Best Restaurants in Downtown Boston

June 4, 2018
by Zagat Staff

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

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.”
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.
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.
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.”
American · 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.
American · 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.
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.”
Italian · Theater District · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.3

This Theater District “go-to” from chef Jamie Mammano (Mistral, Sorellina, Ostra) showcases “lots of creativity” in “interesting” Italian plates “bursting with flavor” ; “attentive” service is “sensitive to theater-timing needs” , making it a “perfect” choice for pre-show meals, but you may want to “bring earplugs” to handle the “festive” din in the otherwise “comfortable” room.
Downtown · $$

This Downtown wine bar highlights a thoughtfully curated vino list offered by the glass and bottle, accompanied by a light menu of cheese, charcuterie, crudo and, in particular, imported varieties of tinned fish. The very intimate space – just an 18-seat bar and two tables – has a stylish, nautical feel with wide windows to the city street.
Peach Farm
Chinese · 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.
Troquet on South
French · 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.”
Asian · Downtown · $$

This Downtown dining room culls inspiration from flavorful Peruvian and Asian street foods and also offers more composed plates and a sushi program that reflect the influence of Japanese and Chinese immigrants in Peru. 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.
Artisan Bistro
American · Theater District · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.4

“Adding a delightful twist to the traditional feel” of the Theater District’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, this New American eatery off the lobby provides “different” takes on “delicious” classics in a “modern” , European-style setting; an “outstanding” staff also serves up “artisanal” cocktails from the adjacent Avery Bar to post-work suits and showgoers.