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A detail shot of the Southern Proper interior, featuring a hanging purple plant and a framed old photograph

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The Most Beautiful New Boston Restaurants of 2018

Gaze upon the prettiest new spaces of the year

Southern Proper
| Sarah Storrer/Eater

Dining out isn’t just about the food. There’s the service to consider, of course, and the overall ambiance as well. In terms of Boston restaurant design, some 2017 trends continued into 2018: This year’s new restaurants are still, for example, heavily featuring murals by local artists, juxtaposing fancy details with rustic backdrops, and filling spaces with greenery. Boston diners also saw a few examples of expansive, opulent spaces in 2018, and on the other end of the spectrum, smart use of much smaller spaces.

This year’s Eater Awards included a design category; here’s a glimpse at those nominees and winners as well as some of the other most interesting-looking debuts of 2018, split into several categories. (Want more? Here’s a look back at 2017’s most beautiful new restaurants.)


Just Plain Opulent

Fancy restaurants, fancy design elements. These cavernous spaces are full of luxurious accents, from leather and marble to ornately carved wood and gigantic wine collections on display.

Nahita — Eater Boston 2018 Design of the Year Award Winner (read more)
100 Arlington St., Back Bay, Boston

The Design of the Year winner boasts a striking mural, lush greenery, marble bar tops, impressive columns, and more.

A restaurant interior featuring high ceilings, elegant columns, and lots of greenery
Nahita
Nahita [Official Photo]

Boston Chops — Eater Boston 2018 Design of the Year Award Nominee (read more)
52 Temple Pl., Downtown Crossing, Boston

The new location of Boston Chops has a classic upscale steakhouse ambiance, perfect for a power lunch or special occasion — lots of leather, lots of marble, and just a few well-placed pieces of cow-themed art.

A wide shot of Boston Chops DTX, looking down the length of the restaurant and towards the front door, with elegant light fixtures and a long bar in view
Boston Chops
Sarah Storrer/Eater

Del Frisco’s (read more)
Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston

Continuing in the steakhouse vein, there’s the new Del Frisco’s location at the Pru, featuring thousands of bottles of wine on display.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse Prudential
Del Frisco’s
Sarah Storrer/Eater

Really Leaning Into a Theme

Whether it’s a Tiki bar, a Japanese tea house, a backyard barbecue, or a taste of Havana, these restaurants picked an aesthetic and really stuck to it.

Casa Caña — Eater Boston 2018 Design of the Year Readers’ Choice Award Winner (read more)
Studio Allston, 1234 Soldiers Field Rd., Allston, Boston

Eater Boston readers loved the design of Casa Caña, with its blue-green color scheme, tropical murals, and photographs of Cuba.

casa cana
Casa Caña
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Gen Sou En Tea House — Eater Boston 2018 Design of the Year Award Nominee (read more)
299 Harvard St., Coolidge Corner, Brookline

Soothing curved lines and muted tones are the highlight here, not to mention the skylit tree.

Gen Sou En
Gen Sou En
Sarah Storrer/Eater

Shore Leave (read more)
11 William E. Mullins Wy., South End, Boston

It’s Tiki, but it’s not too over-the-top. It also feels like a secret hideaway, given its subterranean address.

A dark, modern bar interior with a tiki theme
Shore Leave
Sarah Storrer/Eater

Backyard Betty’s (read more)
172 W. Broadway, South Boston

The Backyard Betty’s team went all-in on the backyard theme, featuring bits of Americana, a light fixture made out of a grill, grassy centerpieces, and more.

Backyard Betty’s
Backyard Betty’s
Sarah Storrer/Eater

Tiki Rock (read more)
2 Broad St., Downtown Boston

It’s a lively, kitschy Tiki bar with all the expected design elements, from Tiki mask tables to giant fish dangling from the ceiling to island murals.

Tiki Rock
Tiki Rock
Tiki Rock/Facebook

Doing a Lot With a Little Bit of Space

They’re cozy, but not cramped — these pocket-sized spots are full of personality.

Nathálie Wine Bar (read more)
186 Brookline Ave., Fenway, Boston

It’s a bit bigger than its older sibling Haley.Henry, but Nathálie still isn’t what you’d call huge. Both spots are long, narrow, and intimate, and both are the perfect places to discover a unique wine or two.

Blue and gold bar stools line a dark brown bar, with backless silver stools arranged at a window counter
Nathálie Wine Bar
Nathálie Wine Bar [Official Photo]

Fool’s Errand (read more)
1381 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston

Around the corner from Nathálie, Fool’s Errand is a standing-room-only “adult snack bar” featuring glitzy chandeliers, fun wallpaper, and a very special piece of bathroom art.

Fool’s Errand
Fool’s Errand
Fool’s Errand/Instagram

Rebel Rebel (read more)
Bow Market, 1 Bow Market Wy., Union Square, Somerville

Like Nathálie, Rebel Rebel is a funky little wine bar. Two of Rebel Rebel’s walls are giant windows, looking out onto the increasingly bustling Bow Market; one wall is plastered with “SEX MONEY POWER” posters; and there’s patio space with blankets and heaters.

Shelves of wine bottles and a chalkboard menu inside a wine bar
Rebel Rebel
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Saus (read more)
Bow Market, 1 Bow Market Wy., Union Square, Somerville

Saus is a bit bigger than most of the other food vendor spaces at Bow Market, although it’s still rather small. The team made use of every inch with a bold color scheme, patterned tiles, and a sort of uniquely shaped seating area that runs in front of and to one side of the partially enclosed kitchen space.

Saus at Bow Market in Somerville
Saus Somerville
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Celeste (read more)
21 Bow St., Union Square, Somerville

The 2018 Eater Boston Restaurant of the Year has a bright, minimalist design with a few pops of color to make it homey. The floor and a neon Celeste sign are sky blue — a nod to the restaurant’s name, which means “sky blue” in Spanish, and the wall of the open kitchen is painted gold.

A vertical image shows the interior of a small restaurant with a sky blue floor. Six chairs line a bar that looks into an open kitchen. Neon blue lettering reads “Celeste” above the bar.
Celeste
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater
A vertical image shows a slice of a small restaurant’s interior, with orange stools at a white bar and two small shelves of liquor
Celeste
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Also Quite Nice

Just some really attractive new spots that don’t fit into the above categories.

Alcove (read more)
50 Lovejoy Wharf, West End, Boston

One highlight of the West End’s new hot spot is its view of the Zakim Bridge, but the restaurant’s interior is also easy on the eyes — it feels classy, but not pretentious, making it suitable destination dining as well as a solid neighborhood spot.

Alcove
Alcove
Emily Kan

Blossom Bar (read more)
295 Washington St., Brookline

The redesigned Sichuan Garden features calming mint green walls, just the right amount of tropical flora, and comfortable booths — the perfect setting for partaking in the excellent cocktail selection.

Blossom Bar
Blossom Bar
Blossom Bar/Facebook

Kamakura (read more)
150 State St., Downtown Boston

This multi-level restaurant features a lounge with a retractable roof, which will surely be a big hit next summer.

Kamakura
Kamakura
Brian Pu Ruiz

Chickadee (read more)
Innovation and Design Building, 21 Dry Dock Ave., Seaport District, Boston

Home to Eater Boston’s 2018 Chef of the Year, John daSilva, Chickadee would be a must-try even if it didn’t look great. But it does — it’s located inside the Innovation and Design Building, after all. Like Alcove, this feels like the kind of space you’d happily travel to — it looks nice enough for a date night or special occasion — but if you lived nearby, you could also sidle up to the bar for a casual snack any night.

Chickadee
Chickadee
Kristin Teig

Bootleg Special (read more)
400 Tremont St., South End, Boston

Chandeliers, fancy rugs, a neon “live nudes” sign pointing toward the bathroom...maybe it doesn’t feel like the type of spot where you’d wear a bib and gloves while digging into spicy bowls of boiled seafood, but that’s what it is. It feels a little bit weird and a lot of fun.

Bootleg Special
Bootleg Special
Bootleg Special/Facebook

Southern Proper (read more)
600 Harrison Ave., South End, Boston

“I wanted it to look like a tobacco barn,” chef and owner Jason Cheek previously said. “A tobacco barn my grandmother invaded.” He succeeded, and he got the desired scent of pine, too.

An interior shot of Southern Proper, full of light wood and streaming sunlight
Southern Proper
Sarah Storrer/Eater

Check out Eater.com’s national roundup of the most beautiful new restaurants of 2018 as well.

Boston Chops (Downtown Crossing)

52 Temple Pl., Boston, MA 02111 Visit Website

Alcove

50 Lovejoy Wharf, , MA 02114 (617) 248-0050 Visit Website

Gen Sou En Tea House

299 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 02446 Visit Website

Fool's Errand

1377 Boylston Street, , MA 02215 Visit Website

Celeste

21 Bow Street, , MA 02143 (617) 616-5319 Visit Website

Casa Caña

1234 Soldiers Field Road, , MA 02135 (617) 415-5402 Visit Website

Tiki Rock

2 Broad Street, , MA 02109 (617) 670-2222 Visit Website

Rebel Rebel at Bow Market

337-341 Somerville Ave., Somerville, MA 02143 Visit Website

Southern Proper

600 Harrison Avenue, , MA 02118 (857) 233-2421 Visit Website

Blossom Bar

295 Washington Street, , MA 02445 (617) 734-1870 Visit Website

Backyard Betty's

170 West Broadway, , MA 02127 (617) 766-8955 Visit Website

nathálie

186 Brookline Avenue, , MA 02215 (857) 317-3884 Visit Website

Kamakura

150 State Street, , MA 02109 (617) 377-4588 Visit Website

Saus at Bow Market

1 Bow Market Way, , MA 02143 Visit Website

Nahita Restaurant

100 Arlington Street, , MA 02116 (617) 457-8130 Visit Website

Shore Leave

11 William E Mullins Way, , MA 02118 (617) 530-1775 Visit Website

Bootleg Special

400 Tremont Street, , MA 02116 (617) 451-1800 Visit Website

Chickadee

21 Drydock Avenue, , MA 02210 (617) 531-5591 Visit Website

Bow Market

1 Bow Market Way, , MA 02143 Visit Website

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