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A hand pulls away a triangle of taleggio-stuffed focaccia bread from a plate of it.
Taleggio-stuffed focaccia at Fox & the Knife in South Boston
Sarah Storrer/Eater

One 2019 Restaurant Opening to Know in Every Boston Neighborhood

Catch up on the year’s new restaurants one neighborhood at a time

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Taleggio-stuffed focaccia at Fox & the Knife in South Boston
| Sarah Storrer/Eater

Quite a few restaurants opened in Boston in 2019 — here’s the list from the last several months alone — probably too many to try in one year. This map aims to help you shrink your to-try list by highlighting the single most notable opening in each neighborhood of Boston. Some are truly the best of the best citywide; some are quirky neighborhood spots; some are, well, literally the only 2019 opening in their neighborhood; four are Jamaican; five are Italian; all are worth checking out as we head into 2020, which will surely be full of an even more overwhelming number of new restaurants.

First, a note on geography: We’re using the phrase “every Boston neighborhood” a bit loosely. We started with Boston’s official list of 23 neighborhoods but made a couple of changes, such as including Mid-Dorchester under the general Dorchester umbrella and separating the Seaport District from South Boston since we often cover it as its own area.

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Charlestown: The Anchor

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One of several quiet neighborhoods that didn’t see any restaurant openings in 2019 (let us know if we missed one), Charlestown did have one new spot, albeit not a restaurant: the Anchor, a family-friendly and pet-friendly wine and beer garden and public gathering space with skyline views and an events calendar packed with arts, culture, and fitness events and more. While it’s primarily a warm-weather space, it’s also open for a couple December weekends for cold-weather-appropriate programming. Keep an eye on social media for updates on a 2020 reopening once we get through winter.

An open-air two-story brick structure is visible with some tables next to it, bedecked with red and white umbrellas. There are tables on the structure as well, and people are hanging out throughout the area.
The Anchor
The Anchor [Official Photo]

East Boston: The Quiet Few

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East Boston had an especially busy year if you count all the new restaurant openings at Logan Airport, but East Boston “proper” also saw several strong debuts, including whiskey bar the Quiet Few, which has been wowing the neighborhood with its drink selection, comfort food, and welcoming vibes since opening in April. Want to fancy things up? There’s caviar and Champagne.

An interior photo of a whiskey bar shows a dark wall and a light wooden bar with stools along it.
The Quiet Few
The Quiet Few [Official Photo]

West End: Night Shift Brewing

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The West End may be the neighborhood that saw the largest amount of change to its drinking and dining scene in 2019. Of course, you can’t talk about the West End without talking about the Hub on Causeway and its soon-to-open food hall, Hub Hall. A number of local purveyors — and Guy Fieri — are doing (or are going to very soon be doing) some very exciting things there. Night Shift Brewing can’t be ignored, though. The Everett-born brewery — a favorite among local beer nerds — opened its massive brewhouse on Lovejoy Wharf this year, next to Alcove (one of 2018’s important West End debuts). It has space for 300 customers and offers drinkers and diners small plates of comfort food and the opportunity to drink small-batch experimental brews.

A dark beer in a glass with an owl logo sits on a light wooden table in a taproom. Angular turquoise details are visible on the ceiling, and a giant version of the owl logo is lit up on a wall in the background.
Night Shift Lovejoy Wharf
Night Shift/Facebook

North End: Casarecce Ristorante

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The North End probably needed another Italian restaurant like it needed another pothole on its streets. Casarecce is good, though, so it doesn’t matter that it’s joining a saturated market. The restaurant’s name originates from a short, twisty pasta shape typical in Sicily. Casarecce’s pasta is all made in-house, and it’s reasonably priced. It’s a good addition to a neighborhood that didn’t need it but is better for having it.

A white plate of a short, twisty pasta in a tomato sauce, garnished with torn basil
Casarecce at Casarecce
Casarecce/Instagram

Beacon Hill: Peregrine

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There tends to be a bit of a stigma against restaurants located in hotels; it’s sometimes deserved, but there are exceptions, and Peregrine — from the award-winning Juliet team — is definitely one of them. Sure, it’s located right in the lobby of the Whitney Hotel; you can see people checking in as you eat. But the food transports you far away to the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia and beyond, also drawing influence from places like Corsica and Catalonia.

An interior photo of Peregrine in the lobby of the Whitney Hotel in Boston’s Beacon Hill. Nearly floor-to-ceiling windows fill the wall along the street, and a blue wall covered with art is visible in the background.
Peregrine, located in the lobby of the Whitney Hotel
Sarah Storrer/Eater

Downtown Boston: Mariel

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The stunning, Cuban-inspired Mariel took home the 2019 Eater Award for design — a second win in this category for the restaurant group, who also won for Lolita Fort Point in 2017. (All their restaurants are gorgeous.) But that’s not the only reason to brave the crowded reservation books for this downtown newcomer: The food is solid as well, with dishes such as pan queso frito, fufu gnocchi, and Havanese lamb belly especially hitting the spot.

A high-ceilinged restaurant with grand chandeliers, red plush seating, and wood accents
Mariel
Richard Cadan

Brighton: Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen

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On-site brewing hasn’t begun just yet — Brato is still brewing on a contract basis with several local breweries — but the beer is flowing, and so too are the decadent snacks. When Brato opened, it joined a burgeoning bar and restaurant scene in the space between Market Street in Brighton and Cambridge Street in Allston. The constant development — and a commuter rail station — indicate Brato and others are at the vanguard of a soon-to-be hip neighborhood.

A painting of a hot dog topped with onions and mustard with a fractal-like colorful background
House-made sausages are a major focus of the food menu at Brato
Dana Hatic/Eater

Allston: Silk Road Express

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This kiosk is located inside the Super 88 food hall in Packard’s Corner in Allston and is best known for its Xinjiang-style hand-pulled noodles (and especially the dry-fried noodles with beef). Silk Road Express is the younger sibling of Silk Road Uyghur Cuisine in Cambridge, and it’s the only restaurant serving Uyghur cuisine in Boston proper. Super 88 has long been one of the city’s best food destinations; the addition of Silk Road Express further emphasizes that reputation. 

A takeout container of dry-fried noodles with beef at Silk Road Express in Allston, served on a striped wooden table with a pair of chopsticks
Dry-fried noodles with beef from Silk Road Express
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Woods Hill Pier 4

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The Seaport District kept Seaport District-ing in 2019 — filling up open space with skyscrapers full of offices and fancy condos, bringing in about 100 more steakhouses, welcoming out-of-town chains. There were Instagram-bait ice creams in whimsical cones; there were darts thrown in a carnival-like space. But one notable opening was refreshingly local, very farm-to-table, and excellent overall: Woods Hill Pier 4, sibling to two popular Concord restaurants and a New Hampshire farm. If the Seaport wants to have some semblance of a soul, it’s going to need to welcome more places like this.

A shaved whelk salad is presented in a whelk shell. From out of frame, a hand pours a stream of broth onto the dish.
Shaved whelk at Woods Hill Pier 4
White Loft Studio

Chinatown: Liuyishou Hotpot

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Chinatown experienced more closures than openings this year; most of the (very few) openings were bubble tea shops. But this hot pot chain — which is based in China and has more than 1,000 locations worldwide, including in New York City — was a bright spot in a slow year. It opened in Chinatown in January 2019 and offers diners Chongqing-style hot pot, which is a spicy preparation made with Sichuan peppers. The presentation is notable for a wooden wheel of sorts that holds all the thinly sliced meats, ready for dunking in the pot in the center.

Overhead view of a metal hotpot split in three segments, holding three different soups. One is deep red and full of chiles, one is translucent and white-ish with leeks, and one is clear and packed with long, skinny, white mushrooms with tiny caps.
Chongqing classic spicy tallow soup, coconut chicken soup, and wild mushroom soup at Liuyishou Hotpot
Liuyishou Hotpot/Facebook

Bay Village: Basile Fine Italian Kitchen

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Like several of the other neighborhoods on this map, the tiny Bay Village saw more closings than openings this year, including Nahita and Erbaluce (the latter went out with a bang on New Year’s Eve at the start of 2019.) In fact, Eater Boston didn’t hear of any openings in the neighborhood this year. (Know of one we missed? Let us know.) However, one restaurant did get a bit of a revamp: Under new ownership, the 12-year-old Da Vinci Ristorante became Basile Fine Italian Kitchen, focusing on “modern flavors and cocktails” as well as corporate events. Longtime Da Vinci chef Tony Singh returned to the restaurant after a several-year hiatus at Smith & Wollensky.

A slice of rare venison on a plate with greens and sauce
Basile Fine Italian Kitchen
Basile Fine Italian Kitchen/Official Site

Back Bay: Rochambeau

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Rochambeau, the latest entry into Boston’s French food scene, is a replacement — under the same ownership — for Towne at the Prudential Center. The space has been upgraded (it’s one of the most beautiful new restaurants this year), and the food hits the right notes, with classics like duck a l’orange and onion soup gratinee alongside grilled lobster frites and chermoula seared skate. There’s also an all-day cafe. Eataly’s right next door, so a hungry diner could easily make a mini European food crawl out of it.

A plated cut of duck lightly topped with greens
Duck à l’orange at Rochambeau
Rochambeau [Official Photo]

Fenway: Orfano

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Glam ambiance? Check. Martini cart? Check. Hilariously huge pepper grinder? Check. Orfano balances an exceptional take on Italian-American cuisine with equal parts fine-dining and silliness, and it works, adding to Fenway’s burgeoning food scene along with its big siblings (Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama, and Fool’s Errand).

Bucatini piled onto a decorative plate and topped with herbs at Orfano in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood
Bucatini at Orfano
JM Leach

South Boston: Fox & the Knife

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One of the best new restaurants in America, South Boston’s Fox & the Knife is one of the year’s many new Italian restaurants, but it dials into a regionality that’s a little different for the city, paying homage in particular to Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. (Chef and owner Karen Akunowicz spent time there, specifically in Modena, learning pasta-making.) The Modena-style tigelle, a bread cooked in a special cast-iron pan, is a must, but so is the other bread, a taleggio-stuffed focaccia.

Two pieces of tigelle, a round bread from Modena, Italy, that’s made in a special cast-iron pan
Tigelle at Fox & the Knife
Sarah Storrer/Eater

South End: Ilona

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From the team behind one South End hot spot (Kava Neo-Taverna) comes another: Ilona. While its big sister focuses on Greek food, Ilona — which boasts a colorful, attractive space — travels around the Eastern Mediterranean, with touches of Greece but also Georgia, Turkey, Lebanon, and Israel. Standout dishes include the adana lamb kebab; pan-seared haloumi with pickled grapes; and shish barak, a lamb-stuffed pastry.

Overhead view of five colorful Eastern Mediterranean dishes
A spread of dishes from Ilona
Sophie Benzie

Mission Hill: Nachlo Mexican & Pakistani Cuisine

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Mission Hill got a few dining options and a new board game bar in 2019. If you’ve only got time to visit one, make it Nachlo, which serves an unlikely combination of Mexican and Pakistani food, as well as some dishes that combine the two. Tasty burritos and kofta coming from the same kitchen? Aloo gobi tacos? Yes, please.

A casual restaurant exterior on the ground floor of a brick building has signage that reads “Nachlo: Mexican & Pakistani Cuisine.” There’s also halal signage.
Nachlo
Nachlo/Yelp (by owner)

Roxbury: Golden Krust Caribbean Restaurant

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This Jamaican chain originated in the Bronx borough of New York City in 1989 and has expanded to include more than 100 locations — including a few in Massachusetts — and a frozen food brand. It specializes in Jamaican patties, which are like flaky, golden turnovers filled with savory ingredients. Also on the menu: braised oxtail, jerk pork, curried goat, and various pastries. This brand new location opened in December in Dudley Square (which is being renamed Nubian Square).

A spread of food from Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill, including sprigs of fresh herbs, various peppers, a bulb of garlic, a ramekin of curry powder, and a bowl of curried goat with rice and mixed vegetables.
Curried goat at Golden Krust
Golden Krust/Official Site

Jamaica Plain: Jamaica Mi Hungry

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What began as a food truck and then a summer pop-up on Hampton Beach in Southern New Hampshire has finally come together as a fast-casual restaurant in Jamaica Plain’s Jackson Square neighborhood. Jamaica Mi Hungry is serving all the Jamaican hits, including beef patties, curry vegetable stew, and curry chicken stew. The dish that cannot be missed, however, is the jerk chicken wings. They are some of the very best chicken wings in the city.

Dorchester: Bạn Tôi Restaurant

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Dorchester is the place to go for Vietnamese food in Greater Boston, especially where Dorchester Avenue and Adams Street meet near Fields Corner. Bạn Tôi is a newcomer, but it’s already becoming a neighborhood favorite. Go here for grilled squid, jackfruit salad, and snails with corn. (And explore the rest of the neighborhood’s Vietnamese food scene while you’re at it.)

A dish of grilled boar with a spicy dipping sauce and greens
Heo rung nuong at Bạn Tôi
Bạn Tôi/Facebook

West Roxbury: Stardust: Inspired Mediterranean

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Another neighborhood without many new additions in 2019, West Roxbury did welcome a tiny, casual Mediterranean restaurant called Stardust that’s attracting some attention in its early months. Stardust, which is mostly geared toward takeout orders but does have several seats, serves wraps and plates (falafel, spicy grilled chicken, hummus with vegetables, and some other options) and some sides, such as grape leaves and lentil soup.

Roslindale: The Square Root

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Typically sleepy Roslindale Village was atypically abuzz for much of 2019. Turtle Swamp Brewing took over the Roslindale Substation and made its temporary beer hall there permanent, for one, and Distraction Brewing also opened. As far as food goes, the Square Root debuted this year, offering an all-day food menu, tons of tea and coffee options, mostly local beers, and a short but carefully curated wine list. The space also doubles as a performing arts and music venue.

A beer sits on a dark wooden table in a casual cafe setting. A blurred person in a backpack can be seen making a purchase at the counter, where coffee equipment is visible.
A beer at the Square Root
Katie Faust Stryjewski/Eater

Mattapan: Blue Mountain Jamaican Restaurant

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2019 was something of a banner year for Jamaican restaurant openings in Boston (see also: Only One, Golden Krust, and Jamaica Mi Hungry.) This Mattapan restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and its menu includes various curries, soups, stews, jerk chicken, and ackee and saltfish, which is a sauteed dish made with boiled ackee, salt cod, and various vegetables and aromatics.

Pieces of jerk chicken on a grill
Jerk chicken at Blue Mountain
Blue Mountain/Instagram

Hyde Park: Only One Jamaican Restaurant

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Hyde Park didn’t have a single opening that fell on Eater Boston’s radar this year. (Know of one we missed? Let us know.) However, a third location of Only One Jamaican Restaurant will open on December 21, at least as of press time, sneaking in just under the wire for 2019. Located in a former D’Angelo’s sub shop, Only One will offer diners dishes such as oxtail, curry goat, barbecue beef ribs, and beef patties. Early risers will find an all-you-can-eat Caribbean breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. There are older locations in Dorchester and Brockton.

A white styrofoam takeout container is open to reveal Jamaican food, including rice and chicken drumsticks
Only One Jamaican Restaurant
Only One Jamaican Restaurant/Official Site

Charlestown: The Anchor

One of several quiet neighborhoods that didn’t see any restaurant openings in 2019 (let us know if we missed one), Charlestown did have one new spot, albeit not a restaurant: the Anchor, a family-friendly and pet-friendly wine and beer garden and public gathering space with skyline views and an events calendar packed with arts, culture, and fitness events and more. While it’s primarily a warm-weather space, it’s also open for a couple December weekends for cold-weather-appropriate programming. Keep an eye on social media for updates on a 2020 reopening once we get through winter.

An open-air two-story brick structure is visible with some tables next to it, bedecked with red and white umbrellas. There are tables on the structure as well, and people are hanging out throughout the area.
The Anchor
The Anchor [Official Photo]

East Boston: The Quiet Few

East Boston had an especially busy year if you count all the new restaurant openings at Logan Airport, but East Boston “proper” also saw several strong debuts, including whiskey bar the Quiet Few, which has been wowing the neighborhood with its drink selection, comfort food, and welcoming vibes since opening in April. Want to fancy things up? There’s caviar and Champagne.

An interior photo of a whiskey bar shows a dark wall and a light wooden bar with stools along it.
The Quiet Few
The Quiet Few [Official Photo]

West End: Night Shift Brewing

The West End may be the neighborhood that saw the largest amount of change to its drinking and dining scene in 2019. Of course, you can’t talk about the West End without talking about the Hub on Causeway and its soon-to-open food hall, Hub Hall. A number of local purveyors — and Guy Fieri — are doing (or are going to very soon be doing) some very exciting things there. Night Shift Brewing can’t be ignored, though. The Everett-born brewery — a favorite among local beer nerds — opened its massive brewhouse on Lovejoy Wharf this year, next to Alcove (one of 2018’s important West End debuts). It has space for 300 customers and offers drinkers and diners small plates of comfort food and the opportunity to drink small-batch experimental brews.

A dark beer in a glass with an owl logo sits on a light wooden table in a taproom. Angular turquoise details are visible on the ceiling, and a giant version of the owl logo is lit up on a wall in the background.
Night Shift Lovejoy Wharf
Night Shift/Facebook

North End: Casarecce Ristorante

The North End probably needed another Italian restaurant like it needed another pothole on its streets. Casarecce is good, though, so it doesn’t matter that it’s joining a saturated market. The restaurant’s name originates from a short, twisty pasta shape typical in Sicily. Casarecce’s pasta is all made in-house, and it’s reasonably priced. It’s a good addition to a neighborhood that didn’t need it but is better for having it.

A white plate of a short, twisty pasta in a tomato sauce, garnished with torn basil
Casarecce at Casarecce
Casarecce/Instagram

Beacon Hill: Peregrine

There tends to be a bit of a stigma against restaurants located in hotels; it’s sometimes deserved, but there are exceptions, and Peregrine — from the award-winning Juliet team — is definitely one of them. Sure, it’s located right in the lobby of the Whitney Hotel; you can see people checking in as you eat. But the food transports you far away to the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia and beyond, also drawing influence from places like Corsica and Catalonia.

An interior photo of Peregrine in the lobby of the Whitney Hotel in Boston’s Beacon Hill. Nearly floor-to-ceiling windows fill the wall along the street, and a blue wall covered with art is visible in the background.
Peregrine, located in the lobby of the Whitney Hotel
Sarah Storrer/Eater

Downtown Boston: Mariel

The stunning, Cuban-inspired Mariel took home the 2019 Eater Award for design — a second win in this category for the restaurant group, who also won for Lolita Fort Point in 2017. (All their restaurants are gorgeous.) But that’s not the only reason to brave the crowded reservation books for this downtown newcomer: The food is solid as well, with dishes such as pan queso frito, fufu gnocchi, and Havanese lamb belly especially hitting the spot.

A high-ceilinged restaurant with grand chandeliers, red plush seating, and wood accents
Mariel
Richard Cadan

Brighton: Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen

On-site brewing hasn’t begun just yet — Brato is still brewing on a contract basis with several local breweries — but the beer is flowing, and so too are the decadent snacks. When Brato opened, it joined a burgeoning bar and restaurant scene in the space between Market Street in Brighton and Cambridge Street in Allston. The constant development — and a commuter rail station — indicate Brato and others are at the vanguard of a soon-to-be hip neighborhood.

A painting of a hot dog topped with onions and mustard with a fractal-like colorful background
House-made sausages are a major focus of the food menu at Brato
Dana Hatic/Eater

Allston: Silk Road Express

This kiosk is located inside the Super 88 food hall in Packard’s Corner in Allston and is best known for its Xinjiang-style hand-pulled noodles (and especially the dry-fried noodles with beef). Silk Road Express is the younger sibling of Silk Road Uyghur Cuisine in Cambridge, and it’s the only restaurant serving Uyghur cuisine in Boston proper. Super 88 has long been one of the city’s best food destinations; the addition of Silk Road Express further emphasizes that reputation. 

A takeout container of dry-fried noodles with beef at Silk Road Express in Allston, served on a striped wooden table with a pair of chopsticks
Dry-fried noodles with beef from Silk Road Express
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Woods Hill Pier 4

The Seaport District kept Seaport District-ing in 2019 — filling up open space with skyscrapers full of offices and fancy condos, bringing in about 100 more steakhouses, welcoming out-of-town chains. There were Instagram-bait ice creams in whimsical cones; there were darts thrown in a carnival-like space. But one notable opening was refreshingly local, very farm-to-table, and excellent overall: Woods Hill Pier 4, sibling to two popular Concord restaurants and a New Hampshire farm. If the Seaport wants to have some semblance of a soul, it’s going to need to welcome more places like this.

A shaved whelk salad is presented in a whelk shell. From out of frame, a hand pours a stream of broth onto the dish.
Shaved whelk at Woods Hill Pier 4
White Loft Studio

Chinatown: Liuyishou Hotpot

Chinatown experienced more closures than openings this year; most of the (very few) openings were bubble tea shops. But this hot pot chain — which is based in China and has more than 1,000 locations worldwide, including in New York City — was a bright spot in a slow year. It opened in Chinatown in January 2019 and offers diners Chongqing-style hot pot, which is a spicy preparation made with Sichuan peppers. The presentation is notable for a wooden wheel of sorts that holds all the thinly sliced meats, ready for dunking in the pot in the center.

Overhead view of a metal hotpot split in three segments, holding three different soups. One is deep red and full of chiles, one is translucent and white-ish with leeks, and one is clear and packed with long, skinny, white mushrooms with tiny caps.
Chongqing classic spicy tallow soup, coconut chicken soup, and wild mushroom soup at Liuyishou Hotpot
Liuyishou Hotpot/Facebook

Bay Village: Basile Fine Italian Kitchen

Like several of the other neighborhoods on this map, the tiny Bay Village saw more closings than openings this year, including Nahita and Erbaluce (the latter went out with a bang on New Year’s Eve at the start of 2019.) In fact, Eater Boston didn’t hear of any openings in the neighborhood this year. (Know of one we missed? Let us know.) However, one restaurant did get a bit of a revamp: Under new ownership, the 12-year-old Da Vinci Ristorante became Basile Fine Italian Kitchen, focusing on “modern flavors and cocktails” as well as corporate events. Longtime Da Vinci chef Tony Singh returned to the restaurant after a several-year hiatus at Smith & Wollensky.

A slice of rare venison on a plate with greens and sauce
Basile Fine Italian Kitchen
Basile Fine Italian Kitchen/Official Site

Back Bay: Rochambeau

Rochambeau, the latest entry into Boston’s French food scene, is a replacement — under the same ownership — for Towne at the Prudential Center. The space has been upgraded (it’s one of the most beautiful new restaurants this year), and the food hits the right notes, with classics like duck a l’orange and onion soup gratinee alongside grilled lobster frites and chermoula seared skate. There’s also an all-day cafe. Eataly’s right next door, so a hungry diner could easily make a mini European food crawl out of it.

A plated cut of duck lightly topped with greens
Duck à l’orange at Rochambeau
Rochambeau [Official Photo]

Fenway: Orfano

Glam ambiance? Check. Martini cart? Check. Hilariously huge pepper grinder? Check. Orfano balances an exceptional take on Italian-American cuisine with equal parts fine-dining and silliness, and it works, adding to Fenway’s burgeoning food scene along with its big siblings (Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama, and Fool’s Errand).

Bucatini piled onto a decorative plate and topped with herbs at Orfano in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood
Bucatini at Orfano
JM Leach

South Boston: Fox & the Knife

One of the best new restaurants in America, South Boston’s Fox & the Knife is one of the year’s many new Italian restaurants, but it dials into a regionality that’s a little different for the city, paying homage in particular to Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. (Chef and owner Karen Akunowicz spent time there, specifically in Modena, learning pasta-making.) The Modena-style tigelle, a bread cooked in a special cast-iron pan, is a must, but so is the other bread, a taleggio-stuffed focaccia.