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Cut mango, sliced cucumbers, sausages, and other meats form a spread atop banana leaves in a kamayan-style Filipino dinner.
Kamayan feast at Tanám, Eater Boston’s 2019 restaurant of the year
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

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2019 in Review: Boston’s Year in Food

Catch up on the year’s happenings before we head into 2020

As 2019 nears its end, here’s a look back at the year in local restaurant openings and closings, top news stories, most-read maps and guides, and more.

A high-ceilinged restaurant with grand chandeliers, red plush seating, and wood accents
Mariel opened in downtown Boston this year
Richard Cadan

From beer news to chicken and waffles, from the opening of an eye-catching Cuban restaurant to the closure of a landmark, here’s what you read most this year.

  1. Beer News Roundup 2019: Typically updated weekly, this news roundup highlighted brewery openings and closings and other beer news throughout Massachusetts. Stay tuned for the continuation of this roundup in 2020.
  2. Restaurant Closings Roundup 2019: Another weekly updated roundup, this one charted restaurant closings — those that have already occurred as well as those that have been announced but haven’t happened yet — in and around Boston. This roundup will also continue in 2020.
  3. The Most Anticipated Boston Restaurant Openings of Fall 2019: We’re still waiting for some of these, but this story highlighted hot openings that were slated for fall, from a Latin American cocktail bar to a Parisian bistro — not to mention a ridiculous amount of chicken.
  4. Restaurant Openings Roundup 2019: Like the above closings roundup, this weekly piece provided details on recent restaurant openings in and around Boston; it’ll also continue in 2020.
  5. Suburban Dining News Roundup 2019: Updated weekly, this piece tracked openings, closings, and other restaurant news outside of Boston and its immediate neighbors. This roundup will not continue in 2020; you’ll find suburban dining news incorporated into the opening and closing roundups mentioned above.
  6. A Beautiful Cuban Restaurant Opens Downtown Tonight: Mariel, a sibling of Yvonne’s, debuted in late September with mojitos and more. It went on to win our 2019 design award.
  7. One of Chinatown’s Best Dumpling Spots Reopens After Being Seized for Not Paying Taxes: Chinatown institution Gourmet Dumpling House was seized by the state on October 17, breaking a lot of hearts — but the restaurant quickly reopened the following day.
  8. Durgin-Park Is Closing Next Week, After Nearly 200 Years: The Boston landmark, which had been operating since before the Civil War, closed in January 2019.
  9. New Dorchester Restaurant Has a Roster of 52 Chicken and Waffle Variations: Family Affair Restaurant and Catering opened in Upham’s Corner, and readers were really excited about the chicken and waffles.
  10. Time Out Market Boston Arrives in Fenway, Bursting With Food and Drink: 2019 was supposed to be the Year of the Food Hall, but Time Out is the only one that actually opened on schedule, with a couple more now slated for early 2020.

A plate of hearty toast with jam and butter
Brunch at Black Lamb
Reagan Byrne

You liked brunch last year and the year before, and you continued to like brunch this year. You also spent a lot of time at the airport. These are the maps and guides you viewed the most in 2019.

  1. The 38 Essential Restaurants in Boston: This map is aimed at answering any question that begins, “Can you recommend a restaurant?” Updated quarterly.
  2. The Hottest Restaurants in Boston Right Now: This map highlights a dozen hot new dining destinations to check out, focusing on places that have been open for under six months. Updated monthly.
  3. The Hottest Brunches in Boston Right Now: Shake up your brunching routine with the newest options in town — a mix of brand new restaurants and older restaurants that are newly serving brunch. Updated monthly.
  4. Where to Eat at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS): The best meal of your life probably wasn’t in an airport, but if that’s where you need to be, here’s where to eat.
  5. The Food Events Guide: All the local food and drink events you’ll actually want to attend, updated weekly.
  6. The Best Dishes the Eater Boston Team Ate This Week: Every Friday, we shared our favorite dishes of the week with you and opened up a related discussion thread in our Facebook group (join us.) Stay tuned for the continuation of this weekly column in 2020. (We also rounded up our favorite dishes of the whole year here.)
  7. 26 Iconic Dishes Around Boston: Get to know the city and surrounding area with these essential eats.
  8. The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Right Now: Hot new cocktail destinations to try in and around Boston. Updated monthly.
  9. Vital Brunch Spots to Know in Boston: Whether you’re up for a classic dish, dim sum, or something with a little Southern flare, here are some essential Boston-area brunches that’ll knock your socks off, newness not required.
  10. Where to Eat Vegetarian and Vegan Food in Boston: The city has plenty of meat-free options.

This interior shot shows the second floor bar at the Longfellow Bar in Cambridge. The triangular wall is brick-lined, and the bar is round. Dark beige high-top chairs sit in front of it.
The Longfellow Bar at Alden & Harlow
Sarah Storrer/Eater Boston

Three significant restaurant openings and closings from each month of 2019. Click on any month’s name to be taken to an in-depth summary of that month’s openings, closings, and most-read news stories, maps, and guides.


  • Openings: The Longfellow Bar at Alden & Harlow (Harvard Square, Cambridge), No Relation (South End, Boston), Tanám (Union Square, Somerville)
  • Closings: Cultivar (downtown Boston), Durgin-Park (downtown Boston), Towne Stove & Spirits (Back Bay, Boston)


  • Openings: Colette (Porter Square, Cambridge), Fox & the Knife (South Boston), Milk Bar (Harvard Square, Cambridge)
  • Closings: Boston Common Coffee Co. (West End, Boston), Panera Cares (downtown Boston), Sushi Factory (Allston, Boston)


  • Openings: Buttonwood (Newton), Gustazo Cuban Kitchen & Bar (Porter Square, Cambridge), Night Shift Brewing at Lovejoy Wharf (West End, Boston)
  • Closings: Amsterdam Falafelshop (Davis Square, Somerville), Cafe Jaffa (Back Bay, Boston), Sorella’s (Jamaica Plain, Boston)


  • Openings: The Quiet Few (East Boston), Taiyaki NYC (Seaport District, Boston), Winnisimmet Lounge (Chelsea)
  • Closings: Night Market (Harvard Square, Cambridge), Stephi’s on Tremont (South End, Boston), Tom English’s (Dorchester, Boston)


  • Openings: Cheers Cut (Quincy), The Joint (Jamaica Plain, Boston), Zuma (Back Bay, Boston)
  • Closings: Green Briar Irish Pub (Brighton, Boston), John Harvard’s (Harvard Square, Cambridge), Sweet Bakery (downtown Boston and Chestnut Hill)


  • Openings: Avenue (Ball Square, Somerville), Ban Toi (Dorchester), Ilona (South End, Boston)
  • Closings: Commune Kitchen (Arlington), Dorado Tacos (Brookline), The Lower Depths (Kenmore, Boston)


  • Openings: Black Lamb (South End, Boston), The Emory (Beacon Hill, Boston), Peregrine (Beacon Hill, Boston)
  • Closings: Bagel Bin Deli (Revere), The Kirkland Tap & Trotter (Somerville), Makaha (Acton)


  • Openings: Orfano (Fenway, Boston), Stillwater (downtown Boston), Taqueria el Barrio (BU/Brookline)
  • Closings: Navy Yard Bistro (Charlestown, Boston), New Dong Khanh (Chinatown, Boston), Tapestry (Fenway, Boston)


  • Openings: Gantetsu-Ya (Brookline), Goldilox Bagels (Medford), Nibble Kitchen (Somerville)
  • Closings: The Hungry I (Beacon Hill, Boston), Maria’s Pastry Shop (North End, Boston), Seta’s Cafe (Belmont)


  • Openings: Chalawan (Porter Square, Cambridge), Nightshade Noodle Bar (Lynn), Rochambeau (Back Bay, Boston)
  • Closings: Doyle’s Cafe (Jamaica Plain, Boston), Mystic Brewery (Chelsea), Del Frisco’s Grille (Chestnut Hill, Burlington)


  • Openings: Dryft (Revere), Ōmori Izakaya (Brookline), Woods Hill Pier 4 (Seaport District, Boston)
  • Closings: Addis Red Sea (South End, Boston), Nahita (Bay Village, Boston), Roast Beast (BU, Boston)


  • Openings: Flight Club (Seaport District, Boston), Lily P’s (Kendall Square, Cambridge), Tavern of Tales (Mission Hill, Boston)
  • Closings: The Baseball Tavern (Fenway, Boston), BLR by Shōjō (Chinatown, Boston), Cafe Artscience (Kendall Square, Cambridge

A hand pulls away a triangle of taleggio-stuffed focaccia bread from a plate of it.
Focaccia from Fox & the Knife, one of Boston’s best newcomers in 2019
Sarah Storrer/Eater Boston

Year-end content, including the results of a survey of local food writers.

Head over to the Year in Eater landing page for our full index of year-end stories, or skip to a few highlights: the Eater Boston 2019 award winners; the best dishes the Eater Boston team ate in 2019; the top new restaurants of the year, according to local food writers; and the top restaurant standbys.