New & Hot Places

Hottest Restaurants in Boston

We're constantly covering all the important openings around Boston, but every now and then it helps to have a refresher. Especially when you're looking for new spots. Here's a roundup of the most notable openings, plus some handy links to our more in-depth looks. Listed from new to recent, we'll continue to update this list periodically as additional restaurants are unveiled. 

Little Donkey

Chef-duo Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette (Coppa, Toro) team up at this cool Central Square spot offering inventive, globally inspired small plates that cull and combine inspiration from myriad cuisines, plus unique raw-bar eats and a beverage program highlighting craft beers, small wine producers and creative cocktails. The open, airy room features floor-to-ceiling streetside windows and plenty of exposed brick and slatted wood furnishings.

Must-order: Though Little Donkey is all about small plates, you've got to get your hands around the messy burger of dry-aged Pat LaFrieda beef topped with pickles marinated in Buffalo sauce, caramelized onions, seared pieces of foie gras, crispy jalapeño chips and a little slathering of onion soup dip–inspired mayo. 

Insider tip: On the beverage side, get punch-drunk on the Donkey Punch, a mix of reposado, cassis, lime and agave served in a halved melon.


NewMediterraneanBack Bay
Star chef Jody Adams helms this Mediterranean seafood restaurant in Back Bay, culling inspiration from regional coastal cuisines to create an array of crudo, seafood stew, whole fried fish and pastas. It's all served from an open kitchen in a blue-hued space adorned with scalloped tile, imported marble, netted crystal lighting and a ample-sized seasonal patio.

Must-order: Seafood and pasta are perfectly paired in this small plate of housemade squid-ink bucatini. It's topped with crispy squid and tossed with a citrus and Fresno chile sauce, shaved fennel, pickled peppers and herbs. 

Insider tip: The Mediterranean-hopping fare incorporates ideas from the sea's North African side, including a stellar dessert of om ali, an Egyptian bread pudding. Porto's chocolate om ali takes coconut-coriander puff pastry cookies and adds chocolate-coconut pastry cream, then tops it all with coconut sorbet, chocolate ganache and toasted coconut.

The Smoke Shop

Chef Andy Husbands, who travels the country on the competitive BBQ circuit, mans the pit at this 'cue joint in Kendall Square where diners gather for trays of classic smoked ribs and brisket, whole hog meals, East Asian–inspired barbecue sandwiches and Southern sides, matched with a substantial whiskey selection. The rustic digs have an Americana feel and a spacious patio that hosts live music performances.

Must-order: Husbands' award-winning pork ribs have scored him plenty of ribbons on the competitive BBQ circuit as part of his nationally touring IQUE team. 

Insider tip: If you can pull together a few friends, go for the whole hog, a reservations-only feast that feeds up to a dozen hungry pigs. 

Bar Mezzana

NewItalianSouth End
Colin Lynch, previously executive chef for star restaurateur Barbara Lynch's empire, branches out on his own with this sparkling coastal Italian gem in the South End's Ink Block development turning out fresh crudo, handmade pasta, and modern large plates. The airy, midcentury-meets-Amalfi dining room features a large bar and seasonal patio.

Must-order: Seafood is emphasized, but we can't pass up Bar Mezzana's fried rabbit, marinated in orange, cinnamon and garlic, dipped in buttermilk and a flour-semolina combo, then fried with rosemary. It's accompanied by black olive–chile mayo and a side salad.

Insider tip: Don't snooze on stellar cocktails created by beverage director Ryan Lotz, another Lynch Gruppo vet, previously of No. 9 Park. We're partial to the Amaro di Cocco, rum with Campari, pineapple, coconut and sweet vermouth.

Kava neo-taverna

NewGreekSouth End
Tucked on a quiet corner in the trendy South End, this chic little number, a sophisticated taverna swathed in stone and reclaimed wood, serves up a small plates–focused array of Hellenic cuisine made with imported ingredients, and stocks its bar with unique Greek wines and spirits.

Must-order: You've got to get the imam, a delicious dish of eggplant stuffed with tomato, onion, garlic and kasseri cheese.

Insider tip: It's a small space, so reservations are strongly recommended — especially if you want to sit on the charming patio in the middle of the South End's brick-lane streets. 

Mamaleh's Delicatessen

The team behind neighboring State Park puts a modern twist on Jewish fare at this all-day Kendall Square deli offering everything from smoked fish plates to pastrami sandwiches and kugel, plus soda fountain treats like egg creams and boozy milkshakes. The bright, airy space boasts comfy booths and a tiled counter lined with stools, while the take-out area features glass cases stocked with baked goods and meats by the pound.

Must-order: You've been waiting too long for a truly awesome new Jewish deli, Boston. Do not pass go, do not collect $200 — just go right now and snag one of Mamaleh's deli sandwiches, stuffed with hot pastrami, corned beef or, if you're feeling indecisive, a 50/50 split. 

Insider tip: With Yom Kippur on the horizon, scope the High Holidays menu here; dinners include everything from honey-dipped apples to the beeswax candles.  

Brassica Kitchen + Cafe

NewCafeJamaica Plain
Local, seasonal ingredients are the unifying force at this hip little Jamaica Plain multitasker with a rustic-industrial ambiance from the Whisk pop-up team. By day it's a bakery, serving up gourmet pastries, coffee and sandwiches, and come night, the focus shifts to inventive, globally inflected French-American comfort fare, available à la carte or as a six course tasting menu, plus craft cocktails.

Must-order: Though Brassica's eclectic menu includes plenty of new ideas, it also includes staples from its pop-up, Whisk among them: seaweed tagliatelle, featuring Maine-coast kelp and dehydrated kale, cauliflower, a tomato-miso sauce and charred octopus. 

Insider tip: The $65 six-course tasting menus are available in omnivore, vegetarian and pescetarian formats, so you're pretty well covered no matter what. 

Fat Hen

Chef Michael Bergin's culinary finesse, cultivated at NYC spots like Del Posto, shines through at this intimate, homey Italian in Somerville, serving elegant but unfussy bowls of housemade pastas and braised meats, plus contemporary yet still-hearty entrees. Thoughtfully curated wines, Italian craft beers and sophisticated cocktails are served in a long, slender space flanked by inviting banquettes.

Must-order: The anchovies antipasti is a spectacular starter. Chef Michael Bergin is going for an Italian take on hummus, so he devised an anchovy-laden spread of white bean purée with Calarbian chile and fennel pollen. Scoop it up with wheat crackers. 

Insider tip: This is a super-intimate, 30-seat space, so don't take your chances; reservations are highly recommended. 


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.

Must-order: Though tinned seafood is the star at this wine bar, don't snooze on some of the composed small plates from chef Carolina Curtin — like the fantastic (and gorgeous) roasted carrots with sprouted lentils, kefir and coriander. 

Insider tip: Keep an eye on the wall's letter board, updated with names of uncorked bottles available by the glass. 


Chef Michael Scelfo (Alden & Harlow) lures guests to this Harvard Square–side entry with contemporary coastal cuisine, including everything from seafood-topped pizzas and pasta bowls to shared plates of roasted meats and fish and classic caviar service. The hip, aquatic-inspired dining room boasts a gleaming raw bar, open kitchen and 24-seat cocktail bar offering 20 varieties of absinthe poured from screw-top copper taps.

Must-order: Waypoint's large-format roasts are meant to be shared by two to three people. There's a 30-oz. rib-eye with green almond romesco and boquerone toasts; a whole lamb shoulder with pickled lemon; and a whole branzino (pictured) with radish, corn and tomato. 

Insider tip: This is the only restaurant in the Boston are where you'll find Jade Liqueurs, an absinthe maker founded in 2000 by scientist and absinthe advocate T.A. Breaux. Breaux researches — and then recreates — historically accurate recipes (yes, there's wormwood) and is largely responsible for the U.S. government lifting the 95-year ban on absinthe sales in 2007. Pay the guy your respects!

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