The Best Restaurants in Boston (according to Lena Mirisola)

Check out the best restaurants in Boston for Summer / Fall 2018!

 

Hello everyone! Being a Boston resident for over five years now has truly been a gift to my taste buds and Food Network alter ego. There's one rule when it comes to dining in a new city: no chains. When you visit a new city, take the pledge to eat only at local restaurants. I've created an abridged list of the BEST restaurants in Boston grouped by neighborhood from The North End, to Chinatown, to Newbury Street and beyond. Join me on this foodie's trip through Boston!

Chinatown

My Thai Vegan Cafe

Probably my #1 favorite restaurant in all of Boston. Everything on the 8 page menu is vegan, and you will crave it until the next time you eat it. Don’t miss the fresh spring rolls, golden triangles, pad Thai, beef + chicken lo mein, and mango fried rice. Snag a lunch special weekdays from 12-3pm and you'll get discounted food that comes with soup and an appetizer. Service can occasionally be slow, but with a little patience and a smile, you'll understand why this place is a GEM. It also has vegan bubble tea + desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Gourmet Dumpling House

This tiny hole in the wall is usually packed and you can't call ahead, but you can grab some tea from Tea Do while you're waiting, because this is worth it (or stop by around 2-4pm on a weekday). These are the best soup dumplings (xiaolongbao) in Boston. Get the mini juicy pork dumplings - one person can eat one order of 7 dumplings w/ a side of white rice. The chicken wings are crispy and juicy. Be prepared to make friends, you might end up sitting with strangers!

 
 

Pho Pasteur

I come here once a week. Get fresh chicken spring rolls, com chien fried rice, and pho ga (chicken pho). Portions are enormous and prices are cheap. They flip tables every 20 minutes, so it's a perfect place for a quick bite that will leave your belly happy.

Tea Do

The best bubble tea in the world. Try the honeydew milk tea, lychee black tea, peach black tea, coconut milk tea, Thai milk tea, or classic milk tea. They also have snacks, smoothies, and board games, so bring your friends. If there's a long line, don't worry - they pump out drinks in record time, so you'll never wait more than 2-3 minutes no matter how long the line is.

Want to know the best bubble tea spots in Boston? Click HERE!

Symphony / Back Bay

Pho Basil

The #1 date Thai/Vietnamese night spot. It boasts a romantic ambiance AND great lunch specials. Don’t miss the pad thai, curry puffs, grilled lemongrass vermicelli, pho, and pad see ew.

Pita

Kickass mediterranean food on the go. Get the chicken shawafel wrap (chicken and falafel mixed!)  on Syrian pita bread, try a chicken kebab combo plate and don’t forget the falafel balls! Top secret tip: always get a side of garlic sauce.

Ginger Exchange

Asian fusion and sushi at its best. Do yourself a favor and grab some Korean soy garlic chicken wings. They’re the size of Texas!!! Pair it with chicken teriyaki, pad Thai, or Mama’s Dumplings for a great night. They also have locations in Cambridge (Inman Square) and Brigham Circle (under the name Mission Sushi and Wok) and nightly specials like $0.50 dumpling Tuesday, $2 bao Sundays and $0.75 wing Wednesdays.

Brigham Circle

 
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Mission Bar & Grill

Famous for their crispy chicken tenders, Mission Bar & Grill is always packed after work and on weekends - for good reason! Delicious food and creative cocktails. Their brunch is to die for - marinated steak and eggs for $13, stuffed french toast, eggs benny, and top it off with a peach bellini!

Penguin Pizza

"A step above" your average pizza joint - because you won't find duck confit pizza anywhere else. Don’t miss “The Bird” - barbecue chicken pizza with caramelized onions and perfect crust, and the crispy baked mac n cheese is heavenly. There are tons of beers on tap, and if you want something fruity and stronger, try the P-Town Punch Slap.

Newbury Street / Back Bay

Trident Booksellers + Cafe

Amazing breakfast all day. Try the Monte Cristo or the waffle and do NOT skip the sweet potato fries with garlic aioli + curry sauce. Lots of vegetarian and vegan options! Sit upstairs by the windows to people watch on Newbury.

Dig Inn

This farm to table counter service restaurant is all the rage in NYC. The food is healthy, local, and seasoned to perfection. I dream about KALE now... yes people, kale. Pick your base, veggies / fillings, and meat. The ambience is light and bright, with marble and wood tables with succulents everywhere. With more locations at Downtown Crossing and the Prudential, you definitely need to make a stop here.

The North End

Panza

Old world Italian ambience meets fresh menu items. Intimate + affordable Italian. They have perfected butternut squash tortelloni, and the bruschetta is mucha bella!

Mike’s Pastry

Obviously, stop at Mike’s Pastry. My favorite are the pistachio and pignoli macaroons! Skirt to the left or right when you walk through the door. Don't let the tourists fool you and stay to the middle. If you see an open cashier, push your way o the front and know what you're ordering. Be! Aggressive! However, if the line is too daunting, stop over to Bova Bakery for pastries that can stand up to Mike's any day.

Ernesto's Pizza

Looking for the perfect slice? Grab a thin crust slice of any flavor and you'll be in heaven. You may be thinking $5 for a slice? I made the mistake of getting two slices my first time, before realizing the slices are 1/4 of an enormous pie.

Trattoria Il Panino

They serve rigatoni with slow cooked lamb, beef, veal, and pork ragu in a sautée pan - and it’s incredible. The gnocchi is oozing with cheese, always hot and fresh!

Fenway

Blackbird Doughnuts

Ohhh man. There are three major local doughnut shops - Blackbird, Union Square, and Kane's. Take a visit to Blackbird Donuts in Fenway next to Target - and get a double chocolate! They have fresh flavors like coconut cold brew, seasonal apple pie, and good old fashioned chocolate frosted. And they have doughnut holes, too! There's also a South End location, so pop in there as well!

South End

 
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Coppa

Definitely make reservations at this tiny place - it’s worth it! Grab some homemade pasta and pizza, and don’t skip out on dessert. The zeppole (ricotta donuts with nutella and chopped hazelnuts), pistachio biscotti, and classic tiramisu is to die for.

Myers & Chang

Mama Chang’s Asian fusion small plates and dumplings are legendary. Grab a few orders, the try the Thai iced tea with coconut rum. You’ll never go back to the normal stuff! Don’t leave without trying the brussels sprouts and bao, too.

 
 

Picco

Get ready for their famous charred, wood fired pizza and homemade ice cream flavors that change by the week. The Alsatian is my personal favorite, complete with sautéed onions, shallots, garlic, crème fraîche, bacon & gruyere - along with their Mushroom Conserva, Broccolini & Lemon Aioli pizza. YUM!

Barcelona Wine Bar

Stop right there, and go to Barcelona. Make a reservation, as this spot is popping even on weekdays. The most authentic Spanish tapas will make your mouth water. Everything is fresh and cooked from scratch, and is professional chef-approved. Get a pitcher of the seasonal red sangria, and pair it with (brace yourself) - potato tortilla, croquettes, migas, beef empanadas, patatas bravas, albondigas (spiced meatballs), bacon wrapped dates, chorizo w/ sweet and sour figs, and hot, fresh bread for days.

FoMu

The creamiest ice cream you'll ever eat - all homemade in small batches, sourced from local farms, and all VEGAN! This local place has ice cream sandwiches, frappes, and flavors like avocado, bourbon maple walnut, George Howell cold brew, lavender, and peanut butter mud pie - you've got to try it.

Cambridge

Tatte Bakery

Tatte is a Boston favorite. With seven locations in Fenway, Beacon Hill, Brookline, Harvard Square, Broadway, and Kendall Square, you're always in close proximity to Tatte. They're famous for their brunch - don't miss the shakshuka, egg in a hole in a buttery Jerusalem bagel, fresh Muesli, classic breakfast sandwich, and the 20+ pastries at the counter. Oh, and a hazelnut iced latte, too! ;)

Mamaleh's Delicatessen

Looking for the best, freshest bagel and latkes in Kendall Square? Come to Mamaleh's! They serve breakfast and Jewish specialties all day. My go-to is an everything bagel with scallion + onion schmear with a side of latkes. Eat up!

 
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Smoke Shop BBQ

Three words - B B Q !!! Indulge in The Smoke Shop's giant ribs, incredibly juicy fried chicken plate, or agave smoked wings. The sides could be the best part - mashed potatoes with "sexy gravy" (yes, it is VERY sexy), molasses and bacon collard greens, creamy mac n cheese... and even better, there is patio seating for the warm summer months. Kendall Square knows what's up.

East Boston

Cunard Tavern

Brunch at the Cunard Tavern is an amazing experience - and even better in the summer months when they open the rooftop patio deck. They have a Boston baked bean benedict, the fluffiest pancakes, juicy chicken and waffles, and bacon wrapped dates that will even leave vegetarians drooling. Take a stroll over to Downeast Cider House after brunch (which is served until 2pm) and sip some free flights while you look at the skyline.


This is a condensed list to showcase the best of the best, so if you have questions on more places to grab a bite of any kind in Boston, shoot me an email or comment below! I'm happy to recommend more places :)

Lena Mirisola

Boston, MA 01886, USA

Photographer. Bubble tea addict. Girlboss.