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Queso fundido topped with chopped tomatoes and more sits in a small red pan. There’s a blue and white bowl of tortilla chips to the right, and both vessels sit on a wooden tray.
Queso fundido at Guy Fieri’s Tequila Cocina, one of many openings in the West End this year
Big Night Entertainment Group [Official Photo]

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The Hottest Dining Neighborhoods of 2019: West End, Union Square, and More

Local food writers zero in on the busiest areas of the year

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As is Eater’s annual tradition, we’re closing out 2019 by surveying local food writers (including our own staff and contributors) on various restaurant-related topics, and we’re publishing their responses in these final days of the year. Readers, please feel free to chime in with your own thoughts in the comment section below, or hop into our Facebook group to discuss.

Keep an eye on the Year in Eater landing page for other stories in this series, rolling out over the next several days.

Up next: What was the hottest dining neighborhood of 2019? (See the 2018 responses here.)


MC Slim JB, restaurant critic at Boston.com:

Logan Airport. Okay, not the hottest, but surely one of the most overdue for an upgrade, and it got a big one this year: with Davio’s, Monica’s Mercato, Trade, Temazcal, and Shōjō, to name a few, plus a miniature version of Boston Public Market and more new places on the way. If you fly much, you know how grim it was to dine at Logan and how much better it has gotten lately.”


Marc Hurwitz, founder of Boston’s Hidden Restaurants and Boston Restaurant Talk, food writer for Dig Boston:

As I said before, the North Station/TD Garden/West End area is getting ready to explode, and there are some really good places there, including Banners Kitchen & Tap, Night Shift, and A&B Burgers. Somerville’s Union Square continues to be red-hot as well, and Brookline Village is showing signs of life, though I’m not sure it’ll ever become a true dining destination.”


Jacqueline Cain, deputy food editor at Boston magazine:

“The West End/North Station area. Back Bay/South End area.”


Eric Twardzik, freelance writer and contributor to The Food Lens, Boston.com, and Dig Boston:

“Is it a cop-out to say all of them? As opposed to other years, the big openings of 2019 seemed to be scattered across the city, which might have something to do with the concentrated food scenes that have sprung up across the area in the last decade.”


J.Q. Louise, lifestyle blogger behind http://jqlouise.com and food writer at the Boston Herald:

“My favorite dining neighborhood this year was the North End. Take the time to rediscover Boston’s first foodie neighborhood and you won’t be disappointed. From pizza at Umberto’s, to the waygu burger at Aqua Pazza, to the risotto at Carmelina’s, to the lasagna at Pagliuca’s, the best things in life are often the simplest and in the North End they are glorious.”


Dan Whalen, cookbook author and blogger:

“If you are planning an afternoon with friends to eat and drink at several locations, and there isn’t a baseball game that day, Fenway/Kenmore is hands down the best. It was always my personal favorite place for a food crawl, but the addition of Orfano, Nathálie, Fool’s Errand, Trillium, and Time Out Market sealed the deal.”


Dana Hatic, former Eater Boston associate editor:

“Little biased here, but I’d have to say Union Square in Somerville. There are new breakfast, lunch, and dinner options across the neighborhood that all bring something new to the table and complement the variety of cuisines and dining environments already in place in the Square. Eat breakfast sandwiches at Vinal Bakery, lunch at Masala Square, bring friends and snack on pizza at T&B, and feast through Bow Market’s many wonderful vendors.”


Terrence B. Doyle, Eater Boston reporter:

“Chinatown. It always is. Here’s to hoping it’s able to keep the gentrifiers out.”


Rachel Leah Blumenthal, Eater Boston editor:

“My own neighborhood, Union Square in Somerville, has continued its several-year-long hot streak in 2019, with fairly new restaurants like Celeste continuing to draw crowds, Bow Market continuing to grow, and old stalwarts continuing to survive.

Nearby, Porter Square in Cambridge had a bit of a hot year, too: Two of its new openings — Chalawan and Gustazo — ended up on our short list of finalists for the 2019 Restaurant of the Year. (Tanám, in the aforementioned Union Square, took home the prize.)

And Boston’s West End seemed to have an unprecedented number of openings this year, with many more to come in early 2020, mostly — but not entirely — thanks to the new Hub on Causeway development and its associated restaurants and forthcoming food hall. I’m not sure if that qualifies it as ‘hot,’ but I’m curious to see whether all the additions start bringing in more people who aren’t already in the neighborhood to attend something at TD Garden. It’s never seemed to be much of a destination dining neighborhood to me, just full of convenient sports bars for when you’re going to a sports event or concert, but that may be changing.”

Two empanadas covered with poppyseeds and other seeds sit in a wooden bowl on a table with a surface that looks like newsprint. A thick orange dip sits next to the empanadas.
Empanadas at Gustazo, which opened in Porter Square this year
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Tanám at Bow Market

1 Bow Market Wy., Suite 17, Somerville, MA 02143 (617) 669-2144 Visit Website

High Street Place

100 High Street, , MA 02110 Visit Website

A&B Burgers (Boston)

101 Beverly St., Boston, MA 02114 Visit Website

The Hub on Causeway

100 Causeway Street, , MA 02114

Fool's Errand

1377 Boylston Street, , MA 02215 Visit Website

Orfano

1391 Boylston Street, , MA 02215 (617) 916-9600 Visit Website

Celeste

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

Chalawan Asian Eatery

1790 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02140 (617) 547-8888 Visit Website

Vinal Bakery

222 Somerville Avenue, , MA 02143 (617) 718-0148 Visit Website

T & B Pizza

251 Washington St., Somerville, MA 02143 Visit Website

Galleria Umberto

289 Hanover Street, , MA 02113 (617) 227-5709 Visit Website

Carmelina's

307 Hanover Street, , MA 02113 (617) 742-0020 Visit Website

Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen

190 North Beacon Street, , MA 02135 (617) 903-3766 Visit Website

Night Shift Brewing (Lovejoy Wharf)

1 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston, MA 02114 (617) 456-7687 Visit Website

Aquapazza

135 Richmond St., Boston, MA 02109 Visit Website

nathálie

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

Gustazo Cuban Restaurant & Cafe (Cambridge)

2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140 Visit Website

Popover King

74 Canal Street, , MA 02114 (617) 209-4939 Visit Website

Time Out Market Boston

401 Park Drive, , MA 02215 (978) 393-8088 Visit Website

Bow Market

1 Bow Market Way, , MA 02143 Visit Website

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