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Local Food Writers on the Best Dining Neighborhoods of 2015

As is tradition at Eater, we close out the year by surveying local food writers and our own staff on various restaurant-related topics, and we'll be publishing their responses throughout the week. Readers, feel free to share your thoughts below. Next question: What was the best dining neighborhood in 2015?

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Banyan Bar + Refuge
Banyan Bar + Refuge
Katie Chudy for Eater
MC Slim JB, restaurant critic for The Improper Bostonian:
Chinatown. Like most diehard food geeks, I’ve always routinely haunted our Chinatown for its traditional, bargain-priced Asian restaurants, especially for its Taiwanese, Hong-Kong style live-tank seafood, Shandong, hotpot, and Cantonese fare, including dim sum and roast-meat specialists. But I appreciated its virtues more keenly in a year where creeping gentrification appears to be putting real pressure on the neighborhood’s small businesses. I watched veterans like Xinh Xinh and Maxim Coffee House get forced out by rent hikes in 2015, and that’s a worrisome trend. Take advantage of it while you can.

I have to go with the strip from Cambridge's Inman Square to Lechmere on this one. City Girl Cafe, The Druid, Atwood's Tavern, Skampa, Lone Star Taco Bar, and so many more. Allston and East Boston are always up there as well, as is Moody Street in Waltham.

Luke O'Neil, drinks writer for Metro and writer of many other things for many other publications:
East Cambridge certainly seems to be the boom spot, and the Seaport, or whatever the hell that IRL Sim-City area is over there.

Dan Whalen, cookbook authorfood blogger, and contributor to WGBH's Craving Boston:
I had a lot of fun in Allston this year whether it was eating Korean food or going to a few different pop-ups at Roxy's, especially when Kenji Lopez-Alt brought his fried chicken there and served it alongside Richard Chudy's burgers.

South End. Sorry — it’s a boring answer but it provided a bunch of new options. It added Banyan, Akinto at Wink & Nod, Blackbird Doughnuts, La Motta's, and hopefully soon SRV.

Kerry J. Byrne, food writer for the Boston Herald:
Cambridge, South End, Somerville generate more critical acclaim and more street cred, for what that's worth, from the foodie community. But the average Greater Boston consumer is more likely these days to find their way to the Seaport, with its ever-­growing collection of spacious, muscular, special­-night-­out eateries.

Scott Kearnan, writer for Zagat and more:
The Boston area is eating much better in general, so it doesn't seem that any one particular neighborhood was the go-to dining haven in 2015. Now you see cool concepts — whether wood-fired cookery at Charlestown’s Brewer’s Fork or Balkan street food sandwiches at Inman Square’s Playska — that are strong enough to lure the curious to every nook and cranny. It was nice to see the reliable but sorta stale South End get some new life with Banyan Bar + Refuge (RIP Hamersley’s, though) and La Motta’s. But I almost think it was the suburbs that, if we can lump them en masse, made out particularly well this year. The Backroom at Moody’s is one of my favorite openings of the year; I’ll gladly trek to Waltham for that. Woods Hill Table, Saltbox Kitchen, and Branch Line are among the other new spots that upped the game in their respective towns [Concord, Concord, Watertown].

Sam Hiersteiner, food writer for Lucky Peach, First We Feast, Art of Eating, and other publications:
Cambridge/Somerville

Rachel Cossar, Boston city editor for The Daily Meal:
Fort Point

BosGuy, LGBT Blogger (with a lot of South End restaurant coverage):
My neighborhood, of course: the South End. It didn't receive the fawning media attention that other neighborhoods did (notably the overly-hyped and soulless Seaport), but for consistency and variety of cuisines only Back Bay can match — but in my opinion, not beat — the South End.

Catherine Smart, managing editor of WGBH's Craving Boston and Boston Globe correspondent:
Fort Point is all grown up! We’ve been seeing great spots like DrinkRow 34Flour, and so many others moving in for years, but it really feels like a vibrant established dining destination at this point.

Dana Hatic, Eater Boston associate editor:
Back Bay? Or the South End. I'm thinking along the lines of new places that popped up that people were raving about. (Banyan, Doretta...but then also Hojoko...so maybe Fenway, too. I really don't have a good answer!)

Katie Chudycookbook author and Eater Boston contributor:
I think the 'burbs are really starting to become more and more exciting, and towns like Watertown and Waltham have become great places for food. Just recently, the folks behind Posto, Painted Burro, and The Rosebud opened up Osteria Posto in Waltham. The South End and South Boston saw a lot of restaurant growth this year too.

Rachel Leah Blumenthal, Eater Boston editor:
I have to agree with Marc and Luke — Cambridge Street has been sprouting new restaurants like crazy this year, from Inman Square to Lechmere. (And I love it! My neighborhood, Union Square, is not far from there, so I take full advantage of the short walk for many meals.) Not to discount the importance of so many old classics in the area, like New Deal Fish Market and Muqueca, but the area saw a lot of new and interesting activity in 2015, including Loyal NineLone Star Taco BarKimchi KitchenCurio Coffee, and more.

Drink

348 Congress Street, , MA 02210 (617) 695-1806 Visit Website

Flour Bakery + Cafe (Fort Point)

12 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 617 338 4333 Visit Website

Lone Star Taco Bar (Cambridge)

635 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02141 Visit Website

Doretta Taverna

79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116 Visit Website

The Druid

1357 Cambridge Street, , MA 02139 (617) 497-0965 Visit Website

The Backroom

468 Moody St, Waltham, MA 02453

Playska

243 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139 Visit Website

City Girl Cafe

204 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (617) 864-2809 Visit Website

SRV

569 Columbus Avenue, , MA 02118 (617) 536-9500 Visit Website

Loyal Nine

660 Cambridge Street, , MA 02141 (617) 945-2576 Visit Website

Hojoko

1271 Boylston Street, , MA 02215 (617) 670-0507 Visit Website

Blackbird Doughnuts

175 Cambridge Street, , MA 02114 Visit Website

Roxy's Grilled Cheese

485 Cambridge St, Boston, MA 02134 Visit Website

Saltbox Kitchen

84 Commonwealth Avenue, West Concord, MA 01742 Visit Website

La Motta's Italian Specialties

1357 Washington St., Boston, MA 02118 Visit Website

Brewer's Fork

7 Moulton Street, , MA 02129 (617) 337-5703 Visit Website

Wink & Nod

3 Appleton St, Boston, MA 02116 617-482-0117 Visit Website

Atwood’s Tavern

877 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141 (617) 864-2792 Visit Website

Banyan Bar & Refuge

492 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116 (617) 556-4211

Branch Line

321 Arsenal Street, , MA 02472 (617) 420-1900 Visit Website

Row 34

300 District Avenue, , MA 01803 (781) 761-6500 Visit Website

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