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Eater Boston Heatmap Archive

Old Heatmap entries, saved for posterity

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Overhead view of five colorful Eastern Mediterranean dishes
A spread of food from Ilona in Boston’s South End
Sophie Benzie

The Eater Boston Heatmap is updated monthly — typically on the first Thursday of the month — to highlight a dozen of the hottest new dining destinations in and around Boston. (To be included, a restaurant must be six months old or newer.)

This page serves as an archive of retired map points, dating back to May 2015. (Prior to May 2015, we created a brand new Heatmap each month instead of making updates at the same permalink, so Eater’s early standalone Heatmaps still exist, and their points are not archived here.)

Retired in August 2022

  • Kura Revolving Sushi Bar: Sure, it’s a pretty big chain, but it’s a fun pretty big chain. Not only does Kura Sushi send its affordably priced sushi around the room on a conveyor belt, but there are also drink-delivering robots, little prizes awarded once you’ve eaten a certain number of portions, and the ability to order right from a tablet at the table. Located at Watertown’s Arsenal Yards development, this is the first of two planned Massachusetts locations for Kura Sushi; watch for it in Dorchester soon.
  • Lenox Sophia: Lenox Sophia, an intimate newcomer to South Boston, is meant to offer “casual fine dining,” per chef and owner Shi Mei — think unique, upscale modern American dishes in a non-pretentious setting. As Mei previously told Eater, he wants it to feel like you’re eating in his home kitchen. Lenox Sophia has one of Boston’s extraordinarily rare BYOB licenses; diners can bring their own wine and malt beverages.
  • Pho Hoa: Vietnamese restaurant Pho Hoa is not at all new; it debuted in Dorchester’s Fields Corner in 1992. But it’s a good time to stop by if it’s been a while: Another local Vietnamese mainstay, Anh Hong, closed at the end of 2021 but has been reborn as part of Pho Hoa. All the Pho Hoa classics remain available, but the new menu includes Anh Hong’s popular seven-course beef and fish experiences and more.

Retired in July 2022

  • Bar Volpe: From chef Karen Akunowicz of the acclaimed Fox & the Knife comes a second Italian restaurant in South Boston, Bar Volpe. While its big sibling up the street focuses on northern Italy, Bar Volpe — which is also a pasta shop — focuses on the south, with dishes like culurgiones, a Sardinian stuffed pasta; fritti misti, inspired by Sicily (with a hint of Rhode Island); and rotisserie chicken stuffed with black truffle mayo.
  • Wusong Road: Wusong Road, a multi-story restaurant in Harvard Square, features an intricately decorated tiki bar upstairs, an ode to the Chinese American restaurant owned by the family of Wusong Road co-owner and chef Jason Doo when he was a kid. Downstairs, find affordable Hong Kong-style rice plates, lacquered duck (which is currently available in limited quantities and must be preordered), and an abbreviated cocktail selection.

Retired in June 2022

  • The Koji Club: Boston’s first dedicated sake bar, the Koji Club, is up and running at Brighton’s new Speedway marketplace. Alyssa Mikiko DiPasquale, a longtime alum of the restaurant group that includes O Ya and Hojoko, is owner of the welcoming space; she’s passionate about sake education — and fun. The bar features a small snack menu meant to complement sake, including a Japanese curry empanada collaboration with Super Bien, a South American-inspired wine bar and grocery store opening soon at the Speedway.
  • Next Door Speakeasy & Raw Bar: Tucked behind a hidden door in the East Boston Italian restaurant Pazza on Porter, Next Door’s menu is anchored by dramatic cocktails. The “lock and key,” for example, is like a piña colada made with clarified milk punch that comes to the table inside a tiny treasure chest. Meanwhile, the yellow “citrus and smoke” comes topped with a smoke bubble. Rounding out the experience is a concise selection of spot-on seafood dishes, including crudos and shellfish towers.
  • Vinal General Store: Locals in the know buy their English muffins at Vinal Bakery, a cheery little cafe on the edge of Somerville’s Union Square. Now Vinal has a brand new sandwich-and-more shop right next door, Vinal General Store, and it’s quickly becoming a neighborhood hit in its early days. There’s a succinct takeout sandwich selection — the spuckie has been getting lots of praise — plus “nice wine, no fuss,” cold beer, and a bit of casual seating. There are also a variety of goods for sale, including local favorites, from Somerville-born Fluff to El Barrio tortillas. And if you missed the public transportation news years in the making: The Green Line now goes directly to Union Square.

Retired in May 2022

  • Café Sauvage: Parisian bistro Café Sauvage, from wife-and-husband duo Anaïs and Antoine Lambert, is meant to pay homage to the multicultural influences on the Paris food scene, from Vietnam to Ethiopia: “There is more to Parisian food than just beef bourguignon and escargots,” as Anaïs Lambert previously told Eater. So there are steak frites and a croque madame, yes, but there’s also a banh mi, injera crepes, and roasted chicken that’s served with jollof rice and fried plantains. The restaurant, located in the former Hsin Hsin Cafe space in Back Bay, features a striking accent wall with tropical wallpaper.
  • Dear Annie: New Cambridge wine bar Dear Annie is a collaboration between the teams from two popular Somerville venues: funky wine bar Rebel Rebel and lovely farm-to-table restaurant Field & Vine. At Dear Annie, service is casual — order at the counter, and find a place among the communal seating. (Diners can bring their own records to play.) The menu is pescatarian and changes with the seasons; think Jonah crab toast, Arctic char tartare, and slices of pie. Wednesday is pasta night.

Retired in April 2022

  • Tradesman: Tradesman, a downtown Boston coffee shop and lounge that opened a few years back, has made a name for itself with over-the-top croissants, among other offerings. Now it has a Charlestown sibling, and the new location adds pizza to the mix, as well as mini doughnuts and more. Settle in with an espresso martini.
  • Nomai: Hingham newcomer Nomai is a bit outside the city, but Boston audiences are likely familiar with its fun big sibling in Chinatown, Shōjō. Where Shōjō has more of a cozy size and nightlife vibes, Nomai sprawls out through a beautiful, expansive space marked by light wood and Japanese red maples. The menu — billed as new American with Asian flavors — features dishes like koji fried chicken with Hainanese rice; Japanese crab risotto with black truffle; and sea scallop with bacon jam, shishito pepper, yam, and kumquat.

Retired in March 2022

  • Da LaPosta: Mario LaPosta is a veteran pizzaiolo who previously worked at the now-closed Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca in the Seaport, not to mention various pizzerias around Italy; now he has his own pizzeria and restaurant in Newton, Da LaPosta, serving wood-fired pizza, pasta, and a few other items, like suppli and salt cod croquettes. While LaPosta’s pizza skills are serious, he isn’t afraid to have a little fun with the menu: There’s a clam pizza inspired by New Haven, for example, not to mention a “buffalo e bufala” pizza topped with chicken, Buffalo sauce, buffalo mozzarella, and gorgonzola.
  • Fresh Food Generation: Fresh Food Generation isn’t a total newcomer: It’s been operating as a popular food truck and catering business for more than half a decade. But now the farm-to-table Caribbean American business has its own restaurant space, too, and visitors to the new Dorchester restaurant are loving dishes like the Jamaican jerk chicken rice plate and the kale salad with roasted butternut squash, which the menu promises turns “non-kale eaters into believers.”
  • Geppetto: East Cambridge newcomer Geppetto, from the Puritan & Co. team, is part of the group’s trio of restaurants at the Cambridge Crossing development. The Italian-inspired restaurant is the type of place where one can eat dishes like black truffle and taleggio bread; tuna and lardo crudo; and pumpkin agnolotti with wild mushrooms. Oh, and there’s an amaro cart.
  • Mex Taqueria & Bar: This new multi-story addition to Kendall Square is full of tacos, short rib empanadas, ceviche, and margaritas, as well as plenty of space for outdoor dining (including a roof deck with fire pits) and private events. It comes from the team behind a few other favorites in the neighborhood, Italian restaurants Sulmona and Amelia’s and a new-ish Mexican street food joint, Mexcito. Birria tacos, anyone?

Retired in February 2022

  • Hub Hall: There’s a little bit of something for everyone — locals and tourists alike — at Boston’s newest food hall, Hub Hall, located at the Hub on Causeway development right by TD Garden. There are 18 food and drink vendors, including a number of Boston classics, such as Mike’s Pastry, Monica’s Mercato, and Sullivan’s Castle Island, not to mention newer local groups like Smoke Shop BBQ, Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood, and Greco. All of the vendors are counter-service except for one, Momosan — a sit-down Japanese restaurant from Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef fame, featuring ramen and more.
  • Ōmori Izakaya and Sushi: It’s only been a couple years since Ōmori Izakaya debuted in Brookline Village, but the Japanese pub has already expanded to Malden, where its booze-friendly snacks, particularly yakitori and kushiyaki (skewers of grilled meats), are making a splash. There’s plenty of sushi, too; try the chirashi for a good sampling. Keep an eye out for lunch specials and shochu-based cocktails.
  • Top Mix Bar & Kitchen: Looking for a bar with a lively soundtrack, a fusion of American and Caribbean cuisines, and “big ass cocktails for two”? The new Jamaica Plain location of Top Mix Bar & Kitchen is your spot; it expanded from Roxbury in late 2021, serving everything from plantain lasagna and mofongo to boba martinis.

Retired in January 2022

  • The Banks Fish House: Whether one is looking to sip rosé at a bar and snack on chowder flatbread or have a fancy date night over a caviar-and-shellfish tower or host a seafood-filled private event, Back Bay newcomer the Banks Fish House wants to fill pretty much all seafood-related dining needs. Sibling to nearby steakhouse Grill 23, the Banks hits similar upscale notes (but don’t worry — there’s also some fried seafood for a real New England-y feel). And make note for the winter: There are multiple fireplaces.
  • Coquette: COJE Management Group (Lolita, Mariel, Yvonne’s, Ruka) makes really pretty restaurants, and its newest, Coquette, is no exception. Located at the Omni Boston Hotel, the coastal French- and Basque-inspired restaurant is full of floral decor in light pastels, not to mention quirky cupids and other artistic touches. As for the food, diners will find shellfish towers; snacks like borek spring rolls and Basque cured ham; tarte flambée-inspired flatbreads; small plates like braised beef cheeks and wild boar sticky ribs; and bigger feasts, like a two-pound baked stuffed lobster.
  • Judy’s Bay: New England meets Japan at Judy’s Bay, an izakaya-style restaurant that highlights locally sourced seafood in dishes like Maine mussels with gochujang butter and whole steamed Rhode Island black sea bass with miso soup, sesame salad, and edamame. The Judy’s Bay team, wife-and-husband duo Kim Vo and Lukas Dow, have previously appeared around the area with an Asian-inspired barbecue pop-up.
  • Menya Jiro: The Boston area has plenty of ramen options, but diners are always eager to welcome one more. One of the newest additions is Menya Jiro, a Japan-based chain with a Brooklyn location and two more planned for the Boston area. Menya Jiro’s broth is made from both pork and chicken (although a miso vegetable base is also available), and chashu pork is a main ingredient. Diners can accompany their ramen with sides like pork belly buns and takoyaki.
  • Zuzu’s Petals: Leave the cellphone at home: It’s not allowed at Zuzu’s Petals, a new wine and dessert bar in Inman Square that wants you to live in the moment, sipping a glass of something special while digging into irresistible versions of classic desserts like tiramisu and creme brulee.

Retired in December 2021

  • Bar Enza: “Neo-trattoria” Bar Enza, located inside the Charles Hotel, is a homecoming for chef Mark Ladner, a Belmont native who went on to gain much acclaim for his work in New York, especially at Del Posto. At Bar Enza, he is “celebrating the spirit of the Italian table” — drawing inspiration from Italian and Italian-American dishes from various regions — with a menu heavy on bar snacks and both fresh and dried pastas. As the restaurant ramps up in its early weeks, Ladner is adding more entrees to the menu, too, and his famous 100-layer lasagna from his Del Posto days will be available soon.
  • Drifter’s Tale: Inman Square’s new gastropub Drifter’s Tale aims to take diners around the world by way of global street foods, from Argentinian empanadas to moules frites to falafel bites. The dirty bird and seafood paella are proving to be popular hits among early visitors, too. (Note: Still trying to recover your mug from the mug club from Bukowski Tavern, which was previously located in this space? The Drifter’s Tale team is keeping it safe for you — stop by.)
  • Hunter’s Kitchen & Bar: Hunter’s Kitchen & Bar is Boston’s newest spot where one can eat chicken and waffles, gumbo, and shrimp and grits among taxidermy, fireplaces, and other hunter’s lodge-inspired decor. Located in the former Junction space, it comes from the team behind Lincoln Tavern, Loco Taqueria, Capo, and Fat Baby, which basically owns all of South Boston at this point.
  • Nautilus Pier 4: On Nantucket, the Nautilus has long been a coveted reservation; its seasonal menu, which draws from a wide net of Asian and Latin influences, is a hit, as are its cocktails. It now has a counterpart in Boston’s Seaport District, Nautilus Pier 4, featuring nautical vibes, waterfront views, and a familiar-but-not-identical selection of Nautilus top hits and new additions. There are shiso hand rolls with black bass tartare, for example, as well as spicy Sichuan-style dandan noodles, XO clam tagliatelle, and whole roasted Peking duck.

Retired in November 2021

  • Littleburg: Pop-up-turned-restaurant Littleburg is a tiny vegan takeout and meal delivery spot in a sort of hidden Somerville garage. If that doesn’t immediately sound like your thing, give it a chance anyway: Drawing inspiration from Mediterranean food, Littleburg serves vegan food unlike any you’ve tried before, the kind that’ll make even the most ardent carnivore happily forego meat for a meal.
  • Premiere on Broadway: Those who have followed chef Dan Bazzinotti’s career from Bisq to Eataly know that his charcuterie is a must. He’s at the helm of new Magoun Square restaurant and music venue Premiere on Broadway, showcasing a mix of house-made and imported charcuterie, local cheeses, and more on a big antipasti board alongside a menu of Italian-American hits. Longtime fans also know to seek out Bazzinotti’s Peruvian beef hearts; at Premiere, one can add them to the gnocchi dish, which is served with corn and smoked ricotta.

Retired in October 2021

  • Brasserie: South End brasserie Gaslight closed during the pandemic, but a new brasserie, appropriately dubbed Brasserie, has opened in its space. The ownership is partially the same — Jeff Gates recently departed from the Aquitaine Group, which included Gaslight, to form SoWa Dining Group, which includes Brasserie — but it’s not meant to be a straight-up reboot. Under executive chef Nick Intonti, an Aquitaine alum, Brasserie serves French classics as well as French twists on New England classics. Think bouillabaisse, escargot, and tartare alongside Maine lobster croissants.
  • Cloud & Spirits: Korean food meets New American food by chef Katie Cheung at this new Cambridge restaurant; Cheung’s training in French and Italian cuisines also plays into the menu, which includes dishes like a kimchi butter spaghetti and a steak tartare with pear, sesame, and gochujang. Creative cocktails round out the menu, like a miso-spiked soju and vodka drink.
  • Jinny’s Pizzeria: This Newton Centre pizzeria comes from Lydia Reichert and the team behind Newton favorites Buttonwood, Little Big Diner, and Sycamore. Jinny’s, which is named for Reichert’s grandmother, specializes in American-style, Neapolitan-inspired pizza. The pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven at 700 degrees Fahrenheit and have a charred outer crust and a pillowy interior. There’s a full liquor license, and there’s a good list of local beers.

Retired in September 2021

  • Contessa: With roots in New York and restaurants worldwide, a major food group called Major Food Group has swept into town with a glamorous rooftop restaurant on Newbury Street, Contessa. The focus is on northern Italian food, from dry-aged bistecca fiorentina to tortellini en brodo, and in a nod to the restaurant’s home, there’s Boston cream pie bomboloni on the dessert menu. Reservations are encouraged — and pretty much completely booked up for the next month. Try snagging a seat at the bar at an odd hour.
  • Cut 21: Revere Beach keeps getting hotter. Restaurateur Michael Aldi has followed up his beachfront restaurants Dryft and Fine Line with a swanky spot called Cut 21 that is impressing early crowds. Expect plenty of seafood, such as lobster Rockefeller, as well as steak, cocktails, and more from Aldi and executive chef Greg Reeves (who owns excellent Cambridge Italian restaurant Viale). Don’t miss the cool little lounge, too.
  • The Pearl: The Pearl, a new arrival at Dorchester’s South Bay, is currently the development’s sole non-chain restaurant option, and it’s making a strong impression on early visitors. The seafood grill and raw bar offers shellfish-laden platters, lobster rolls, clam fra diavolo and other seafood pastas, and more, as well as cocktails.
  • Penang: Penang, one of the area’s only Malaysian restaurants, has expanded from Boston’s Chinatown out to the former Tiki House space in Waltham, where it’s serving classics like roti canai, nasi lemak, Hainanese chicken rice, fried red snapper with a variety of sauces, and more.

Retired in August 2021

  • Donut Villa Diner: This sequel to a Malden favorite has doughnuts, of course, but it also has something for nearly every brunch appetite, whether that’s a cheeseburger served on a griddled doughnut or something a little bit lighter, like avocado toast. There’s also one of the largest vegan menus in town. Stay tuned for the launch of dinner service, coming soon.
  • Perillas: Perillas has quite a fanbase at its tiny shop at Somerville’s Bow Market, where it serves a no-frills menu of takeout bibimbap, where the only choices are beef or veggie and whether to add an egg. Now it has expanded to Allston — and slightly expanded its offerings at the new location. Try the new samgyupsal, what Perillas describes as “Korean barbecue in a bowl.” It’s grilled pork belly with scallion salad, barbecue paste, kimchi cucumbers, and sesame oil over white rice.
  • Pho Viet’s: This Vietnamese spot was an Allston favorite for years and years when it operated inside the Super 88 food hall in Packards Corner. It recently moved and reopened just blocks away, adjacent to the Boston University campus on Commonwealth Avenue. As the name might suggest, Pho Viet’s is known for its excellent pho. But its banh mi is among the best in the city, and it should not be missed. Pho Viet’s operates a second location in Newton.
  • Turkish Lazuri Cafe: One of several Turkish restaurants to open recently in the area, Turkish Lazuri Cafe is serving Mediterranean halal food alongside American food, with a full range of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options available. You’ll find chocolate chip pancakes, fish and chips, and chicken marsala, but there’s also menemen, a Turkish egg dish; kofte wraps; cheese pide; baklava; and lots more. Early visitors have been praising the huge portions and friendly staff.
  • Wakuwaku: Bostonians are always happy for a new ramen option, like this recent arrival to Chinatown. Wakuwaku offers a variety of ramen styles — tonkotsu, shio, mazemen, and more — along with a handful of sides, such as takoyaki, duck buns, and gyoza. There’s sake, too.

Retired in July 2021

  • The Capital Burger: Sure, this one’s part of a non-local mini chain (and sibling to the larger non-local chain the Capital Grille), but Bostonians are finding a lot to enjoy in the Capital Burger’s early weeks. Since opening at the end of March 2021, the full-service restaurant has been serving up fancy burgers and boozy milkshakes in an expansive space on Newbury Street, with many early visitors finding the burgers to be among Boston’s best.
  • Fiya Chicken: Allston is the spot for Korean fried chicken in Boston, and this newcomer just solidifies that fact. Fiya Chicken opened in December 2020 and offers twice-fried chicken in many forms (wing, tender, and sandwich), as well as corndogs fried in pancake batter. You read that last bit correctly.
  • Mooncusser: Mooncusser isn’t exactly new — the swanky seafood restaurant debuted back in summer 2017 as Mooncusser Fish House — but it now boasts a shorter name and a new chef, Carl Dooley, who earned much acclaim at the Table at Season to Taste in Cambridge. Like at the Table, Dooley is focusing on a seasonal four-course prix fixe menu at Mooncusser rather than an a la carte menu. June diners will find dishes such as local scallop congee with snow peas, fried peanuts, and jalapeno; spiced local cod with a tomato and coconut curry and summer squash; and a dark chocolate semifreddo with poached cherries for dessert.
  • Venice Pizza: Savin Hill’s original Venice Pizza — a decades-old Dorchester institution — closed in 2019, but it has been resurrected under new ownership, including brothers Joshua and Todd Winer (of wood-fired pizzeria Pastoral) and John Taxiarchis (of Neptune Oyster). In addition to the thin-crust pizza, a New York-style hybrid, there are also sandwiches and sides on the menu, including wings brined in the whey from the mozzarella used on the pizzas.
  • Zuru Zuru Ramen & Donburi: This Japanese spot in Malden specializes in ramen and donburi, a rice bowl that is typically topped with ingredients such as pork katsu, chicken katsu, fish, sauteed onions, and eggs. Zuru Zuru’s tonkotsu broth cooks for 18 hours, and the restaurant offers five spiciness levels. It’s the latest entry in Greater Boston’s already excellent ramen scene. Zuru Zuru is a sibling to another excellent Malden restaurant, Crying Thaiger.

Retired in June 2021

  • Cicada Coffee Bar: Chef and co-owner Vinh Le and co-owner Duong Huynh, who are also behind the Nem Kitchen pop-up, recently opened their gorgeous Vietnamese coffee bar on Prospect Street in Cambridge. There’s no WiFi, but there’s a zen garden, and there’s excellent coffee too. Try the “Sea Salt Shaker” (iced coffee brewed with a phin filter and mixed with sea salt and sweetened condensed milk) or the “Sai Gon Latte” (iced coffee — also brewed with a phin filter — with sweetened condensed milk and oat milk), snack on banh mi, and log off — at least for a little while.
  • Dolma Mediterranean Cuisine: It’s a good time to be a Turkish food fan in the Boston area (also see Turkish Lazuri Cafe above.) Dolma Mediterranean Cuisine opened in March 2021 in Brookline from chef and owner Yesim Otsuz, who honed her culinary skills in Turkey’s coastal Antalya province. There are dolma (stuffed peppers) on the menu, of course, as well as moussaka, vegan kofte, doner wraps, manti, and lots more.
  • Stoked Pizza Co.: Brookline favorite Stoked Pizza Co. has expanded to Cambridge, where it’s not using a wood-fired oven (unlike the original location and food truck), but the pizza is just as fantastic, and all the other aspects of the Brookline spot carry over, including a solid beer list and plenty of vegan options. On the non-vegan side, though, the must-try is the diced pepperoni pizza drizzled with Mike’s Hot Honey.
  • Underdog Hot Chicken: There’s no denying this truth: Allston is the city’s best neighborhood for fried chicken. Underdog Hot Chicken, which opened recently in the space formerly occupied by Kim’s Tofu, further illustrates that fact. The hot chicken spot does fried chicken with five different heat levels in sandwich, tender, wing, and drumstick form, along with sides like coleslaw made with kale, mac and cheese, potato salad, and fried pickles. The restaurant also has a location in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Retired in May 2021

  • Be Okay Bagels: Be Okay Bagels is a new-ish pop-up in Jamaica Plain, and it’s currently operating out of the Little Dipper space on Centre Street. Head that way for everything bagels and poppyseed bagels and plain bagels but especially for a jalapeño cheddar bagel slathered with cilantro lime cream cheese.
  • Geppetto: Chef and owner Will Gilson’s sprawling new three restaurant compound at Cambridge Crossing is now complete, with Geppetto opening in mid-January 2021. The Italian restaurant joins siblings Café Beatrice and the Lexington in the building at 100 N First St. Geppetto’s opening menu includes Sicilian-style pizza, a meatball sub, a braised pork and broccoli rabe sandwich, tortellini soup, lasagna, and more.
  • Ghost King Thai: Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer are using their Toro space in the South End to make Thai-style hot fried chicken. Along with buckets of hot fried chicken, Ghost King also offers som tum (green papaya salad), sticky rice, and shrimp chips. Check the pop-up’s Instagram for updates.
  • Mikkusu Sando: The Blackfin Collective launched a “hibernation opening” in January for its forthcoming restaurant Cloud & Spirits, which will eventually occupy the former Cuchi Cuchi space (795 Main St., Central Square, Cambridge). For now, executive chef Katie Cheung is operating a ghost kitchen called Mikkusu, which specializes in sandwiches made with shokupan, a soft Japanese milk bread. The pork katsu sandwich is the play here (Mikkusu also offers a vegetarian version made with zucchini). Check Mikkusu’s website Wednesday through Sunday at 11 a.m. when the menu goes live — these sandwiches tend to disappear quickly.
  • Tiger Sugar: The drinks at this Taiwanese boba chain are infinitely photogenic. Tiger Sugar specializes in brown sugar-spiked boba tea, combining brown sugar syrup with milk and slow-cooked tapioca pearls to make its signature drink. The end result is a tiger-striped boba that is borderline too pretty to drink. But by all means, go drink one.

Retired April 2021

  • La Saison Bakery: In new bakery news, La Saison Bakery arrived near Fresh Pond in November 2020, although its roots stretch back to 2000 in Tehran, Iran, where Soheil Fathi got his start delivering his mother’s baked goods to local coffee shops. He later grew the business and opened a high-end chocolate shop in Tehran, also called La Saison. He arrived in Cambridge a few years back, working at Flour Bakery before opening the new incarnation of La Saison with co-owner Sarah Moridpour; they showcase sourdough breads, cookies, brownies, and more.
  • Tora Ramen: There’s always room for more ramen in Boston, particularly now that the colder weather has arrived. Chinatown’s excellent Tora Japanese Restaurant, which focuses on seafood-topped rice bowls called kaisen don, has a new ramen-focused spinoff, Tora Ramen. The opening menu includes black garlic tonkotsu ramen, spicy miso ramen, and more, as well as a few non-ramen options such as gyoza and crab croquettes.
  • Hen Chicken Rice: The menu is exceedingly simple here: Hen Chicken Rice only serves several variations on khao man gai — the Thai version of the famous Southeast Asian dish known as Hainanese chicken rice (and several other names, depending on which country you’re in). Ginger rice is topped with boiled, crispy, or spicy and crispy chicken; that’s essentially it, aside from the accoutrements like dipping sauces and a warming daikon soup. Do one thing and do it well.

Retired March 2021

  • Faces Brewing Co.: In the Boston area’s crowded brewery scene, Malden’s new arrival, Faces Brewing Co., is already making a splash. From the Martignetti family, who have deep hospitality industry roots in the area (RIP Lanes and Games), Faces is serving a crowd-pleasing lineup of beers — several New England IPAs, of course, but also fruity kettle sours, an Irish stout, a hefeweizen, and more. Food, too, is an easy winner: burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, pizzas, and the like. Faces Brewing Co. is currently offering outdoor and indoor dining, as well as takeout and can sales to go.
  • Turenne Bakery and Cafe: Operating out of the T&B Pizza space in Somerville’s Union Square in a pandemic-era “ghost kitchen”-style pivot, Turenne was created exclusively for takeout and delivery, featuring wood-fired bagels, French-inspired baked goods, salad, and smoothies by day and rotating wine dinners for two by night. Try a pretzel-everything bagel stacked high with house-smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, cucumber, capers, and dill. Turenne is currently open for takeout and delivery.
  • Lionheart Confections: Pastry chef Kate Holowchik — who has been impressing dessert fans for years at restaurants in and around Boston (Yvonne’s, the Townshend, Lincoln Tavern, etc.) — has newly launched her own pastry pop-up in late 2020. Keep an eye on Instagram for event announcements. Holowchik’s pop-ups often center around over-the-top doughnuts in flavors such as “secret breakfast,” a whiskey honey-dipped vanilla brioche doughnut with whiskey caramel, sea salt and cornflakes. Lionheart Confections is currently popping up in and around Boston; pre-ordering is sometimes required. Watch social media for details.
  • Bánh Mì Ơi: Yeanie Bach and Phi Pham have been busy during the pandemic: They turned their Vietnamese coffee pop-up, Cafe Phinista, into a brick-and-mortar location, taking over the former Neighborhoods Coffee and Crepes in Fenway, and they also opened a new banh mi shop in West Roxbury. Located in the former Bánh Mì Ngon space, Bánh Mì Ơi is quickly building a fanbase for its casual selection of banh mi, pho, vermicelli bowls, and more. The shop also carries some of the coffee and tea options from its Fenway sibling. Bánh Mì Ơi is currently offering takeout and delivery.

Retired in February 2021

  • Café Beatrice and the Lexington: The area near Lechmere in East Cambridge is a mess of construction and will be for quite some time, but new restaurants are already sprouting up inside of the Cambridge Crossing development there, including Café Beatrice and the Lexington, two thirds of an ambitious trio of new spots — together forming “a hotel with no rooms” — from the Puritan & Co. team. For those craving an Italian grinder croissant, salted hazelnut sticky bun, pan pizza by the slice, or sandwich such as a roasted pumpkin grilled cheese or a Cuban, Café Beatrice is your new breakfast and lunch destination. For dinner, the Lexington is serving dishes like glazed Swedish meatballs, French onion soup grilled cheese, and grilled pork chops. Café Beatrice is currently offering takeout, delivery. The Lexington also offers takeout and delivery (at the same online ordering link) Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. till 8 p.m.
  • Servia: It’s a daring time to open in the heart of the Financial District when so many office workers are still at home, but Servia is now up and running, bringing modern Eastern Mediterranean to the neighborhood with a full schedule of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast and lunch are particularly takeout-friendly, while dinner is meant to be more of an upscale, sit-down experience for those who are comfortable dining inside. Ozcan Ozan, of downtown Boston’s now-defunct Turkish gem Sultan’s Kitchen, is working closely with Servia’s chef, Claudio Cavalleri, on the menu. Servia is currently offering takeout and indoor dining.
  • Peka: Brighton’s longtime Green Briar space is now home to a Latin American restaurant, Peka, from owner Katiuska Valiente. Pedro Alarcon of the now-defunct La Casa de Pedro in Watertown and Boston is also involved. Peka highlights several different Latin American cuisines, with dishes such as Venezuela’s pabellón criollo (shredded beef with rice and beans), Cuban roasted pork, and more. Peka is currently offering indoor dining, takeout, and delivery.
  • Pearl & Lime: Popular Quincy Center restaurant the Townshend has a new sibling, also in Quincy: Pearl & Lime. From Drink alums Palmer Matthews and Devin Adams, Pearl & Lime features raw bar items and street food inspired by Caribbean, Central American, and South American cuisines — think birria tacos; bone marrow a la plancha with huitlacoche; and street corn bowls. Chef Pedro Fuentes is also making pastelillos, empanada-like Puerto Rican turnovers, under his brand Los Fuentes Pastelillos. Pearl & Lime is currently offering takeout, outdoor dining (weather permitting), and indoor dining by reservation.

Retired in January 2021

  • Tambo 22: Chef Jose Duarte opened Tambo 22 just two weeks before Massachusetts restaurants closed for dine-in service in March 2020. No newcomer to the local dining scene, Duarte ran Peruvian-meets-Italian restaurant Taranta in Boston’s North End for 20 years before closing it in August 2020 as a result of the pandemic’s effects on tourism, corporate events, sports, and more. But fortunately for fans of Duarte’s cooking, Tambo 22 lives on. Located in Chelsea, the new Peruvian restaurant hits the classics — ceviche, lomo saltado, etc. — exceptionally well, but the absolute must-try is the banana leaf-wrapped paiche, an Amazonian freshwater fish Duarte has been praising for years (with good reason).
  • Colette Bakery: Eclairs, croissants, quiche, breads, and more: Colette Bakery arrived in Medford in the spring, wowing the city with its French baked goods. (The owners hail from the south of France.) Keep an eye out for specials like kouign-amann, a Breton pastry only available on weekends. Note: Colette Bakery has no relation to Colette Wine Bistro, the French restaurant in Cambridge’s Porter Square.
  • Kantipur Cafe: In the works since summer 2017, Kantipur Cafe finally opened in summer 2020, serving Nepalese, Indian, and American food, perfect for nights when you’re craving momo but your partner wants a meat lovers pizza. (As co-owner Rojal Shrestha told The Boston Globe, his family ran pizzerias back in Michigan before moving to Massachusetts.) Chicken Manchurian, momo, and samosas have been especially popular with customers so far.
  • Earnest Drinks/Gracie’s Ice Cream: Union Square’s Gracie’s Ice Cream has expanded to Kendall Square, and the new location has something extra: a boozy cafe, Earnest Drinks, plus more food (aside from ice cream). 2020 certainly calls for pandan whiskey frappes, lambrusco floats, ham and butter sandwiches, and lawn flamingos, all of which can be purchased here.
  • Mimi’s Chūka Diner: During the pandemic, the Boston area has seen a number of pop-ups debut or ramp up their efforts with takeout, delivery, and occasionally in-person events around town. One of the most active newcomers has been Mimi’s Chūka Diner, serving Japanese-style Chinese cuisine — chūka ryori — with a focus on dumplings. With weekly frozen dumpling delivery around the Boston area and pop-ups at restaurants such as Idle Hour in Quincy, Black Lamb in Boston’s South End, and Create Cocktail Lounge & Gallery at Somerville’s Bow Market, Mimi’s has been busy, and popular, in recent months. B&G Oysters alums Ted Woo and Jon Awerman are behind the pop-up.
  • Petrova Chocolates: Like Mimi’s, Petrova Chocolates doesn’t have a physical storefront. The new local chocolate company comes from Betty Petrova, who also works at Uni in Boston’s Back Bay (chocolate pickup is available there weekly.) Watch Instagram for updates on when boxes of Petrova’s beautiful small-batch chocolates are available, as they tend to sell out quickly; custom ordering is also available for events.
  • Cobble: Cobble is an Italian-inspired BYOB venue centered around private and semi-private indoor dinner parties, where groups of five or more have a room to themselves and groups of two to four may share a room with just one other group. The space, nestled on the second floor of the Arcade building in Coolidge Corner, feels supremely homey. The multi-course menu changes monthly and may feature dishes such as a curried lentil soup; potato gnocchi with winter vegetables and black truffles; and duck ragu with spicy smoked apples. There’s also a weekly takeout dinner for two (very limited quantities — order ahead of time) available for Saturday pickup.
  • My Happy Hunan Kitchen: Boston’s Chinese food scene tends to lean in the Sichuan direction; there are not too many dedicated Hunan restaurants. My Happy Hunan Kitchen joined the fray in spring 2020, replacing Feng Shui in Cleveland Circle, with Hunan natives Wei Ding and De Wu in the kitchen. (Wu is an alum of one of the only other local restaurants dedicated to spicy Hunan cuisine, Cambridge’s Sumiao Hunan Kitchen.) The extensive menu includes dishes such as stir-fried pork liver with leeks; brown sugar bao; fried sticky rice cakes; Juewei duck necks; and lots more.
  • Mahaniyom: Boston’s Thai food scene is in the midst of a renaissance, and one of the latest openings, Brookline Village’s Mahaniyom, is keeping that momentum going — and adding creative cocktails on the side. This funky “Thai tapas” bar, which debuted just a few weeks before the state’s restaurants shut down for dine-in service, is serving small plates that can’t really be found elsewhere in the Boston area. The menu is outstanding throughout, but definitely zero in on the green papaya pad thai, goi nuaa tartare (when available), and the brightly flavored seasonal salad, currently yum ngoh (rambutan salad). Might as well throw in an order of the Hat Yai-style fried chicken, too.
  • Thistle & Leek: Wife-and-husband chef duo Kate and Trevor Smith have fine-dining backgrounds — they met working at the Craigie on Main precursor Craigie Street Bistrot — but their now-open dream restaurant, Thistle & Leek, aims to be more of a casual, cozy spot for its Newton neighborhood. It’s an homage to the London gastropubs at which the Smiths spent much of their honeymoon, so diners will find dishes like crispy lamb pastry with apple butter; chilled pumpkin custard with Maine uni; duck and foie gras terrine with poached pear; and pork schnitzel with fingerlings. Sure, a little bit upscale, but also comforting and hearty.
  • 50Kitchen: 50Kitchen is a redemption story for its chef and owner, Anthony Caldwell, who journeyed through addiction and prison to reach this point. But it’s also a straight-up good restaurant, wowing early crowds with a comforting fusion of Asian and Southern cuisines. “I needed to find something that speaks to the black community and to the Vietnamese community [in Dorchester],” said Caldwell, and that means dishes like banh mi made with smoked brisket, jambalaya egg rolls, and kimchi made with collard greens. Pre-pandemic, Dorchester was looking forward to a solid 2020 on the new restaurant front; other restaurants are facing delays, but 50Kitchen opened up shortly before everything shut down, and the city is lucky to have it.
  • Ivory Pearl: Ran Duan and his team are known for their inventive cocktails at the acclaimed Baldwin Bar in Woburn and Blossom Bar in Brookline. At their new endeavor Ivory Pearl, also in Brookline, the team is serving cocktails that are inspired by wine, including carbonated options meant to resemble sparkling wine. As for the food, it’s mainly seafood, with plenty of raw bar items and larger platters like a Dover sole for two.
  • Delini Gelato: It’s a good time to live in West Roxbury; not only is there a new banh mi option, there’s also a new gelato shop that’s been turning heads since its opening in June. Delini Gelato — from founder Victoria Petkova, a Bulgarian native who moved to Boston for love — is a self-described “new wave” gelato shop featuring simple, locally sourced ingredients and compostable and biodegradable packaging. A dozen small-batch flavors rotate daily; check the day’s offerings online for options such as mango lassi, baklava, salted caramel, fall pear, and pistachio.

Retired in December 2020

  • Atlántico: Atlántico — a flashy new addition to the South End from the team behind Select Oyster Bar and Grand Tour — is off to a strong start with its seafood-heavy selection of Spanish- and Portuguese-inspired small plates. Whether diners want to piece together a feast of crudos, conservas, and tapas or splurge on a big portion of paella, there’s something for every enthusiast of the cuisines of the Iberian Peninsula here, with a focus on simple preparations of well-sourced ingredients. (Note: Weekdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., the restaurant turns into a cafe, featuring pastries by South End favorite Cafe Madeleine.)
  • Comfort Kitchen (popping up at Tanám in November 2020): Eventually slated to open in Dorchester, serving global comfort food, Comfort Kitchen is currently on a pop-up spree, putting down temporary roots at various restaurants in and around Boston; November’s schedule involves Mondays and Tuesdays at Tanám in Somerville (where this map point is pinned). Profits from the pop-up series are being split among three local groups: Urban Farming Institute, Boston Cyclists Union, and Student Immigrant Movement. It’s a can’t-miss introduction to the eventual restaurant — catch it now in Somerville, or watch Instagram for details on next moves. The current menu celebrates spices with flavorful dishes such as jollof rice with braised goat, suya kababs, and momo.

Retired in October 2020
Heatmap updates were paused between March and October 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Chalawan Asian Eatery: The team behind the now-closed Vietnamese and Thai restaurant Pho House has revamped its space into Chalawan, debuting a flashier interior and a broader look at modern Southeast Asian cuisine, with influences from Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar, and other cuisines that are underrepresented in the Boston area. Despite its relatively quiet debut, this was one of the most exciting openings of 2019, wowing diners with dishes like beef cheek rendang, snapper dumplings, and seared scallops with caramelized duck. Boston’s appetite for Southeast Asian cuisine is growing, and Chalawan is one of several excellent restaurants answering the call. Read more: A Pho Restaurant in Cambridge Is Reborn With a Broader Look at Southeast Asian Food
  • Grand Tour: The follow-up to Michael Serpa’s successful Select Oyster Bar, Grand Tour pairs Parisian bistro sensibilities with American wines in a charmingly narrow Back Bay space. There’s a subtle hint of a bicycle theme in the decor (and in the restaurant’s name, a reference to three major cycling races) and plenty of Paris on the menu, from excellent steak frites to foie gras torchon. It’s poised to be a strong addition to the bustling Newbury Street area, especially for high rollers seeking upscale French in an energetic atmosphere. Read more: A Restaurant Inspired by Parisian Bistros Arrives on Newbury Street, and There Is Escargot Pie
  • Ittoku: Allston’s loss is Cambridge’s gain: Popular Japanese izakaya Ittoku moved across the river, and it has picked up right where it left off, serving a gigantic and affordable menu of skewers, sushi, and lots of other booze-friendly snacks to pair with sake and sochu. The crowds are loving dishes such as the juicy chicken skin skewers (torikawa yakitori), okonomiyaki, and salmon skin oroshi. Find Ittoku inside the Japanese food-packed Porter Exchange food hall; it’s in the largest space, where Blue Fin (and briefly Wafu-Ya) used to be. Read more: Allston’s Favorite Izakaya Completes Its Move Across the River
  • Krasi: Whether one is a Greek wine connoisseur or just looking for a lively night out with friends, sipping on ouzo and snacking on flavorful Greek small plates, Krasi will do the trick: The wine list is impressive, and the food matches. Definitely participate in the tableside tzatziki service (yep, like tableside guacamole) — choose your own garlic level — and order one or five portions of the htipiti, a feta dip with crispy chicken skins. This new addition to Back Bay is noisy, crowded, and pure fun. Read more: A Greek Wine Bar With Tableside Tzatziki Service Is Opening in Back Bay
  • Lulu Green: Vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike are loving this completely vegan, fast-casual addition to South Boston. Drawing inspiration from Middle Eastern cuisines, the restaurant is open all the time — breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as all-day weekend brunch — filling up the neighborhood with meatless and dairy-and-egg-free sandwiches, snacks, pastries, and lots more. Curious diners will find flavorful options such as Turkish coffee cardamom cherry muffins; coconut yogurt parfait with strawberry-rose jam and almond-date olive oil granola; and barbecue cauliflower sandwiches with pickled broccoli rabe and muhammara. Read more: Southie Is Geting a New Vegan Restaurant
  • Manoa Poke Shop: Fans mourned the closure of Manoa at the beginning of 2019; the hospitable poke shop was not just one of the first in the Boston area, it was one of the best. Fortunately, the restaurant reopened in late 2019 (weekends only, at least for now), and fans are celebrating the return of Manoa’s popular fried chicken, pineapple cake, and, of course, poke. Don’t miss the chile salmon belly special when available. Read more: A Popular Somerville Poke Shop Is Reopening
  • Mariel: The team behind downtown Boston’s new Cuban restaurant, Mariel, knows how to design beautiful restaurant spaces; they’re also behind eye-catching venues Yvonne’s, Ruka, and Lolita. Bostonians are clamoring to get into the high-ceilinged ode to Cuban cocktails and cuisine, which counts four different mojitos on its menu, along with must-try dishes like Havanese lamb belly, pan queso frito, and fufu gnocchi. Downstairs, there’s Mariel Underground, a nightclub. Read more: A Beautiful Cuban restaurant Opens Downtown Tonight
  • Rochambeau: Boston has seen the opening of several excellent French restaurants in the last few years (see Grand Tour above), but Rochambeau’s arrival is certainly welcome: The attractively designed and massive Back Bay space is suitable for date nights and large parties alike, and the menu hits a lot of the expected French brasserie notes well while also adding some unexpected items, like poutine made with the meat of a whole lobster or chermoula fluke or za’atar cauliflower. French food devotees will especially enjoy the onion soup gratinee and Rohan duck breast a l’orange. Read more: A French Brasserie Opens in Back Bay
  • Woods Hill Pier 4: A popular pair of farm-to-table restaurants from Concord now has a glitzy Seaport District sibling with irresistible waterfront views: Woods Hill Pier 4, located on the former site of the historic Anthony’s Pier 4, opened in late 2019, featuring food so locally sourced that much of it is from the restaurant group’s own sibling farm in New Hampshire. Owner Kristin Canty’s philosophy is that she didn’t open restaurants to be a restaurant owner, she opened restaurants to support farmers. (She is also the filmmaker behind a documentary called Farmageddon: The Unseen War on American Family Farms.) From the bounty of New England produce and meats, Woods Hill is serving beautiful renditions of pastas, crudos, and lots more; the dry-aged Woods Hill Farm duck breast and crispy confit is a worthy splurge. Read more: A Truly Farm-to-Table Restaurant Arrives in the Seaport

Retired in March 2020

  • Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen: After nearly three years in the works — and 400 pop-up events — Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen is finally open in Brighton. The brewery puts as much importance on food as on beer, focusing on pickles, sausage, and grilled cheese (there are even grilled cheese flights.) Plus, the beer and food are tied together in a variety of ways, such as sourdough bread made with the same malt as several of Brato’s beers. Read more: A Long-Awaited Brighton Brewery Is Open, and There Are Grilled Cheese Flights
  • Dryft: A bit north of the city, Dryft is making waves at a new beachfront development in Revere. The swankily designed restaurant appropriately focuses on seafood, given its waterfront location, and there’s also plenty of pasta. There’s been talk of a beachside takeout kitchen serving Neapolitan pizza, too: Stay tuned for updates on that and Dryft’s forthcoming sibling/neighbor, Fine Line. Read more: Neapolitan Pizza Will Figure Prominently at New Revere Beach Restaurant
  • Lily P’s Fried Chicken and Oysters: Chef Chris Parsons is having a busy time: In July 2019, he opened a Back Bay seafood restaurant, and now he has a new fried-chicken-and-oyster joint, too — Lily P’s. (The latter is already set to expand, opening a food hall outpost at the forthcoming Hub Hall at the Hub on Causeway development in Boston’s West End.) The original Lily P’s location, newly opened in Kendall Square, is an energetic spot, featuring various fried chicken platters and sandwiches, a solid beer list, and amusements like Giant Jenga and table shuffleboard. Editor picks: a combination of a hot chicken and black pepper honey chicken two-piece tray with salad; corn bread. Read more: A New Fried Chicken Restaurant Is Open in Cambridge
  • Orfano: With a #sorrynonna hashtag on social media and a tagline that promises carbs, steaks, and martinis, Orfano is Italian American cuisine for the modern day, where an ambiance dripping with old-school glamor meets dishes like “pig parmesan,” crispy calamari with “dim sum dippy sauce,” and pizza lasagne. The new restaurant cements the Fenway empire-builder status of Big Heart Hospitality (Tiffani Faison and Kelly Walsh), also behind the neighborhood’s Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama, and Fool’s Errand. Editor picks: Nonna’s garlic bread with an order of parmesan mousse; meatballs alla Raia; lobster bucatini. Read more: Tiffani Faison’s Italian-American Restaurant Debuts in Fenway
  • Tsurutontan: Boston loves noodles, and now it has its fourth restaurant focused specifically on slippery, thick udon: Tsurutontan, a chain out of Osaka, Japan. (This is its fourth United States location.) Located at the Hotel Commonwealth, the new Tsurutontan is already exciting early visitors with its wide variety of udon but also an ample selection of sashimi and sushi, snacky bar food, and booze, including sake- and soju-based cocktails. Read more: Boston’s Newest Udon Restaurant Debuts in Kenmore Square

Retired in February 2020

  • Black Lamb: Black Lamb’s pedigree is solid: It’s the newest addition to the South End from the acclaimed restaurant team behind Bar Mezzana, Shore Leave, and No Relation, all also located in the South End. This is the team’s “love letter” to the neighborhood, a comfortable American brasserie that offers dishes like duck breast frites, a cheeseburger with caramelized onions, and raw bar items. Editor picks: lamb chops; duck breast frites. Read more: A South End Restaurant Family Debuts Its New Love Letter to the Neighborhood
  • Shy Bird: Branch Line has been a hit since opening in Watertown four years ago, easily bridging the gap between picky eaters who just want some rotisserie chicken with fried potatoes and eaters who want to get a little more adventurous (and don’t forget the funky beers.) Its new Kendall Square sibling, Shy Bird, is running with Branch Line’s successes — including rotisserie chicken and the popular snap pea salad, of course — but turning them into a worker-friendly formula, catering to the busy daytime neighborhood with all-day counter-service-ish dining (and wifi and outlets, if that’s what you need). Editor picks: sugar snap pea salad; fried chicken and egg sandwich; roasted cauliflower sandwich. Read more: Eat So Much Chicken Right Now in Kendall Square

Retired in January 2020

  • Ilona: Greek restaurant Kava Neo-Taverna has become quite a hit in the South End since opening three years ago. Part of its ownership team followed up with an intimate Back Bay ceviche bar, Puro, and has now brought a new restaurant to the South End, Ilona, which is quickly building up its own fanbase in its early months. Ilona focuses on the cuisines of the Eastern Mediterranean region, drawing influence from Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, Georgia, and Greece. Editor picks: adana lamb kebab; shish barak; haloumi. Read more: An Eastern Mediterranean Oasis Opens in the South End
  • Peregrine: The newest contender in the “it’s a restaurant in a hotel but not a hotel restaurant” category is Peregrine, located inside the Whitney Hotel in Beacon Hill and sibling to the acclaimed Juliet in Somerville. While hotel restaurants can often seem like an afterthought, Peregrine shows promise as the main attraction, featuring an ode to the Mediterranean with a special focus on the cuisines of Sardinia, Sicily, Corsica, and Catalonia. This established team knows how to serve a beautiful meal — give the new place a try for pastas, seafood, and more. It’s open all day, every day. Editor picks: black pepper and truffle tagliatelle al vongole; bisteca; beef tartare; Sicilian “sashimi.” Read more: Acclaimed Somerville Restaurant Team Brings Mediterranean Flavors to Beacon Hill

Retired in December 2019

  • Ghost Pepper: This taqueria and tequila bar, a new addition to Dorchester’s Savin Hill, comes from the team behind Savin Bar and Kitchen next door. It’s not as spicy as the name suggests — in fact, the only appearance ghost pepper makes on the menu is in a margarita made with Ghost tequila — but there’s plenty of flavor, from a roasted cauliflower taco with spicy labne to the Peruvian-inspired papas bravas. Early visitors have been raving about the street corn, the bright and colorful ambiance, and the margaritas. Read more: Ghost Pepper, a Taqueria and Tequila Bar, Is Open in Dorchester
  • Taqueria el Barrio: From Bisq co-owner Servio García and chef Alex Sáenz — who have also been busy opening a new Bisq outpost inside Fenway’s Time Out Market Boston — comes this Boston University-area taqueria, featuring Northwest Mexican-style tacos, plus tortas, quesadillas, and more, which can all be stuffed with fillings such as lengua, vegetarian chorizo, or chicharron. The team is making flour tortillas in-house. Read more: The Bisq Team Debuts a Taqueria Near Boston University

Retired in November 2019

  • The Emory: The Emory’s owner, Andy Kilgore, is a longtime Boston bartender, and he hopes his new Beacon Hill restaurant will have that special barroom energy and the feel of having a dinner party with friends. A dinner party that includes oysters, charcuterie, and a New England-style lobster bake, that is. Early visitors have been enjoying dishes such as baked potato beignets, Buffalo sweetbreads, and the burger. Read more: Have a Dinner Party With Friends at Beacon Hill’s Cozy New Hangout
  • Stillwater: Stillwater chef and owner Sarah Wade, a Chopped champion, built up a reputation for comfort food prowess at her previous gig as longtime chef at Lulu’s Allston. Now that she has her own place — a sizable downtown Boston space — she’s continuing in that vein, serving what she describes as “redefined comfort food,” from smoked pork mac and cheese to jelly doughnut creme brulee. Busy downtown workers will enjoy the grab-and-go lunch options, which come packed in a brown bag with an encouraging sticky note. Read more: A Giant Den of ‘Redefined Comfort Food’ Opens in Downtown Boston
  • Time Out Market Boston: There are 15 restaurants (and two bars) under one roof at Boston’s first food hall opening of 2019 (more food halls are coming), Time Out Market Boston. It’s bustling, it’s loud, and you’ll sit next to strangers — think Quincy Market, but with fancier plates, staff bussing tables, and some of the city’s best chefs serving luxurious lobster rolls, giant sandwiches, juicy burgers, and lots more. Editor picks: the Craigie “OG” at Craigie Burger; gremolata dumplings at Tasting Counter; Cajun karaage chicken sando at Ms. Cluck’s Deluxe Chicken & Dumplings; grilled lobster crispy nori tacos at Gogo Ya; uni arancini at Saltie Girl. Read more: Time Out Market Boston Arrives in Fenway, Bursting With Food and Drink

Retired in October 2019

  • The Oyster Club at the Heritage: The Oyster Club at the Heritage is chef Chris Parsons’ dream restaurant, a seafood restaurant in the heart of Boston, aimed at highlighting the bounty of New England seafood. Located in the former Doretta Taverna space, the Oyster Club features an oyster bar, a daily lobster special, tinned fish, a substantial selection of rosé, and nautical accents. Read more: Back Bay Is Getting a Swanky New Oyster Bar This Week
  • The Quiet Few: Five years after the closure of intimate Jeffries Point restaurant East Boston Kitchen, the neighborhood has a new hot spot in the same space: The Quiet Few has debuted with a winning combination of an extensive whiskey list and a food menu that covers the bar basics but isn’t afraid to get a little fancy. (Try adding East Boston Oysters caviar to the waffle fries or pickled eggs, for example.) Read more: A Whiskey Bar Is Officially Open in East Boston
  • Zuma: Local fans of Zuma locations in London, New York City, and beyond have been eager for the Boston location to finally open — it was first announced a year and a half ago — and now it is here, and it’s already one of the city’s toughest reservations to get. It joins a growing Boston-area scene of high-end Japanese restaurants, and early diners can’t get enough of the sushi, robata skewers, and more in the luxurious Back Bay space. Read more: London-Based Japanese Restaurant Chain Lands in Back Bay

Retired in September 2019

  • Avenue Kitchen & Bar: Somerville is currently under relentless construction, and bridge closures are affecting area businesses, especially around Ball and Magoun squares. The neighborhoods could use a boost (get yourselves over there, detours be damned), and fortunately a recent opening in Ball Square is helping to provide a bit of that boost: Avenue Kitchen & Bar. The cozy neighborhood joint specializes in Detroit-style pizza — a rarity around the Boston area — but also serves plenty of other comforting options, from mac and cheese to ramen. Editor pick: the reg pizza with pepperoni added. Read more: Detroit-Style Pizza Comes to Somerville
  • Fox and the Knife: The highly anticipated Italian enoteca from Myers + Chang alum Karen Akunowicz — who is also a James Beard award winner and a Top Chef alum — is already off to a ravishing start in South Boston: It’s one of the best new restaurants in America this year. The energy-packed Fox and the Knife feels like a party, and the early evening aperitivo time will quickly become a neighborhood mainstay. What better way to end the work day than with some prosciutto and an Aperol spritz? Editor picks: fried chile chickpeas; focaccia with taleggio; bietola and burrata; tagliatelle Bolognese; campanelle al pesto di pistacchio. Read more: Italian Flavors and Hospitality Shine at Fox & the Knife
  • Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar: Cambridge will quickly learn what Waltham already knows: Gustazo is a cool spot. The Cuban export from Waltham is settling in well at its expansion to Cambridge’s Porter Square in a multi-level space that was long home to the Elephant Walk. With an ambitious cocktail list by Backbar’s Sam Treadway, attractive decor, and a solid collection of flavorful Cuban small plates and entrees, Gustazo is going to make a mark on the neighborhood. Editor picks: empanada of the day; mariscada; maduros con bacon; queso frito; churros. Read more: A Cuban Favorite From Waltham Expands to Cambridge With Finely Tuned Cocktails
  • Kim’s Tofu: Allston is already a destination for good Korean food, but a new addition to the mix, Kim’s Tofu, is proving quite popular thanks to its made-from-scratch tofu, which is showcased in stews. Customers can pick their spice level and stew base, such as oysters, kimchi, or beef. The concise menu also includes galbi, mackerel, and a few other dishes. Read more: New Korean Restaurant in Allston Features Tofu Made From Scratch

Retired in August 2019

  • 9Zaab Thai Street Food: East Cambridge’s Pandan Leaf has revamped itself with some renovations, a new name (9Zaab), and more of a focus on Thai street food. (It has ties to Kor Tor Mor in Somerville, which also focuses on Thai street food, as well as a couple other local Thai restaurants.) It’s a worthy new contender in the Boston area’s burgeoning Thai street food scene — be sure to explore the many rice dishes, from khao mun gai to khao moo dang. Editor picks: sai ua; chicken butts. Read more: Thai Street Food Arrives in East Cambridge
  • Ciao Bella: Ciao Bella — sibling to Ward 8, Bodega Canal, and Tony & Elaine’s — began its life as the seafood-focused North Square Oyster. Following the successful opening of the red-saucy Italian-American throwback Tony & Elaine’s nearby, the team decided to convert North Square Oyster into more of an Italian restaurant. It’s in the North End, after all. Still, a bit of the North Square Oyster legacy remains at the bar, where customers can enjoy lobster rolls, crudos, oysters, natural wines, and more. Read more: A North End Oyster Bar Is Reborn as an Italian Restaurant Tonight
  • The Longfellow Bar at Alden & Harlow: The Longfellow Bar at Alden & Harlow is certainly one of the hottest cocktail destinations at the moment, but the sequel to Alden & Harlow and Waypoint shouldn’t be ignored as a proper dining destination as well. Bar snacks get a little fancy here — but not so fancy that utensils are required. The pigs ‘n’ blankets are made with cotechino sausage and black truffle; the waffle fries are optionally topped with pickled garlic salsa verde and espellete aioli; there’s ikura on the deviled eggs. Plus, the space is stunning. Editor picks: rellenong hipon; cotechino pigs ‘n’ blankets; reason to believe cocktail. Read more: Michael Scelfo’s New Bar Pairs Finger Food With History
  • T&B Pizza: Somerville is having a good month in the pizza department; newcomers Avenue (see above) and T&B Pizza both joined the scene. T&B — which stands for Tim and Bronwyn Wiechmann, who own Bronwyn a couple doors down from T&B — features not one but two styles of wood-fired pizza. There’s Neapolitan as well as Roman al taglio, with the latter a bit harder to find in the Boston area. The wood-fired theme carries into the restaurant’s decor: Tim Wiechmann drew inspiration from a Japanese method of charring wood for some of the restaurant’s furniture and art, which he built by hand from wood salvaged from the demolition of the space. Editor picks: margherita Neapolitan pizza; lobster and butter Roman pizza. Read more: Two Types of Wood-Fired Pizza Arrive in Somerville’s Union Square This Week

Retired in July 2019

  • Futago Udon: With ties to Davis Square sleeper hit Sugidama Soba, which focuses on the noodle in its name, Futago Udon has arrived to the Audubon Circle area, featuring a different Japanese noodle (yes, udon). It joins a small but growing group of local restaurants that center mainly around udon (see also: Yume Ga Arukara, Love Art Udon, and the forthcoming Tsurutontan.) Futago has a bit of fun with its hot and cold udon dishes, offering options such as the miso carbonara udon (creamy sauce with egg yolks, bacon, parmesan, and miso) and the uni cream udon (sea urchin cream sauce, uni, mentaiko, snow crab, and sesame). Editor pick: mad tiger udon. Read more: Futago Udon Fills Audubon Circle With Noodles
  • Mâe Asian Eatery: Sometimes it’s a recipe for disaster when a restaurant tries to touch on too many different cuisines, but at Mâe Asian Eatery, chef Yuri Asawasittikit gives the same amount of care to each of the Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese dishes on the menu — her own spins on traditional recipes from her mother. (“Mâe” is “mother” in Thai.) The space is small but welcoming; the staff is kind; and the dishes, especially the Thai ones, bring something a little different to the local dining scene. Editor picks: banh xeo; short rib khao soi; original street noodles. Read more: A New Cambridge Restaurant Serves Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese Food
  • Night Shift Brewing: Boston’s West End is seeing a lot of new openings these days, including two right at Lovejoy Wharf — Alcove and the massive expansion of Everett-based Night Shift Brewing. The popular brewery features a cafe and restaurant at its brand new Boston facility — and lots of beer, of course, including retail sales. And coffee roasting. The food selection spans from breakfast to late-night, including everything from blueberry streusel muffins to potato chip-crusted chicken tenders with beer-infused ranch and barbecue sauces for dipping. There’s a menu for the kids, too, as Night Shift is family-friendly. Read more: Night Shift Brewing Dives Into the Coffee Business With Expansion to Lovejoy Wharf
  • Tanám: There’s always something interesting going on at one of the newest debuts at Somerville’s Bow Market, Tanám, a business that aims not only to be a Filipino-American restaurant but also a space for politics, art, and community. Aside from a variety of special events, there are a few different ways to experience Tanám: kamayan-style feasts on Wednesdays (no plates, no utensils, many components to taste); prix fixe dinners on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays; and bar snacks and cocktails all evening Thursdays and late-night most nights. The kamayan and prix fixe dinners take communal dining to new heights: Prepare to become best friends with your fellow diners at the single, intimate 10-person table. Editor picks: kamayan and prix fixe dinners (try everything); pork belly buns. Read more: Watch: Why This Chef Left a Career in Neuroscience to Serve Filipino Food
  • Tony & Elaine’s: The meatballs won an award before the restaurant even opened; that’s gotta count for something. Now that the restaurant is open, diners are flocking to red-sauce paradise Tony & Elaine’s, the latest addition to Nick Frattaroli’s growing restaurant group, which straddles the North and West ends with Ciao Bella (the very recent revamp of North Square Oyster), Ward 8, and Bodega Canal. The new spot drips with Italian-American tradition, from the red-and-white checkered tablecloths to the classic menu of chicken parm, lobster ravioli, and the like. Editor picks: meatballs; chicken parm. Read more: Already-Acclaimed Meatballs Star at Forthcoming North End Restaurant
  • The Westland: The burger has been a big hit in the first few months at this long-in-the-works Red Paint Hospitality Group restaurant near Symphony Hall. The Westland — first announced around 2012 — is sibling to the Hopewell Bar & Kitchen and a few other Allston-Brighton and Brookline venues and describes itself as a “classic American tavern.” From Fat Baby and Loco Taqueria alum Matt Drummond (culinary director for the Red Paint group) and Fat Baby alum Danielle Dorcil (executive chef for the Westland) comes a menu that includes oysters casino, steak frites, tuna crudo, a porchetta sandwich, and more. Read more: The Westland Has Finally Opened Near Symphony Hall

Retired in June 2019

  • Kamakura: A multi-level jewel in downtown Boston, Kamakura looks to the sky with a lounge that features a retractable roof and views of Boston’s Custom House. From Youji Iwakura (Snappy Ramen, Uni), the new Japanese restaurant fits many occasions: lunchtime bento boxes; afternoon matcha and pastries (coming soon); beautifully plated, many-course tasting menus (modern kaiseki cuisine) for dinner; late-night snacks and sake. There’s Japanese wine, too, which is hard to find around here. Boston has a lot of Japanese food, but nothing quite like this. Editor picks: unagi chawanmushi; wagyu with dashi butter; crispy rice ball with salmon caviar. Read more: Peek at the Menu for Kamakura, Boston’s New Source for Kaiseki Cuisine
  • Shore Leave and No Relation: From the team behind South End mega-hit Bar Mezzana comes a lively subterranean den of Tiki, Shore Leave, that is sure to be one of the toughest tables to reserve this winter. Enthusiastic crowds have been swarming the place in its early months, devouring snacks that dance around the Pacific Rim and downing easy-drinking cocktails that bring to mind warmer climes. And now it has an intimate sushi bar, No Relation, nestled inside, serving two omakase feasts each night and already building quite a fanbase. Editor picks: scallop kinilaw; chile peanuts; dan dan wontons; every cocktail. Read more: A Tiki Paradise Debuts in the South End

Retired in May 2019

  • Alcove: There are some people you’d call respected industry vets whom you watch quietly accumulating experience and reputation over many years in the local restaurant scene, working at — and even running — other people’s restaurants. You wonder when they’ll open their own venues; you can’t wait to see what they can accomplish when they strike out on their own. Finally, it happens, and everything falls into place just as you knew it would. So it goes with Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli’s Alcove, an attractive space set just back from the main drag in the burgeoning West End, with stunning views of the Zakim Bridge. The new restaurant already feels like a well-oiled machine, with food, drinks, and hospitality coming together seamlessly in the early months. The cuisine, under the eye of chef Maxime Fanton, is a nod to Schlesinger-Guidelli’s formative years working on the southern Massachusetts “farm coast,” a robust area for farming as well as fishing. Editor picks: New England beef carpaccio; jaguar cocktail; rooibos panna cotta. Read more: Longtime Industry Vet Debuts His First Restaurant Tonight in Boston’s West End

Retired in April 2019

  • Country Mile: Country Mile, a new debut in Watertown, features the type of warm, casual hospitality where diners feel like they’ve known the staff forever, even on their first visit. The space — much of it built by hand by co-owner and chef Matt Sargent — is attractive and cozy, and the always-evolving menu is already off to a strong start, showcasing New England dairy and proteins, including sustainable seafood. Sargent and his wife and business partner Nancy came from the world of underground dining and food trucks in Vermont before helping to open Brewer’s Tap & Table in Waltham, and now that they have their own permanent space to play with, it’s going to be so much fun to see what they can do. Editor picks: pork belly; carrots. Read more: Watertown to Get a Restaurant That Serves Healthy Food, ‘Not Health Food’
  • Sushi Momento: Now open on the Brookline side of Cleveland Circle, inside the AC Marriott Hotel, Sushi Momento is pleasing its new fans with an ample selection of sushi and other Japanese-inspired dishes, including spicy miso seafood udon soup, wagyu fried rice, and miso-marinated black cod. Chef Kenji Wong is an alum of high-end downtown sushi spot Pabu. Diners can complement their meals with Sushi Momento’s take on a mai tai, Negroni, Old Fashioned, booze-free matcha julep, and more. Read more: Sushi Momento Opens in Cleveland Circle

Retired in March 2019

  • Bar Lyon: The Columbus Hospitality Group has been doing fine dining well for many years, operating classics —such as Mistral and Sorellina — that never seem to go out of style. The group may have another hit on its hands with the newest addition to its lineup, Bar Lyon, which draws inspiration from the bouchons of Lyon, serving dishes like cervelle de canut and a terrine Lyonnaise en croûte. While the restaurant isn’t exactly casual or inexpensive, it’s perhaps a little more approachable than most of the other Columbus destinations; reservations aren’t strictly necessarily — go ahead and try to walk in — and the recommended dress code is “casual stylish attire.” Editor picks: French onion soup; steak au poivre; scallops. Read more: Fine French Food Arrives in the South End This Week
  • Bartaco: Boston took to Barcelona Wine Bar quite well, and now the first local outpost of its taco-oriented sibling, Bartaco, is already pleasing early crowds in the Seaport District. In addition to tacos, the restaurant also serves dishes like duck quesadillas, rice bowls, and ceviche, plus a full bar, including plenty of margaritas. The small chain has installed talented Haley.Henry and Cafe Artscience alum Carolina Curtin as chef of the Boston location. Read more: Devour Dozens of Tacos at Seaport’s Newest Restaurant
  • Hot Box: As Bow Market vendors continue to debut, the new Somerville destination keeps getting better and better, with everything from pierogi to poke bowls, not to mention beer, wine, and cocktails. It’s all worth a visit or 10, but for those who hail from Massachusetts’s North Shore or South Shore, pay particular attention to Hot Box, the Mike & Patty’s sibling that is serving up North Shore-style roast beef sandwiches and South Shore-style bar pizza that’ll make childhood nostalgia come flowing back. Hot Box is the readers’ choice winner for Eater Boston’s 2018 Fast-Casual Restaurant of the Year. Editor picks: junior beef with barbecue sauce; pepperoni pizza. Read more: The North and South Shores Face Off at Bow Market’s Newest Vendor
  • Milk Bar/&pizza: At this dual dining spot, New York’s famed Milk Bar dessert shop combines forces with DC-based pizzeria &pizza. Both come with their own cult followings; opening day resulted in hours-long lines stretching through Harvard Square. From &pizza, diners can snack on oblong pizzas with toppings such as spicy chickpeas, salami, Buffalo sauce, and hot honey, while Milk Bar specializes in soft serve, cookies, and other sweet treats. Editor picks: American honey pizza at &pizza; chocolate chocolate cookie, corn cookie, and chocolate malt cake truffles at Milk Bar. Read more: Milk Bar Arrives in Harvard Square in a Blaze of Sugary Glory
  • Nahita: Nahita — which won the 2018 Eater Award for Design of the Year — feels a bit like a tropical palace, with tall columns and archways dripping with greenery, not to mention intricate tile work, a marble-topped bar, and luxurious leather seating. And the food — a Latin-meets-Asian combination that emphasizes seafood, especially in raw preparations — measures up to the attractive space. The creative cocktail selection doesn’t hurt, either. Editor picks: prawn tempura; wild salmon and roe tiradito; Berkshire pork belly chicharron; any cocktail. Read more: A Palatial Restaurant Filled With Latin-Asian Cuisine Debuts Tonight in Back Bay

Retired in February 2019

  • Chickadee: Fans of chef John daSilva’s food at the first incarnation of Spoke Wine Bar should flock to Chickadee, his new collaboration with fellow No. 9 Park alum Ted Kilpatrick. Located inside the Innovation and Design Building in Boston’s Seaport and named for the state bird, Chickadee blends New England ingredients with Mediterranean influences, resulting in a lunch menu that stars pita and a dinner menu that stars pasta, not to mention a cocktail list with ingredients like celery, spruce tips, Earl Grey tea, and brown butter. Chef daSilva is Eater Boston’s 2018 Chef of the Year. Editor picks: squid ink fusilli; roasted porchetta. Read more: New England and the Mediterranean Harmoniously Meet at Chickadee
  • Fool’s Errand: Take a trip through the tapas bars of Barcelona or the cicchetti-filled bàcari of Venice, and you may get a taste for the type of place where you can stand up, have a few snacks and a drink, and move on to the next destination. Fool’s Errand, the new Sweet Cheeks and Tiger Mama sibling and neighbor, brings that experience to Fenway with a standing-room-only “adult snack bar” packed with creative cocktails, luxurious small bites, and your new favorite bathroom art. Editor picks: crispy potato mille feuille with raclette and truffle; seeded pastrami salmon and brillat savarin fancy finger sammie. Read more: Tiffani Faison’s New Fenway ‘Adult Snack Bar’ Serves Small Bites to a Standing Crowd
  • Sakana: That Harvard-to-Central stretch of Massachusetts Avenue was already a good place to eat sushi — Cafe Sushi has been a destination for years. Now there’s a new option in the neighborhood, and it doesn’t feel extraneous; the recently opened Sakana is a great restaurant in its own right (and a bit more casual than Cafe Sushi, but still suitable for a nice evening). Pay attention to the day’s specials and you may get the chance to enjoy, for example, botan ebi tokubetsu — large head-on shrimp with a sake glaze. But sticking to the regular menu won’t disappoint, especially if you choose something from the creative signature makimono section. Editor picks: seared salmon belly; Black Forest roll; salmon oyakodon. Read more: Cambridge Gets Another Sushi Restaurant
  • Whaling in Oklahoma: What happens when you coax Japanese flavors out of New England ingredients? A “modern American brasserie” with a menu that includes everything from oyster kaarage to sea urchin with fried mochi to a simple dessert of “super sweet cantaloupe.” At Tim Maslow’s follow-up to Ribelle, he and his team (which includes some Ribelle alumni) are exploring what they can do with koji, pickling, and more, making lots of interesting magic. Maslow himself has made a number of the plates for the restaurant, and he also makes a point of personally making the rice almost every day. Editor picks: marinated lobster hand roll; fried chicken and egg with sweet soy and scallion; creme caramel. Read more: Whaling in Oklahoma Puts a New England Spin on Japanese Food

Retired in January 2019

  • Dakzen: For American diners, “Thai food” is often synonymous with “pad thai, delivered.” But some local restaurants are trying to coax diners away from ubiquitous Thai-American dishes, delving into the Thai street food repertoire with noodles and soups and noodle soups that are harder to find around here. Dakzen, now open in Davis Square, is the latest addition to the scene, serving up dishes like boat noodles and yen ta fo in a bright and cheery setting. You’ll be snacking on hoi joh and sai ua in no time. (And yes, you can still get pad thai if you’d like — and it’s great.) Dakzen is the editors’ choice winner for Eater Boston’s 2018 Fast-Casual Restaurant of the Year. Editor picks: khao soi; ba mee moo dang; tom yum. Read more: Somerville’s Davis Square Is Becoming a Hotbed of Thai Street Food

Retired in December 2018

  • Boston Chops: For five years, Boston Chops has been a veritable palace of beef in the South End, serving up fancy steaks in a swanky former bank. Now, it has a sequel in Downtown Crossing, also serving up fancy steaks in a swanky former bank, this time with the addition of weekday lunch and a table designed to help Instagram-obsessed folks shoot perfectly lit food porn. The spacious, multi-story venue features multiple private dining rooms, three separate bars, and a lounge inside the old bank vault. Editor picks: 18-ounce Food & Wine prime bone in rib eye; pork belly mac and cheese; classic creme brulee. Read more: Boston Chops Expands to Downtown Crossing in a Flurry of Leather and Marble
  • Fuku: The Seaport District has been a hotbed of development and construction over the past few years. In terms of the restaurant scene, it’s quickly gotten a reputation for attracting a lot of non-local chains, for better or worse. While many diners hope to see more local indie spots finding their way into the neighborhood, not all chains are unwelcome. One, in particular, has caused quite a bit of excitement: celebrity chef David Chang’s first entry into Boston with a location of his casual fried chicken spot, Fuku. Spicy fried chicken sandwiches, loaded fries, fried squash rings, fruity slushies — it’s a small, counter-service, booze-free spot, but it’s lively, flavorful, and well-suited for an on-the-go lunch for the area’s ever-growing employee population. Editor picks: fried chicken bites with ssäm sauce; squash rings; blood orange slushie. Read more: David Chang’s Fried Chicken Joint Debuts in Boston’s Seaport District
  • Mortadella Head: Following in the tradition of Boston Burger Company’s over-the-top burgers, the same team’s new Davis Square restaurant, Mortadella Head, makes diners’ Italian-American deli dreams come true with sandwiches stacked high with toppings, not to mention elaborate fries, Roman-style pizza, pasta, salads, wings, deep-fried lasagna sticks and other snacks, and fried dough for dessert. Bring a giant appetite and maybe a few friends. Read more: Davis Square Is Living the Pizza Dream
  • Trillium Brewing Company: Trillium Brewing Company has a rabid fanbase, and the five-year-old company has continuously expanded to accommodate it. The magic began at the original Fort Point location on Congress Street — now closed to the public — which had a small public-facing area for retail and growler fills. Owners JC and Esther Tetreault added a large brewery and taproom out in Canton in late 2015, as well as seasonal beer gardens on Boston’s Greenway and in the old Roslindale substation. Now, Trillium comes full-circle with a giant Fort Point venue close to the original. No tiny retail counter here: It’s a multi-story brewery, taproom, and restaurant, complete with a seasonal roof deck, and the fans have quickly arrived to drink Trillium’s interesting brews while eating sausage trays, bacon burgers, lobster rolls, and more. Read more: Trillium’s Massive Fort Point Restaurant and Brewery Opens

Retired in November 2018

  • Casa Caña: Located in the art-filled Studio Allston hotel, this festive restaurant is a far cry from the site’s Days Hotel and Joyful Garden days. Casa Caña serves Latin American cuisine — with a focus on Cuba — and a fun cocktail selection that features rum. Plus, there’s an expansive courtyard with its own bar. Read more: A Rum-Filled Taste of Havana Arrives in Allston
  • Kala Thai Cookery: Cha Yen Thai Cookery in Watertown is routinely recognized as one of the best Thai restaurants in the area. What luck for Bostonians, then, that there is now a Cha Yen sibling right in Boston proper, carrying on the tradition: Kala Thai Cookery. Located by Haymarket, Kala serves a wide variety of noodle- and rice-based dishes and more. Editor picks: corn cake; sukothai. Read more: A Noodle-Filled Thai Food Paradise Opens in Downtown Boston
  • Nathálie Wine Bar: Intimate, funky downtown wine bar Haley Henry has quite the following — including Alton Brown — so the city awaited its sequel, Nathálie, with much anticipation. The new Fenway wine bar manages to capture the magic of its older sibling in a slightly larger space and remains equally committed to introducing customers to unusual and hard-to-find wines (especially from female winemakers). There’s also a delightful selection of small bites. For several years now, the Fenway neighborhood has been blossoming beyond its traditional sports bar scene, and Nathálie is the logical next step in the evolution. Editor picks: any wine, but try the Ruth Lewandowski Chilion if you’re looking for an interesting orange wine; Wasik’s cheese plate; cod with agretti and stewed Sungold tomato. Read more: Downtown’s Favorite Wine Bar Gets a Fenway Sibling Today
  • Rabottini’s Pizza: Get it while you can: This is a pop-up, expected to last through the fall. Rabottini’s Pizza began as a smaller pop-up, appearing at Cambridge’s Bagelsaurus (which itself began as a pop-up inside of another business) at lunchtime on Fridays with puffy squares of pizza that quickly gained a loyal following of fans. Now, Rabottini’s is in Allston five nights a week, serving a larger menu of pizzas (both round and rectangular), salads, soft drinks, and a selection of Gracie’s Ice Cream flavors. Editor picks: pepperoni pizza; summer special pizza with corn, tomato, and pesto. Read more: Rabottini’s Pizza Opens in Allston With Rectangular Pies and Ice Cream

Retired in October 2018

  • The Smoke Shop: Andy Husbands makes it a trio with the new Assembly Row location of his barbecue joint Smoke Shop, which also has locations in Cambridge’s Kendall Square (the original) and Boston’s Fort Point. The new location, a standalone space built from scratch, boasts sky-high ceilings, easy parking, and plenty of other winning features, including a few new dishes that you won’t find at the other locations (such as an appetizer that combines pickled peaches with pork belly burnt ends). Bring a big group, because the brisket and bar wings are must-eats, but you’ll want to leave room to try other things as well, including dessert. Editor picks: brisket; pickled peaches and pork belly; bar wings; Mississippi mud pie. Read more: Smoke Shop Brings Tons of Meat and Whiskey to Somerville
  • Talulla: Talulla is, quite simply, charming: It’s in a cozy, charming space, owned by a friendly, charming couple, and it’s named for their young daughter, who makes an appearance in the photographs along the walls and is surely charming as well. It’s the perfect next chapter for the longtime T.W. Food space — taken over by a couple who worked there and who clearly care about its history while still making it their own. This is the place to go for a quiet date night filled with gorgeous plates of local ingredients, the epitome of “new romanticism.” If you can swing it, embark on the full seven-course tasting menu. Otherwise, the a la carte and three-course prix fixe options give a solid overview of what Talulla is. Editor picks: Berkshire pork (roasted loin and crispy belly) with charred pea and cherry blossom jus; potato and ramp soup with jamon iberico; lavender panna cotta. Read more: Talulla Restaurant to Open in Former T.W. Food Space in Cambridge
  • Tsurumen: The Cambridge/Somerville area that includes Porter and Davis squares is full of ramen options, including Yume Wo Katare, Sapporo Ramen, Snappy Kitchen, and more. Can the area support yet another one? Yes. Yes, it can. Each one finds its own niche, and the newest addition, Tsurumen, is no exception. The cash-only spot has sparse seating and limited (but ever-expanding) hours — check social media for updates — but it’s well worth the bit of effort to visit. Diners are rewarded with a small menu of excellent Osaka-style ramen, either shoyu or a paitan chicken ramen with a thick broth, as well as a soba dish and rotating specials. Editor pick: paitan ramen. Read more: Even More Ramen Arrives in Somerville’s Davis Square

Retired in September 2018

  • Bootleg Special: Get ready to get messy at this supremely fun South End addition to Boston’s rapidly expanding Cajun seafood boil scene. Utilize the gloves and bib provided as you rip heads off of shrimp and legs off of crawfish by the light of chandeliers and the gentle glow of the “live nudes” neon signage. Sip a sweet, strong cocktail while you do so. Editor picks: “build-a-boil” with shrimp, andouille sausage, potatoes, and the spicy Bootleg sauce; Yellowhammer cocktail. Read more: The South End Gets in on Boston’s Growing Seafood Boil Obsession This Week
  • Celeste: Walk into this tiny Union Square space and get hit with a blast of lively music and the smell of lomo saltado getting fired up in the open kitchen. The team is all smiles, the beverage selection is full of pisco and mezcal, and the food is impeccable. Editor picks: ceviche; lomo saltado. Read more: Celeste Is Your Friendly New Home for Ceviche and Pisco
  • Soleil: Roxbury is seeing a number of new restaurant openings these days, particularly in Dudley Square, and the latest, Soleil, is quickly embedding itself in the neighborhood. Owner Cheryl Straughter, who previously owned Keith’s Place in Grove Hall, is serving a menu that draws influence from the South but also includes “lighter fare” and “funky sandwich combinations,” as Straughter previously told Eater, with everything made in-house. Stop by for counter-service breakfast and lunch or full-service dinner. Read more: Dudley Square’s Newest Restaurant Has a Touch of Southern Influence
  • Southern Proper: Chef Jason Cheek promised a restaurant that smelled of pine and looked like a tobacco barn his grandmother invaded, and he delivered, along with can’t-miss fried chicken and all its carb-filled friends, from biscuits to waffles to mac and cheese. Brunch began recently, a coveted reservation, especially since the seasonal SoWa Open Market right down the street is in full swing. Editor picks: silver queen hushpuppies; buttermilk biscuits; fried chicken (hot). Read more: Southern Proper Will Feel Like North Carolina, Right Down to the Scent of Pine

Retired in August 2018

  • Backyard Betty’s: Just in time for summer, Backyard Betty’s comes along with a cookout theme — grilled skewers, grilled pizzas, burgers, fried chicken, and more. It feels seasonally appropriate right now, and in the winter, this theme will provide a breath of fresh air, following in the cold weather-friendly footsteps of its sibling spot, Publico, which features an enviable year-round courtyard. Betty’s keeps its menu approachable, its ambiance full of outdoorsy and vintage vibes, and its drink list full of fun. Boozy shakes, anyone? Read more: Drink Boozy Rainbow Sherbet Shakes and Eat Cookout Cuisine at Southie’s Newest Restaurant
  • Kimchipapi Kitchen: It’s a fun story of rebirth: Kimchipapi Kitchen owner Joon Son (aka “Kimchipapi” himself) used to own a sneaker shop at 81 Harvard Ave. More recently, the space was home to a Chicken & Rice Guys location, but now Son is back with something decidedly different than a sneaker shop — a restaurant — and the self-described “Allston rat” is serving up poke bowls (er, “glory bowls”) and more to the neighborhood he loves. The casual little shop has a cheeky vibe — Son is a fan of decor urging diners to “#sendnoodz,” for example — but the food doesn’t need to hide behind the aesthetic, standing on its own with early customers praising the creativity, freshness, and pricing. Read more: Here’s a Look Inside Allston’s New Korean-Japanese Restaurant, Serving ‘Glory Bowls’ and More

Retired in July 2018

  • Blossom Bar: A few years back, an amazing cocktail bar, the Baldwin Bar, sprung up inside of Woburn’s Sichuan Garden thanks to the owner’s son, Ran Duan, and his team. Now Duan and co. are at it again — they’ve turned Sichuan Garden’s old Brookline location into Blossom Bar, a minty green space that you’ll want to promptly move into forever after sipping your first drink. The fiery Sichuan food menu — with some Chinese-American classics, too — provides a solid base for cocktail exploration. Editor picks: Broken Spanish cocktail; Angie Valencia cocktail; wen jun fish; pork dumplings with chili vinaigrette. Read more: Blossom Bar Blooms in Brookline This Week
  • Oisa Ramen Slurp & Go: One of the latest additions to Boston’s group of pop-ups that have successfully made the leap to brick-and-mortar locations, Oisa Ramen is a tiny downtown space meant to get customers quickly filled up with ramen and then on to the rest of their day. The short menu includes three ramen options (dine-in only), two of which start with a vegan-friendly base; three rice bowl options (takeout only); and a small selection of beer, sake, canned sparkling wine cocktails, and soft drinks. There’s a little bit of standing space at a counter and a little bit of seating at the window, but this isn’t a place to stay long. Just do as the name says: Slurp and go. Editor pick: smoky shoyu ramen with egg and pork add-ons. Read more: Oisa Ramen Fills Downtown Boston With Noodles Soon
  • Spyce: Boston has welcomed its new robot overlords with open arms. While some expressed doubts that a mostly robotic kitchen would — or should — produce good food, Spyce has been performing well in its early months. (Probably doesn’t hurt that acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud is the restaurant’s culinary director.) Across review sites and social media, customers have been raving about Spyce’s convenience, speed, and even flavors, and shy folks love the opportunity to get in and get out without interacting with anyone. The robots are apparently doing something right, like it or not. Read more: Go to Downtown Crossing for a Meal Cooked by a Robot
  • Tiki Rock: Located right next door to Oisa Ramen (the two share some amenities), Tiki Rock is just plain fun, from the neon lighting to the jam-packed, Tiki-inspired cocktail menu, which mixes classic Tiki drinks with some Tiki Rock-specific options. It’s too easy to treat Tiki like a gimmicky theme, but at Tiki Rock, there’s some serious talent behind the bar, headed up by beverage director Charlie Smedile, an alum of Waypoint, Clio, and more. And it all pairs delightfully with a food menu of crowd-pleasers, from sushi to pupu platters to pork buns. Whether you want cocktails, a snack, or a full meal, this is a major upgrade from 2 Broad St.’s clubby past. Note: Since Tiki Rock has recently started lunch service, it now has overlapping hours with Oisa, perfect for following up a bowl of ramen with a four-person painkiller. Editor picks: mai tai; scrumdiddlyrumptious; winter squash dumplings; coconut shrimp. Read more: Tiki Rock Opens Downtown With a Polynesian Super Burger and Mai Tais
  • Whole Heart Provisions: It’s getting easier and easier to eat meat-free around the Boston area, with a number of dedicated vegetarian or vegan restaurants opening up — and increased options on the menus of restaurants that do otherwise serve meat. Allston-based Whole Heart Provisions is in the former camp; the entirely meat-free restaurant serves hearty bowls of grains, greens, sauces, veggies, tofu, and various crunchy accoutrements, from corn nuts to sunflower seeds. Its second location is now open in Cambridge, right by sister spot Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, and it’ll quickly cement its place as an essential lunch spot in the neighborhood. Go eat your veggies. Editor picks: Viet bowl with miso barbecue tofu; seared avocado; matcha lemonade. Read more: Whole Heart Provisions Pours Veggie Goodness Into Central Square Tomorrow

Retired in June 2018

  • Buttonwood: Newton destination Sycamore has ended up having sort of an adult hangout vibe, and the team opened Buttonwood with the aim of following in some of the same footsteps as Sycamore but making it feel more welcoming to families. The seasonal menu features simple, grilled meats and seafood, as well as a cheeseburger and other crowd-pleasers, and there’s a kids’ menu, too. Still, adults will find plenty to enjoy, particularly on the wine, beer, and cocktail lists. Everyone’s happy. Read more: Buttonwood Debuts in Newton With Grilled Meats and a Family-Friendly Vibe
  • Highland Fried: The final incarnation of East Coast Grill — owned by the Highland Kitchen team — is now closed for good, but all is not lost. They’ve rebranded the space into Highland Fried, and the ghost of East Coast Grill lives on a bit thanks to the Tiki drinks and barbecue and general vibe. The focus is now fried chicken, and fans of Highland Kitchen’s fried and Tiki Mondays will find that that’s pretty much how every night at Highland Fried feels. Editor picks: fried chicken three-piece dinner with mac and cheese; smoked tofu dan dan noodles. Read more: Highland Fried Brings Fried Chicken, Barbecue, and Tiki to Inman Square Today
  • La Bodega: La Bodega has been ramping up to a full opening in a unique space in Watertown — part of the restaurant is in a revamped old diner car — since quietly opening the doors with a partial menu and limited hours around Christmas. No need to wait for a grand opening; the menu is already bursting at the seams with Uruguayan, Spanish, and Basque treats, not to mention lovely wines, and the dining room is bustling. This is the epitome of a date-night spot: dark and romantic, noisy enough to keep your conversations private, full of dishes meant to be shared. Editor picks: wood-grilled ribeye; fried padron peppers; heirloom baby carrots. Read more: Get a Sneak Preview of La Bodega in Watertown
  • Our Fathers: Boston’s Jewish delicatessen scene continues to grow (finally) with this dual-purpose Lower Allston venue from the team behind Tasty Burger, Citizen Public House, and Franklin Cafe. One side is a takeout deli, while the other side is a full-service restaurant that serves a modern Israeli menu and a gin-filled cocktail list. Editor picks: duck breast with amba-braised cabbage; fried Brussels sprouts with Aleppo vinaigrette. Read more: Our Fathers Delicatessen Brings Piles of Pastrami to Lower Allston Today

Retired in May 2018

  • Fat Baby: Southie hotspot Loco Taqueria has given birth to a new sibling nearby. Fat Baby is serving up a menu that zooms around East Asia and beyond, offering everything from sushi to pork belly ramen to chicken banh mi bao. On the drink side, there’s a mai tai, plenty of cocktails that include fruit purees, a sake sangria, and more. Eat some sushi, drink some sake, and take in the ambiance, from the giant murals throughout the dining room to the photographs of fat babies that are posted on the restroom wall. Editor picks: zuke maguro sashimi; salmon tempura roll; crispy rice cake; steak bao. Read more: Fat Baby Is Born in Southie Tomorrow With Sake Sangria and Sushi
  • Gen Sou En Teahouse: The design of Gen Sou En is stunning, from the tree growing up towards a glowing skylight to the platform with tatami mats instead of chairs. Despite its busy opening weeks, it exudes a sense of calm — until you get a strong caffeine buzz from the numerous matcha options, that is, from straight-up matcha to matcha sodas to matcha-filled pastries. From tea and pastries to lunch and dinner teishoku (set meals), Gen Sou En brings a unique taste of Japan to Coolidge Corner. Editor picks: grapefruit matcha soda; Japanese breakfast; cookies. Read more: Brookline’s New Tea House Will Be a Matcha Paradise

Retired in April 2018

  • Eventide Fenway: Perhaps the most hotly anticipated opening of 2017, Eventide Fenway is the counter-service counterpart to the acclaimed Eventide Oyster Co. up in Portland, Maine. Rabid fans have been waiting anxiously to get their hands on Eventide’s signature brown butter lobster roll down in Boston proper, and the day has finally arrived. Go all out with oysters, lobster rolls, high-end bubbles, and more; keep things more casual with house-made sodas, a fish sandwich or burger, and some soft serve ice cream; or choose anything in between — the casual spot is meant to be a fit for a variety of dining experiences. It’s the Eater Boston Fast-Casual Restaurant of the Year for 2017. Editor picks: brown butter lobster roll; brown butter soft serve; fries; green salad. Read more: Eventide Fenway Brings the Best of Portland to Boston
  • Exodus Bagels: Another pop-up-to-brick-and-mortar success story, Exodus Bagels built up a cult following over the last several years, selling bagels and bagel sandwiches at farmers markets and crowdfunding to open a Roslindale diner. That diner doesn’t exist yet — the Roslindale space is currently being used as the Exodus commissary, although the plan is still to turn it into a storefront one day — but now Exodus has a bustling storefront in the former Canto 6 space in Jamaica Plain. Get there early and be prepared for a line, but the carb heaven is worth the wait. Read more: Exodus Bagels Stops Wandering and Opens Permanent Shop Next Week
  • Hopsters: Go to drink a beer, go to brew a beer, or go to eat a meal — or all of the above: Hopsters is a full-service restaurant and bar as well as a brewery that allows customers to brew their own beers. The Newton-based brewery has big expansion plans for the future, starting with its new Seaport location. Open daily, the spacious Sleeper Street spot is already satisfying visitors with its comforting menu (think charcuterie, flatbreads, and pub classics like fish and chips and steak and ale pie) and large tap list of Hopsters beers. Read more: Peek Inside the New Hopsters in the Seaport District and Brew Some Beer
  • Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar: A Back Bay staple for tacos, tequila, and other Mexican-inspired fare has expanded over to Fort Point. The new location is a dark, sprawling space that features plenty of skulls, a swanky lounge area, and some striking murals and stained glass to round out the decor. Head to this Yvonne’s and Ruka sibling for everything from a tequila flight to a guacamole trio, not to mention octopus ceviche, hot queso dip, and grilled street corn. It’s the Eater Boston Design of the Year winner for 2017. Editor picks: seared shrimp Oaxaca; hot chicken tacos. Read more: Lolita Debuts a Swanky Sequel in Fort Point
  • Momi Nonmi: Chris Chung — who formerly ran the acclaimed AKA Bistro out in Lincoln — is serving up a beautiful taste of Japan (with a hint of Hawaii) out of this cozy Inman Square space, from elaborate lunchtime bento boxes to late-night loco moco. Chung describes Momi Nonmi as a “modern izakaya” — think a gastropub, but in Japan — so the beverage program, courtesy of sommelier and sake enthusiast Stephen Connolly, is just as important as the food. And there’s shochu, too. Editor picks: Wagyu dumplings; Hien’s special bronzini; rock shrimp tempura; edamame croquettes; duck confit onigiri. Read more: Momi Nonmi Brings Sashimi and Sake to Cambridge This Week

Retired in March 2018

  • Field & Vine: Words like "sustainable," "seasonal," and "house-made" have perhaps become a tad overused in the restaurant world, but that's not fair to restaurants like Somerville's new Field & Vine, located in the former Journeyman space. There, those words truly form the basis for the restaurant's ethos. Sneak into this hidden space to experience the joy of grilled vegetables, ever-changing crudos, and a hearty Parisian gnocchi that'll get you through the winter. Editor picks: focaccia with house-made butter; grilled beets; Parisian gnocchi; chocolate lavender pot de creme. Read more: Field & Vine Opens Wednesday in Somerville’s Union Square
  • Yume Ga Arukara: Tsuyoshi Nishioka is at it again. This is his udon-filled sequel to the nearby Yume Wo Katare, a ramen shop of dreams. (No, really: Diners are encouraged to finish their giant bowls of ramen and then stand up and discuss their hopes and dreams out loud.) At Yume Ga Arukara, located within the Porter Exchange food court, the menu consists solely of a hot (with broth) or cold version of niku udon, a beef and noodle dish with optional extra beef and/or extra noodles. Editor pick: hot udon. Read more: Yume Wo Katare Dreams up an Udon Sibling

Retired in February 2018

  • Café du Pays: A great cry went up when Hungry Mother closed two years ago, but now the team behind it (minus chef Barry Maiden, who departed prior to the closure) has revamped the space into something entirely new — and quite new for the Boston area in general, too. Café Du Pays serves French-Canadian cuisine, from “yes, we have poutine” to pork and venison meat pies to tarte au sucre, as well as a beer selection that emphasizes Canadian brews. It’s the Eater Boston Restaurant of the Year for 2017. Editor picks: poutine; ham and Dijon with house-made bread and butter; half duck with smoked leg and tomato salad. Read more: Café du Pays Serves French-Canadian Food in an Iconic Kendall Square Space
  • Citrus & Salt: Like Buttermilk & Bourbon? Its new sister restaurant, Citrus & Salt, has an analogous menu: Buttermilk has oyster chowder; Citrus has crab and cactus chowder. Buttermilk has bourbon ale steamed mussels with tasso ham; Citrus has tequila and chipotle steamed mussels with chorizo. Citrus & Salt, which veers Mexican, features a lovely renovation to the Back Bay Harry’s space, crowd-pleasing cocktails, and boozy Dole Whips. Do not miss the biscuits. Editor picks: warm agave-glazed blue cornmeal biscuits; duck confit flautas; Dole Whip with aged rum. Read more: Citrus & Salt Opens Soon, and There Will Be Dole Whips
  • The Smoke Shop: It’s been a Kendall Square hit since opening last year, and now Andy Husbands’s barbecue joint, the Smoke Shop, has taken over the former Tavern Road space in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood as well. Be sure to start with an order of the agave-glazed “best bar wings,” and then consider a wide variety of meaty combos and sides. Brisket or burnt ends are always a solid bet. And whiskey, of course. So much whiskey. Read more: The Smoke Shop Will Open in Fort Point Tomorrow

Retired in January 2018

  • Anoush'ella Saj Kitchen: Dubbing itself "fine casual," this new addition to the South End features Eastern Mediterranean food, particularly thin flatbreads (m'anoush) made on a convex griddle called a saj. Some of those flatbreads are even sweet, like the chocolate m'anoush, spread with Nutella, strawberry, banana, cinnamon, honey, and granola. Along the same lines, the restaurant's name means "may it be sweet" in Armenian. Read more: Anoush’ella Saj Kitchen Opens in the South End
  • Better Bagels: Better Bagels is the latest successful pop-up to open a brick-and-mortar location (which seems to be an especially popular move in the bagel realm, from now-established spots like Bagelsaurus in Cambridge to the forthcoming Exodus in Roslindale and Rover up in Maine). At Better Bagels' new Seaport shop, open from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, find a variety of breakfast and lunch bagel sandwiches, not to mention a range of spreads, including lox, candied bacon cream cheese, and sweet basil butter. Read more: Better Bagels Arrives in the Seaport District With a Sold-Out First Weekend
  • Pammy's: Dubbing itself a "new American trattoria," this Italian-ish, fireplace-bedecked addition to the stretch of Massachusetts Avenue between Central and Harvard squares is full of warm hospitality, pastas made from flour milled in-house, irresistible desserts, and a fun bar scene. With a massive communal table right down the center of the dining room, decorated with bright flowers and crunchy breadsticks, Pammy's feels like an extension of owners Chris and Pam Willis' home. Editor picks: lumache bolognese with gochujang; Arctic char with farro and strawberries; crostata with honey ice cream; In Other Words cocktail. Read more: Pammy’s: A Pasta-Filled Home Away From Home

Retired in December 2017

  • Cultivar: This new restaurant from longtime Harvest alum Mary Dumont is full of pretty things; all the dishes and drinks are bright with flowers and colorful local goods. And everything tastes wonderful as well. From crudos and pastas to snail toast and whole-roasted chickens, Cultivar has something for those who want to be a little more adventurous as well as those who just want to comfortably tuck into a hefty ribeye and potatoes. Save room for dessert; executive pastry chef Robert Gonzalez (previously at Bistro du Midi) is one to watch. Editor picks: squid ink messinesi; duck breast; Maryland soft-shell crab; chocolate passion custard. Read more: Look Inside Cultivar, Opening at the Ames Hotel on Friday
  • Mooncusser Fish House: The team behind acclaimed Concord restaurant 80 Thoreau has touched down in Boston with an elegant Back Bay seafood destination nestled comfortably on the third floor of a triangular building. (The first floor is home to restaurant's more casual counterpart, Moon Bar.) Fine dining and Park Plaza castle views. Editor picks: seared gnocchi with uni, chanterelles, and mustard; seared scallops with kelp, braised potatoes, and champagne; frozen lemon meringue with blueberry, graham, and white chocolate. Read more: Thank Your Lucky Stars: Mooncusser Fish House Arrives in Back Bay July 22
  • North Square Oyster: Steps from the Paul Revere House, a new restaurant is giving the North End a jolt of energy: North Square Oyster is serving up dishes that sound classic on paper — lobster rolls, clam chowder, French onion soup — but with modern takes and excellent technique. That French onion soup, for example? The broth is made from aged bones, giving it a unique depth. And then there's a dessert that one-ups bacon as a trendy dessert accessory, embellishing a hunk of pork belly with cotton candy and sorbet. It works. Editor picks: French onion soup; hot lobster roll with brown butter; salmon crudo with Chinese hot mustard; stuffed rigatoni with oxtail bolognese and lobster. Read more: Get Ready to Eat Towers of Seafood at North Square Oyster

Retired in November 2017

  • Best Burger Bar: It’s too soon to tell if the restaurant will be able to live up to its ambitious name, but early crowds are certainly flocking to this new Brookline Village spot, which features burgers, dogs, poutine, and more, plus a drink list by local cocktail legend Brother Cleve, from boozy milkshakes to frozen cocktails. Read more: Brookline’s About to Get a (Self-Described) Best Burger Bar
  • Certified Meatball Company: This new Southie spot from the crew behind Wink & Nod and more has taken the theme of balls and really run with it. The menu centers around meatballs of all kinds: chicken fried steak balls, turducken balls, shrimp balls ‘n’ grits, turkey mole verde balls, and more, plus customizable balls (choose a protein, sauce, and “upgrade,” such as a fried egg.) For dessert? Sweetballs, of course — on their own as well as part of a giant sundae smothered in balls. Read more: Certified Meatball Company Rolls Into Southie Today
  • The Halal Guys: What started as a popular New York City food cart has turned into a burgeoning empire of carts and brick-and-mortar restaurants stretching across the country — and beyond. Boston’s first location is now open in the Theatre District, a short walk from the Common, serving up wraps and rice plates with chicken, beef gyro, and falafel to lines of adoring fans. And more locations are coming. Read more: Arrival of the Halal Guys Makes Boston’s Dreams Come True Today
  • Yellow Door Taqueria: With a menu of tacos, margaritas, ceviche, and more, Yellow Door Taqueria has burst into Dorchester thanks to an ownership team that includes Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys. (Yellow Door is connected to the nearby Lower Mills Tavern as well as McGreevy’s and Lion’s Tail.) The space used to be home to an antique shop and an apothecary. Read more: Look Inside Yellow Door Taqueria, Opening Today in Dorchester

Retired in October 2017

  • Cunard Tavern: This long-awaited Eastie project from Ducali's Phil Frattaroli is finally open in the Jeffries Point neighborhood, serving up rooftop views and a menu that marries New England cuisine with global influences, from harissa-braised short rib and potato waffles to octopus dumplings, tuna crudo to Cuban spring rolls. Read more: Look Inside Cunard Tavern, Debuting in Eastie Next Week
  • Explorateur: A departure from Big Night Entertainment Group's flashy, clubby spots, the group's newest addition, Explorateur, features an all-day cafe and a menu that pairs France with California. Located in prime downtown real estate — within the Masonic Lodge right by the Common — the brand new spot is already proving to be a popular hangout, especially for those looking for a daytime caffeine-and-work space. Read more: Look Inside Explorateur, Opening Today in the Historic Masonic Lodge
  • Ruckus: Steps from acclaimed Chinatown spot Shōjō, the same team has opened a casual noodle shop with a short menu of noodle and rice bowls, as well as soft drinks. Order at the host stand, snag a seat, and wait for a steaming bowl of ramen or perhaps a "side bowl" of spicy pork with toasted rice. It's currently only open Thursday through Sunday, but extended hours are coming soon. Editor picks: black garlic mazeman; "miso lit!!!" spicy miso ramen; Apple Sidra soda. Read more: Ruckus Noodles From the Shōjō Team Opens This Weekend
  • Sumiao Hunan Kitchen: This new addition to Kendall Square is one of the only spots in town that features spicy Hunan cuisine. The restaurant has a sleek vibe that meshes with the tech-driven neighborhood; a cocktail list that highlights baijiu, an Asian grain-based spirit that can be hard to find in the United States; and lightning-fast service. Editor picks: lava fish; soup bao. Read more: Sumiao Hunan Kitchen Brings Spicy, Hard-to-Find Hunan Cuisine to Cambridge

Retired in September 2017

  • Ledger: Matt O'Neil has made a name for himself at The Blue Ox in Lynn, and now he's assembled an incredible team to open Ledger in Salem, located in a beautifully renovated historic bank space. The menu features plenty of charcuterie, raw bar items (including seafood towers), meaty entrees, and lots more, from pork rinds to caviar. Read more: Ledger Opens in Salem on June 20
  • Les Sablons: The acclaimed team behind Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 has a new hit on its hands, and it's squeezed into an unlikely spot in Harvard Square — a two-story space that is a lot skinnier than the restaurant's Boston siblings. With swanky cocktail bars on both floors (and a swanky cocktail list from Jackson Cannon), Les Sablons is a party, but a classy one, filled with crushed velvet bar stools, a French-leaning menu, and that signature Garrett Harker hospitality. Editor picks: English pea soup; lemon posset. Read more: Les Sablons Debuts in Harvard Square
  • Puro Ceviche Bar: Here's one to watch: Puro Ceviche Bar quietly opened in May in the former Trattoria Newbury space in Back Bay, calling itself "a ceviche bar with Latin soul." It's from the team behind South End gem Kava Neo-Taverna. While Kava features Greek food, Puro focuses on raw fish, from ceviche to crudo, as well as Latin-style small plates, from anticuchos to short rib empanadas. The intimate space is decorated with large murals. No reservations. Read more: The Kava Neo-Tavern Team Opens Puro Ceviche Bar Tonight in Back Bay
  • Spoke Wine Bar: One of the most devastating closures of 2016 turned into one of the most anticipated reopenings of 2017, and it has arrived. Now under the ownership of former Spoke bartender Mary Kurth, Spoke has been refreshed and reborn in Somerville's Davis Square with a mix of Spoke alumni and newbies on the team. As before, the focus is on interesting wines, and the tiny kitchen is still serving up beautiful small plates that feature local, seasonal produce. Read more: Spoke Wine Bar Has Reopened
  • Trillium Garden on the Greenway: Summer's in full swing, so what's hotter than a beer garden right in the middle of the bustling Greenway? Plus, it's not just any beer garden; it's a beer garden by one of Boston's most popular breweries, Trillium. Enjoy beer (and a few wines) outside for as long as weather permits, because that's what it means to live in Boston. Read more: Drink Beer Outside at Trillium’s Greenway Beer Garden, Debuting Today

Retired in August 2017

  • Bess’s Cafe: Don’t miss this tiny Brookline Hills spot. It’s counter-service and feels primarily geared towards takeout, but the space is definitely cozy enough for dining in. The menu features Jiang Nan-style noodles, a variety of dumplings, buns, scallion pancake wraps, and more. Editor picks: crispy scallion pancake wrap with beef; dan dan noodles; pan-seared pork and chive dumplings. Read more: Bess’s Cafe Dishes out Noodles in Brookline
  • Buttermilk & Bourbon: New Orleans is a long way away, so here’s Hell’s Kitchen alum Jason Santos’ new restaurant to stuff you full of beignets and other Southern-inspired food in an ambiance studded with voodoo dolls, moody lighting, and exposed brick. Located in the former BarLola space, Buttermilk & Bourbon serves up buttermilk fried chicken, raw bar items, short rib croquettes, honey-glazed biscuits, and lots more. Read more: Buttermilk & Bourbon Fills Back Bay With Fried Chicken and Beignets Starting Today
  • Publico Street Bistro & Garden: Southie’s newest addition boasts a courtyard that’s perfect for summer, but it’s equipped for cooler days as well, thanks to fire pits and a heated floor, not to mention its own bar (and televisions). Executive chef Keenan Langlois (Hamersley’s Bistro, The Sinclair) is offering one of the more accessible menus of recent Boston restaurant openings, with a few entrees under the $20 mark and lots of fun crowd-pleasers. The drinks, too, do away with pretentiousness, with cocktails topping out at $12 and a selection of beer that includes Bud Light, Tecate, and Stella Artois. Read more: Publico Street Bistro & Garden Arrives in Southie Tomorrow
  • Roxy’s Central/A4cade: A grilled cheese party in the front, and a cocktail/arcade party in the back. Perfect combination. Roxy’s Grilled Cheese and Area Four have combined forces to launch this dual venue, located near MIT in Central Square. Things you’ll find there: tater tot poutine, the funkiest glassware collection in town, pinball, foosball, shuffleboard, cabinet games, and lots more. Editor picks: soft serve and sprinkles; Land Shark cocktail; Doctor Who pinball machine. Read more: Cowabunga! A4cade and Roxy’s Central Are Here to Fill Your Life With Joy

Retired in July 2017

  • East Coast Grill: On paper, it sounded like a dream come true: Longtime Inman Square classic East Coast Grill, which closed over a year ago, would be reborn under new ownership — the team from Somerville cult favorite Highland Kitchen. The name would stay the same, parts of the menu would look familiar, and super-spicy Hell Nights would possibly make a comeback at some point. Now, it's open, and it's perfect. It has the vibe of old-school East Coast Grill but with a few fresh coats of paint and a little bit of a Highland Kitchen spin (including Highland Kitchen's excellent Monday night fried chicken — but at East Coast Grill, it's available every night). And Highland Kitchen's longtime bar manager, Joe McGuirk, is serving up a whole lot of tiki-inspired magic at East Coast Grill. As always, no reservations — just show up and relive the memories while celebrating a new era of your old favorite restaurant. Editor picks: soy-braised boneless short rib with scallion pancake, aromatic carrots, and shiitake and oyster mushrooms; Highland's famous buttermilk fried chicken; hoisin chile-glazed duck. Read more: East Coast Grill Makes Its Triumphant Return January 2
  • Pagu: The year had just begun when Pagu opened, but it crashed right onto the scene with a frontrunner for the best dish of the year: the braised pork belly bao (pickled cukes, fried shallots, peanuts). Don't miss the jet-black squid ink bao, either, stuffed full of fried oysters. Pagu is a playground that highlights the varied talents of people owner Tracy Chang has met along the years and places she has traveled and worked. There's a little bit of Spain, a little bit of Japan, and a whole lot of fun, not to mention plenty of high-end technique. Whether you're looking for a full tasting menu or simply some pintxos and cocktails, Pagu offers up a mix of dining experiences, and breakfast and lunch will be added soon. Editor picks: braised pork belly bao; Guchi's midnight ramen; kampachi sashimi. Read more: Look Inside Pagu, Now Officially Open in Cambridge
  • Reelhouse: From the group that opened Pier 6 in Charlestown comes another restaurant with stunning water views, this time in Eastie. (You can take a water taxi there from the Seaport District, Downtown Boston, or Charlestown.) To go with the views, there's plenty of seafood on the menu, including petit and grand seafood platters, blackened swordfish tacos, a New England-style clam bake, Maine char-grilled lobster with Ritz crumbs, and more. Marc Orfaly (Pigalle, The Beehive) is in the kitchen. Read more: ReelHouse Opens Today in East Boston
  • Terra: Italian mega-emporium Eataly opened at the Prudential Center with much fanfare late last year, but it took its time unveiling its full-service third floor restaurant, Terra, which features wood-fired Italian cuisine from Bisq alum Dan Bazzinotti (a previous Eater Boston Chef of the Year), barrel-aged beers, and a lush green ambiance. Read more: Terra Brings Wood-Fired Italian Cooking to Eataly Tonight

Retired in June 2017

  • Chilacates: The original, tiny Chilacates location on Amory Street has only been around since summer 2015, but it has developed a rabid following in that time, so it's good news that the excellent little taco shop now has a second location with more room. The new Chilacates is open in the space that very briefly housed Pink Samurai, and it's the place to go for tacos of all kinds, from carnitas to lengua to fish, as well as burritos, tortas, enchiladas, and more. Read more: Twice the Tacos: A Second Chilacates Is Now Open in Jamaica Plain
  • It's been a great year or two for Greek food in Boston — in particular, fast-casual Greek. Gre.Co is one of the latest openings in this realm, and the bright, cozy space (formerly Scissors & Pie) is the perfect addition to Newbury Street. Swing by for a gyro, but save room, of course, for some loukoumades. There are several varieties of the Greek-style doughnuts available, including the option to build your own with toppings such as hazelnut praline, Greek honey, caramel, and pistachios. Read more: Have a Loukoumades Feast at, Opening Imminently in Back Bay
  • Shaking Crab: The Cajun-style seafood craze has taken over the Boston area, full of shaken plastic bags of shellfish and seasoning. Shaking Crab is one of several restaurants that has opened recently — first in Newton and now in Quincy, with a couple in New York City and potentially more local expansion to come. It's a lively spot for crustacean fans who don't mind getting a little messy. Read more: Shaking Crab Bursts Into Quincy With Bags Full of Cajun-Style Seafood

Retired in May 2017

  • The Automatic: Take a plate of hot, crispy fries; throw in some "meat debris" — think Steak-umms, but good Steak-umms; and add a marrow-filled bone on the side, because why not? Add a cocktail that fills you with nostalgia for Sex and the City or sloppy college parties or the decadent ‘80s: sex on the beach is here for you, as is a raspberry cosmo and a mudslide. This is The Automatic, courtesy of Cambridge food & beverage dream team Chris Schlesinger and Dave Cagle, and you're going to find yourself here night after night. Editor picks: freaky fries; nori chicken skewers with ponzu; The Silent X cocktail. Read more: Drink a Mudslide at The Automatic Tonight
  • Burro Bar: Eat tons of tacos and drink tequila at this energetic new little sibling of Somerville's Painted Burro, located in the former Ribelle space in Brookline's Washington Square. Packed full of colorful artwork by Raúl Gonzalez III, Burro Bar is a lively spot to fulfill your margarita and street corn cravings. Read more: Burro Bar Opens Tonight With So Many Tacos
  • By Chloe: This 100% vegan fast-casual chain has just dropped into town courtesy of New York City, and this Seaport District location — already boasting giant lines in its early days — is the first of at least two in the area; it'll expand to Fenway this spring. In honor of Boston, the Seaport location has a few exclusives on the menu, including vegan takes on lobster rolls, clam chowder, and Boston cream pie whoopie pies. Read more: By Chloe Opens in the Seaport Today, Sun-Drenched and Full of Vegan Comfort Food
  • Kaki Lima at Wink & Nod: The latest group to rotate into Wink & Nod's "culinary incubator" is Boston's popular Indonesian food pop-up, Kaki Lima, which has previously appeared in a variety of places around town, including a previous regular stint at KO Pies in Eastie. Now, the team is settled into Wink & Nod through mid-September, serving up small plates (such as sate lilit — Balinese chicken sate with spicy lemongrass sambal), medium plates (such as sambal goreng kentang — crispy potato tots with wild prawns in spicy sambal), large plates (lobster saos nanas — roasted lobster with pineapple-chili-peanut sauce and various accoutrements), and sweets (such as es krim kelapa — toasted coconut ice cream with sweet black sticky rice). Enjoy Retno Pratiwi and Peter Gelling's menu full of bold flavors alongside Wink & Nod's fun cocktail program. Read more: Kaki Lima Brings Indonesian Cuisine to Wink & Nod
  • Ruka: This new project from the team behind Yvonne's and Lolita, along with Oishii's Ting Yen, hovers around in the intriguing intersection between Peruvian, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines, serving up intricate ceviche and sushi, large-format dishes to share (such as a whole crispy Japanese butterfish), and lots more, plus a very elaborate cocktail list. It's your new downtown date-night destination for a lively ambiance with visually stunning decor, furniture, and glassware, not to mention adorable desserts. Read more: Ruka Opens Today, Courtesy of the Yvonne's Team

Retired in April 2017

  • Manoa Poke Shop: Full of bright colors and good vibes, this adorable fast-casual poke shop is among the first wave of Hawaiian-inspired poke shops to hit the Boston area. It’s tucked away on the Somerville edge of Porter Square, and the friendly staff is eager to serve up bowls and bowls of raw seafood, rice, and a variety of toppings, not to mention fried chicken and other non-seafood options as well. Editor pick: salmon shoyu bowl. Read more: Manoa Will Bring Hawaiian Poke to Porter Square
  • Mida: This cozy South End space got a swanky upgrade with the opening of Douglass Williams’ Mida, a restaurant that bills itself as “rooted in, but not limited to, Italian culinary traditions.” As such, definitely try some pasta, but eat everything else on the frequently changing menu as well. Especially if you spot crispy lamb ribs on there. Editor picks: crispy lamb ribs (not on current menu, but keep an eye out for similar dishes); whatever orecchiette dish is currently being offered; Rohan duck breast. Read more: Mida Brings Pork Lardo and Gelato to the South End Tomorrow
  • Oak & Rowan: With a “land and sea” menu that covers everything from caviar flights and tuna crudo to lobster & veal sweetbreads and bone-in beef ribeye (not to mention beautiful desserts from Harvest alum Brian Mercury), Oak + Rowan opened in November in a meticulously renovated Fort Point space. It’s the newest restaurant — and first in Boston — from Newburyport restaurateur Nancy Batista-Caswell (Ceia, Brine), and she brought Justin Shoults from Brine to be executive chef at Oak + Rowan. Also, there’s a cocktail cart. Editor picks: pheasant kotschoubey; clam and pork chowder; squid ink farfalle; any and all desserts. Read more: Here’s Oak + Rowan, Ready to Fill You With Caviar and Pasta

Retired in March 2017

  • Area Four Boston: Ultra-popular Kendall Square wood-fired pizza restaurant Area Four now has a sibling across the river. The new Area Four, located in the Troy Boston building, takes full advantage of its beautiful, gigantic wood-fired oven to churn out more than just pizza. (The Cambridge location does have a few non-pizza options as well, but the new spot really rejoices in serving up wood-fired everything, from vegetable dishes to chicken and beyond.) It's a snazzy space with dual vibes: a bright, high-ceilinged dining room and a dark, more intimate bar area. Take your pick, and don't forget to order a cocktail or two. Editor picks: Carnivore pizza; Meddles With Petals cocktail. Read more: Hallelujah, Area Four Debuts Its New South End Location Today
  • Frenchie: Voila: Frenchie, a cozy Parisian-style wine bar, has opened in the former Kitchen space in the South End, serving up small plates, charcuterie, cheese, and wine. (Plus, desserts come from the acclaimed Cafe Madeleine nearby.) Early visitors have been raving about the escargot, mussels, octopus, and more. Co-owner Loïc Le Garrec is partner in Petit Robert Bistro, while co-owner Sandrine Rossi is a first-time restaurateur whose parents worked in wine and cheese. Chef Alex Falconer hails from the now-defunct Josephine in Kenmore Square, as well as Prezza and Beacon Hill Bistro. Read more: Frenchie Opens in the South End Tomorrow
  • Lamplighter Brewing Co./Longfellows Cambridge: It's a brewery! It's a coffee shop! It's got growlers, board games, and waffles! Lamplighter Brewing Co. is finally open, along with its resident coffee shop, Longfellows Cambridge. The dual businesses serve up everything you need from your local brewery/coffee shop, all in an adorable space. Growlers full of Brett IPAs? Sure. Flights of cold brew coffee? You've got it. Bar snacks? Yep, and there'll eventually be a bigger food menu with hot dogs, tater tots, and more. Editor picks: Metric Systems gose; Danger Zone dry-hopped sour; flight of cold brew coffees (standard, nitro, mint mojito, Taza cacao); liege-style waffle. Read more: Lamplighter Brewing Co. Grants Your Taproom Wishes With Board Games and Brett IPAs
  • Waypoint: Michael Scelfo's Alden & Harlow follow-up has arrived on the edge of Harvard Square, and you are going to drink so many types of absinthe. There's a lot of seafood, from oysters and crudo to traditional caviar service to a whole roasted branzino. Waypoint has a serious focus on grains, too, with creative bread, pasta, and pizza options (all made with house-milled grains). There are versions available for gluten-free diners, too. Editor picks: cured duck tongue pizza with stone fruit, cippolini, and peperoncino oil; king crab with black rice, brown butter aioli, and chili garlic oil; Riding High cocktail with La Muse Verte absinthe, manzanilla sherry, Batavia Arrack, lemon, and ginger beer. Read more: Say Hello to Waypoint, Your New Absinthe-Filled Seafood Destination in Cambridge

Retired in February 2017

  • Benedetto: It's been a solid few months for openings of excellent new Italian restaurants, including Benedetto, so fill up your winter must-eat list with pasta. This new project from the team behind Giulia, an acclaimed restaurant less than a mile down the street, is a worthy follow-up to its big sibling — well, small sibling if we're talking about size. The team has a lot more room to play around at Benedetto, and the result is a wide range of stunning sfizi and antipasti, lovely pastas, and more. Be sure to save room for a gorgeously plated dessert from Cafe ArtScience alum Renae Connolly. Editor picks: warm semolina cakes; spicy grilled octopus; braised duck leg tortelloni; nocciola semi-freddo. Read more: Benedetto Is Now Open in Cambridge With Handmade Pasta and Plenty of Wine
  • Moona: The longtime Rosie's Bakery space — and briefly Playska — has gotten a big revamp as Moona, a romantic date-night spot with an attractive bar and an excellent Eastern Mediterranean menu. Start with dips, pickles, and olives before moving into cold and warm mezza and ultimately a larger entree, if you'd like. Bonus: Numerous glasses of wine are under $10. Editor picks: batata and toum dip; chicken bastilla; scallops with pumpkin, leek, and sumac. Read more: Moona Softly Opens Its Doors in Inman Square
  • Pabu: Michael Mina and Ken Tominaga have expanded their San Francisco concept to Boston. Pabu is now open inside the swanky Millennium Tower, offering up a menu that includes high-end sushi and steak, izakaya-inspired small plates (skewers and more), and two tasting menus: a nine-course omakase (sushi) for $95/person and a seven-course kaiseki for $85/person. Early visitors have been praising the "happy spoons," hand rolls, and hospitality. Read more: Pabu Brings Sushi to Boston's Millennium Tower Starting Today

Retired in January 2017

  • Cornish Pasty Co.: It's a small Arizona-based chain of restaurants that specializes in Cornish (Cornwall, England) pasties — thick pastry shells filled with a variety of meat and/or vegetable fillings — and Boston's already loving it in its early weeks here. The Back Bay location of Cornish Pasty Co. currently has unanimous five-star ratings on both Yelp and Facebook, with early visitors raving about the comfortable ambiance and excellent comfort food. The menu has a long list of pasties, including numerous vegetarian and vegan options, as well as soups, sides, salads, and desserts. Banoffee pie, anyone? Editor pick: lamb vindaloo pasty. Read more: Cornish Pasty Co. Opens in Back Bay on Thursday
  • Eataly: Three years in the making, this giant complex of Italian food — multiple options for full-service dining, along with cafes and quick-service food and retail — has finally arrived. It's one of about 30 locations around the world, but there's a heavy focus on local partnerships, so you'll see plenty of familiar faces and names as you browse 45,000 feet of food. Barbara Lynch, for example, is collaborating on one of the sit-down restaurants, Il Pesce. The place is big and a bit overwhelming, and it'll probably be very crowded for the foreseeable future, but it's worth the trip to eat your way through so much pizza, pasta, gelato, and thousands of other items. Editor picks: Neapolitan pizza from La Pizza & La Pasta; tiramisu from La Pasticceria; sweet crepes from Pastella — Creperia Italiana. Read more: The Eater Boston Guide to Eataly Boston
  • Fat Hen: Remember La Brasa's market space? It looks completely different now; in fact, it's a whole new restaurant called Fat Hen, and it will quickly become your new favorite date night spot for bowls of fresh pasta, low-octane cocktails that magically appear in a tiny window in a bookcase, and lovely desserts. The space is dark and intimate, the service and warm, and did we mention the pasta? Just order one of everything. Editor picks: tramezzini with prosciutto cotto, foglie di noce cheese, and fig mostarda; spaghetti with Jonah crab, green tomato, and bacon; lamb saddle with black garlic, panzanella, dandelion greens, and caper vinaigrette. Read more: Gaze Upon Fat Hen, Your New Pasta-Filled Date Night Destination
  • Little Donkey: This hotly anticipated new project from Toro and Coppa's Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer has hit the ground running. It's loud, happy, and full of must-try dishes and cocktails that draw influence from all over the globe, from matzo ball ramen to manti, farro kimchi fried rice to monkfish biryani. The word "fusion" doesn't do the menu justice, and if anyone can pull off such a mash-up of ideas, it's this power duo. Editor picks: manti (Istanbul meat ravioli); Chinese sausage-stuffed Parker House rolls; lobster fra diavolo; tuna poke. Read more: Here Is Little Donkey, Where You'll Eat Matzo Ball Ramen, Monkfish Biryani, and Ceviche
  • Mamaleh's Delicatessen: The fun-loving State Park crew is now serving up the Jewish deli menu of your dreams right next door. Whether you line up at the counter for a piled-high sandwich or sit down at a table or the bar for a full-service feast, you'll find lots to love at this new addition to Kendall Square, including knishes, kugel, kasha varnishkes, smoked fish, egg creams, boozy and non-boozy milkshakes, and so much more. Plus, there's a gift shop full of items like Hebrew Hammer DVDs, a card game called "Schmear," Orthodox Chews saltwater taffy, and greeting cards that say "schmuck." Editor picks: beef kreplach; rum Greenpoint shake; black-and-white cookies; chocolate layer cake. Read more: Look Inside Mamaleh's, Where You'll Nosh on Pastrami and Rye

Retired in December 2016

  • Bar Mezzana: Perhaps it’s unsurprising that this new South End restaurant is an early hit — its owners and several staffers are Barbara Lynch Gruppo alumni, and their training is evident in the high level of hospitality and quality of the food. The menu highlights two essential food groups, raw fish and pasta, and does both equally well. Also on the menu: prosciutto di Parma, a variety of crostini, excellent cocktails inspired by Italian classics, and more. Editor picks: 1491 cocktail; sea bream crudo; yellowtail crudo; paccheri with lobster; sticky bun. Read more: Eat Italian Crudo and Pasta at Bar Mezzana on June 1
  • En Boca: Mediterranean-inspired small plates are becoming more prevalent in the Boston area, but why complain about over-saturation when they taste as good as these? En Boca rounds off its selection of small plates with a few larger ones to share, including a braised pork shank and a roasted half chicken. Editor picks: crispy Brussels sprouts with chicharron; fire-roasted wild mushrooms; slow-poached Arctic char; lamb meatballs. Read more: En Boca Opens Its Doors Thursday in Harvard Square
  • Haley.Henry Wine Bar: This tiny new Downtown Crossing hotspot is the place to go for tinned fish and one of the most interesting wine lists in town. Also on the menu: charcuterie and cheese boards, fancy toasts, raw seafood preparations, and the option to shave bottarga onto anything. Read more: Haley.Henry Wine Bar Arrives Downtown Friday With ‘Spain’s Sexiest Porker’ and Mountains of Shaved Bottarga
  • The Hourly: The Grafton Group (Russell House Tavern, Temple Bar, etc.) expanded its Harvard Square empire in late September, debuting The Hourly, an oyster bar located in the former Herrell's Ice Cream space. The restaurant features a raw bar and seafood in a variety of other preparations, from lobster spaghetti to crab cakes. While reservations are accepted for the small dining room area, most of the restaurant's seating is saved for walk-ins. Editor picks: charred octopus; lobster spaghetti; lobster roll. Read more: The Hourly Rides Into Harvard Square With So Many Oysters
  • The Smoke Shop: As Boston’s barbecue scene thankfully continues to grow, the newest entry is a long time coming. Andy Husbands (Tremont 647) has been involved in the competitive barbecue scene for years, and his experience has finally come to fruition at this bustling new Kendall Square restaurant, filled with whiskey and smoked meats. From hot links with pimento cheese to burnt ends and brisket, there are plenty of classics, as well as a few riffs on tradition, including a Thai-inspired smoked and fried chicken with mint and and fermented pepper mayo; a crispy tofu and smoked mushroom dish for those who want to skip the meat; and a brisket dish with Korean vinaigrette, kimchi, and gochujang ranch. Editor picks: wings; brisket; cornbread. Read more: The Smoke Shop Arrives This Weekend With Brisket, Hot Links, and More

Retired in November 2016

  • BLR by Shojo: Formerly called Best Little Restaurant, this Chinatown spot has been in the family of Shojo co-owners Brian and Brendan Moy for three decades, and now the duo has revamped and relaunched it with an updated interior and a new menu from Shojo executive chef Mark O’Leary. Now, diners will find dishes like surf clam ceviche with rice noodles, goji berry, and soy-lime vinaigrette; roasted bone marrow with scallion pancakes, XO, charred Brussels, and sweet soy glaze; Singaporean lamb fried rice with yellow curry and cumin; and lionhead meatballs with pickled chilies. There’s no booze...but Shojo is right around the corner with plenty, should you need to hydrate before or after your meal. Editor picks: crispy salt & pepper smelts; scallion pancakes; duck confit mooshu. Read more: The Best Little Restaurant Has Gloriously Relaunched in Chinatown
  • Lamplighter Brewing Co.: Lamplighter isn't fully open yet — stay tuned for the imminent opening of the taproom, featuring "hop dogs" and tater tots, as well as Lamplighter's cafe, Longfellows Cambridge, with Belgian waffles and cold brew. But the growler counter has opened up to much fanfare, serving up growlers (and squealers) of a variety of beers and cold brew. Snag some Lamplighter merch, taste some beers, and bring home growlers while awaiting the arrival of the full taproom experience. Editor picks: Metric Systems gose; cold brew coffee. Read more: Lamplighter Brewing Will Have Waffles and Cold Brew
  • Porto: Leave the Back Bay bustle behind and head up to this calming oasis that is conveniently perched on an upper level between two of the busiest streets in town. Courtesy of the team behind Trade, Porto is serving up a high-end, seafood-focused menu that draws inspiration from the Mediterranean with dishes like squid ink bucatini, whole fried scup, seafood stew, and more. Editor picks: raw scallop; squid ink bucatini; whole fried black bass. Read more: Porto Will Be a Mediterranean Seafood Oasis in Back Bay
  • Saltie Girl: This tiny new space from the MET’s Kathy Sidell is bursting with seafood. The restaurant features a huge list of tinned seafood from Portugal, Spain, and beyond, from caviar and cockles to tuna and trout. There’s also seafood in a lot of other forms — hamachi loin crudo, tuna poke, snow crab toast, lobster bisque, fried clams, fried lobster and waffles, and more. No reservations. Read more: Saltie Girl Debuts in Back Bay Tomorrow With Tinned Seafood Galore

Retired in October 2016

  • Brassica Kitchen + Cafe: For those who have been following the career of the Whisk pop-up team, you'll want to check out the culmination of the last few years of their work.They've recently opened their first permanent space, which functions as a cafe by day and a restaurant by night. Shell out some cash for the tasting menu ($65), and you'll be rewarded with six delightfully composed courses that play with pickled things, local things, local pickled things, and more. Editor picks: aged ricotta agnolotti; duck a l'orange; the Green Line cocktail. Read more: Eat Edible Flowers, Fried Chicken, and Duck a l'Orange at Brassica Kitchen + Cafe
  • Kava Neo-Taverna: The South End's newest Greek restaurant features a menu full of imported Greek goods, an almost entirely Greek wine list, and a wide range of small plates, from lahanodolmades to loukaniko. Early diners have been praising the authenticity, the ambiance, and the friendly staff, and a glowing Boston Globe review declares that at Kava, "you can dine on a Greek island without leaving Boston." It's tiny and noisy and does not take reservations; prepare to wait for a table. Read more: Kava Neo-Taverna Opens in the South End

Retired in September 2016

  • Juliet: Now five months old, this little cafe and restaurant in Somerville's Union Square has quickly become not just a neighborhood standby but a destination. In a glowing review,the Globe declared it to be a "jewel box filled with surprises." Bon Appetit chose it as one of the best new restaurants in the country this year. And co-owner Katrina Jazayeri is also one of our nationwide winners for this year's Eater Young Guns group. All this to say that you should go now while you can still get a seat, ideally for the tasting menu for dinner — or at least swing by and grab a breakfast taco and an iced tea to go. The secret's out. Editor picks: Japanese set breakfast; tagliatelle alla bolognese.
  • Southern Kin: The dining options at Assembly Row keep expanding, and it’s nice to see that many of the restaurants are new locations or concepts from relatively small local groups. The latest opening, Southern Kin, comes from Boston Nightlife Ventures, the team behind Wink & Nod, The Tap Trailhouse, and several other existing or soon-to-exist venues. The team has done a lot of things right with Southern Kin, from the eager-to-please staff to the floor-to-ceiling windows that open wide onto the sidewalk. There’s a lot of great whiskey and whiskey-based cocktails — perhaps you’d like a giant, shareable portion of boozy sweet tea for your table? — and the food will make you forget that you’re in a giant outdoor shopping mall on the edge of Somerville. Editor picks: chicken ‘n’ waffles; frogmore stew.
  • Tapestry: Remember Church, the music venue and restaurant? You'll hardly recognize it now that Tapestry's dual concepts, Expo Kitchen and Club Room, have opened in the space. The former is an airy, casual spot for oysters and pizza, while the latter features lush greenery, tropical wallpaper, and the type of creative menu you'd expect from a lineup that includes alumni of Coppa and Clio. Editor pick: clam and sunchoke pizza (Expo Kitchen).

Retired in August 2016

  • Bit Bar: Your new heaven is located in a former Salem jail: Arcade games with a particular focus on the 1980s and 1990s. Elk burgers served on black garlic-glazed doughnut/croissant hybrids. Cocktails named after arcade game characters. There’s also a pleasant 60-seat patio if you need a sun-drenched break from Pac-Man.
  • Casa Verde: Tacos, tortas, cordial-based cocktails, grilled corn, and more, courtesy of the fun team behind two other Jamaica Plain establishments, Tres Gatos and Centre Street Cafe. The highly anticipated third restaurant opened very softly at the end of April and ramped up to a full opening through May, so head in today for a chipotle roasted cauliflower taco, shrimp tostada, sopapillas, and the like.
  • Santouka: Fans of the Japanese ramen chain Santouka can now find it in Boston proper. The new Back Bay location is a lot smaller than the popular Harvard Square one, but the cozy space features top-notch ramen (and ample window-shopping nearby if you have to wait a while for a seat).
  • Stoked Pizza: An immensely popular wood-fired pizza truck now has an immensely popular brick-and-mortar location in Washington Square. The 49-seat, full-service restaurant is decorated with fun art, including a Pac-Man pizza wall in the bathroom, and it serves beer, wine, and cocktails to accompany the pizza-focused menu. Eater picks: meatballs; Brussels sprouts; diced pepperoni pizza with Mike's Hot Honey and Peruvian peppers.

Retired in July 2016

  • 16C: 16C is now offering enthusiastic Quincy crowds steak tips, sheet pizzas, and other comforting American cuisine from Kerri Lynch-Delaney, who formerly owned the Babycakes bakery for almost a decade. Restaurateur Barbara Lynch, Lynch-Delaney's aunt, helped develop parts of the menu for the new restaurant, which is located in the former Granite Rail Tavern space.
  • Deadhorse Hill: Sure, it's a bit of a drive from Boston, but one of Worcester's newest openings is well worth checking out even if you're not from Worcester. Sean Woods and Jared Forman, two-thirds of the ownership team, previously worked at Strip-T's and Ribelle, and at Deadhorse Hill, they're serving up huge ribeyes, Cantonese-style soft-shell crab, grilled pork chops, and more. Plus, Loyal Nine's pastry wizard Adam Ross has made the move to Deadhorse to serve up desserts like German chocolate cake and buttermilk pie.
  • The Hopewell Bar & Kitchen: From the team that brought Allston The Avenue, White Horse Tavern, and several other restaurants and bars comes The Hopewell, packed with arcade games, shuffleboard, and other amusements. The crowd-pleasing menu includes grilled pizzas and burgers.
  • OliToki: Fast-casual Korean-Mexican fusion, with a hint of Hawaii, in Allston. Part of the menu is called the "YOLO corner." What more do you really need?
  • Saloniki: This fast-casual Greek restaurant from Trade co-owners Jody Adams and Eric Papachristos and Trade opening manager Jonathan Mendez features calming ocean-blue walls, Greek frappés, and build-your-own combos of pita, rice, or salad with items like honey-garlic braised pork, spicy lamb meatballs, zucchini fritters, and more. There's plenty of seating and a small selection of wine and beer. Eater picks: spicy lamb meatballs; The Herc; Greek yogurt with lemon curd.
  • Winter Hill Brewing Company: The highly anticipated opening of Winter Hill Brewing Company has drawn plenty of crowds, which an extraordinarily cheerful staff has been handling gracefully. The space — which is a cafe by day and brewpub by night — shows no trace of its former life as a cell phone store. With five beers on tap and a few new ones rotating into the line-up soon, there's something for everyone. Small plates and sandwiches, too. Eater picks: spicy Korean Brussels sprouts; fried pickles; house cream ale.
  • WuBurger Gourmet: A fast-casual Woburn burger joint now has a brand new full-service sibling in the cozy former East by Northeast space in Cambridge's Inman Square, and you will not leave hungry. Simple, tasty burgers and hot dogs are paired with waffle fries and adult milkshakes. Eater picks: hot dogs with barbecue sauce and fried onions; Orange Alexander boozy milkshake.

Retired in June 2016

  • Capo: Lincoln and Loco's new sibling and neighbor has been seeing large and enthusiastic crowds since opening in mid-February. The comfortable spot features classic Italian food from Sage alum Tony Susi, jugs of wine, cocktails from JM Curley alum Kevin Mabry, and a fireplace, making it the perfect spot to spend these still-wintery early spring nights. Snag a wood-fired pizza and a big bowl of pasta, and forget about all your worries.
  • Moldova Restaurant: Newton finally has a Moldovan restaurant, conveniently named Moldova Restaurant. Potential fans had been awaiting its arrival for many months, so its early days have been quite busy. The hearty food is a good fit for the chilly early spring — there's zeamă, a chicken soup, as well as classic plăcinte, a pie that can come with a variety of savory or sweet stuffings.
  • SRV: The Coda Group (Salty Pig, Coda Bar & Kitchen, Canary Square) has debuted its newest concept, SRV, featuring Venice-inspired small plates (cicchetti) and loads of house-made pasta. (Even the flour for the pasta is milled at the restaurant.) For chefs known for the charcuterie-and-cheese magic they offered at The Salty Pig, comforting yet upscale Italian food is a perfect expansion of the brand. Eater picks: maltagliati; skate wing; maiale al latte.
  • Sugidama: A former medical office has been beautifully renovated into a Japanese restaurant with a focus on house-made soba, served in a variety of hot and cold preparations. (Vegan options are available.) There's also plenty of sushi and yakitori. Eater picks: pork kimchi soba; sukiyaki soba; kalbi yakitori.
  • Uni: It's back, and it's bigger. Clio closed at the end of 2015 after almost two decades to make way for Ken Oringer and Tony Messina to expand tiny Uni, Clio's neighbor and sibling, into the space. After a quick month of renovations, the new Uni has arrived with nigiri and maki from O Ya alum Akira Sugimoto, tiki and classic cocktails from Jason Kilgore (The Hawthorne), and a large menu of dishes inspired by Japan and southeast Asia. Want to go all out? The omakase (chef's tasting) will set you back $125, and there's also caviar service for $125. Eater picks: toro with uni powder; any daily special; pork belly steam buns; Korean rice cakes with kalbi oxtail.

Retired in May 2016

  • Angela's Cafe: A longtime East Boston favorite for Mexican cuisine, with a particular emphasis on the city of Puebla, has added a second Eastie location in order to serve both sides of the large neighborhood. The new spot is in Orient Heights, taking over the former El Paisa space, and is currently operating from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, serving breakfast and lunch.
  • Little Big Diner: Appropriately named, Little Big Diner is tiny (prepare to wait for a table) but full of huge flavors, fun personalities, and the most adorable octopus logo you've seen. The Sycamore team has a new hit on its hands with this boisterous Newton spot. Eater picks: spicy miso ramen; daily fish bowl; Tong Po cocktail.
  • The Table at Season to Taste: This beautiful tasting menu — four courses, plus assorted surprises — is a steal at $65. The restaurant seats 20; you'll feel like you're in chef Carl Dooley's home dining room, and the kitchen is wide open, so you can see everything. Dooley is killing it on the currently airing season of Top Chef, too. Get in now while you can still get a reservation. This is one of the most exciting openings of the year so far. (Want to pay a visit without going for the whole tasting menu? There's a little standing area where you can order snacks and drinks.) Eater picks: salad of grilled squid and citrus with Castelvetrano olive, pistachio, and mint; house-made garganelli with mussels, roasted broccoli, and lemon bread crumbs.
  • Tenoch: With locations in Medford and the North End, plus food trucks, Tenoch has made a name for itself thanks to its outstanding fast-casual Mexican food, especially the tortas. The highly anticipated Davis Square location is finally open, and there are lines, but they move quickly. Eater picks: torta campechana; carnitas tacos.
  • Tiger Mama: Tiffani Faison's vision of Southeast Asia is now open right down the street from her barbecue joint, Sweet Cheeks, and it's filled with cheerful vegetation, an epic disco ball elephant, and loads of flavors. From curries to noodles to giant "banquet-style" dishes, there's a lot to try, so bring a big group. Eater picks: lamb roti; braised pork pad si ew; lobster fresh rolls with a peanut sauce you'll want to put on everything.

Retired in April 2016

  • Anna's Taqueria: 20 years old and still growing, cult favorite local burrito chain Anna's Taqueria has just added a seventh location for taco-hungry Newton Highlands folks. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and serving breakfast every day, the new location will serve as a test kitchen of sorts. For now, it's the only location to serve salad bowls. Ice cream might appear at some point as well.
  • Branch Line: If you like bocce, rotisserie chicken, and the outstanding team behind Eastern Standard, make your way out to Watertown to try Garrett Harker and Andrew Holden's Branch Line, newly opened at the Arsenal. (Well, you'll have to wait for warmer weather for the bocce.) Beer and wine only, with a strong focus on unique and wonderful beers. Eater picks: sugar snap pea salad; side of rotisserie drippings for bread dipping; rotisserie potatoes; chicken.
  • Dorset Hall: The former Boston Party Rental space is now a two-story, 265-seat restaurant, a sibling to Shenannigans Bar & Grill in Southie. Crowds are descending upon Dorset Hall for affordable comfort food and an energetic, casual vibe. It's a welcome addition to a neighborhood that doesn't have a lot of dining options in the immediate area.
  • Pelekasis at Wink & Nod: Wink & Nod's got a pretty successful culinary incubator on its hands. Each long-term team that has passed through so far (Whisk, Bread & Salt, Akinto) now has a permanent restaurant in the works. The newest resident is Pelekasis, Brendan Pelley's well-received modern Greek concept. (Pelley is an alum of Zebra's Bistro and Wine Bar in Medfield, and you may recognize him from a recent season of Hell's Kitchen as well.) Swing by the South End venue for molten kefalograveira cheese, foie gras dolmades, one hundred layer spanakopita, and the like.

Retired in March 2016

  • Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana: Be prepared to wait in a very long line. (Use the opportunity to get outstanding gelato at Morano Gelato next door.) Generations of Frank Pepe fans with connections to New Haven are flocking to this first Massachusetts location — the first of several if it performs well enough — not to mention all the pizza fans who have heard the tales. An oven like this needs a few decades to really build up its true character, but the pizzas already coming out are quite good. Eater picks: the original tomato pie with mozzarella and sausage; Foxon Park soda. (Most fans will recommend the white clam pizza, but this author isn't partial to clams.)
  • Parsnip: Now open in Harvard Square, Parsnip spans multiple floors with an intimate upstairs lounge and an airy, high-ceilinged dining room. It's the old UpStairs on the Square space, but you'll barely recognize it, aside from some preserved polka-dotted paint upstairs. Parsnip serves "globally inspired" and "ingredients-led" cuisine and aims to offer a "casual fine dining" ambiance. Cozy up by a fireplace upstairs for a snack and a warm cocktail, the Little Green Monster: BarSol Mosto Verde pisco, sapling maple liqueur, hot coconut cream, matcha tea powder, and toasted pecan bitters. Hello, winter.
  • Villa Mexico Cafe: Momma King is back. Whether you first encountered her burritos at previous locations in Woburn or inside a gas station near Mass. General, you've been waiting for this day to arrive. Villa Mexico now has its own shiny new space downtown where throngs of people have been waiting for grilled burritos and black salsa every day. Hop in line.
  • Yvonne's: Calling itself a "modern supper club," Yvonne's is now open in the historical Locke-Ober space in Downtown Crossing, featuring a dark, secretive library bar. There's a high-powered food and drink team; key players include chefs Tom Berry (Proprietors in Nantucket) and Juan Pedrosa (The Glenville Stops), magical pastry sorceress Kate Holowchik (jm Curley, Bread & Salt Hospitality), and cocktail wizard Will Thompson (Drink, Deep Ellum, everywhere). Eater picks: KFC stone-fired pita; seared halloumi cheese; any boozy dessert.

Retired in February 2016

  • Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar: Michael Schlow shut down 13-year-old Via Matta and has debuted a new concept in the space: Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar, featuring simple Greek food and decorated with art by his wife, Adrienne Schlow, whose family is from Greece. "I think it's time for just plain old Greek," he previously told Eater, noting that there are lots of Mediterranean restaurants but not many that focus solely on Greece. "Greek food is beautiful, tasty...Beautiful whole fish with some lemon and olive oil — as I get older, it's especially the way I want to eat."
  • Ganko Ittetsu Ramen: The Boston area has no shortage of ramen these days, but this newly opened Brookline restaurant is a must-try, featuring miso, shoyu, and tan tan ramen. Chef Ken Iwaoka previously showed off his ramen skills at a regular pop-up at Osushi in Harvard Square. Eater pick: shoyu ramen.
  • Hojoko: One of the most anticipated openings of 2015, Hojoko is a lively new concept from the O Ya team, featuring Japanese-inspired sushi, snacks, and more. You can expect crowds, and you can expect loads of sake-soaked fun. The space is filled with Japanese pop culture paraphernalia, an old Pac-Man machine, and lots more. Eater Picks: steak um's; karepan.
  • Kimchi Kitchen: This cozy new East Cambridge Korean restaurant, run by a mother-and-daughter team, is mostly a takeout operation, but there's room to dine in if you'd like. The homestyle stews and rice- and noodle-based dishes are essential comfort food this winter, whether or not it ever actually gets cold out. Eater picks: daeng-jang jigae; pan-fried dumplings; dduk-bokki.
  • Osteria Posto: Newly opened in Waltham, the grand-looking Osteria Posto is sibling to Somerville's Posto (along with Rosebud and the Painted Burro). Unlike Posto, Osteria Posto doesn't serve pizza — it's more of an Italian steakhouse vibe, with some hefty meat options complemented by an ample pasta selection. Executive chef Robert Fathman, most recently at Bel Ari and Les Zygomates, is no stranger to steakhouses — his Boston culinary roots date back to the early 1990s, when he worked at Grill 23 in Back Bay.
  • Playska: Tim and Bronwyn Wiechmann, the husband and wife behind T.W. Food and Bronwyn, have recently debuted their Balkan-inspired sandwich shop in Inman Square. Located in the former Rosie's Bakery space, Playska appropriately features sandwiches made on fresh-baked breads, and other ingredients are also made in-house, including plenty of pickled things. Eater picks: cvapi; burek.

Retired in January 2016

  • Banyan Bar + Refuge: What happens when you take The Gallows team, add in East by Northeast's Phillip Tang, and stick them all in the beautiful former Hamersley's Bistro space? Find out at Banyan, now open in the South End and serving up an Asian-inspired menu of dishes like lobster buns, fried pig tails, takoyaki, and more. Eater picks: roasted cauliflower; warm lobster bun; profiteroles.
  • Containers at The Innovation and Design Building: Mei Mei, Roxy's Grilled Cheese, and other local food purveyors have set up shop in a series of shipping container kiosks at The Innovation and Design Building, forming a perfect little food court of easy-to-eat snacks and meals. Whether you're looking for a bowl full of local meats and produce from Mei Mei, fresh juice from Jubali, or fish and chips from Yankee Lobster Co., it's all right there.
  • Lone Star Taco Bar: Beloved Allston taco joint (and Deep Ellum sibling) Lone Star has expanded across the river, offering a tasty array of $4 tacos, as well as guac, Texas-style chili, and more. The cocktail and beer selections are strong, the staff is friendly, and the vibe will keep you coming back for more tacos. You can never have too many tacos. Eater picks: beef barbacoa taco; Baja fish taco.

Retired in December 2015

  • BISq: Bergamot's kid sibling BISq finally opened in Cambridge's Inman Square a few months back, and it's full of charcuterie and recycled wine bottles. The cozy, lively space features a distinctive chef's bar, perfect for interacting with Dan Bazzinotti, especially if you want to talk meat. (He's a finalist in this year's Eater Awards Chef of the Year category.) [He ended up winning.] There's also an intimate back room with a bar and a hidden television, and now there's brunch, too. Eater picks: N'awlins barbecue shrimp toast; cherry-glazed lamb ribs.
  • Coppersmith: Coppersmith, finally open in Southie, is doing about a million different things. There are two food trucks bolted permanently inside the restaurant, serving snacks like Korean spare ribs and steamed buns with pork belly. There's a big dining space with communal tables. There's a bar. There's a daytime cafe that serves as an event space at night. There's a ground-level patio as well as a rooftop deck. Pick your poison.
  • SELECT Oyster Bar: The first solo venture of Neptune Oyster alum Michael Serpa features "Mediterranean-ish" cooked seafood dishes touching on Spanish, Basque, and French cuisines — and beyond. The wine list is seafood-friendly, and the hidden patio is sure to quickly become one of the city's most romantic spots. Eater picks: Crudo of the day, Arctic char.

Retired in November 2015

  • Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca: Mario Batali's first Boston restaurant has been met with much fanfare (and giant crowds) at the perpetually-under-construction Fan Pier in the Seaport District. Babbo offers pizza, pasta, and more at a surprisingly low price point. Eataly's still many months away from completion in Back Bay, so this is the place to get your Batali fix for now. Eater picks: Mozzarella in carrozza; meatball pizza; gnocchi oxtail.
  • Committee: One of the latest openings to hit the busy Seaport District, Committee features Mediterranean-inspired small plates, a lively ambiance, and a fun cocktail program.
  • The Frogmore: Make your way to the Fairsted Kitchen team's new project in Jamaica Plain, where you can sit in a dining room bedecked in pineapples. The menu features lowcountry cuisine from the coastal South, from frogmore stew to she crab soup.
  • Worden Hall: Deep-dish pizza. Spuckies. Loads of beer and whiskey. Sound good? Head to Worden Hall, newly opened in Southie, courtesy of the Five Horses Tavern team.

Retired in October 2015

  • Boston Public Market: More than 15 years in the making, Boston Public Market has arrived downtown — an indoor, permanent farmers market with tons of vendors. There are plenty of prepared foods (mac and cheese, pastrami sandwiches, ramen, and more), so you can make a meal of it and snag one of a few seats there or head out to the nearby Greenway for a picnic. Try an off-peak time; the crowds are crazy. Eater picks: Ice cream from Crescent Ridge; mini cider doughnuts from Red Apple Farm.
  • Loyal Nine: Serving up colonial-inspired "East Coast Revival" cuisine in East Cambridge, Loyal Nine already had a packed house during its opening weeks. Order lots of seafood. Can't make it in for dinner? Check out the cafe during the day. Loyal Nine is the only local entry on Eater critic Bill Addison's list of the country's 21 best new restaurants of the year. Eater picks: matelote of RI squid with bone marrow dumplings; caveach of butterfish with black walnut and smoked oyster root; Scituate scallop with Bartlett pear and poppyseeds.
  • Taco Party: Taco Party, which started as a vegan taco truck, now has a brick-and-mortar location in Somerville's Ball Square. Want dessert? Sabertooth Vegan Bakery operates out of the same space for all your vegan taco-and-doughnut needs.

Retired in September 2015

  • Brewer's Fork: This long-anticipated Charlestown restaurant is finally here, and throngs of fans are already enjoying wood-fired pizza (and wood-fired everything else). Sunday brunch has recently begun. No reservations, but the amazing beer list will hold your attention while you wait for a table. And the patio is now open for the season. Eater pick: sausage pizza.
  • Townsman: Townsman is finally here, courtesy of Matt Jennings (Farmstead, Inc. in Providence) and a truly solid team that includes alums of Menton, Harvest, and beyond. From beautiful charcuterie and crudo plates to giant seafood towers, there's something for every lover of New England cuisine. Snag a seat at the crudo bar, if you can, for a great view of the preparations. Eater picks: beef cheek and apple pierogi, semolina bigoli, candy cap ice cream.

Retired in August 2015

  • The Backroom at Moody's Delicatessen: Moody's Delicatessen, an acclaimed Waltham shop, now has a full-service restaurant and wine bar attached. The Backroom features charcuterie and lots more.
  • The Chicken & Rice Guys: With four ultra-popular trucks vending exactly what you'd expect, it was time for The Chicken & Rice Guys to put down roots with a brick-and-mortar location. They have recently opened in the former InBoston space, and there were massive lines right away. Only open for weekday lunch, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Naco Taco: Naco features one of the liveliest new patios in town, tacos and tortas galore (by Alden & Harlow's Michael Scelfo, who acted as opening consulting chef but has since departed), and a variety of micheladas and sangrias. The line gets long, but you can wander while you wait — Naco will text you when your table's almost ready. Eater pick: Cabeza ahogada (pig's head torta).
  • Ogawa Coffee: This brand new downtown coffee shop — the first location outside of the Kyoto area for the small Japanese chain — features stadium-style seating so customers can watch the baristas make artsy lattes and more. There's also a variety of sandwiches and other light cafe-style food available.

Retired in July 2015

  • Dumpling Palace: Popular Chinatown soup dumpling spot Dumpling Cafe now has a sibling near Symphony Hall, Dumpling Palace. It's open until 3 a.m. daily for all your late-night XLB needs.
  • Hops N Scotch: Lovers of beer and whiskey were excited to see the aptly named Hops N Scotch cross the river last month, expanding from Brookline's Coolidge Corner to Cambridge's Inman Square.

Retired in June 2015

  • American Fresh Brewhouse, Boynton Yards: Somerville Brewing Company is taking over Somerville bit by bit. Now, in addition to the Assembly Row beer garden, the company has a brewery and taproom in Somerville's Boynton Yards neighborhood, right outside of Union Square. There's comfort food to pair with all the beer.
  • Centre Street Cafe: House-made pasta is the star of this complete revamp of Jamaica Plain standby Centre Street Cafe, newly renovated and now under the ownership of the Tres Gatos team. While dinner is now Italian and Mediterranean-inspired, there's also a classic brunch that pays homage to the restaurant's previous life. And stay tuned — the team is now working on opening up a Mexican restaurant, Casa Verde, down the street.
  • Clover HFI: Cambridge's Central Square now has all-night dining with the opening of the newest Clover in the former Hi-Fi Pizza space by the Middle East. (In fact, performers at the Middle East can dine free on the night of their show.)
  • The Kitchen at Club Passim: Garden at the Cellar alum Brandon Arms has just taken over the culinary program at Harvard Square's legendary folk music venue, Club Passim, so you'll want to buy tickets to a show right away in order to try his food. While dinner is only for ticketed guests seeing a show, lunch will soon be offered, open to the public. The menu is "globally-inspired new American cuisine," which translates to dishes like lamb gnocchi, butter-poached lobster, and a za'atar-spiced veggie burger.

Retired in May 2015

  • Amorino: Spring on Newbury Street — nothing better than strolling around, people-watching, and eating gelato. Bonus points if that gelato happens to be scooped in a pretty flower shape, as it is as this international chain. This is the first Boston outpost. There are also macarons, espresso, and more.
  • Kane's Handcrafted Donuts: Doughnuts and "kronuts" and "dowiches," oh my. (Also: giant coffee rolls.) This Saugus institution, born in 1955, has finally touched down in the heart of downtown Boston, and people are a little bit excited, to say the least.
  • Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar: This new little Southie sibling and neighbor of Lincoln Tavern features, as the name suggests, tacos and oysters. And it evokes a summery feeling, perfect for these snowy winter days. Beware: lines get long.
  • Moonshine 152: With a late-night menu available every night, plus brunch all weekend and on Mondays, this new Southie spot from Asia Mei is pretty much always there when you need it. Located in the former Franklin Southie space, Moonshine features dishes like boar shoulder stroganoff with spaetzle, whole grilled pig ears, conch ceviche, and more. Keep an eye out for Ron Swanson-inspired brunch specials.
  • River Bar: Chorizo scotch quail eggs, corned beef and cabbage dumplings with rye dipping sauce, a house-made Chinese sausage sub. Cocktails. A large patio with a fire pit. You need these things in your life, and now you can have them. Eater pick: The bulgogi-marinated burger, sitting on a soft English muffin and topped with bacon spring rolls.
  • Santouka Ramen: With sleek decor and a prime piece of Harvard Square real estate, Japanese chain Santouka Ramen's first New England outpost is already wildly busy. Service is unflappably friendly and quick, and the ramen is quite satisfying, featuring noodles with just the right amount of chew. The signature dish is shio ramen (a salt-flavored creamy broth), which comes topped with a pickled plum. Eater pick: spicy miso ramen.
  • Serafina: Small New York-based Italian chain Serafina has just made its debut in New England, courtesy of Seth Greenberg (Mistral, Bastille Kitchen, etc.). The bright space, accented with plenty of yellow, was previously Michael Schlow's Radius. Fans of the chain's other locations are excited for the thin-crust pizza and other Italian-inspired dishes.