Photo: cdrin/Shutterstock

For Italian Food, Sushi, and More, These 9 Boston Restaurants Will Surprise and Delight

Boston Restaurants + Bars
by Matador Creators Feb 1, 2023

On a visit to Boston, in the heart of New England, you might be expecting clam chowder and fried fish. At Boston restaurants there’s lots of that going around, but there are also acclaimed restaurants all over the city. From rustic Italian dishes to fresh oysters, sushi, and even refined French food, you could spend your entire Boston trip eating your way through the city at Boston restaurants. Whether you’re in the mood for a classy dining room or a lively setting with beers on tap and locals in every seat, you’ll find many Boston restaurants to love. Before you eat, check out Boston’s Little Italy neighborhood for even more treats, and of course don’t miss out on the city’s legendary Irish bars.

Here are the can’t-miss Boston restaurants everyone who visits this city should try at least once.

1. Mama Maria

Bostonians praise a meal at this North End neighborhood restaurant, where a cozy dining room meets Italian dishes made with local ingredients. Mama Maria is housed inside a townhouse, having dinner there actually feels like being invited over to a friend’s house for a home cooked meal. People who have been there before recommend the consistently delicious osso bucco. Sip on an espresso martini to start.

Where: 3 N Square, Boston, MA 02113

Price: $$$

2. Toro

This Spanish tapas restaurant also features Spanish wines on the menu. The chef behind the restaurant, Ken Oringer, is a James Beard award-winner, serves Barcelona style small plates (both hot and cold) including anchovies, olives, smoked eggplant, and garlic shrimp. A meal at Toro is meant to be shared, so bring your friends.

Where: 1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

Price: $$$

3. Union Oyster House

Union Oyster House is housed inside a national landmark (and in a city with a history that goes back to colonial days, you’re likely to encounter lots of places like this). Around 1826, the building transformed into a restaurant, but it wasn’t until 1879 that the oyster bar opened up, when it was called Union Oyster House. Fun fact: Toothpicks were used for the first time here. The Kennedy family, including John F. Kennedy, were regulars here, too.

Where: 41 Union Street Boston, MA

Price: $$$

4. Ostra

This Mediterranean restaurant focuses on seafood. Though the dining room is sophisticated it’s still comfortable; there’s a welcoming piano player offering entertainment in the restaurant’s lounge area. At Ostra, dishes include all the briney, impeccably fresh seafood you could want, from caviar to king crab, to oysters, and broiled Maine lobster.

Where: 1 Charles St S, Boston, MA 02116

Price: $$$$

5. The Salty Pig

This bistro is all about pork, as its name suggests. The Salty Pig is known for customizable charcuterie plates, pizza, and pasta served in a casual setting with plentiful outdoor seating. There’s even braised pork on the menu for the whole table to share.

Where: 130 Dartmouth St, Boston, MA 02116

Price: $$

6. Scampo

Located inside The Liberty Hotel, this lively space is decorated with exposed brick and eye-catching orange seats at the bar. Though the cuisine at Scampo is mostly Italian, many dishes borrow influences from the Mediterranean and Middle East. The pasta dishes – with options like bolognese, carbonara, and lobster gnocchi – are especially praiseworthy.

Where: 215 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114

Price: $$$

7. Menton

Menton offers a hybrid French-Italian cuisine. With just six seats at the bar, and ten in the dining room, this is an understandably hot ticket on the Boston restaurant scene. The dining room itself, with washed stone walls, delicate chandeliers, and mirrored walls, is glamorous but not over the top. The Chef’s Tasting menu includes caviar, sea urchin, and wagyu beef.

Where: 354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

Price: $$$$

8. O Ya

To experience the 20 course omakase a O Ya, be prepared to break the bank. General consensus around Boston is that the price is worth it. The tiny restaurant doesn’t seat many people and reservations book up months in advance, so plan ahead and look elsewhere if you’re going out with a big group.

Where: 9 E St, Boston, MA 02111

Price: $$$$

9. Tasting Counter

With an admirable mission guiding the restaurant – it’s constantly striving for a zero waste kitchen and 50 percent of the ingredients it serves come from Massachusetts, Tasting Counter offers one of the most interesting dining experiences in Boston. Dinner takes two hours, and the restaurant promises as much of a performance as a meal (guests must purchase tickets rather than making reservations). Throughout the experience, guests watch their food being cooked and plated.

Where: 14 Tyler St, Somerville, MA 02143

Price: $$$$

Where to stay in Boston

cambridge common in Massachusetts in the fall

Photo: Jay Yuan/Shuttestock

Once dinner is over, head back to spacious, comfortable accommodations. These highly rated Boston Airbnbs (and one hotel) are centrally located so its easy to explore the city from wherever you decide to stay. Here are options for both families and solo travelers.

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

Where to stay in Back Bay

Spacious living room of the Townhouse Boston Airbnb

Photo: Airbnb

Townhouse Airbnb: Right on the border of the Back Bay and South End, this updated Victorian-era townhouse sits on a quiet street only 15 minutes away from public transportation and attractions like Copley Square and Prudential Center. This is one of the highest rated Airbnbs, and works for both couples traveling together and solo travelers.

Book Now

Where to stay in the North End

Living room inside the Airbnb Apartment in Boston's North End

Photo: Airbnb

Minimalist Airbnb apartment: With simple furnishings and a spacious living room, this Airbnb is a great landing spot after a day of exploring. The kitchen is new which means guests can cook there if they’re looking for a cozy night in, and for a glass of wine overlooking the historic North End neighborhood, there’s access to the roof deck.

Book Now

Where to stay in downtown Boston

Omni Parker House: Visitors to the Omni Parker House will feel connected to Boston history. Close to the Boston Common, which dates back to 1634, to the Saturday Night Club, made up of literary greats such as Emerson and Hawthorne, as well as the historic Freedom Trail, there’s plenty to explore right outside the door. Open since 1885, some think it might even be the country’s longest continually operating hotel. The Omni Parker House not only offers proximity to these incredible historic attractions, but also provides guests with luxurious accommodations.

Where: 60 School St, Boston, MA 02108

Book Now

Discover Matador

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners.

For more information read our privacy policy.