Boston's 16 Best Restaurants To Visit In 2023

If you think the Boston food scene is all lobster rolls and clam chowder, think again. The Hub has become a culinary mecca for fare far beyond the New England classics over the years, boasting everything from a chic Mediterranean spot with the country's longest Greek wine list, to countless eateries owned and operated by James Beard Award winners. Not to mention, it's ripe with the rich legacies of celebrity chefs like Tiffani Faison, Karen Ackunowicz, and, of course, the iconic Julia Child, just to name a few.

Though we're only a few months into the year, the Boston restaurant "Class of 2023" is looking promising so far. In its ranks, you'll find innovative ventures from veteran restaurateurs in the city, a cozy eatery housed in a former comfort station highlighting "Black and Brown immigrant food," the city's inaugural BYOB bar, and a couple of beloved spots stepping on the scene again after shuttering during the pandemic (including a spot where you can not only eat but learn how to make arguably the city's most famous dumplings). Below, you'll find the best restaurants to eat at in Boston in 2023, all of which debuted this year and all of which add a spoonful of something special to the dining landscape. Get ready to make those reservations.

Puritan Oyster Bar

As we said, Boston is truly much more than seafood, but we couldn't resist kicking off our list with this little sister spot to Cambridge's Puritan & Co. Located adjacent to the restaurant, Puritan Oyster bar has been shucking briny bivalves (a rotating selection of six New England oysters, to be exact) since its January debut and also offers a selection of crudo, shareables, and other dishes showcasing local seafood.

Noshes range from unique takes on classic tastes (think: lobster toast accompanied by a ramekin of drawn butter) to trendy, boundary-pushing eats (caviar cones, anyone?), while sips are carefully selected to complement each seafood offering — including a "Glug Jug," which chef Brandon Gilson told Boston Magazine is "fine for one, meant for two." And it looks like they serve your check with a cheeky side of Swedish Fish candy, too — making this new spot quite the catch in our book. Do note: It's walk-in only, so don't be shocked if you have to wait for a little for a table.

Mei Mei Dumpling Factory and Cafe

At last! Boston's favorite dumpling restaurant has returned to its brick-and-mortar roots. Since it was established in 2012, the business has evolved from a food truck to a physical restaurant, to an online purveyor of dumplings and Zoom cooking classes as a consequence of the pandemic. Owner Irene Li herself has evolved, too. The youngest in her family, she started Mei Mei with her siblings, taking the helm herself in 2018. She's co-authored a cookbook, accrued numerous awards (including a 2022 James Beard), and has also been at the forefront of the movement to support restaurant workers (her own and beyond).

For years, Mei Mei was a mainstay in nearby Brookline, where locals dined on the best dumplings (along with the oft-missed Double Awesome scallion pancake egg sandwich) before going takeout-only. Now, at the spot's new sprawling 4,000-square-foot outpost in South Boston, guests can eat and make the dumplings of their dreams — including the signature lemongrass and pasture-raised pork dumplings and the better-than-pierogi cheddar scallion potato dumplings. "It's kind of like a modern brewery where you go, you can take a tour, you can see how the stuff is being made. Then you get to hang out in the taproom — or in our dining room, as the case may be — you can sample the product, and you can also buy some to take home with you to enjoy later," Li says in an interview with WBUR.

Bar Vlaha

If you're talking about the best Greek food in Greater Boston, it's impossible not to mention one of Brandon Pelley's spots. From sexy mezze bar Krasi, which slings unique Hellenic wines along with not-your-average small plates, to fast-casual, where you can score a top-notch souvlaki and avgolemono soup on the fly. This new venture, however, is a little different.

Bar Vlaha will showcase the regional cuisine of the Vlachs — an ethnic group of wandering shepherds that populates the mountains of central and northern Greece. The fare is a departure from the lemon-drenched, light, and coastal Greek dishes we might typically think of — instead offering rustic, belly-warming cuisine that's meant to be shared around the table (along with a few laughs and some good wine and conversation, too). Hunks of meat cooked with traditional souvla techniques (slowly on a spit over charcoal), warm pitas stuffed with meaty mushrooms, and snails stewed in tomatoes and red wine. Plus, sourdough is made with an over-10-year-old starter and impossibly buttery, olive-oil-crisped alevropita. As if things couldn't get any cozier, the cocktails are served on napkins crocheted by Greek yiayias.

Birds of Paradise

The second it opened its doors in mid-December (yes, it's a couple of weeks shy of 2023, but we couldn't resist including it on our list), imbibers were flocking to Birds of Paradise — the latest from wizard Ran Duan, whose made a name for himself for impeccable cocktails and eats inspired by the Asia Pacific region. His latest cocktail bar feels especially transformative. It's inspired by both his pandemic wanderlust and the mid-century glory days of air travel, when folks wore suits and not sweats on planes and Pan Am had the same cache as a private jet would today.

In fact, much of the bar's menu pulls from both real and imagined Pan Am plane tickets, like one journeying from Japan to Brazil. The Rio to Tokyo tipple features Brazilian sugar cane rum and dry sherry, spiked with miso pineapple, wasabi coconut, and green shisho. And the food offering includes a short menu of "airline snacks," made up of sushi hand rolls and some jazzed-up nuts. Whether you're there for a drink or more, you'll feel like a first-class passenger all cozied up on a sapphire-colored banquette amidst the sleek wood walls and moody lighting.

Silver Dove Afternoon Tea

What do you get when two veterans of Barbara Lynch's iconic subterranean cocktail bar, Drink, join forces outside its brick walls? A tea house, apparently. A stone's throw from another famed Lynch restaurant, No. 9 Park, Silver Dove Afternoon Tea is tucked behind a rather unassuming storefront in Downtown Boston. But behind the front door sits a little jewel box of a tea parlor, with a tufted emerald velvet banquette flanking the left wall, muted botanical wallpaper, and subtle gold touches.

Its menu features classic selections from the British tea tradition, so you're sure to find a selection of scones to slather with clotted cream and lovely iterations of crustless finger sandwiches, like coronation chicken with vadouvan, crème fraiche, and sultana. And, of course, a delicate selection of cakes and the best flavors of macarons to top things off. There are countless teas from around the world on offer, as well as — to no surprise to anyone — a thoughtful curation of cocktails and wine to sip with your pinky out.

Comfort Kitchen

The concept for Comfort Kitchen has been in the works for eight years and, now that it's finally come to fruition, is changing Boston's dining landscape for the better. Housed in a former comfort station (a rest stop for streetcar passengers), the cozy spot is swathed in creamy tones and pale wood, with dappled sunlight warming guests from the windows — the interior feels like an exhale. But, the most important thing here is the food. Owners Biplaw Rai and Kwasi Kwaa were influenced by their own immigrant backgrounds, as well as the international spice trade when it came to crafting the menu. The result? A celebration of comfort foods from the African Diaspora, Asia, and beyond — many of which speak to one another by using the same spaces in different ways, reflecting the migration of these flavors over time and how they connect us today.

"We will pick a region, choose the spices that are used in that region, and then we'll go backwards and create a menu," Rai tells "Cardamom, black pepper, turmeric, all these spices that traveled across the globe tell a lot of history." The physical menu is equal parts culinary encyclopedia and glossy food zine — with careful explanations of their culinary choices and rich origin stories of the dishes and ingredients they're showcasing. Comfort Kitchen is the perfect addition to Dorchester, another thread in the vibrant tapestry of immigrant-owned restaurants that bring the neighborhood to life.

Civility Social House

Somerville's Assembly Row just got another eatery added to its already burgeoning roster of restaurants. Opened in late January, Civility Social House is sure to be a hub for friends (especially when the patio opens in the warm weather) to grab an after-work drink or a quick bite before a few rounds of bowling or catching a flick at the nearby cinema — all located a short distance from the place. The 3,600-square-foot space is decked out with rustic, reclaimed wood and lots of Chesterfield sofa-like booth seats, with splashes of color provided by local art from creatives like Dirty Dek and Erica Hagler.

Upscale pub grub is the name of the game when it comes to the menu, with quality classics like burgers, sandos, and grilled pizzas making up the lion's share. Not to be missed: the mac and cheese donut, which is doused in molten cheese tableside. There's your Instagram story moment for the night.


Ever heard of a BYOB bar? Well, now you have. This ultra-exclusive (we're talking reservations only, one seating at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and just 14 seats) lets imbibers shake and serve their own tipples, with some expert guidance of course. Here's how it works: You show up with your favorite spirit, then select from the seasonal rotation of house-made mixers, like Grape Crush — which mingles fruit with maple, lemon, and a splash of seltzer. After that, you can use the spot's bevy of bar tools, garnishes, and cool glassware to shake and stir your dream drink.

All the while, you'll be munching on an ever-changing, four-course included selection of elevated bar snacks. Think: whipped goat cheese speckled with gremolata and fresh farm veggies sharing a plate with crinkle cut chips and Lipton onion dip. In the same article, it's noted that the one constant on the menu will be a sandwich served on the fan-favorite buttery "Berg buns" from the upstairs-neighbor restaurant, Cobble, which is under the same ownership.

Roust Deli

This relaxed Cambridge cafe just debuted in February but is already bringing calm and cozy energy to Harvard Square — a welcome thing after the closures of so many beloved all-day cafes in the area in recent years. Already, you'll find folks settling in with their laptops for the long haul — likely with a thick sandwich and frothy latte in front of them — on the 20-seat cafe side, while other neighborhood residents browse a thoughtful selection of grocery offerings like chips, drinks, and dry goods.

In an interview with, manager Michael Spires says he hopes the cafe will become a real hub for the local community, which he's thrilled to serve. "I know everybody in the neighborhood," he said. "Half of the customers I know; I know all their names." People come by, he said, because, "they love their routine." If you're exploring Harvard's campus or hitting the area ahead of an author reading or indie live music show in Cambridge, Roust is the perfect place to take a breather before continuing to explore the city.

Johnny Pomodoro

Boston has a few famous pizzas — from Regina's to Santarpio's — but this new joint in Charlestown is slinging slices from a different city altogether. Johnny Pomodoro serves square, Detroit-style pizza decked out with toppings ranging from glistening 'roni cups to Caesar salad ingredients. It's cooked in cast iron trays, which is what gives it that tell-tale crispy-edged crust, despite its thickness. Another hallmark of Detroit pies: The sauce is dolloped on post-toppings.

Owner Johnny Burke hails from a fine dining background originally, but Johnny Pomodoro is entirely to-go, which is no surprise since it was born from a takeout-only venture the chef piloted during the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, every item on the menu is designed to be taken to go, so you won't find soggy bottoms or, most importantly, anything that can't be eaten cold. "I haven't met too many pizzas that I don't like but there are a lot of pizzas that I wouldn't eat cold," Burke tells Eater Boston. "This [pizza] is just as delicious when it has spent the night in the refrigerator."


Irish pubs might be the typical scene in the Hub, but that doesn't mean the city doesn't love a good glitzy supper club. With three different areas — one for drinking, one for dining, and one for dancing — diners likely will spend the whole night at this luxe locale. It's located inside the Copley Square Hotel, which boasts a rich entertainment history. The space the restaurant is housed in was actually once home to the famed jazz club, Storyville, which had its heyday in the 1940s. Hue nods to its digs' musical past with nighttime DJs and a mural by area artist ProBlak. "It is a fine line between being a restaurant and being a nightclub, and you don't want to blur that line," co-owner George Aboujaoude tells Eater Boston. "We really want to make sure that we have zero to do with a nightclub — that it's always food and cocktail-focused."

Food-wise, the menu plays host to a selection of American comfort foods with Pan Asian inspiration — like sambal-spiked sticky chicken wings, miso Caesar salad, and escargot pooled in XO butter. Libations lean cheeky and Instagrammable, like the flower-adorned Resting Spritz Face.


This mid-century restaurant is a dining spot and a community hub for Boston's Jewish community (a super chic one, at that). Luxe leather chairs, plush banquettes, and loads of bookshelves (packed with all Jewish authors) adorn the space, which is divided into three parts: a restaurant, a lounge, and a classroom for hosting community programming, like lectures on a feminist approach to the women's Jewish scripture, "Tanya."

Foodwise, everything is kosher and pescatarian. Some dishes are more recognizably Jewish-leaning, like the herring tartine and the mac and cheese kugel, while others are familiar favorites that have Jewish roots that fly under the radar. Part of what Lehrhaus seeks to do is expand non-Jewish diners on what is encompassed in the cuisine. One example: french fries dusted with Old Bay (which has a fascinating history) — a popular spice blend we might forget was created by a German Jewish spice merchant who escaped Buchenwald, Gustav Brunn. "A lot of people know deli and a lot of people know what Israeli flavors are," Rabbi Charlie Schwartz, co-founder, told GBH in an interview. "But there's a whole host of Jewish foodways outside of those realms that we're looking to highlight."

Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar

Back Bay's Lolita — a sexy Mexican spot decked out in moody blacks and reds — isn't new in 2023, but we had to include it on this list since it finally re-opened after a two-year hiatus due to typical COVID-19 pandemic issues and a burst pipe. After a nearly $3 million dollar renovation, the space is expanded and renovated, but still stays true to its gothic roots, with the dark color scheme remaining a mainstay (though it's much brighter now, with some newly vaulted ceilings featuring imported iron chandeliers from Mexico). The restaurant earned itself an extra 2,200 square feet, according to, which has extra dining space and a mezcal bar.

The menu includes nachos, tacos, tostadas, and more dishes Bostonians already know and love, along with four different types of guac. And, of course, the drinks are a highlight, too — like the Abuelita Espresso Martini, featuring Abuelita chocolate. The second time's the charm.


From the restaurant group behind popular Boston Italian spots SRV and Salty Pig, Gufo offers a cool and cozy date night spot with a casual but elevated atmosphere. Opened in late July 2023 in East Cambridge, the menu boasts a selection of small plates, pastas, and pizzas. Some of these dishes lean classic, but most tend toward the inventive. Start with the head-on shrimp with roasted Fresno and garlic butter or the deeply enjoyable fried dough, served with prosciutto, garlic butter, and Parmesan.

The harissa half-chicken and the whole roasted fish with chermoula and preserved lemon are the way to go if you're looking for something especially substantial to share with the table, but you definitely shouldn't overlook the pasta, either. The mortadella cappelletti, served with corn and pistachios, is truly a delight, and the squid ink bucatini with baby clams, nduja butter, lemon, and parsley is undoubtedly a standout. Pizza options range from the familiar margherita to the creative bacon, fontina, frisee, and caramelized onion.


If you're looking for a taste of Southern France without leaving Boston, you have to head to Marseille, from the group that owns both Petit Robert Bistro and Batifol. All of these restaurants focus on French cuisine, but Marseille, located in SoWa, or Boston's South End, highlights food from Southern France and the Mediterranean specifically, with dishes like escargot en croute, moules marinieres, roasted Branzino, and bouillabaisse locale. But before you get to the rest of the menu, don't forget to snag some oysters, shrimp cocktail, or a whole seafood tower.

We love the dinner menu but don't forget to check out the restaurant's brunch offerings, which range from chicken liver mousse (fantastic) to steamed shells (which is, if you ask us, the perfect way to start your day). No matter what time of day you visit, you'll find that the dining room is beautiful but understated, perfect for a relaxing evening with friends and family.

Nubian Markets

Nubian Markets, which opened in 2023, may just be the most exciting lunch stop in town. The joint market, butchery, and cafe focuses on African diaspora-inspired food from a variety of regions. It's located in Roxbury, a community that's largely comprised of Black and Latinx residents but is gentrifying rapidly. Owners Ismail Samad and Yusuf Yassin wanted to create a place that serves and benefits the neighborhood's longtime residents while sharing dishes that have universal appeal.

The ginger beef and injera is a standout, as is the crispy chicken & hoppin' John and chickpea peanut stew, and we love the fact that all of the cafe's plates and bowls can be made vegan or vegetarian. You won't want to skip the sandwiches, either. Try the harissa lamb for a handheld that's both hearty and refreshing, or opt for the black-eyed pea fritter sandwich with mustard onions, ginger yam puree, and wilted red cabbage if you're craving something on the lighter side.