Boston’s dining scene is filled with long-standing institutions serving classic menus, alongside new and hip restaurants bringing creative and worldly cuisine. Below you’ll find some of Boston’s very best places to dine, with options that span casual to interesting to classy. Keep reading to find the option that best fits your mood and your ideal menu!
Here are 10 of the most fun restaurants in Boston!
Best casual spots for quick and satisfying bites
Seeking something quick and casual? These relaxed joints offer prompt service and inviting surroundings.. Whether you want to grab and go or sit down and stay for a little while, these options will satiate your stomach and provide a satisfying experience.
Saus, Downtown Boston and Bow Market, Somerville
Saus is a solid pick if you’re seeking a unique and quick bite for lunch or dinner. The fries, poutine, sandwiches, burgers, salad bowls, and more – not to mention the delicious sauces! – will answer hunger and intrigue the palette. Saus believes “in the power of the condiment” – its reasoning for having over fifteen unique ones on its menu, so be sure to try a few on the side.
The restaurant’s Boston location has indoor and seasonal outdoor dining, while the Somerville location has indoor dining and reservation-only outdoor dining.
Parish Cafe, Back Bay
Parish Cafe is the place to go when you want to grab a lunch to go, but it’s even better if you want to linger for a while. The restaurant is handicap accessible both indoors and out. You’ll be treated to superb service and a positive mood right in Boston’s Back Bay. Don’t let Parish Cafe’s casual look fool you though. It’s a four-star restaurant with the menu to prove it. In addition to its delicious eats, Parish has a full bar.
The concept behind Parish is simple, yet unusual; each of its sandwiches is named for its creator, all famous chefs with ties to Boston. You really can’t go wrong when every option on the menu was invented by one of the best!
Burro Bar, South End and Washington Square, Brookline
This bright and cute Mexican kitchen and tequila bar is a fun place to grab happy hour bites, margaritas, or sit down and have a full and delicious meal. The bottomless brunch is a hit on the weekends; the Mexican spins on classic brunch bites make it a great option when you’re looking for something different.
While the dinner menu is on the small side, the offerings will satisfy many palettes. Sit on the patio or indoors to enjoy the vibe. If you’re in Somerville, try out Painted Burro, the older and bigger sibling of Burro Bar.
Best places with interesting atmospheres and serving up funky eats
If you’re looking for interesting eats and an atmosphere that offers something extra, try out one (or all!) of these creative places. They’ve got unique fare, settings with pizzazz, and will leave you with a memorable experience.
Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Allston, Central Square, Cambridge, Food Truck
While Roxy’s ooey-gooey-good grilled cheese sandwiches are what you came for, you should also know that their roots are as a food truck – and the first food truck in Boston no less! Roxy’s now has two permanent locations, one in Allston and the other in Central Square, Cambridge.
The latter is a restaurant up front, arcade in the back, making it the perfect place to celebrate a birthday, impress a date with your skills, or just have your dinner with a side of fun and games. Check out the food truck schedule if you won’t be in one of the neighborhoods with a restaurant, because Roxys’ melty, delicious, and creative sandwiches, burgers, and more are so worth it. From a classic grilled cheese to the hot honey bacon one, you’ll probably need a few minutes to make your pick, even from Roxy’s relatively small menu.
Cornish Pasty Co, Back Bay
For pub fare that’s more than just fish and chips, head to Cornish Pasty Co. This Back Bay destination has the feel of an old-school pub, but its menu is downright cosmopolitan. Cornish Pasty Co’s interior has the mood of a quaint, British-inspired pub that maintains a casual feel despite its bustling Back Bay location.
So, what is a pasty? These scrumptious hand pies are made of pastry dough and filled with a meat or vegetable-based filling. Although the treats originally hail from the United Kingdom, this menu is worldly, with southwestern, Cajun, and Indian-inspired treats.
This is a great destination if your dinner party includes omnivores, vegetarians, or vegans, since its selection features numerous options to satisfy each of those dietary options. Its drinks menu features beer both European and domestic, wine from around the world, and an extensive cocktail menu.
Sweet Cheeks Q, Fenway
From the bucket of hot biscuits to the rustic furniture, Sweet Cheeks Q is a step into the South in New England. Its family-style tables mean you may be sitting beside strangers, but spirits tend to be high and you may even strike up conversation with your neighbors.
With tray-style meals, divine Southern side dishes, and an impressive cocktail menu, you’ll feel welcomed at Sweet Cheeks. What makes it even better are the sustainably-sourced meats and local produce that make it into the meals. Chef and owner Tiffani Faison was a finalist in the first season of Top Chef, so you know your eats will be top-notch here!
Eataly, Back Bay
While Boston isn’t Eataly’s only location, at its Back Bay digs, you’ll find unique regionally-inspired dishes. An emporium, Eataly boasts 45,000 square feet that contain three restaurants, five bars, takeaway counters, plus a massive market and a cooking school class space. Choose from restaurants featuring breakfast fare, pizza, seafood, pasta, and more!
Also extra special to the Boston Eataly are a Cannoli Cart and a wine bar, where serving staff can offer recommendations based on your likes. If you’re a fan of locally-sourced fare, visit Terra, the restaurant that features a grill-based menu with seasonal options.
Once you’ve eaten, take a class at La Scuola di Eataly, where you’ll have a chance to play with your food – and then eat it! Visitors also won’t want to miss a walk through the marketplace, which is wonderfully stocked with everything from wine to international snacks to grab-and-go meals.
Best dining for a refined meal that’s not too fancy
Looking for a classy meal and a nice atmosphere in which to dine? Whether you’re flying solo or dining en masse, these locations bring charm and refinement, without requiring that you don your finest attire.
Henrietta’s Table, Harvard Square, Cambridge
Henrietta’s Table is a farm-to-table institution in Harvard Square’s Charles Hotel has featured locally-sourced, seasonally scrumptious menus since 1995. The produce, meat, and seafood may be simple on their own, but they shine in creative dishes prepared fresh for breakfast, brunch, and supper every day of the week.
With the feel of a New England country kitchen, the only thing missing is a hearth to gather around! This casual place is a perfect place to go when you’re looking for a respite from the active and buzzing energy of Harvard Square.
Pon Thai Bistro, Brookline Village
A short ride on the train from downtown Boston, Pon Thai offers an ambient and contemporary atmosphere in charming Brookline Village. Its full menu of Thai favorites and Thai fusion is matched in goodness by the excellent service you’ll receive. A small but compatible drinks menu is available to complement your meal.
Most dishes are made with rice noodles, meaning the menu has plenty to offer for gluten-free diners. Inside is small and cozy, making it a great pick for a refined night out and intimate conversations. Ask for the sole table by the window if you’re in the mood for people watching! Seasonal outdoor tables are available, but they fill up quickly in the warmer weather so be sure to make a reservation if you prefer to sit outside.
Giacomo’s Ristorante, North End
For a neighborhood that’s Boston’s de facto Little Italy, it’s difficult to make a bad choice for Italian food in the North End. But if you’re looking for something that’s extra special, make a reservation at Giacomo’s Ristorante. You’ll be greeted by incredible service that complements the intoxicatingly savory scents of tomato, garlic, and bread that waft and wind through the neighborhood.
In addition to its large portions of pasta, Giacomo’s speciality is seafood. Get yourself a side of scallops, a meal of lobster ravioli, or one of its many other ocean-inspired options. If seafood isn’t your thing, there’s no need to pass by Giacomo’s; you’ll find a menu featuring dishes with and without meat as well. This cozy Hanover Street destination is a popular spot, so be sure to make a reservation!
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Mallory grew up in Connecticut, and after some time living in Ireland, Montana, and Virginia, she felt called back home to New England. She lives in Boston and writes about the intersection of urban living, outdoor adventure, and enjoying the simple things at SimpliCity Outside. Her favorite New England adventures involve hiking, finding ice cream shops, and exploring small towns.