WHEN MY TEEN-SELF imagined the grown-up editor I’d be someday, the city of Boston was always my backdrop, despite pop culture reinforcing a different East Coast city for aspirations like mine. Massachusetts-born and raised, I left for eight years to attend college and work in Vermont — which, it must be said, is a fantastic place for a budding craft-beer nerd to come of age. But I’ve had the astonishing privilege of covering my beloved city’s dining and drinks ever since.
Boston has some of the best oysters, lobster rolls, and seafood anywhere. It’s long been a beer destination, home to Trillium Brewing Company and a distinctive pub scene. Locals know that there’s much more to the city than the downtown hub — and there’s more to the culture than sports bars and fried scrod (which is Old Boston for whitefish, if you see it on a menu). Today, the dining and bar scene is more exciting than ever, with diverse restaurants and bars worth exploring from Somerville to Dorchester.
This guide is reflective of my true favorites, from staples such as Gracenote Coffee and Flour Bakery, to new restaurants with cuisine that is way more authentically Boston than any pot of beans ever was.
Coffee, Breakfast, and Pastries
Gracenote CoffeeLocally roasted beans
Mike & Patty’sThe quintessential breakfast sandwich spot
Flour Bakery + CafeDecadent delights
Lunch and Dinner
Brewer’s ForkWood-fired pizza and more
Row 34Sustainable seafood and beer
KrasiAn urban oasis for Greek wine and bites
Castle Island Brewing CompanyBeer for every palate and pizza
Comfort KitchenGlobally inspired cuisine
ShōjōBoston’s first Asian-fusion small-plates spot
Field & VineWell-composed dishes and natural wines
SRVA Venetian-inspired wine bar and restaurant
ContessaOne of the most-coveted tables in Boston
The Wig ShopFanciful drinks
ChickadeeA destination on the industrial waterfront
Jacqueline Cain Writer
Jacqueline Cain is a writer and editor in Boston. She’s the editor of The Food Lens and a former food editor at Boston magazine. Her writing appears in many local outlets as well as Wine Enthusiast, America’s Test Kitchen, and more.