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Exterior of an old-school restaurant with blue, pink, and red signage, including neon accents, that reads Pleasant Cafe.
A classic Roslindale haunt
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Boston’s Best Neighborhood Hangouts

Where to eat and drink and feel like a local

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A classic Roslindale haunt
| Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Greater Boston is awash with shiny and new (and often excellent) restaurants. What’s often forgotten in the calculus is the neighborhood joint that’s been doing its thing and nourishing its neighbors for years.

This map isn’t dedicated to classics (although some of these places are classics) or the shiny and new (although some of these places are on the newer side of things), but rather to restaurants and bars that are simply reliable, comfortable, and full of regulars. If you live down the street from one of these places, you already know and love it. If you’re a newcomer, you’ll be a regular soon.

Here are some of the Boston area’s best neighborhood hangouts.

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Upperwest

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This looks and feels like your grandad’s basement — in the best way possible. Upperwest, a lower-level lair in a Veterans Post building in North Cambridge, specializes in cheese, charcuterie, and wine. The play is a glass of something red and the pasta special of the day.

A bar with old-fashioned, wood-paneled walls, shelves of booze, and a chalkboard with a menu written on it. A glass of wine and a cheese and charcuterie board sit on the bar.
Upperwest
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Highland Kitchen

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Highland Kitchen has one of the best jukeboxes in town, the best bluefish cakes in town, and a desirable cocktail list. The burger’s also a strong contender. It’s a quintessential neighborhood hang.

Ricotta and mozzarella fritters at Highland Kitchen
Ricotta and mozzarella fritters at Highland Kitchen
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Cambridge Common

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Cambridge Common is a townie joint, and that’s a good thing. The wings are a must, and there is live music in the Lizard Lounge below seven nights a week. Snag some tater tots and a beer.

Wings at Cambridge Common
The wings at Cambridge Common are exceptional
Cambridge Common/Facebook

Trina's Starlite Lounge

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Trina’s is renowned for its industry brunch on Mondays. It’s also renowned for an exceptional cocktail list and selection of comfort food, particularly the hot dogs.

Trina’s Starlite Lounge
A pretty cocktail at Trina’s
Pat Piasecki

Santarpio's Pizza

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Santarpio’s is definitely touristy, but there’s still very much a neighborhood vibe to the decades-old pizzeria. Get the sausage pizza, and get the sausage plate too.

Cheese pizza on a metal tray on a wooden table
Pizza from the legendary Santarpio’s
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

KO Catering & Pies

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KO Pies sadly might not be here for much longer, which is why you need to go there immediately and eat an Australian meat pie.

An Australian meat pie sits in a paper container on a red tray on a red and white picnic table
A meat pie at KO Pies in East Boston
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The Daily Catch

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The North End is flush with Italian food. The Daily Catch is the least touristy of the better spots. Get the calamari.

A silver pan is full of steamed mussels
Mussels from the Daily Catch
The Daily Catch/Facebook

Silvertone

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Silvertone has that mid-century vibe, and its wings or mac and cheese are what you’re after.

A vintage cigarette poster hangs on a red wall, across a corner from a blue neon sign that reads Silvertone.
Silvertone
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Carlo’s Cucina Italiana

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The best Italian restaurant not in the North End. Enjoy Italian-American cuisine in this quaint Allston haunt, which used to be a pizza parlor.

Seafood pasta special at Carlo’s Cucina Italiana
Seafood pasta special at Carlo’s Cucina Italiana
Carlo’s Cucina Italiana/Facebook

No Name Restaurant

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If it’s seafood you’re after and you’re in the Seaport, look no further than No Name, open for a century and unassuming in its space on the fish pier.

Seafood at No Name Restaurant
Seafood at No Name Restaurant
No Name Restaurant/Facebook

Delux Cafe

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The records on the wall at Delux Cafe date back to the past owner, and the Elvis lamp will make you feel like you’re hanging with music royalty. Get the half chicken or the burger, and drink as many ‘Gansetts as you can reasonably handle.

Delux Narragansett
A ‘Gansett at Delux
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Anchovies

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Another great Italian joint that’s not in the North End. The garlic bread is simple and perfect, as are the mussels.

Anchovies
Anchovies
Anchovies/Facebook

Darryl's Corner Bar & Kitchen

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At Darryl’s, find live music, a beautiful bar (like, really beautiful), incredible art on the walls, and the best soul food in the city.

darryl’s corner bar fried chicken
Fried chicken and waffles at Darryl’s
Darryl’s/Facebook

Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant

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There’s always something new and incredible happening with the Lincoln Tavern’s Friday brunch test kitchen. See: birthday cake sticky buns or lasagna pizza, for example. And at nighttime, it’s a happening spot.

Lincoln burger
A burger at Lincoln Tavern
Lincoln Tavern [Official Photo]

Blossom Bar at Sichuan Garden

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Blossom Bar is new, but not really. For decades before it became a hip cocktail spot, it was Sichaun Garden. A lot of that menu remains. Namely, the house special eggplant, the hot dry chicken, and the dan dan noodles. And now there are amazing cocktails, too.

blossom bar
Dan dan noodles at Blossom Bar
Blossom Bar/Facebook

Suya Joint

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Suya Joint is one of several good spots for West African food in Dudley. Try the egusi, which is a stew with African melon seeds, spinach, fish, and chicken.

suya joint boston
A spread from Suya joint
Suya Joint/Facebook

Vee Vee

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Another quintessential neighborhood hang, Vee Vee specializes in seasonal American cuisine and has an excellent beer list.

Squid ink pappardelle at Vee Vee
Squid ink pappardelle at Vee Vee
Vee Vee/Instagram

Ali's Roti

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There are some solid roti shops in Boston, and Ali’s is one of the best. Try the curry chicken roti.

ali’s roti
Roti from Ali’s
Fabrizio C./Yelp

Pleasant Cafe

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Get the broiled scallops at Pleasant Cafe, and get a pepper and onion pizza too. The space is mostly unchanged since opening in the 1930s.

Overhead view of a thin-crust pizza topped with green peppers on a wooden table. One slice of the pizza has been removed.
The pizza at Pleasant Cafe is a treat
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Upperwest

This looks and feels like your grandad’s basement — in the best way possible. Upperwest, a lower-level lair in a Veterans Post building in North Cambridge, specializes in cheese, charcuterie, and wine. The play is a glass of something red and the pasta special of the day.

A bar with old-fashioned, wood-paneled walls, shelves of booze, and a chalkboard with a menu written on it. A glass of wine and a cheese and charcuterie board sit on the bar.
Upperwest
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Highland Kitchen

Highland Kitchen has one of the best jukeboxes in town, the best bluefish cakes in town, and a desirable cocktail list. The burger’s also a strong contender. It’s a quintessential neighborhood hang.

Ricotta and mozzarella fritters at Highland Kitchen
Ricotta and mozzarella fritters at Highland Kitchen
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Cambridge Common

Cambridge Common is a townie joint, and that’s a good thing. The wings are a must, and there is live music in the Lizard Lounge below seven nights a week. Snag some tater tots and a beer.

Wings at Cambridge Common
The wings at Cambridge Common are exceptional
Cambridge Common/Facebook

Trina's Starlite Lounge

Trina’s is renowned for its industry brunch on Mondays. It’s also renowned for an exceptional cocktail list and selection of comfort food, particularly the hot dogs.

Trina’s Starlite Lounge
A pretty cocktail at Trina’s
Pat Piasecki

Santarpio's Pizza

Santarpio’s is definitely touristy, but there’s still very much a neighborhood vibe to the decades-old pizzeria. Get the sausage pizza, and get the sausage plate too.

Cheese pizza on a metal tray on a wooden table
Pizza from the legendary Santarpio’s
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

KO Catering & Pies

KO Pies sadly might not be here for much longer, which is why you need to go there immediately and eat an Australian meat pie.

An Australian meat pie sits in a paper container on a red tray on a red and white picnic table
A meat pie at KO Pies in East Boston
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The Daily Catch

The North End is flush with Italian food. The Daily Catch is the least touristy of the better spots. Get the calamari.

A silver pan is full of steamed mussels
Mussels from the Daily Catch
The Daily Catch/Facebook

Silvertone

Silvertone has that mid-century vibe, and its wings or mac and cheese are what you’re after.

A vintage cigarette poster hangs on a red wall, across a corner from a blue neon sign that reads Silvertone.
Silvertone
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Carlo’s Cucina Italiana

The best Italian restaurant not in the North End. Enjoy Italian-American cuisine in this quaint Allston haunt, which used to be a pizza parlor.

Seafood pasta special at Carlo’s Cucina Italiana
Seafood pasta special at Carlo’s Cucina Italiana
Carlo’s Cucina Italiana/Facebook

No Name Restaurant

If it’s seafood you’re after and you’re in the Seaport, look no further than No Name, open for a century and unassuming in its space on the fish pier.

Seafood at No Name Restaurant
Seafood at No Name Restaurant
No Name Restaurant/Facebook

Delux Cafe

The records on the wall at Delux Cafe date back to the past owner, and the Elvis lamp will make you feel like you’re hanging with music royalty. Get the half chicken or the burger, and drink as many ‘Gansetts as you can reasonably handle.

Delux Narragansett
A ‘Gansett at Delux
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Anchovies

Another great Italian joint that’s not in the North End. The garlic bread is simple and perfect, as are the mussels.

Anchovies
Anchovies
Anchovies/Facebook

Darryl's Corner Bar & Kitchen

At Darryl’s, find live music, a beautiful bar (like, really beautiful), incredible art on the walls, and the best soul food in the city.

darryl’s corner bar fried chicken
Fried chicken and waffles at Darryl’s
Darryl’s/Facebook

Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant

There’s always something new and incredible happening with the Lincoln Tavern’s Friday brunch test kitchen. See: birthday cake sticky buns or lasagna pizza, for example. And at nighttime, it’s a happening spot.

Lincoln burger
A burger at Lincoln Tavern
Lincoln Tavern [Official Photo]

Blossom Bar at Sichuan Garden

Blossom Bar is new, but not really. For decades before it became a hip cocktail spot, it was Sichaun Garden. A lot of that menu remains. Namely, the house special eggplant, the hot dry chicken, and the dan dan noodles. And now there are amazing cocktails, too.

blossom bar
Dan dan noodles at Blossom Bar
Blossom Bar/Facebook

Related Maps

Suya Joint

Suya Joint is one of several good spots for West African food in Dudley. Try the egusi, which is a stew with African melon seeds, spinach, fish, and chicken.

suya joint boston
A spread from Suya joint
Suya Joint/Facebook

Vee Vee

Another quintessential neighborhood hang, Vee Vee specializes in seasonal American cuisine and has an excellent beer list.