As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. We've already covered Top Standbys, Favorite Newcomers, and 2012 in One Word, and now it's time for Best Neighborhood. Feel free to add your own answers to the comments.
[Photo: Ebi Sushi Bar, Yelp/Nancy Z.]
Q: What was the best Boston area dining neighborhood of 2012?
MC Slim JB, restaurant critic, The Phoenix: Allston. For the nth year running, it presents the highest concentration of worthy budget restaurants in Boston. Particularly enjoyed the new Kaju Tofu House, which specializes in sundubu jigae, a Korean spicy tofu soup that is a great morning-after restorative; JoJo Taipei, an excellent traditional Taiwanese restaurant; and Lone Star Taco Bar, the terrific border-food joint from the Deep Ellum folks.
Marc H., Boston's Hidden Restaurants and Boston Restaurant Talk: "Best" and "most popular" are definitely two different categories. Most popular would be the Seaport District or whatever it's called this week; best would probably be the Inman Square section of Cambridge. Tough to argue against places such as the City Girl Cafe, Punjabi Dhaba, The Druid, Casa Portugal, All-Star Sandwich Bar, Christina's, Tupelo, Clover, Grillo's Pickle Shop, and so many others.
South End blogger BosGuy: Easy South End, but honorable mention to the Seaport, which is clearly hot.
An anonymous industry insider who we'll call Litchi Bear: Cambridge/Somerville.
Aaron Kagan, editor, Eater Boston: Biggest new dining big shot neighborhood: Somerville. Best all around: has to be Cambridge, emphasis on Kendall/Central/Inman.
Rachel Cossar, ballet dancer with the Boston Ballet and food blogger at foodista on pointe: Cambridge in general, Kendall in particular (home of A4, Catalyst, Belly Wine Bar, West Bridge...and soon to be many more exciting new or relocated restaurants).
Tom O'Keefe of BostonTweet: I've become an even bigger fan of Kendall Square in 2012. It's a perfect mix of craft beer bars and fine food. You can grab a great beer at either Meadhall or Cambridge Brewing Company and then top it off with a delicious meal at Area Four or the amazing new West Bridge.
Jacqueline Church, local food writer: I am pathetic when it comes to getting outside the downtown area. Does Portland, Maine count? I'd head back there in heartbeat, too. Had some fine food at 51 Lincoln last year, and that couldn't be easier to get to yet, I failed. Pathetic.
Damien S., community manager for Yelp Boston: Casa B, Journeyman and its alcoholic sidekick, backbar, Ebi Sushi Bar, Machu Picchu and a bunch of salivating Tim Wiechmann fans awaiting Bronwyn's opening... there's no question: Union Square, Somerville.
Audrey Giannattasio of Boston Foodie Tours: Kendall Square, Cambridge. It's become a restaurant row with the likes of Catalyst, Area Four, Hungry Mother and Bondir. Inman Square and the Seaport are giving it competition with the recent addition of Will Gilson's Puritan & Company in Inman, and Mario Batali and Geoffrey Zakarian heading to the Seaport this year.
Jennifer Che, blogger at Tiny Urban Kitchen: Personally I've loved seeing the explosive growth in the Kendall Square area in Cambridge this past year.
· All coverage of Year in Eater [~EBOS~]