One of Boston’s most compact neighborhoods, Downtown Crossing is nestled between the Common and the Financial District, coming close to the Theater District, Leather District, and Chinatown as well. A hub for commuters and shoppers, the neighborhood is often overlooked for reliable dining options, but it really does have a little bit of everything: places for after-work drinks, fine dining, grab-and-go lunches, and more casual options. These 16 excellent restaurants provide a mix of all of the above.Read More
16 Restaurants to Try in Downtown Crossing
Whether you’re looking for a working lunch or a nice cocktail
This cozy wine bar is tucked into the base of an unassuming building, like many restaurants in this neighborhood, but walk inside and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a nautical oasis. Let the staff help you select any of the bar’s rotating natural wine selections, and tuck into some tinned fish while you’re at it.
Silvertone Bar & Grill
The ownership changed a few years back, but this longtime Downtown Crossing hangout is still a reliable spot for good, fairly inexpensive cocktails and comfort food. (Try the mac and cheese.)
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This is the go-to option for huge sandwiches in Downtown Crossing. Sam LaGrassa’s serves loaded hoagies and sandwiches with pickles, with an array of classic options like pastrami on rye and chicken cutlet parmigiana.
A historic spot known for its oyster specials and cocktails, Marliave also has a killer French onion soup enhanced with short rib. The Sunday gravy gnocchi dish is also particularly satisfying. The restaurant was open in some form or another from 1875 (1885 at the current location) to 2006 before closing, but chef Scott Herritt bought and reopened it in 2008.
Everyone has an opinion about Boston’s barbecue situation. There aren’t a ton of options around town, but the relatively new Shed’s BBQ has been filling a niche in Downtown Crossing since opening in 2017. The casual joint offers various smoked meats on sandwiches or platters, plus ribs, sides, and selections of barbecue sauces. There are also “bowls” that feature meats on a base of grains or greens.
This Millennium Tower restaurant from famed chefs Michael Mina and Ken Tominaga celebrates sushi, with a luxurious omakase menu, sushi rolls, robata grilled-items, and more. Pabu — an import from San Francisco — offers sashimi and nigiri as well, plus cocktails, beer, and vast selections of sake, wine, and whiskey.
The Merchant has a pretty-far reaching dinner menu, which includes raw bar items and entrees like pork chops and roasted half chicken. It also serves lunch, and it offers a nice selection of beer, wine, and cocktails.
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This swanky spot is worth visiting for the decor alone, but it has some fine snacks and cocktails, as well as large-format dishes and drinks to share with friends. The Yvonne’s team also runs Ruka down the road (see below.)
Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale
Stoddard’s is a dark and cozy pub that boasts cask beer, a fine whiskey selection, and plenty more spirits. For food, get the pretzel or charcuterie, or any number of cheesy, warm entrees.
Relatively new to the neighborhood, Democracy Brewing has a nice selection of its own beers, plus some pretty sturdy snacks, like loaded nachos, flatbreads, and burgers. Open for lunch and dinner, Democracy is a great place to escape the rain or cold, and the interior has some fascinating design features. As an added bonus, the kitchen is zero-waste, and the business is employee-owned.
A shiny second edition of the popular South End steakhouse, Boston Chops is among the fine dining options in Downtown Crossing. Open for lunch on weekdays and until 1 a.m. seven days a week, the restaurant offers classic steakhouse fare, plus seafood towers, multiple preparations of potatoes, cocktails, and more, all in a leather-and-marble filled space.
The namesake item at Downtown Crossing mainstay Chacarero — a casual shop that does bustling weekday lunch business — is a Chilean sandwich made with steak or chicken (or both), Muenster cheese, tomatoes, steamed green beans, avocado spread, and hot sauce. Chacarero got its start as a pushcart before moving into a permanent storefront back in 2005.
A sibling to Yvonne’s (see above), Ruka showcases nikkei cuisine, or Japanese-Peruvian fare. The elaborately designed interior provides a nice atmosphere for digging into the menu of grilled snacks, sushi, and more. The cocktails are the highlight on the beverage side, but there’s also plenty of beer, wine, and sake.
This restaurant space has been overhauled multiple times in the last several years, and now as Kingston Cuts it serves a mix of pub fare like sandwiches, burgers, and nachos, along with mac and cheese, steak, and more.
Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe
On the bottom end of the neighborhood, Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe is a great lunch spot and source for hand-pulled noodles. Get the standard noodles (#4 on the menu) seasoned with so much chile and garlic, and add a skewer or two of lamb — and perhaps a tea egg — on the side.