A growing pantheon of critically acclaimed chefs and innovative restaurateurs has helped Boston secure a hearty reputation as a foodie destination. Boston’s best new restaurants are more than just masters of the year’s top dining trends. The city’s kitchens are stocked with locally sourced ingredients, artisanal accoutrements, and seasonal produce—not to mention a few celebrity chefs (Chopped competitor Chris Coombs; Jody Adams and Michael Schlow of Top Chef Masters). They revive timeless classics, experiment with unfamiliar flavors, and tread boldly through the galley into the realms of entertainment and design. Many of this year’s notable new restaurants are reinventing the restaurant concept altogether, introducing multi-use spaces and reviving one-off pop-ups and food truck finds.
With Beantown’s flourishing culinary clout, it won’t be long until these new spots are up against even newer contenders for top marks—but the competition will need to pack a serious punch to knock these notable novices off the roster.
Liquid Art House
When this boundary-breaking restaurant opened its doors this May, every head in Boston turned to peer through the enormous arched windows for a glimpse at the debut exhibit of oversized street art. Fusing upscale fine dining with contemporary fine art, this restaurant-gallery inspires executive chef Rachel Klein’s playful menu, subtly enhanced by Asian spices and Eastern European influences. Before your reservation, order Hawthorne Bar veteran Dan Lynch’s cocktails at the glamorous center circle bar and munch on complimentary bar bites like chili-flecked caramel popcorn.
Alden & Harlow
After opening in the former space of Harvard Square dining landmark, Casablanca, this New American restaurant didn’t skip a beat. The newly expanded dining room, now able to accommodate 180 seats, features white subway tiles and shelves stocked with reclaimed goods (canned preserves; familiar cookbooks). Enjoy pickled green beans sprinkled with sesame seeds while perusing a menu of shareable small plates, like Verrill Farm asparagus, Pat Woodbury’s clams, and crispy Berkshire pork belly.
Wink & Nod
With an entrance marked only by a friendly doorman, this secret South End craft cocktail speakeasy brings true Prohibition-era form to the modern age. In a unique collaboration with the same chefs behind former pop-up restaurant Whisk, the menu includes carry-over favorites, such as the black pasta with red miso and octopus. You won’t want to miss the new creations, either; try the yakitori-grilled quail placed in a mason jar infused with cherrywood smoke.
Roxy’s Grilled Cheese Restaurant
While the pigtailed Roxy icon has been a familiar face to Bostonians for three years now, the famed local food truck’s permanent street-side set up is fresh on Allston’s neighborhood scene. In addition to serving mayo-drenched gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, you will find original takes on feel-good eats like burgers with truffle mayo or pimento cheeses, and poutine topped with gravy and curd. As always, you can add bacon to any dish.
One of the many new eateries adding flavor to the burgeoning Fort Point neighborhood, this authentic Neapolitan pizzeria stands out with an earthy, rustic charm. Go here for the late-night bar menu (served 11 p.m.–2 a.m.) for red wine blends on tap, and beer cocktails such as the Horseneck, made with Beefeater gin, pineapple, mango, and Harpoon IPA. Pair your pie with a variety of wood-fired garlic, mixed olive, or fennel sausage knots.