Though Boston’s historic Chinatown is home to some of the first Chinese restaurants in the area, surrounding cities and towns have emerged as new hosts for the ever-expanding diasporic culinary scene. Restaurants that emphasize the regionality of Chinese cuisines have sprouted up in Quincy and Malden; modern, trendy concepts with elaborate cocktails have also taken hold in Cambridge. Here are 14 restaurants in the Boston area that best represent the regionality, style of dining, and most importantly, the craftsmanship of Chinese cooking.Read More
14 Excellent Chinese Restaurants Around Boston
The best places for hand-pulled noodles, mapo tofu, and extravagant dim sum spreads
Malden, which has experienced steady growth of its Asian population in the past few decades, has some of the best Chinese restaurants in the Greater Boston area. The high density of the Chinese population has encouraged more openings of regionalized Chinese restaurants. Enter: Go Chi, an establishment dedicated to northeastern Chinese cuisine, which is known for hearty, pork-heavy stews, whopping pocket-sized dumplings, and its own version of candied apples, all to fight off long and bitingly cold winters.
Aries Noodle and Dumpling 春风一面
This Waltham restaurant has gained popularity among locals and students from nearby Brandeis University. Its menu is carb-heavy, featuring mainly northwestern-style noodle dishes and a variety of housemade dumplings that can only be found at this restaurant, such as the Aries Leek Pie and fish dumplings.
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If xiaolongbao, otherwise known as soup dumplings, have gotten you interested enough in Shanghai cuisine, this Cambridge restaurant should be on your radar. Located in Central Square on the red line, Shanghai Fresh is a window into traditional home-style dishes adored by generations of Shanghainese. As a region nicknamed for its abundance of rice and fish, the locals tend to emphasize the freshness and seasonality of ingredients, which is why you’ll find seasonal vegetables such as bamboo shoots, freshwater fish and shrimp, and Shanghai-style steamed rice cakes. The cuisine normally holds back on overseasoning, fearing that bold and strong spices would overpower the ingredients’ true flavors. However, one exception is the “red-braising” technique, which gives food a sweet-and-savory flavor and a richly brownish-red appearance; think melt-in-your-mouth red-braised pork belly and brisket.
Sumiao Hunan Kitchen
For those who are into bold flavors, look no further than modern Huanese restaurant Sumiao in Kendall Square. True to the mountainous area famous for tangy and spicy fish stew, pickled vegetables, and cured ham with preserved tofu stir fry, the restaurant’s menu offers a plethora of local flavors representative of the region. It’s a good spot for both a date night and a group hang, as its menu has a great selection of vegetarian options, including the incorporation of plant-based beef from Impossible Foods. Don’t miss out on its cocktails — with baijiu-inspired concoctions and classic tiki-style drinks, there’s a choice for everyone.
Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe
Gene’s is the OG player in Boston’s growing hand-pulled noodle scene. Order the hand-pulled noodles in chile oil; order the hand-pulled noodles with cumin-spiked lamb; order some lamb skewers; order everything. If you’re in the suburbs, you can also find Gene’s second location in Woburn, where there’s more indoor seating.
The newly opened modern Chinese restaurant leans heavily on Jiangnan cuisine, where flavors can vary from sweet and tangy to an umami-forward freshness. It takes over space that was once Teatro on the edge of Theater District but the Romanesque interior remains the same, making it a dressy Chinese restaurant choice if you have a show to catch nearby. Be sure to order the Beijing-style roast duck (listed on the menu as Peking duck) and have it prepared “two ways”; one the classic version, which involves sliced skin and meat folded in freshly steamed pancakes, and one with the bones and leftover bits made into a tofu and cabbage soup.
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Hei La Moon Restaurant (Food Opera)
This gilded dim sum destination relocated to the neighborhood’s smaller Food Opera space in 2022, but the food and the experience remains top-notch. The menu is full of good bets here, including the taro dumplings, bok choy drizzled in oyster sauce, and steamed roast pork buns. (Looking for more dim sum? Empire Garden Restaurant and Winsor Dim Sum Cafe are two other go-tos in the neighborhood.)
Five Spices House
The menu at this Sichuan spot is vast, from Chinese American fare to mouth-numbingly spicy Sichuan classics to the dry pot selection — meaning there’s something for everyone. This place is great for both eat-in and take-out, as service is quick and attentive. On the other side of the river? There’s a sibling spot in Cambridge’s Central Square.
Many in the restaurant industry may know Peach Farm because of its late-night hours, but this family-owned classic Cantonese establishment is also a community builder, feeding hungry families for decades. The seafood program features live fish and shellfish at a reasonable price and the dishes, such as ginger and scallion lobster stir fry, have been consistently superb.
Myers + Chang
Open for over a decade, this South End restaurant has a menu inspired by a variety of Asian cuisines, including Chinese. (The food is “‘Asian-ish,’ if you need a label,” according to the restaurant.) If it’s currently on the menu, order the grilled mushroom longevity noodles, and don’t miss the classic Mama Chang’s pork and chive dumplings, served with a black pepper and scallion dipping sauce.
The team behind Brighton Yunnan rice noodle restaurant South of the Clouds expanded to the South End in 2022 with the debut of Yunnan Kitchen, a welcome addition to the neighborhood that already has a James Beard nomination under its belt. The menu goes well beyond noodles here, with a far more expansive range of Yunnan, or Dian, fare including pea jelly salad (or fried pea jelly, either version is deeply satisfying), and bite-sized sticky rice meatballs garnished with goji berries.
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Sichuanese restaurant Noah’s Kitchen has quietly been amassing clout in Brookline Village, which has been building a formidable restaurant scene in recent years. Don’t be tricked by its lowkey-ness, because it has some of the most hard-to-find Sichuan dishes in the area, such as braised pig trotter, house-cured pork, and spicy bullfrog casserole.
If you’re looking for a no-frills lunch spot in the Wollaston area in Quincy, Chili Square has the chewiest and freshest Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles New England has to offer. The piping hot noodles are made-to-order, meaning it’s best to dine in as opposed to getting takeout. An absolute standout from its noodle menu are the cumin lamb biang biang noodles, which are bouncy and flavorful. If you’re in the mood for a noodle soup, the Lanzhou beef brisket rendition won’t disappoint. Side dishes such as the spicy sliced pig ear in chili sauce or the duck necks are both great to go with the carbs.
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Situated in a strip mall crowded with restaurants and Asian grocery giant Kam Man supermarket, South Garden has carved out a seafood niche for itself in Quincy. It serves classic Cantonese seafood fare — think thoroughly prepared fish and shellfish dishes with just-right seasoning and deep-fried battered squid coated in savory egg yolk sauce. Locals are familiar with this place because birthdays and wedding celebrations often take place here; seafood aficionados frequent this spot because its quality has remained top-notch throughout the years.