Where to Eat in Boston

Food critic John Mariani recommends six Boston restaurants for their innovative menu selections.

May 21, 2012
  • Towne Stove and Spirits, Boston
  • Catalyst Restaurant, Boston
  • The Bristol Lounge, Tuna Tartare
  • TRADE, Boston
  • Legal Harborside, Boston
  • Tico, Boston
1/6
Towne Stove and Spirits, 1 617/247-0400, 900 Boylston Street
Why go: Veteran Boston chef Lydia Shire went all out to create a glamorous two-storey restaurant and lounge next to the Hynes Convention Center, expressing her own huge personality and largesse in a menu of creative American cuisine.
What to eat: The lobster popovers
Take note: Ask for a big, roomy booth with a view of the glassed-in kitchen and its spectacular copper stove.
Photography courtesy Towne Stove and Spirits
2/6
Catalyst Restaurant, 1 617/576-3000, 300 Technology Square, Cambridge
Why go: The new hot spot in Cambridge’s buzzing Technology Square, Catalyst is an expansive mix of minimalist modernism and evocations of New England farm décor. Chef/owner William Kovel is creating equally balanced American cuisine with a distinct nod to the seasonal.
What to eat: Lemon sole with roasted fennel and lobster (seasonal)
Take note: In summer and early autumn, the heated al fresco patio is the place to dine.
Photography courtesy Catalyst Restaurants
3/6
The Bristol Lounge, 1 617/351-2037, Four Seasons Hotel Boston, 200 Boylston Street
Why go: The dining experience is an ideal combination of superb New England and global cuisine in a sophisticated but amiable dining room set against the backdrop of the Boston Common.
What to eat: Ahi tuna tartare with crispy avocado, lemon grass, ginger jelly and ponzu
Take note: The Sunday breakfast buffet is the most lavish in Boston.
Photography Heath Robbins/Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
4/6
TRADE, 1 617/451-1234, 540 Atlantic Avenue
Why go: Jody Adams, known for her wonderful Italian restaurant Rialto in Cambridge, has provided the Boston waterfront with a big, sprawling, bustling place that specializes in small plates with a Mediterranean slant and counter/bar service that’s become very popular every day and night of the week.
What to eat: Lamb sausage flatbread with eggplant, Manchego cheese, peppers and garlic yogurt
Take note: TRADE has one of Boston’s best-value global wine lists, with bottles chosen to go with the spicy food here.
Photography courtesy TRADE
5/6
Legal Harborside, 1 617/477-2900, 270 Northern Avenue
Why go: If you know the simple style of the many Legal Sea Foods branches, you’ll be surprised at the upscale swank of this terrific new spot overlooking Liberty Wharf. The menu is a refined take on classic and modern New England seafood cookery, and the place has the look of a sleek ocean liner.
What to eat: The chef’s $75 six-course tasting menu with dishes such as pan-roasted arctic char with grilled green garlic tapenade
Take note: There’s a more casual eatery downstairs, and a rooftop sushi bar and lounge with a grand view of the water.
Photography Chip Nestor/Legal Sea Foods
6/6
Tico, 1 617/351-0400, 222 Berkeley Street
Why go: Michael Schlow (Radius and Via Matta) loved Latino food and knew Boston needed a big, casual place featuring the cuisines of Spain and Mexico and South America, done with his own creative spin. Bring a group and share.
What to eat: Fried shrimp with pickled jalapeños, avocado and country bread
Take note: Consider a flight or two of the scores of tequilas behind the bar.
Photography courtesy Tico

With a legacy of historic restaurants dating back to the early 19th century at places like Durgin-Park and the Union Oyster House, Boston’s dining scene has always capitalised on its bounty from the sea and New England farms that deliver the finest regional ingredients. Generations of great chefs have put these ingredients to good use, often in innovative and exciting ways, and this state of affairs holds true in some of the newest restaurants throughout town. Here are a few of the best bets in and around Boston.


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5 Comments about Where to Eat in Boston

  1. Henry says:

    Or click the thumbnails in the slideshow.

  2. Cathryn says:

    Yes, thanks so much! I’m so glad I checked back for your comment. (Yay, Barbara!)

  3. dave says:

    be nice if I could see more than 1 rest.

    • barbara collins says:

      Position your cursor ON the first photo — over near the right edge of the picture, mid-way along the edge — and an arrow head will appear. It is not at all obvious.

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