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 neighborhood were you most excited to dine in this year?
“The North End continues to be one of my faves. I love going to places such as Caffe Vittoria, Dino’s, Al Dente, Galleria Umberto, Parziale, Bricco Salumeria & Pasta Shop, Bova’s, Table Mercato, Mother Anna’s, and Caffe Paradiso. The North End gets a bad rap as a tourist trap, but it remains one of the city’s most charming neighborhoods for both walking and eating.”
“Just north of Cambridge, Arlington’s proximity to public transportation via the Red Line, relatively affordable cost of living, and good school system have attracted young professionals and immigrant communities to settle there in recent years. Its dining scene wasn’t as robust in the past, as there were no liquor licenses in town until 1979, as told by my mother-in-law, an Arlington native. These days, Arlington is a mix of old and new: institutions such as Jimmy’s Steakhouse and Garrett’s (formerly Townhouse Restaurant, which acquired the city’s first liquor license), still serve old-fashioned American menus; while a group of newcomers representing global cuisines find their footing, from specialty French grocery MA France to Boonnoon Market, which serves Thai comfort dishes. I also found out about Szechuan’s Dumpling, a must-visit for those who are into Jiangnan cooking. Its Chinese name Zui Hangzhou, or ‘Drunken Hangzhou,’ alludes to its menu that predominantly features classic Hangzhou dishes, which falls under the JIangnan cuisine umbrella.”
“Relieved to return to ‘quasi-normalcy’ is probably more accurate than ‘excited,’ but getting back to my day-job office northwest of the city allowed me to resume some great everyday lunches. My rotation there includes Gene’s Chinese Flatbread and Spicy Hunan Kitchen in Woburn; Sichuan Gourmet, New Jang Su Korean BBQ, Ritu Ki Rasoi (vegetarian South Indian) and Viet Citron in Burlington; Toraya and Boonnoon Market in Arlington; and Khao Hom Thai & Pho in Billerica, to name a few. I’d really missed those places while working from home. Those suburbs are a surprisingly target-rich environment for food dorks.”
“Here’s my kind-of-a-fudge-but-also-deeply-honest answer: all of the neighborhoods. Not one stood out above all others to me this year, although it’s nice to see some exciting things happening on the North Shore. I truly was just excited to be regularly eating in restaurants again, and finding moments of glory in all corners.”
Nearly 100 people took part in Eater Boston’s dining survey this year (thank you, all!). Below, find the top ten reader responses for the city’s most exciting dining neighborhoods in 2022.
- Jamaica Plain
- South End
- East Boston
These answers have been lightly condensed and edited for clarity.