Boston's Cult Favorites

Offbeat Eats
December 6, 2016
by Zagat Staff

These Boston restaurants may not bask in the spotlight, but their ever-growing buzz and cult following make them underground foodie knockouts.

Rino's Place
Italian · East Boston · $$
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.4

"Generous" portions of "delicious, old world–style" Italian dishes (notably "homemade pastas" ) doled out by an "attentive" team make this "affordable" East Boston "destination" a "consistent" go-to; with reservations only taken for parties of six or more and "lines out the door" , it’s "a beast to get into" , but it’s "worth the wait" as long as you expect a "cozy" joint that’s all about "the food and atmosphere – not the decor.
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.2 · Service 4.1

"Serious sandwiches" come piled with "local-farmed" ingredients arranged into "delicious and imaginative" combinations at this "friendly" Brookline takeout open for breakfast and lunch; the only "downside" is, you’ll need to brave a "busy" scene to get into the "so small" space, though most agree it’s "well worth the wait."
Blue Ribbon Barbecue
Barbecue · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.4 · Service 3.9

"Connoisseurs" of "authentic" Southern BBQ indulge in "mountains" of "mouthwatering" smoked meats at these "long-standing" "must-eats" that "should cost twice as much as they do" ; with "just a few seats" , they're "nothing to look at" , so the trade is "mostly takeout" courtesy of the "quick" counter servers.
Italian · $
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.5

"Fabulous" homemade pasta steals the show at this Porter Square Italian, where fans praise the "great care" evident in "exquisite" , "thoughtfully prepared" plates with "precise flavors" and seasonings that work in "symphonic harmony" ; "unpretentious, attentive" service enhances the "comfortable, stylish" oak and brick–filled space – that is, "if you can get in" ; P.S. the pasta prep space is repurposed as a chef’s table at night.
Stoked Wood Fired Pizza
Pizza · $

They "take their pizza very seriously" at this Brookline hangout, spawned from a popular food truck, where "divine" pies with "super-flavorful" toppings are "cooked to perfection" in a massive oven and offered with sides like spicy chicken wings; with a loose music motif (founder Scott Riebling hails from the band Letters to Cleo) the casual digs come equipped with an "attentive" staff and a bar serving "kick-ass" cocktails, craft brews and affordable wines.
Roxy's Grilled Cheese & Burgers
Allston · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.3

You can’t go wrong " with this trendy, " friendly " brick-and-mortar spawn of an Allston food truck, slinger of " absolutely fantastic " grilled cheese sandwiches – many with unique ingredients like avocado and short ribs – that " put all others to shame " by being " made perfectly to order "; though its colorful decor is " not particularly exceptional", it does offer craft brews and burgers, unlike the mobile original.
Brunch · $
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.7

The housemade, "hangover-curing" bagels are schmeared with "ridiculous" spreads at this Porter Square brick-and-mortar born from a popular pop-up in the sandwich slinger Cutty’s; despite an "efficient" staff, there are "lines out the door" during its morning-to-midday business hours, but "that only makes you want it more."
Gracie's Ice Cream

Co-owned by the founder of local food events including the Bacon and Beer Festival, this Union Square creamery gets similarly creative with flavors like sweet potato squash, salty whiskey and chocolate Fluff, a tribute to the Somerville-born confection. Blowtorch-toasted cones and fun toppings like Fruity Pebbles cereal are among the whimsical touches in the quirky parlor, which also sells take-home pints and branded trucker hats.
Union Square Donuts
Dessert · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.0

It’s "worth waking up early" to snatch the "severely addicting" , daily made treats fans "dream about" from this pair of donut pushers in Somerville and Brookline, which rotates unique and "unbeatable" flavors like maple bacon and salted bourbon caramel; the staff also slings coffee and other baked treats from small, industrial-style spaces designed mostly for takeaway.