Best Restaurants in Downtown Boston

June 4, 2018
by Zagat Staff

Where to eat in the Financial District, Chinatown, and around the rest of the neighborhood.

No.9 Park
French · Beacon Hill · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.5

Barbara Lynch “deserves sainthood” for her “consistently great” Beacon Hill “classic” , a “stellar” French-Italian “destination” where each “elegant” dish is “beautifully presented” and “served with style and grace” in “fancy but comfortable” surrounds; though tabs are “expensive” , “you get what you pay for” “all substance, not flash.”
BLR by Shojo
Chinese · Chinatown · $$

Chinatown's 1980s-founded, adorable Best Little Restaurant has been reinvented by the current generation of the family-owned outfit, the same folks behind nearby Shojo, and the freshly-renovated space, newly boasting a subterranean gambling-parlor motif, now has a hip and funky Chinese-inspired menu befitting its ambitious name.
Brunch · Chinatown · $$$

This New England brasserie in Downtown's Radian building "stands out" thanks to chef-owner Matt Jennings' "delicious" , accessibly sophisticated preparations of farm-raised local meats and spreads of seafood, including extravagantly tiered 'plateaux' presentations and charcuterie; full of "energy" , the "beautiful" setting puts a city-chic spin on a country home, with plenty of repurposed barn wood, Shaker-style chairs, a 10-seat crudo counter and a 30-seat late-night bar for "well-done" cocktails.
Bar Mezzana
Italian · South End · $$$

Colin Lynch, previously executive chef for star restaurateur Barbara Lynch's empire, branches out on his own with this coastal Italian kitchen in the South End's Ink Block development, turning out crudo, "fantastic" handmade pasta and modern large plates; the "bright" , midcentury-meets-Amalfi dining room features a large bar and seasonal patio, and a "great" wine list furthers the "awesome vibe.
Downtown · $$$

Inhabiting the historic former home of the venerable Locke-Ober, this "super-hopping" Downtown hideaway puts a "tongue-in-cheek" spin on the classic supper club, serving "incredible" New American cuisine, including communal plates, plus "well-crafted" , "imaginative" cocktails in a "speakeasy-style" atmosphere; flocked wallpaper, chandeliers and an "opulent" , mahogany-swathed Library Bar add "throwback" "glamour" to the "spectacular" space, making it a "must-visit."
O Ya
Japanese · Leather District · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.5

Each “utterly amazing” plate is presented as “a work of art” at chef Tim Cushman’s “exceptional” Leather District izakaya, a sushi lover’s “dream come true” (especially if splurging on a grand omakase tasting that feels like “a dining experience of a lifetime” ); dinner will “definitely cost you an arm and a fin” , but “attentive” service and a “discreet, relaxing” ambiance ensure that “if you can afford it” , it’s “worth every cent.”
Fuji At Ink Block
Japanese · South End · $$

Ink Block, the South End's trendy mixed-use development, is home to this sophisticated eatery from the Fuji family of Boston-area Asian restaurants. Dressed in limestone mosaics, walnut counters and flashes of polished black stone, the dining room offers a menu covering both classic and modern Japanese cuisine, from sushi and stir-fries to shareable small plates and an elaborate omakase menu.
Downtown · $$

This Downtown dining room culls inspiration from flavorful Peruvian and Asian street foods and also offers more composed plates that reflect the influence of Japanese and Chinese immigrants in Peru. A sushi program (which runs through late-night hours) is overseen by Oishii chef Ting Yen, while the fashionable room combines cultural motifs, from a gold sculpture of the Incan sun god over the bar to furniture made from charred shou sugi ban Japanese wood.
Troquet on South
Leather District · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.1

There’s a “well-crafted” menu of “new takes” on French–New American “staples” at this “reliable” Leather District bistro, but it’s really a “wine geeks’ paradise” thanks to an “exciting” and comprehensive collection of bottles, including some library selections; it’s “pricey” , but those who “want to spend the money” are rewarded with a “special night out” where service endeavors to “make you feel at home.”
Italian · Beacon Hill · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

It’s “easy to miss” this “cute little” subterranean Italian on Beacon Hill, which is worth seeking out for its “generous” portions of “creative” , “well-executed” fare – including a nightly prix fixe that’s considered a “steal” ; service is typically “attentive” , and the “funky basement setting” can be “charming and romantic.”
Downtown · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

A “hidden jewel” in plain sight of Downtown Crossing, this “classic” French-Italian has “been around for generations” offering “tasty meals” , interesting cocktails and “oyster happy hours” ; the staff’s “professional” and the “vintage atmosphere” – think dark woods, white tablecloths and pressed metal ceiling tiles – telegraphs the “history” of the space, first opened in 1885.
jm Curley
Gastropub · Downtown · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.1

American comfort eats are “fantastic all around” at this “fun” , “hip little spot” Downtown, where the “gourmet junk food” includes “edgy” yet “elevated” items such as caramel-and-bacon-flavored popcorn and sloppy, “amazing” burgers; craft beers and “superb” , “inspired” cocktails are delivered by a “friendly” staff in a “watering hole” of a setting; P.S. “go early” to score a seat, or make a reservation at Bogie’s Place, its discreet rear steakhouse.
Peach Farm
Chinatown · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.0 · Service 3.5

“Popular” with “in-the-know” types, this “solid” Chinatown Chinese fields a broad menu incorporating “excellent lunch specials” and plenty of seafood, including selections plucked live from a tank and cooked to your liking; no one minds the “casual” service and “hole-in-the-wall” basement setting given the “top-notch” food and late-night hours.