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12 Must-Try Restaurants in Allston

By Scott Kearnan
July 7, 2014
Photo by: Joel Benjamin

Bonchon. Outside of NYC, the Boston area is the only place to find stateside outposts of this South Korean fried chicken chain. Chicken wings and drumsticks painted in sauces, like a spicy soy-garlic, have earned a cult following from those seeking something different from the typical wings joint. (123 Brighton Ave., Allston; 617-254-8888)

Carlo's Cucina. It's nothing special to look at, but this tiny gem is hidden in plain sight on one of Allston's busiest streets. Behind the nondescript facade is a family-run Italian that serves hearty portions of truly fantastic traditional fare. Carlo's flies largely under the radar — but locals who know it, love it. (131 Brighton Ave., Allston; 617-254-9759) 

Deep Ellum. This hipster-friendly hangout is a go-to for craft-beer geeks, thanks to one of the most thoughtfully curated brew lists around; the kind that earns it plenty of credibility across the country. The inventive American pub fare is a draw too, and in fine weather you'll find the patio packed with locals noshing on pickle plates, poutine and a kimchi-topped hot dog. (477 Cambridge St., Allston; 617-787-2337)

The Glenville Stops. Chef Juan Pedrosa, an alum of Jody Adams' Trade, brings finesse to tavern-style plates at this Allston newcomer, which opened in February. He's very comfortable with global flavors: think charred octopus with bean salad and queso fresco, lamb meatballs with tzatziki, and an Asian-inspired burger with hoisin sauce and crispy onions. (87 Glenville Ave., Allston; 617-903-3638)

Grasshopper. For a neighborhood with somewhat lean dining options, Allston has a surprisingly strong cache of veggie spots. And this vegan eatery is a longtime favorite thanks to savory noodle dishes, stir-fried medleys, creative tofu plates and some delightful dairy-free desserts like vegan blueberry cheesecake. (1 N. Beacon St., Allston; 617-254-8883)

Lone Star Taco Bar. This sibling restaurant to Deep Ellum trades that eatery's focus on pub grub for an emphasis on margaritas and tacos; the latter are among our favorites in Boston. Looking like a saloon for the Instagram generation, the intimate, dimly lit space is where you'll find twenty- and thirtysomething crowds dining on Mexican street food and tippling barrel-aged mezcal cocktails. (479 Cambridge St., Allston; 617-782-8226) 

Lulu's Allston. Helmed by chef Sarah Wade, this new neighborhood joint (opened in June) features a funky, eclectic mix that puts chef-driven spins on some junk-food-inspired plates: think Mexican Cheetos, a beer-cheese soup with smoked Gouda, a "wild game Frito chili pie," and one tasty-sounding milkshake made with stout beer. Check out our Cheat Sheet here, then head over to the not-too-trendy space, where the decor marries midcentury-modern and traditional gastropub. (421 Cambridge St., Allston; 617-787-1117)

Root. A simple, streamlined space of reclaimed barn wood reflects the agrarian emphasis of this vegetarian eatery and "juicery." Black-bean burgers, quinoa-based salad bowls and sweet-potato tostadas are complemented by healthful tinctures of blended fruits, veggies and herbs served in mason jars. (487 Cambridge St., Allston; 617-208-6091)

Roxy's Gourmet Grilled. In May, doors finally opened to the long-anticipated brick-and-mortar location of Roxy's, which had already established itself as one of Boston's most popular food trucks. Primarily known for its gooey grilled cheese sandwiches like the stellar Mighty Rib Melt (one of our must-try summer items), Roxy's added thin-patty burgers (pictured at top) to its arsenal of eats with this Allston spot. The result: success! They're one of the Best Things We Ate This Year (So Far)(485 Cambridge St., Allston)

Shanghai Social Club. Flavorful dumplings (pictured above) and pupu platters, potent tiki cocktails and a decor that channels a Buddhist-temple-turned-nightspot all transport visitors to the Far East. Or at least, an effectively Americanized version of it. It's a convivial hideaway that brings a little Downtown swank to a neighborhood that tends to veer toward the gritty and punky. (1277 Commonwealth Ave., Allston; 617-208-8909)

Spike's Junkyard Dogs. We recently declared Spike's among our favorite hot dogs in Boston. The small regional chain serves some alpha eats, whether the classic Junkyard topped with hot pepper rings, or the 57 T-Bird with honey mustard and Swiss cheese. (108 Brighton Ave., Allston; 617-254-7700)

Sunset Grill & Tap. The taps are the top reason to visit Sunset, which has a whopping 492 beers on draft: more than any other bar in the city. (Here's our look at more of Boston's biggest beer lists.) The midpriced Tex-Mex menu makes it a popular choice for area college students, but the boisterous weekend crowds make for a fun scene for young professionals too. (130 Brighton Ave., Allston; 617-254-1331)

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Places Mentioned

Sunset Grill & Tap

Mexican • Allston

Food19 Decor16 Service18 Cost$21
 
 
 
Deep Ellum

Allston

Food23 Decor21 Service21 Cost$23
 
 
 
Carlos Cucina Italiana

Italian • Allston

Food26 Decor18 Service24 Cost$28
 
 
 
Grasshopper

Vegan • Allston

Food22 Decor16 Service22 Cost$18
 
 
 
Lone Star Taco Bar

Mexican • Allston

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Root

Vegetarian • Allston

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Lulu's Allston

American • Allston

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
 
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