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Food & Drink

Sarma
Diego Navarro

Restaurant of the Year

Sarma

Longtime Ana Sortun lieutenant Cassie Piuma took the refined, Turkish-centered, Mediterranean-spanning fine-dining finesse of Oleana and democratized it at this spacious spot near Prospect Hill…

249 Pearl St., Somerville (617-764-4464) sarmarestaurant.com
  • Neighborhoods: East Boston

    Rincon Limeño

    Working-class Eastie deserves more respect than it gets, especially for its bounteous assortment of traditional Mexican, Central American and South American restaurants…

    409 Chelsea St., Boston (617-569-4942) rinconlimeno.com
  • Private Dining

    Le Salon du Mistral

    Devotees who flock to Mistral for grilled pizzas, refined French plates and knockout brunch (warm cinnamon buns, anyone?) may not realize that the bistro also boasts one of the prettiest private rooms in town…

    223 Columbus Ave., Boston (617-867-9300) mistralbistro.com
  • Bagelsaurus
    Jillian Medugno

    Bagels

    Bagelsaurus

    There’s a reason Bagelsaurus draws long lines…

    1796 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (857-285-6103) bagelsaurus.com
  • Banh Mi

    Pho Viet’s

    When seeking this essential Vietnamese street-food sandwich—baguette, fresh herbs, crunchy pickled daikon and carrots, Asian mayo and/or fish sauce-based dressing, fresh chilies and/or Sriracha and a protein of your choice—you’ll note that Dorchester has numerous quality purveyors…

    88 Connection Food Court, 1095 Comm. Ave., Boston (617-562-8828) 
  • Barbecue

    Blue Ribbon BBQ

    City slickers agree: For down-home barbecue near Boston, Blue Ribbon serves the prize pig. And beef brisket…

    908 Mass. Ave., Arlington (781-648-7427); 1375 Washington St., Newton (617-332-2583); blueribbonbbq.com 
  • Ran Duan of The Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden II

    Bartender

    Ran Duan of The Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden II

    Seventeen years after the B-Side Lounge birthed the local craft cocktail revival, Boston is blessed with scores of skilled, scholarly, engaging bartenders making serious drinks…

    2 Alfred St., Woburn (781-935-8488) sichuangardenrestaurant.com
  • Sweet Cheeks
    Patrick Marasco

    Biscuits

    Sweet Cheeks

    Sweet mercy. While some barbecue joints treat their Southern-inflected side dishes as afterthoughts, Top Chef alum Tiffani Faison has drawn national notice with her basket o’ biscuits: flaky, oversized accompaniments served with a creamy dollop of sweet honey butter…

    1381 Boylston St., Boston (617-266-1300) sweetcheeksq.com 
  • Bread

    Clear Flour Bread

    If there’s a problem at this brilliant bakery located on a quiet Brookline side street, it’s the surfeit of options…

    178 Thorndike St., Brookline (617-739-0060) clearflourbread.com
  • South End Buttery

    Breakfast

    South End Buttery

    This local bakery/cafe is a constant hive of activity, drawing daily crowds with its excellent coffee, pastries, salads and sandwiches…

    314 Shawmut Ave., Boston (617-482-1015) southendbuttery.com
  • Brunch

    The Sinclair

    Closure, noun: The satisfaction achieved by brunching at the same spot that gave you a hangover…

    52 Church St., Cambridge (617-547-5200) sinclaircambridge.com
  • Drink
    Patrick Marasco

    Burger

    Drink

    Nowadays, every new restaurant thumps its chest with a signature burger, each patty permutation wilder than the last…

    348 Congress St., Boston (617-695-1806) drinkfortpoint.com 
  • Chinese

    Best Little Restaurant

    Tucked into an easy-to-overlook Chinatown basement, Best Little serves traditional Cantonese and Teochew dishes at ridiculous bargain prices…

    13 Hudson St., Boston (617-338-4988) bestlittlerestaurant.com
  • Henrietta’s Table
    Heath Robbins Photography

    Club Sandwich

    Henrietta’s Table

    It’s a lunchtime staple—but even done well, a club sandwich can be the menu’s beige paint: a nondescript background element amid more eye-catching offerings…

    1 Bennett St., Cambridge (617-661-5005) henriettastable.com
  • Barrington Coffee Roasting Company

    Coffee Shop

    Barrington Coffee Roasting Company

    Once upon a time, simply saying “venti” was enough to make one feel oh-so-informed on coffee…

    346 Congress St., Boston (857-277-1914); 303 Newbury St., Boston (857-250-2780); barringtoncoffee.com
  • Deli

    Moody’s Delicatessen & Provisions

    Greater Boston finally got a deli that merits a trip, a Waltham storefront that makes its astonishing, globe-trotting assortment of charcuterie, salumi and sausages from local animals, serving them in a bright combination of densely packed retail wonderland and counter-service sandwich joint…

    468 Moody St., Waltham (781-216-8732) moodyswaltham.com
  • Liquid Art House
    Katie Noble

    Dessert

    Liquid Art House

    We eat art at this restaurant/gallery hybrid, where pastry chef Giselle Miller does amazing things with a plate as her canvas…

    100 Arlington St., Boston (617-457-8130) liquidarthouse.com
  • Dim Sum

    Winsor Dim Sum Cafe

    When most folks hear dim sum, they think of those frenetic, large-scale places where trolleys are wheeled about, and sitting in the wrong corner can mean long delays between the kitchen and your chopsticks…

    10 Tyler St., Boston (617-338-1688) winsordimsumcafe.com
  • Diner

    Mike’s City Diner

    We’ve all met Mike’s. We’re usually in last night’s clothes, but there he is: a reliable reminder of the pre-preppy South End, bleeding local color while salving wounded weekend warriors with big, cheap spreads of great greasy-spoon grub and service that’s stern yet nurturing…

    1714 Washington St., Boston (617-267-9393) mikescitydiner.com
  • Blackbird Doughnuts

    Doughnuts

    Blackbird Doughnuts

    Between pop-ups and dedicated dessert purveyors, doughnuts are having a moment…

    492 Tremont St., Boston (617-482-9000) blackbirddoughnuts.com
  • Sheherazad
    Nicole Popma

    Food Truck

    Sheherazad

    If you equate Middle Eastern cuisine with falafel and shawarma, get yourself some lunch from the Sheherazad truck…

    (617-710-6057) sheherazadfood.com
  • L’Espalier

    French

    L’Espalier

    In an era where food-truck fleets swell ranks while fine-dining establishments shutter, it’s nice to see some classics soldier on strong as ever…

    774 Boylston St., Boston (617-262-3023) lespalier.com
  • Myers + Chang

    Gluten-Free

    Myers + Chang

    This casually hip South End pan-Asian eatery was doing gluten-free years before it was cool, back when only genuinely gluten-intolerant diners cared and scant few places could accommodate their deadly serious dietary restriction…

    1145 Washington St., Boston (617-542-5200) myersandchang.com
  • Gyros

    Zo

    This pair of busy, weekday lunch-only spots near Government Center offer a gyro sandwich that many Americans have never tasted, the most popular version in Greece: not the usual nasty factory-made ground-beef/lamb cone, but slabs of marinated pork stacked, grilled and sliced off a vertical rotisserie…

    3 Center Plaza, Boston; 92 State St., Boston; (617-227-0101) zoboston.com
  • Ice Cream

    Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream

    New Englanders love their premium ice cream, consuming more per capita than any other Americans; many brilliant local parlors thrive by satisfying that jones…

    1255 Cambridge St., Cambridge (617-492-7021) christinasicecream.com
  • Indian

    Dosa-n-Curry

    The subcontinent’s steady influx of expats to Boston has greatly expanded the regional diversity of our Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan restaurants…

    447 Somerville Ave., Somerville (617-764-3152) dosa-n-curry.com
  • Erbaluce
    Katie Noble

    Italian

    Erbaluce

    A stone’s throw from chain-ridden Park Square, chef Charles Draghi and partner/sommelier Joan Johnson serve traditional Northern Italian cuisine with rare wines to match, drawing a loyal crowd. A focus on pristine, sustainable seafood and meats, perfect local produce and house-grown herbs, and the rare-in-Boston culinary wonders of Draghi’s Piemontese ancestry make his daily-changing menu consistently rewarding…

    69 Church St., Boston (617-426-6969) erbaluce-boston.com
  • Japanese

    O Ya

    Boston’s costliest restaurant trades not on a lavishly appointed room nor an army of cosseting servers, but the subtle, exquisite pleasures of modern Japanese sashimi, sushi and cooked dishes, showcasing exotic species from distant oceans…

    9 East St., Boston (617-654-9900) oyarestaurantboston.com
  • Mexican

    Angela’s Cafe

    On a quiet Eastie side street, septuagenarian grandmother Angela Atenco Lopez dresses chicken and pork with moles, adobos and pipians, the incredible complex sauces of her native Puebla…

    131 Lexington St., Boston (617-567-4972) angelascafeboston.com
  • The Glenville Stops
    Photo Credit: Holly Rike

    Neighborhoods: Allston

    The Glenville Stops

    Everyone knows Allston for its modest, student-friendly restaurants, but grown-ups seeking fine food and good service in a genteel setting get short shrift…

    87 Glenville Ave., Boston (617-903-3638) glenvillestops.com
  • Deuxave
    Photo Credit: Andy Ryan

    Neighborhoods: Back Bay

    Deuxave

    Back Bay has many fancy, pricey restaurants suitable for romance and special occasions, but few are as lovely as this jewel in the crown of chef Chris Coomb…

    371 Comm. Ave., Boston (617-517-5915) deuxave.com
  • Neighborhoods: Beacon Hill

    The Tip Tap Room

    Playful chef Brian Poe runs wild with wild game at his cool, quirky tavern on the back side of Beacon Hill, where young pros come for the 100-strong beer list…

    138 Cambridge St., Boston (857-350-3344) thetiptaproom.com
  • Neighborhoods: Brighton

    MDM Noodles

    The advent of Boston restaurants specializing in lesser-known regional Chinese cuisines is among our favorite recent dining trends…

    351 Washington St., Boston (617-208-8663) mdmnoodle.com
  • Fairsted Kitchen
    Photo Credit: Holly Rike

    Neighborhoods: Brookline

    Fairsted Kitchen

    While we weren’t looking, Washington Square morphed into a genuine dining destination, exemplified by this inviting, unpretentious room…

    1704 Beacon St., Brookline (617-396-8752) fairstedkitchen.com
  • Viale

    Neighborhoods: Central Square

    Viale

    Taking over the space long occupied by the beloved Rendezvous, Viale faced the daunting challenge of winning over its predecessor’s crestfallen fans…

    502 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (617-576-1900) vialecambridge.com
  • Neighborhoods: Charlestown

    Brewer’s Fork

    We’re under the spell of Brewer’s Fork, named for the stirring paddle that early beer makers believed possessed magical, intoxicating powers…

    7 Moulton St., Boston (617-337-5703) brewersfork.com
  • Shojo
    Photo Credit: Debra Li

    Neighborhoods: Chinatown

    Shojo

    We’ve long buzzed about Shojo’s craft cocktail program, but the recent arrival of chef Mark O’Leary has electrified its kitchen…

    9A Tyler St., Boston (617-423-7888) shojoboston.com
  • Rosebud
    Photo Credit: Jillian Medugno

    Neighborhoods: Davis Square

    Rosebud

    Outside, this 1941-built diner car looks unchanged. But the inside boasts a massive makeover (cherry-red leather booths pop against rough woods)…

    381 Summer St., Somerville (617-629-9500) rosebudkitchen.com
  • Neighborhoods: Dorchester

    Anh Hong

    As Boston’s largest yet most overlooked dining destination, Dorchester is at least recognized for having our best Vietnamese restaurants…

    291 Adams St., boston (617-265-8889)
  • Neighborhoods: Downtown Crossing

    jm Curley

    Like its mayoral namesake, Curley earned its legacy. A local pioneer of several now-familiar gastropub tropes, it serves serious food and beverage with a winning wink…

    21 Temple Place, Boston (617-338-5333) jmcurleyboston.com
  • Loyal Nine
    Photo Credit: Jillian Medugno

    Neighborhoods: East Cambridge

    Loyal Nine

    Despite their foraging, farm-to-table, seasonal ethic, our Colonial forebears almost certainly didn’t eat or drink as well as modern New Englanders…

    660 Cambridge St., Cambridge (617-945-2576) loyalninecambridge.com
  • La Brasa

    Neighborhoods: East Somerville

    La Brasa

    From “burnt” veggie salad to steak, essentially everything is brushed by wood-fired flame at this pan-Latin eatery from former Sel de la Terre toque Daniel Bojorquez…

    124 Broadway, Somerville (617-764-1412) labrasasomerville.com
  • Neighborhoods: Fenway/Kenmore

    Island Creek Oyster Bar

    The eponymous briny-buttery bivalves are now found on every raw-bar menu in the Hub that’s worth its weight in shellfish…

    500 Comm. Ave., Boston (617-532-5300) islandcreekoysterbar.com
  • Pastoral
    Photo Credit: Jillian Medugno

    Neighborhoods: Fort Point

    Pastoral

    Debating pizza is a bloodsport, but we’ll stick our neck out: Todd Winer’s pies (the second certified Neapolitans in Massachusetts) are among Boston’s best…

    345 Congress St., Boston (617-345-0005) pastoralfortpoint.com
  • Neighborhoods: Harvard Square

    Alden & Harlow

    Last year’s Best New Restaurant continues to dazzle with chef/owner Michael Scelfo’s bold, imaginative, smoke-inflected cookery, not at all hurt by the Square’s best craft cocktail program…

    40 Brattle St., Cambridge (617-864-2100) aldenharlow.com
  • Neighborhoods: Inman Square

    Bergamot

    OK, it’s a 10-minute walk from Inman proper, but so worth it. The delight starts from your first bites—an amuse-bouche compliments of the kitchen…

    118 Beacon St., Somerville (617-576-7700) bergamotrestaurant.com
  • Neighborhoods: Jamaica Plain

    Tres Gatos

    Caution: Impulse purchases ahead. They start with top-notch tapas, zesty but not inelegant plates served graciously in a living room-like setting…

    470 Centre St., Boston (617-477-4851) tresgatosjp.com
  • Neighborhoods: Kendall Square

    West Bridge

    Yes, the egg in a jar is now famous among local food lovers. (If you haven’t yet experienced that pomme puree-meets-crispy duck skin classic, for shame.)…

    1 Kendall Square, Cambridge (617-945-0221) westbridgerestaurant.com
  • Penguin Pizza
    Photo Credit: Holly Rike

    Neighborhoods: Mission Hill

    Penguin Pizza

    Calling it “just a neighborhood pizza joint” is like calling a penguin “just a bird.” This Penguin proudly wears a tux, so to speak, serving pies laden with duck confit…

    735 Huntington Ave., Boston (617-277-9200) thepenguinpizza.com
  • Neighborhoods: Newton

    Sycamore

    Sky-high costs continue to drive talented chefs to Boston’s suburbs. Newtonites are among the beneficiaries, as Sycamore offers something they once had to venture into the city for…

    755 Beacon St., Newton (617-244-4445) sycamorenewton.com
  • Neighborhoods: North End

    Neptune Oyster

    Once again, the best restaurant in our most famous concentration of Italian and Italian-American
    eateries isn’t Italian, but a groundbreaking purveyor of exceptional New England raw bar…

    63 Salem St., Boston (617-742-3474) neptuneoyster.com
  • Neighborhoods: Porter Square

    Giulia

    This quiet, rustically attractive restaurant isn’t a canonical Italian trattoria: There’s no chalkboard menu, and the wine list is too expansive…

    1682 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (617-441-2800) giuliarestaurant.com
  • Sophia’s Grotto
    Photo Credit: Nicole Popma

    Neighborhoods: Roslindale

    Sophia’s Grotto

    Down a brick-paved alley and secreted away in a small courtyard waits Sophia’s, eager to serve Rozzie residents (and in-the-know Italian lovers) homestyle cooking of the highest order…

    22r Birch St., Boston (617-323-4595) sophiasgrotto.com
  • Merengue
    Photo credit: Imagix Studio

    Neighborhoods: Roxbury

    Merengue

    In a full-service room decorated with the bright colors of sunset over a limpid Caribbean sea, this veteran Dudley Square charmer delivers finely wrought traditional Dominican fare…

    160 Blue Hill Ave., Boston (617-445-5403) merenguerestaurant.com
  • Moonshine 152

    Neighborhoods: South Boston

    Moonshine 152

    Southie is finally putting the bad old days of middling pub menus, crummy pizza and bad Chinese-American fare in its rearview mirror…

    152 Dorchester Ave., Boston (617-752-4191) moonshine152.com
  • Neighborhoods: South End

    Coppa

    While the South End is recovering nicely from a recession-driven lull in its restaurant scene, Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer’s small corner Italian joint continues to deliver great neighborhood value…

    253 Shawmut Ave., Boston (617-391-0902) coppaboston.com
  • Ostra
    Photo Credit: Jillian Medugno

    Neighborhoods: Theater District

    Ostra

    This Mediterranean seafood restaurant might be the younger sibling of high-end heavy hitters like Mistral and Sorellina, but its sophistication belies its years…

    1 Charles St. South, Boston (617-421-1200) ostraboston.com
  • Neighborhoods: Union Square

    Casa B

    A gorgeous design by its architect owners has helped make Casa B an attractive choice for casual, romantic dinners…

    253 Washington St., Somerville (617-764-2180) casabrestaurant.com
  • New Restaurant

    Townsman

    Homecoming king Matt Jennings shuttered Providence’s fabled Farmstead Inc. to open this newcomer in his native Hub, and we couldn’t be happier to have him back…

    120 Kingston St., Boston (617-993-0750) townsmanboston.com 
  • River Bar
    Jillian Medugno

    Patio

    River Bar

    Great dining and drinking at the mall? You heard right…

    661 Assembly Row, Somerville (617-616-5561) river-bar.com
  • Pies

    Petsi Pies

    Renee “Petsi” McLeod has been baking pies for adoring crowds for more than 20 years…

    285 Beacon St., Somerville (617-661-7437); additional locations in Cambridge; petsipies.com
  • Pizza

    A4 Pizza

    As you’d expect, the pies at this pizza-focused Somerville sib to Cambridge fave Area Four are killer, with a 12-year-old starter giving rise to dough that’s fermented for three days, finished in a custom wood-fired oven and heaped with toothsome toppings, like the soppressata, sausage and bacon of the aptly named Carnivore…

    445 Somerville Ave., Somerville (617-764-4190) areafour.com
  • Menton
    Wayne Chinnock

    Place to Go When Price Is No Object

    Menton

    Dining at Menton is like reaching the summit of Mount Everest: a peak experience (highest-end of the high-end Barbara Lynch empire) with some harsh conditions (one wine-paired tasting menu sets you back $300)—but if you (and your wallet) can survive, it’s an unforgettable experience you’ll treasure forever…

    354 Congress St., Boston (617-737-0099) mentonboston.com
  • Akinto
    Joe Greene

    Pop-Up

    Akinto

    Though it billed itself as a speakeasy-style cocktail lounge when opening, Wink & Nod has surprised and delighted us with its inventive culinary incubator program: Every six months, the kitchen hosts a different pop-up…

    3 Appleton St., Boston (617-482-0117) winkandnod.com  
  • Power Dining

    The Bristol

    Suggesting lunch here is an alpha move…

    200 Boylston St., Boston (617-338-4400) fourseasons.com/boston/dining
  • Ramen

    Yume Wo Katare

    Boston’s quality ramen options have expanded admirably in the past few years, but this tiny Porter Square storefront, with only 18 seats between its counter and two tables, has an inimitable charm…

    1923 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (617-714-4008) yumewokatare.com
  • Ames Street Deli

    Sandwiches

    Ames Street Deli

    Ames Street Deli’s sammies are like next-generation tea sandwiches: petite and precise, imaginative and
    ultra-sophisticated, much like the food that husband-and-wife team Tse Wei Lim and Diana Kudayarova are known for at their flagship, Journeyman…

    73 Ames St., Cambridge (617-374-0701) amesstreetdeli.com
  • Seafood

    SELECT Oyster Bar

    Ahoy! Longtime Neptune Oyster chef Michael Serpa unanchored himself from the North End to launch his own restaurant, SELECT…

    50 Gloucester St., Boston (857-239-8064) selectboston.com
  • Sommelier

    Todd Lipman of Bistro du Midi

    For the finest variety of varietals, we put full faith in the fabulous list curated by Lipman, who brings his talent and palate to chef Robert Sisca’s Public Garden-side Provençal palace…

    272 Boylston St., Boston (617-426-7878) bistrodumidi.com
  • Dumpling Cafe
    Photo Credit: Nicole Popma

    Soup Dumplings

    Dumpling Cafe

    Shanghainese soup dumplings, aka xiao long bao, are a food-geek holy grail: baggy, teardrop-shaped steamed dumplings of minced pork or…

    695 Washington St., Boston (617-338-8859) dumplingcafe.com
  • Spanish

    Toro

    The South End’s oldest Spanish joint is painfully, raucously crowded from the moment it opens for dinner to nearly the end of service every night, with no reservations…

    1704 Washington St., Boston (617-536-4300) toro-restaurant.com/boston
  • Grill 23 & Bar

    Steakhouse

    Grill 23 & Bar

    There aren’t many ways to transcend the cliches of the luxury steakhouse, but this clubby, handsome, locally owned Back Bay institution does so with a better class of boutique prime beef…

    161 Berkeley St., Boston (617-542-2255) grill23.com
  • Sushi

    Oishii

    While foodie trends come and go (cronuts, we hardly knew ye), sushi never goes out of style…

    1166 Washington St., Boston (617-482-8868) oishiiboston.com
  • Dorado Tacos y Cemitas
    Photo Credit: Holly Rike

    Tacos

    Dorado Tacos y Cemitas

    This sleek, affordable counter-service Mexican spot near JFK Crossing stands out for its fish tacos…

    401 Harvard St., Brookline (617-566-2100) doradotacos.com
  • Tasting Menu

    Asta

    Control freaks may blanch at Boston’s growing number of prix fixe and tasting menu-only restaurants…

    47 Mass. Ave., Boston (617-585-9575) astaboston.com 
  • Cha Yen Thai Cookery

    Thai

    Cha Yen Thai Cookery

    The extravagant talent of chef/owner Manita Bunnagitkarn shines at this teensy, bargain-priced Coolidge Square storefront…

    613 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown (617-393-0031) chayenthaicookery.com
  • Vegetarian/Vegan

    Life Alive

    OK, OK. With menu items like “The Goddess,” “The Swami” and “The Udon Miso Masterful,” this organic cafe won’t shatter any stereotypes about earthy-crunchy-touchy-feely types…

    765 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (617-354-5433); additional locations in Lowell and Salem; lifealive.com
  • West African

    Teranga

    Senegalese cuisine weaves native traditions with historical influences from North Africa, Portugal and the bygone French empire…

    1746 Washington St., Boston (617-266-0003) terangaboston.com
  • Buff’s Pub
    Photo Credit: Aley Lewis

    Wings

    Buff’s Pub

    Bulk up on sauce-slathered bites of spicy greatness at this deceptively nondescript Newton sports bar, where the legendary heaps of chicken wings…

    317 Washington St., Newton (617-332-9134) buffspubofnewton.com

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