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Overhead view of a paella pan on a floor painted with a white and blue pattern. The pan is full of mussels and other shellfish over a coucous-like pasta.
Bar Volpe’s Sardinian paella.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The Hottest New Restaurants in Boston, December 2021

New restaurants to try in and around Boston, featuring southern Italian fare in South Boston, ramen from an Iron Chef in the West End, and more

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Bar Volpe’s Sardinian paella.
| Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

More often than not, friends, family, and readers of Eater have a single burning question: Where should I eat right now? The Eater Heatmap, updated monthly, is where restaurant obsessives can find what's new and exciting — where to get the latest giant bowl of ramen, exquisite tiramisu, epic seafood tower, and more.

New to the map in the December 2021 update: Bar Volpe in South Boston, Da LaPosta in Newton, Dear Annie in Cambridge, and Judy’s Bay in Cambridge.

To see restaurants from past versions of the Heatmap, visit the archive.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Ōmori Izakaya and Sushi

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166 Eastern Ave
Malden, MA 02148
(781) 321-8600
Visit Website

It’s only been a couple years since Ōmori Izakaya debuted in Brookline Village, but the Japanese pub has already expanded to Malden, where its booze-friendly snacks, particularly yakitori and kushiyaki (skewers of grilled meats), are making a splash. There’s plenty of sushi, too; try the chirashi for a good sampling. Keep an eye out for lunch specials and shochu-based cocktails.

Two wooden skewers of meat on a blue plate — one with pieces of Japanese sausage and one with bacon-wrapped scallops - with a side of greens and sliced cherry tomatoes.
Kurobuta sausage and bacon and scallop skewers at Ōmori Izakaya’s original Brookline location.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

2. Dear Annie

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1741 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

New Cambridge wine bar Dear Annie is a collaboration between the teams from two popular Somerville venues: funky wine bar Rebel Rebel and lovely farm-to-table restaurant Field & Vine. At Dear Annie, service is casual — order at the counter, and find a place among the communal seating. (And you can bring your own records to play, if you’d like.) The menu is pescatarian and changes with the seasons; think Jonah crab toast, Arctic char tartare, and slices of pie. Bring proof of COVID vaccination or negative PCR test for indoor seating (not required for the heated patio outdoors).

Four bottles of different wines are lined up on a white table in front of a wall covered with art.
Wines at Dear Annie.
Dear Annie

3. Zuzu's Petals

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204 Hampshire St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 945-7749
Visit Website

Leave the cellphone at home: It’s not allowed at Zuzu’s Petals, a new wine and dessert bar in Inman Square that wants you to live in the moment, sipping a glass of something special while digging into irresistible versions of classic desserts like tiramisu and creme brulee.

A swirl of tiramisu is in a glass stemmed bowl sitting on a decorative vintage plate. Two long spoons accompany it.
The tiramisu at Zuzu’s Petals, featuring Ethiopian laayyoo coffee infused into a whipped blend of cream and mascarpone, with scratch-made lady fingers.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

4. Menya Jiro

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57 John F. Kennedy St
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 945-1002
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The Boston area has plenty of ramen options, but diners are always eager to welcome one more. One of the newest additions is Menya Jiro, a Japan-based chain with a Brooklyn location and two more planned for the Boston area. Menya Jiro’s broth is made from both pork and chicken (although a miso vegetable base is also available), and chashu pork is a main ingredient. Diners can accompany their ramen with sides like pork belly buns and takoyaki.

Two hands hold a big white bowl full of ramen, with a mountain of pork belly and other toppings towering up over the top of the bowl
The chashu monster at Menya Jiro.
Menya Jiro

5. Geppetto

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100 N First St
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 945-1349
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East Cambridge newcomer Geppetto, from the Puritan & Co. team, is part of the group’s trio of restaurants at the Cambridge Crossing development. The Italian-inspired restaurant is the type of place where one can eat dishes like black truffle and taleggio bread; tuna and lardo crudo; and pumpkin agnolotti with wild mushrooms. Oh, and there’s an amaro cart.

A breaded pork chop sits on a white plate, garnished with round spirals of leeks.
Geppetto’s pork chop Milanese.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

6. Judy's Bay

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279a Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139

New England meets Japan at Judy’s Bay, an izakaya-style restaurant that highlights locally sourced seafood in dishes like Maine mussels with gochujang butter and whole steamed Rhode Island black sea bass with miso soup, sesame salad, and edamame. The Judy’s Bay team, wife-and-husband duo Kim Vo and Lukas Dow, have previously appeared around the area with an Asian-inspired barbecue pop-up.

A pile of steamed mussels sit on a white plate on a wooden table.
Mussels at Judy’s Bay.
Judy’s Bay

7. Hub Hall

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80 Causeway St
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 263-8900
Visit Website

There’s a little bit of something for everyone — locals and tourists alike — at Boston’s newest food hall, Hub Hall, located at the Hub on Causeway development right by TD Garden. There are 18 food and drink vendors, including a number of Boston classics, such as Mike’s Pastry, Monica’s Mercato, and Sullivan’s Castle Island, not to mention newer local groups like Smoke Shop BBQ, Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood, and Greco. All of the vendors are counter-service except for one, Momosan — a sit-down Japanese restaurant from Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef fame, featuring ramen and more.

Closeup shot of a bowl of ramen with ground pork, a thick yellow-orange broth, a runny egg, and other toppings.
Tan-tan ramen at Momosan.
Momosan

8. Da LaPosta

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825 Washington St
Newton, MA 02460
(617) 964-2665
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Mario LaPosta is a veteran pizzaiolo who previously worked at the now-closed Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca in the Seaport, not to mention various pizzerias around Italy; now he has his own pizzeria and restaurant in Newton, Da LaPosta, serving wood-fired pizza, pasta, and a few other items, like suppli and salt cod croquettes. While LaPosta’s pizza skills are serious, he isn’t afraid to have a little fun with the menu: There’s a clam pizza inspired by New Haven, for example, not to mention a “buffalo e bufala” pizza topped with chicken, Buffalo sauce, buffalo mozzarella, and gorgonzola. 

Closeup on a Margherita pizza with a slightly charred, wood-fired crust and a fresh basil topping.
Pizza at Da LaPosta.
Da LaPosta

9. Café Sauvage

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25 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(857) 277-0075
Visit Website

Parisian bistro Café Sauvage, from wife-and-husband duo Anaïs and Antoine Lambert, is meant to pay homage to the multicultural influences on the Paris food scene, from Vietnam to Ethiopia: “There is more to Parisian food than just beef bourguignon and escargots,” as Anaïs Lambert previously told Eater. So there’s steak frites and a croque madame, yes, but there’s also a banh mi, injera crepes, and roasted chicken that’s served with jollof rice and fried plantains. The intimate restaurant, located in the former Hsin Hsin Cafe space in Back Bay, features a striking accent wall with tropical wallpaper.

Thin slices of ham are sandwiched on a baguette, topped with mini pickles. It all sits on a black plate on a white counter.
Café Sauvage’s jambon-beurre, a French ham and butter sandwich.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

10. The Banks Fish House

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406 Stuart St
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 399-0015
Visit Website

Whether one is looking to sip rosé at a bar and snack on chowder flatbread or have a fancy date night over a caviar-and-shellfish tower or host a seafood-filled private event, Back Bay newcomer the Banks Fish House wants to fill pretty much all seafood-related dining needs. Sibling to nearby steakhouse Grill 23, the Banks hits similar upscale notes (but don’t worry — there’s also some fried seafood for a real New England-y feel). And make note for the winter: There are multiple fireplaces.

A thick piece of halibut topped with a crispy breading sits in a yellow pool of sauce with asparagus, tomatoes, small round pasta bits, and mussels.
Bread crusted halibut at the Banks Fish House.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

11. Coquette

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450 Summer St
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 419-8140
Visit Website

COJE Management Group (Lolita, Mariel, Yvonne’s, Ruka) makes really pretty restaurants, and its newest, Coquette, is no exception. Located at the Omni Boston Hotel, the coastal French- and Basque-inspired restaurant is full of floral decor in light pastels, not to mention quirky cupids and other artistic touches. As for the food, diners will find shellfish towers; snacks like borek spring rolls and Basque cured ham; tarte flambée-inspired flatbreads; small plates like braised beef cheeks and wild boar sticky ribs; and bigger feasts, like a two-pound baked stuffed lobster.

Baked clams topped with cheese, herbs, and spices are arranged on a bed of salt in a small cast iron pan.
Clams au gratin at Coquette.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

12. Bar Volpe

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170 W Broadway
Boston, MA 02127
(617) 865-7100
Visit Website

From chef Karen Akunowicz of the acclaimed Fox & the Knife comes a second Italian restaurant in South Boston, Bar Volpe. While its big sibling up the street focuses on northern Italy, Bar Volpe — which is also a pasta shop — focuses on the south, with dishes like culurgiones, a Sardinian stuffed pasta; fritti misti, inspired by Sicily (with a hint of Rhode Island); and rotisserie chicken stuffed with black truffle mayo.

Four plump dumplings topped with parsley sprigs sit atop a pool of tomato sauce on a round white plate on a concrete surface.
Bar Volpe’s culurgiones.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

1. Ōmori Izakaya and Sushi

166 Eastern Ave, Malden, MA 02148
Two wooden skewers of meat on a blue plate — one with pieces of Japanese sausage and one with bacon-wrapped scallops - with a side of greens and sliced cherry tomatoes.
Kurobuta sausage and bacon and scallop skewers at Ōmori Izakaya’s original Brookline location.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

It’s only been a couple years since Ōmori Izakaya debuted in Brookline Village, but the Japanese pub has already expanded to Malden, where its booze-friendly snacks, particularly yakitori and kushiyaki (skewers of grilled meats), are making a splash. There’s plenty of sushi, too; try the chirashi for a good sampling. Keep an eye out for lunch specials and shochu-based cocktails.

166 Eastern Ave
Malden, MA 02148

2. Dear Annie

1741 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140
Four bottles of different wines are lined up on a white table in front of a wall covered with art.
Wines at Dear Annie.
Dear Annie

New Cambridge wine bar Dear Annie is a collaboration between the teams from two popular Somerville venues: funky wine bar Rebel Rebel and lovely farm-to-table restaurant Field & Vine. At Dear Annie, service is casual — order at the counter, and find a place among the communal seating. (And you can bring your own records to play, if you’d like.) The menu is pescatarian and changes with the seasons; think Jonah crab toast, Arctic char tartare, and slices of pie. Bring proof of COVID vaccination or negative PCR test for indoor seating (not required for the heated patio outdoors).

1741 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

3. Zuzu's Petals

204 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139
A swirl of tiramisu is in a glass stemmed bowl sitting on a decorative vintage plate. Two long spoons accompany it.
The tiramisu at Zuzu’s Petals, featuring Ethiopian laayyoo coffee infused into a whipped blend of cream and mascarpone, with scratch-made lady fingers.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Leave the cellphone at home: It’s not allowed at Zuzu’s Petals, a new wine and dessert bar in Inman Square that wants you to live in the moment, sipping a glass of something special while digging into irresistible versions of classic desserts like tiramisu and creme brulee.

204 Hampshire St
Cambridge, MA 02139

4. Menya Jiro

57 John F. Kennedy St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Two hands hold a big white bowl full of ramen, with a mountain of pork belly and other toppings towering up over the top of the bowl
The chashu monster at Menya Jiro.
Menya Jiro

The Boston area has plenty of ramen options, but diners are always eager to welcome one more. One of the newest additions is Menya Jiro, a Japan-based chain with a Brooklyn location and two more planned for the Boston area. Menya Jiro’s broth is made from both pork and chicken (although a miso vegetable base is also available), and chashu pork is a main ingredient. Diners can accompany their ramen with sides like pork belly buns and takoyaki.

57 John F. Kennedy St
Cambridge, MA 02138

5. Geppetto

100 N First St, Cambridge, MA 02141
A breaded pork chop sits on a white plate, garnished with round spirals of leeks.
Geppetto’s pork chop Milanese.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

East Cambridge newcomer Geppetto, from the Puritan & Co. team, is part of the group’s trio of restaurants at the Cambridge Crossing development. The Italian-inspired restaurant is the type of place where one can eat dishes like black truffle and taleggio bread; tuna and lardo crudo; and pumpkin agnolotti with wild mushrooms. Oh, and there’s an amaro cart.

100 N First St
Cambridge, MA 02141

6. Judy's Bay

279a Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139
A pile of steamed mussels sit on a white plate on a wooden table.
Mussels at Judy’s Bay.
Judy’s Bay

New England meets Japan at Judy’s Bay, an izakaya-style restaurant that highlights locally sourced seafood in dishes like Maine mussels with gochujang butter and whole steamed Rhode Island black sea bass with miso soup, sesame salad, and edamame. The Judy’s Bay team, wife-and-husband duo Kim Vo and Lukas Dow, have previously appeared around the area with an Asian-inspired barbecue pop-up.

279a Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139

7. Hub Hall

80 Causeway St, Boston, MA 02114
Closeup shot of a bowl of ramen with ground pork, a thick yellow-orange broth, a runny egg, and other toppings.
Tan-tan ramen at Momosan.
Momosan

There’s a little bit of something for everyone — locals and tourists alike — at Boston’s newest food hall, Hub Hall, located at the Hub on Causeway development right by TD Garden. There are 18 food and drink vendors, including a number of Boston classics, such as Mike’s Pastry, Monica’s Mercato, and Sullivan’s Castle Island, not to mention newer local groups like Smoke Shop BBQ, Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood, and Greco. All of the vendors are counter-service except for one, Momosan — a sit-down Japanese restaurant from Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef fame, featuring ramen and more.

80 Causeway St
Boston, MA 02114

8. Da LaPosta

825 Washington St, Newton, MA 02460
Closeup on a Margherita pizza with a slightly charred, wood-fired crust and a fresh basil topping.
Pizza at Da LaPosta.
Da LaPosta

Mario LaPosta is a veteran pizzaiolo who previously worked at the now-closed Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca in the Seaport, not to mention various pizzerias around Italy; now he has his own pizzeria and restaurant in Newton, Da LaPosta, serving wood-fired pizza, pasta, and a few other items, like suppli and salt cod croquettes. While LaPosta’s pizza skills are serious, he isn’t afraid to have a little fun with the menu: There’s a clam pizza inspired by New Haven, for example, not to mention a “buffalo e bufala” pizza topped with chicken, Buffalo sauce, buffalo mozzarella, and gorgonzola. 

825 Washington St
Newton, MA 02460

9. Café Sauvage

25 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115
Thin slices of ham are sandwiched on a baguette, topped with mini pickles. It all sits on a black plate on a white counter.
Café Sauvage’s jambon-beurre, a French ham and butter sandwich.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Parisian bistro Café Sauvage, from wife-and-husband duo Anaïs and Antoine Lambert, is meant to pay homage to the multicultural influences on the Paris food scene, from Vietnam to Ethiopia: “There is more to Parisian food than just beef bourguignon and escargots,” as Anaïs Lambert previously told Eater. So there’s steak frites and a croque madame, yes, but there’s also a banh mi, injera crepes, and roasted chicken that’s served with jollof rice and fried plantains. The intimate restaurant, located in the former Hsin Hsin Cafe space in Back Bay, features a striking accent wall with tropical wallpaper.

25 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02115

10. The Banks Fish House

406 Stuart St, Boston, MA 02116
A thick piece of halibut topped with a crispy breading sits in a yellow pool of sauce with asparagus, tomatoes, small round pasta bits, and mussels.
Bread crusted halibut at the Banks Fish House.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Whether one is looking to sip rosé at a bar and snack on chowder flatbread or have a fancy date night over a caviar-and-shellfish tower or host a seafood-filled private event, Back Bay newcomer the Banks Fish House wants to fill pretty much all seafood-related dining needs. Sibling to nearby steakhouse Grill 23, the Banks hits similar upscale notes (but don’t worry — there’s also some fried seafood for a real New England-y feel). And make note for the winter: There are multiple fireplaces.

406 Stuart St
Boston, MA 02116

11. Coquette

450 Summer St, Boston, MA 02210
Baked clams topped with cheese, herbs, and spices are arranged on a bed of salt in a small cast iron pan.
Clams au gratin at Coquette.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

COJE Management Group (Lolita, Mariel, Yvonne’s, Ruka) makes really pretty restaurants, and its newest, Coquette, is no exception. Located at the Omni Boston Hotel, the coastal French- and Basque-inspired restaurant is full of floral decor in light pastels, not to mention quirky cupids and other artistic touches. As for the food, diners will find shellfish towers; snacks like borek spring rolls and Basque cured ham; tarte flambée-inspired flatbreads; small plates like braised beef cheeks and wild boar sticky ribs; and bigger feasts, like a two-pound baked stuffed lobster.

450 Summer St
Boston, MA 02210

12. Bar Volpe

170 W Broadway, Boston, MA 02127
Four plump dumplings topped with parsley sprigs sit atop a pool of tomato sauce on a round white plate on a concrete surface.
Bar Volpe’s culurgiones.
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

From chef Karen Akunowicz of the acclaimed Fox & the Knife comes a second Italian restaurant in South Boston, Bar Volpe. While its big sibling up the street focuses on northern Italy, Bar Volpe — which is also a pasta shop — focuses on the south, with dishes like culurgiones, a Sardinian stuffed pasta; fritti misti, inspired by Sicily (with a hint of Rhode Island); and rotisserie chicken stuffed with black truffle mayo.

170 W Broadway
Boston, MA 02127

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