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A whole grilled and steamed fish is presented on a plantain leaf and surrounded by yucca pieces and lime wedges.
La Royal’s take on patarashca features local black sea bass that is grilled and steamed in plantain leaves.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater Boston

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The Most Exciting Boston Restaurant Openings of 2022

La Royal in Cambridge, Yunnan Kitchen in the South End, BoonNoon Market in Arlington, and more

Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

To wrap up the year, Eater Boston polled both local journalists and readers of this site to get their thoughts on the past year in dining: the good, the bad, and the most exciting things still to come in 2023. The results have been collected in the following series of posts. (Check out the full archive here.)

Below, we ask: What was your favorite new restaurant (or bar, or food truck, or pop-up) that opened this year?

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

“The new location of Eleni’s in North Woburn was my favorite by far. Such a great combination of Greek-American and traditional Greek dishes, and the people are so nice there.”

MC Slim JB, restaurant critic for Boston Magazine:

“I’ll cite Lenox Sophia first, a teacup-sized spot in Southie that does a superb prix fixe menu and has BYOB, which saves customers a fortune on wine. I also adore La Royal in Huron Village from the folks behind Somerville’s Peruvian standout Celeste. It has all of its sibling’s food virtues plus a glamorous atmosphere, a bigger cocktail list, and room for a fryer to make a fantastic jalea. With its December 2021 opening, I’ll squeeze in Dear Annie in Porter Square, too. It has an odd ordering and service format, but its great genes really show in wonderful small seafood and vegetable plates by Field & Vine and natural wines by Rebel Rebel. On the bar front, The Wig Shop in Downtown Crossing is a terrific newcomer with romantically lit ambiance and a raft of meticulously crafted, delicious cocktails.”

Devra First, restaurant critic for the Boston Globe:

“I’ll call it a tie: The Koji Club is more bar than restaurant, a showcase for sake in Brighton from the knowledgeable Alyssa Mikiko DiPasquale, but with some wonderful bites (sometimes there’s nothing more perfect than properly cooked rice with pickles) and an atmosphere that’s just relaxed, friendly, cool, educational, and fun all at once. At Nutthachai “Jeep” Chaojaroenpong’s BoonNoon Market in Arlington, bright, craveable Thai dishes are cooked to order in the little kitchen behind the counter, and the market itself is a delight to browse, revealing everything from house-made treats to pantry goods to Thai herbal remedies.”

Rachel Leah Blumenthal, food editor for Boston Magazine:

Yunnan Kitchen, hands down. Ok, to be fair, a lot of great restaurants opened this year, and I have a lot of favorites, which I guess goes against the definition of the word “favorite.” But I keep talking about Yunnan Kitchen and wanting to drag people there to try more and more of the menu with me. It’s a regional Chinese cuisine we’ve barely seen in Boston before, aside from a few noodle shops, and it has surprised and delighted me with its flavors that feel more reminiscent of Southeast Asian cuisines — Thai chilis! Limes! — than the Chinese cuisines I’m familiar with.”

Reader responses

Nearly 100 people took part in Eater Boston’s dining survey this year (thank you, all!). Below, find the top ten reader favorites for new restaurants that opened this year:

These answers have been lightly condensed and edited for clarity.

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