden Brisket Sandwiches, every bite at Hunter’s Kitchen & Bar is a delight. Finish your meal off with some beignets, or ask about the seasonal pies.

17. Union Square Donuts

Unique Restaurants in Boston: Union Square Donuts
Images courtesy of Lexia Ortiz-Melo

There’s a reason why the specialty donuts at Union Square Donuts tend to sell out fast. So, you’ll want to set an alarm to be sure you arrive in time to score your favorite treat. 

Union Square Donuts has several locations: two in Somerville, one at Coolidge Corner in Brookline, and one inside the Boston Public Market. You can also find them at the Time Out Market in Boston. 

But no matter where you go, you’re in for a truly sweet treat. You can’t quite guarantee which donuts will be available on the day you visit, but some top choices include the Honey-Glazed French Cruller, the Maple Bacon, and the Vietnamese Coffee.

18. Little Whale Oyster Bar

Set in a Newbury Street brownstone, the Little Whale Oyster Bar is an ode to the seaside clam shacks and raw bars on the New England coast and home to some of the best food in Boston.

Here you’ll find a raw bar boasting locally-caught seafood of all kinds, from sardines to lobster. The starters and main menu are filled with New England favorites, like New England Clam Chowder and Gloucester Swordfish.

19. The Fat Cat

Must Visit Restaurants in Boston: The Fat Cat
Images courtesy of The Fat Cat

Technically, The Fat Cat isn’t a Boston restaurant. But it only requires a T ride (and maybe an Uber) to get to its Quincy Center location. But the trip is worth it for one major reason: mac & cheese! 

Sure, the burgers are good. So is the pasta. But if you’re going to The Fat Cat, the mac & cheese should be your top choice. This isn’t just any mac & cheese. It’s cavatappi with a four-cheese blend, garlic cream, marinated tomatoes, panko bread crumbs, and a parmesan crust. 

And that’s not all! You can get it with lobster, shrimp, steak, BBQ pork, buffalo chicken, fried chicken, hot dogs, and sausage. What’s even better? The portions are gigantic. Be prepared to be eating mac & cheese for at least two more meals.

Honorary Mention: Engage in the Great Cannoli Debate in the North End

If you head to the North End, you’re bound to find some pretty long lines out the door of several bakeries. What’s everyone waiting for? Well, these bakeries specialize in Italian treats, but the standout dessert that everyone seems to want is a cannoli. 

Up until 2019, there were four major players in the Great Cannoli Debate: Mike’s Pastry, Modern Pastry, Bova’s Bakery, and Maria’s Pastry Shop. Sadly, Maria’s has closed its doors, leaving behind three contenders. We won’t tell you which one our favorite cannoli is at. You’ll have to taste test and decide which is the best cannoli for yourself!

There you have it! The 19 best restaurants in Boston. What’s your favorite place to eat in Boston?

Planning a trip to Massachusetts? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!



  • Jacqueline Gualtieri

    Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California.

    When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes.

    Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

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