We're constantly covering all the important new openings in and around Boston, but every now and then it helps to have a refresher course. (And you might need help answering that all-important question: "Where should we eat tonight?") Here's a roundup of the most notable recent openings and some handy links to our more in-depth looks. The restaurants are listed with the newest openings at the top of the slide show — and we'll continue to update this list periodically as additional eateries are unveiled.
Inspired by Thai, Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian cuisines, "Top Chef" alum Tiffani Faison takes a walk on the wild side at this Fenway-area dining den (located near her barbecue joint, Sweet Cheeks Q), serving funky yet polished plates, plus tiki-style cocktails at two bars. There's an urbane-meets-exotic edge to the space, which features a live green wall of herbs plucked for use by the kitchen.
Must-Order: Faison says that this Southeast Asian restaurant isn't intended to replicate traditional recipes, but rather "respectfully interpret" the cuisine through her eyes. Our gaze is fixed on the the chile-spiced short-rib crudo ($13) served with an herb salad, black vinaigrette and charred leeks.
Insider Tip: If you're planning to share dishes, score the tables with the built-in lazy Susans, which make passing plates a breeze.
Set in The Mall at Chestnut Hill, this outpost of a New Haven–based, family-run chain of coal-fired pizza joints serves its brick oven–crisped pies, including the signature white clam, in a simple parlor-style space done up with green wood booths and white tabletops.
- Chestnut Hill
Must-Order: Fanatics fawn over all the thin-crust, coal-fired pies, but the white clam pizza ($13.50–$28), drizzled with olive oil and fresh garlic, has probably emerged as the spot's most signature slice over the years.
Insider Tip: It just opened in December and was highly anticipated, so waits are hours-long at the Chestnut Hill location. But it does have two "takeout only" parking spaces that are convenient for grab-and-go drive-bys.
Slow-roasted meats and slow-cooked veggies are the crux of this Watertown brasserie (from the team behind Eastern Standard), where the open kitchen's centerpiece rotisserie spins out Mediterranean-influenced homestyle cookery that matches the big bar's list of Continental wines. The sleek space, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, retains its brick Federalist architecture, updated with floor-to-ceiling windows, a heated patio with garden, and bocce court.
Must-Order: Among the offerings you'll find a pretty fantastic Green Circle rotisserie chicken ($17 half bird; $32 whole). These birds are top tier, fattened up with feed comprising scraps of high-end restaurants like Per Se.
Insider Tip: The bar is wine and beer only, but you'll find a fantastic selection. After all, wine director Charles Gaeta is one of our past 30 Under 30 superstars.
Elevated takes on Yankee-inspired recipes, like Boston baked beans with pork belly, plus housemade salumi, raw-bar selections, an all–New England draft beer program and cocktails made with old-timey ingredients are the draws to this Downtown destination. The handsome space also gives a nod to the area's rich past, with dark-wood detailing, vintage-y lighting, leather banquettes and a mural of Long Wharf in the 19th century.
Must-Order: Though chef Tom Borgia focuses on upscale spins on classic New England fare, his two years living in Siena, Italy have clearly yielded good pasta practice. We love the appetizer of rigatoni ($13) with braised beef cheek, oyster mushrooms and Brussels sprout leaves spiced with cayenne and sumac. It's topped with a poached egg.
Insider Tip: Need a midnight nosh? This month the restaurant launched a late-night menu that runs from 11 PM–12 AM from Sunday through Thursday, and 11 PM–1 AM on Friday and Saturday.
Star chef Michael Schlow delivers this Greek concept near Boston Common, offering olive oil–drizzled whole fish, flavorful hummus and other light, bright, Mediterranean-inflected meze and mains, complemented by an international wine program and creative cocktails. The casually elegant space, which includes patio seating, is adorned with funky light fixtures and original contemporary art by the toque's wife, lending a bit of gallerylike glitz.
- Park Square
Must-Order: Schlow's latest, which rides the wave of Greek cuisine sweeping through Boston, has many more inventive options on the menu — but we're somehow especially smitten with the simple Village Salad ($10): vine-ripe tomatoes from a New Hampshire farm, feta sourced straight from Greece and fresh oregano Schlow grows himself.
Insider Tip: Take some time to appreciate the artwork that adorns the walls. It's the work of chef Schlow's wife, Adrienne Schlow, a talented artist whose Greek heritage inspired the direction of the restaurant.
Inhabiting a storied Downtown space that once housed the venerable, decades-spanning Locke-Ober, this handsome hideaway puts a modern spin on the classic supper club, serving refined and internationally influenced New American cuisine, including communal plates, plus libations with playful bells and whistles, like crystal towers filled with cocktail punches. Flocked wallpaper, elegant chandeliers and a mahogany-swathed Library Bar lend to the historic Boston Brahmin–era character.
- New American
Must-Order: Expectations were high, but Yvonne's delivers thanks to a crack team that includes executive chef Juan Pedrosa, who does deft work balancing the flavors of his deceptively simple corn and farro salad ($12), served with smoked blue cheese, pickled peach and pistachio.
Insider Tip: If you need help scoring a seat at this perpetually packed hot spot, start by grabbing cocktails in the Library Lounge. Start ordering shared plates from a bar seat, and once the bartenders realize you're in for the long haul, they've been known to pull strings and get you situated at more comfortable tables.
The ultra-luxe, sophisticated sushi destination O Ya spawns this colorful, flair-filled izakaya with kicky graffiti-covered walls and kitschy retro decor (hello, Hello Kitty) that befits its poolside location in Fenway's rock 'n' roll–inspired Verb Hotel. The casual, moderately priced Japanese tavern-style menu pairs well with thirst-slaking beverages such as Asian craft beers and quirky frozen cocktails.
Must-Order: This funky izakaya bills itself as the first place in America to find keg sake. Try the Bushido and pair it with okonomiyaki ($8) with smoky bacon, shiitake, yam, truffle Kewpie mayo and "Hojoko honkytonky sauce." Want more sake-plate pairings? Here's our full feature.
Insider Tip: The kitschy decor includes a working tabletop arcade console loaded with vintage games — and no quarters are required. So grab a seat, some chopsticks and a joystick too.
From the Five Horses Tavern team comes this handsome, racetrack-themed Southie hangout featuring such elevated American pub grub as pizzas, inventive hot dogs and Boston “spuckies,” or submarine sandwiches. The centerpiece of the warm, tavernlike space is a bar topped with hundreds of shiny pennies, pouring 100 whiskeys as well as craft beers from 40 rotating taps.
- South Boston
Must-Order: It's not easy to find deep-dish-style pizzas in Boston, but Worden Hall has 'em — including the margherita ($20) with tomato sauce, basil and mozzarella from Vermont's Maplebrook Farms.
Insider Tip: This is a sibling spot to Five Horses Tavern, and shares its affinity for brown-liquor lists. Hence the bar's librarylike ladder that is used to reach bottles from the 100-variety-plus whiskey selection. (Want a full look around? Head here.)
The team behind The Gallows have turned the South End space that once housed Hamersley's Bistro into this Pan-Asian gastropub, serving unique shareable plates that cull inspiration from Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisines. The digs also stray from convention, with a big brick patio, a birch wood and white brick–lined dining room boasting treelike ceiling sculptures and green leather upholstery, and a raw bar facing an open kitchen.
- South End
Must-Order: Banyan steers clear of convention. Exhibit A: its spin on Southern fried chicken, which is topped with dried lime chimichurri and seasoned with Japanese furikake, and accompanied by a potato salad made with Kewpie mayo. Put (all) this South in your mouth.
Insider Tip: There's some irreverent flair to the bar, where you'll find the only Kirin beer slushie machine in Boston.
Pints runneth over thanks to the 30 craft drafts on tap at this Charlestown destination for suds, cider, cocktails and wood-fired cookery, including elevated takes on rustic-style American pizzas and small plates, all brushed by live fire. It's all housed in simple, stripped-down digs full of granite, exposed brick and rough-hewn woods, with a roll-up garage door leading to a 25-seat outdoor patio.
Must-Order: The wood-fired pizzas constitute about half the menu, but don't miss some stellar small plates like the oven-roasted meatballs ($12).
Insider Tip: Keep an eye out for the cool wall panels made of wine corks that the owners hand-affixed. They were collected from loads of industry friends, each one a reminder of nights imbibing at spots like Neptune Oyster, Toro and more.