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