Best Restaurants in South End

April 23, 2018
by Zagat Staff

The best spots to dine out in the South End. 

Boston Chops
Steakhouse · South End · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.4

Dubbed a "perfect modern steakhouse" by its fans, this "sexy" South End standout has "definitely raised the bar" with its "phenomenal" cuts and offerings of less oft-seen options like beef tongue, all courtesy of chef Chris Coombs (dbar, Deuxave); the "dark" , high-ceilinged space and "superb" staff maintain a "hip vibe" that’s considered "much less stuffy" than its high-end counterparts.
The Salty Pig
Brunch · Back Bay · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

"Charcuterie and beer lovers" like this "casual" "go-to" in the South End thanks to its "delicious" signature boards of regionally sourced cured meats and cheeses washed down with "loads" of tap brews; it’s "fun to eat" in the chalkmarked, comic strip–covered space, and "super-knowledgeable" servers are "always happy to give recommendations."
Italian · South End · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

This "go-to" in the trendy South End draws fans with its "awesome, wood-fired" pizzas and "homemade" ice cream, while there’s also "always something new and delicious" in its comfort-food lineup; "if you can get in" , the modest-sized space offers "accommodating" service, and there’s also a "superb draft-beer selection" , plus a patio where "eating outside on a summer’s night is one of the greatest pleasures."
Italian · South End · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.3

From "must-have, made-in-house" pastas to "fabulous" signature charcuterie, everything on the "creative" "tapas-style" menu at chefs Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer’s corner Italian is "delicious" – and "doesn’t break the bank" ; run by a "professional" staff, the "super-cozy" dining room gets "crowded" , so those in the know "get there early" for "date night" or to snag a seat on a sidewalk patio that's "ideal for people-watching."
Spanish · South End · $$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.1

"Amazing" tapas "bring Barcelona to Boston" at this South End Spaniard from chefs Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer that’s arguably "one of the best" for small plates in the city; the rustic-chic space can get "overwhelmingly crowded" (especially at dinner, when the no-reservations policy makes seating "a challenge" ), but it’s "worth the wait" to "see and be seen" in such a "fun atmosphere."
B&G Oysters
Seafood · South End · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.3

You can’t go wrong " at restaurateur Barbara Lynch’s " haven for seafood lovers ", a " fabulous " South End option where " fun, on-the-ball " staffers serve up " pristine " oysters, the " freshest, crispiest " fish and " refreshing twists " on other " classics "; it’s " not inexpensive ", but it’s still " sought after ", so expect a " scene " with " good buzz " in " casual ", " tight-fitting " digs; P.S. the outdoor patio is an " added bonus" in summer.
Douzo Sushi
Japanese · Back Bay · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

Diners "dream about" the "mouthwatering" sushi "so fresh it practically jumps off the plate" at this smart, modern Back Bay option offering "top-notch" fish and other "phenomenal" Japanese fare; though there’s "great service" , the "easy takeout" or home delivery (unusual for such an upscale sushi purveyor) is welcomed, especially since the "spacious" interior can get "mobbed" on weekends.
Area Four Woodfired Restaurant & Bar
Pizza · South End · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.1

These "upbeat" siblings "will make any solid American hipster content" with their "delicious" , "inventive" pizzas featuring "scrumptious" dough and toppings that bespeak a "farmer’s pedigree" , all served with "rarefied" craft beers by "enthusiastic" staffers; the Kendall Square original, which opens earlier, is also a "go-to" for morning coffee, while the artsy Ink Block sidekick emphasizes open-flame New American cookery alongside the pies.
Italian · Back Bay · $$

In the style of a Venetian bacaro, or wine bar, this South End Italian keeps the vino flowing and the small plates (including sophisticated house made pastas) coming to guests gathered in the hobnob-enabling dining room, outfitted with drink rails to encourage mingling, or on the cloistered rear patio.
South End Buttery
Breakfast · South End · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

There’s a "busy" all-day flow at these South End bakery/cafes: locals start the morning with "solid" breakfast "treats" , take a "casual" lunch on the patio among other "well-to-do" types or enjoy a "date night" dinner at the "cozy little refuge" on Shawmut; plus they can hit up the "cute, tucked-away" Clarendon locale for upscale groceries, baked goods and sandwiches to go.
Chinese · South End · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.3

"Dressed-up dim sum" "like mother never made" and other "bursting-with-flavor" "takes on tradition" have fans "dreaming about" this Asian-fusion small-plates specialist in the South End helmed by culinary couple Joanne Chang and Christopher Myers; "killer cocktails" , a "hip" staff and a "quirky" , "indie" setting contribute to the "youthful" vibe, but it’s "hard to get a table" , so "reservations are a must (and rightly so)."
Beehive Restaurant
Brunch · South End · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.0

The "coolest of the cool" head to this "hip" South End hive of nightly live music, whose "fascinating" bi-level space is equal parts "theater and speakeasy" with "crowded" bistro tables and a cabaret stage; an "excellently executed" Eclectic menu with a globe-trotting "bohemian" spirit is served up by a "friendly" crew alongside "ridiculous" cocktails.