The South End has an embarrassment of riches of good drinking and dining options. From greasy spoon breakfasts to red-sauce Italian American grub to elegant French cuisine to soul food, diners can find a little bit of everything in the South End. For those with only a little bit of time to explore the neighborhood, start with one of these 16 spots. And then come back and explore some more. Or, follow jazz institution Wally’s Cafe general manager Frank Poindexter’s recommendations and hit these top spots all in one day.Read More
Where to Eat in the South End
Elegant French bistro fare on Columbus Avenue and burgers and beers at a late-night industry hangout
Delux Cafe wants to feed its neighbors. “It’s a place where you can come and let your hair down,” Laura Hafner, Delux’s owner, previously told Eater. “We attract an eclectic crowd, but we definitely have neighbors who come in to eat three or four times a week, too.” Head here for excellent roasted chicken or for late-night tall cans.
The crudos are a must at coastal Italian restaurant Bar Mezzana, followed by duck confit agnolotti and seared scallops paired with a delightful chili-nori relish. The same team is also behind other neighborhood hot spots Black Lamb (a sure bet for dollar oysters before dinner), tropical cocktail knockout Shore Leave and its hidden sushi restaurant No Relation.
Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe
This nearly 100-year-old diner is steeped in history. The place is one of two restaurants still standing in Boston that was featured in the historic Green Book guide designating safe stops for Black travelers in America during the era of segregation — the other is Slade’s in Roxbury, and advocates are currently seeking official landmark status for the restaurants to help protect their future. It’s also a damn good place for eggs, turkey hash, and a toasted tunafish sandwich.
Anchovies is good for so many reasons (for example: wings, late-night eats, Italian food, chicken parm sandwiches, mussels, and spaghetti and meatballs). Eat anything on the menu, and walk away pleased.
B & G Oysters
B & G Oysters, part of Barbara Lynch’s empire, has some of the best fried clams in the city — and one of the best lobster rolls around. The oyster situation isn’t bad, either.
Myers + Chang
You can’t go wrong at Myers + Chang’s dim sum brunch. (And while you’re at it, stop by chef and owner Joanne Chang’s Flour Bakery for a truly exceptional breakfast sandwich and a sticky bun that would make any dentist shudder.)
This late-night industry haunt is the place to go for a plate piled high with steak and fries, roasted turkey meatloaf, and other comforting, unpretentious grub. The kitchen’s open ‘til 1:30 a.m. nightly.
Petit Robert Bistro
If the day calls for elegant French fare, head to Petit Robert Bistro on Columbus Avenue. The chic Parisien bistro is a beloved neighborhood pitstop for a classic French breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
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Boston’s Greek restaurant scene has gotten better and better in recent years, and Kava is one of those restaurants pushing the bar forward for the city. You’ll have to play the reservations game to get a seat in here, but it’s worth the effort. The baked feta is a must-order, as are the grilled pork and chicken skewers.
The Elephant Walk
The Elephant Walk is the place to go for excellent French and Cambodian fare — don’t miss the trey tuk peng pah, with crispy catfish in a tangy sweet and sour sauce — and the larger restaurant space makes it a nice spot to drop by for a weeknight walk-in.
The pasta is not to be missed at chef Michael Lombardi’s Venetian-style restaurant SRV, but the smaller, snacky side dishes — including arancini, pork terrine, and saucy meatballs — are just as worthy of your attention. Or, better yet, go for the pre-set Arsenale tasting option and take a tour through the whole menu for under $100 per person.
Darryl's Corner Bar & Kitchen
Darryl’s is a vibe, period. A recent change in ownership (Nia Grace bought the restaurant from Darryl Settles in 2018) has ushered Darryl’s into a new era — but it’s still all about good music and soul food. Go for the jazz brunch, and eat ribs, fried chicken, waffles, and collards while listening to some sexy sax.
At Mida, start with marinated olives and the focaccia showered in parmesan. Bring a friend, and share the gnocchi cacio e pepe and the rock shrimp carbonara. This Italian-inspired restaurant also has a deep wine list. Don’t miss “Mangia Mondays,” an $80 feast of pasta, salad, and bread for two people.
A relative newcomer to South End’s dining scene, Yunnan Kitchen is a rare Boston restaurant focused on the Yunnan, or Dian, fare of southwest China. The Yunnan-style rice pancakes with condensed milk are compulsive, as are the sticky rice meatballs, fried pea jelly, and crispy mushrooms served with a chile powder dip.
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Toro is a South End mainstay. Perhaps the most beloved of the Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette collaborations, this Washington Street spot serves Spanish tapas like grilled octopus and patatas bravas. And don’t forget to order the Iberico ham. (The duo’s Italian enoteca, Coppa, which is on Shawmut Avenue, is also worth checking out. Especially if you enjoy cured meats.)
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Mike's City Diner
Mike’s City Diner is a South End pillar. It might be the best greasy spoon breakfast spot in the city (and perhaps the only one doing duck confit hash), and its Pilgrim sandwich (stuffed with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce) is Guy Fieri-approved.