Supper Clubs and Brasseries: The Best New Boston Restaurants Right Now
Put these hotspots at the top of your list.
It’s nothing but good dining news around these parts: patio season is back, dogs are now welcome at outdoor dining spots, and Boston’s restaurant landscape continues to excite and push boundaries.
So as you start to plan out your summer social calendar with the best brunch, rooftop bars, and iconic eateries, we’ve also got details on the hottest new restaurant debuts to check out. From buzzy new spots like a kosher Jewish tavern, glamorous supper club, and a brasserie celebrating Southern France cooking, to recent newcomers, here’s our lineup of the absolute best new restaurants in Boston to visit right now.
What exactly is a “Jewish tavern and house of learning,” you may ask? Lehrhaus has answers for you: picture a full menu of punny cocktails like the Some Like It Harif (tequila, s'chug, orange blossom, sumac salt), nibbles like Smoked Salmon Pate and Mac & Cheese Kugel, luxurious lounge seating, and an extensive community library of Jewish text. In other words, it’s a space unlike any other in the city.
Our city has been woefully short of supper clubs—until now. The two-level Hue is actually a three-fer: full restaurant, cocktail bar, and supper club entertainment space smack dab in the middle of the Back Bay. In the upstairs dining room proper, you can enjoy Asian-inspired small plates like Kofta Meatballs in Indian Spiced Tomato Sauce, and Tandoori Style Chicken and Waffle; afterwards, grab a drink in the ground-level Rose Bar before heading into the aforementioned supper club—complete with back-room speakeasy—for nightly DJed tunes and a broad selection of champagnes.
Michael Scelfo, the James Beard nominated chef behind spots like Alden & Harlow, Waypoint, and The Longfellow Bar, is turning to some classic inspiration this time around: his grandmother. The namesake of his newest restaurant, Josephine, inspired him to create a classic Italian menu of pizzas, wedge salads, pastas, and hearty entrees like Veal Tonnato alongside a potent bar program laden with Negronis and Martinis.
Harrison Street has been suffering from a dearth of dining options (we still miss you, Cinquecento), but salvation has come in the form of a new French brasserie from the team behind Petit Robert Bistro. Yes, it’s in the old Gaslight/Brasserie space, but things are certainly looking different this time around: lighter, more minimalist decor, and a menu that toasts the flavors of Southern France, which takes heavy influence from Spain, Italy, and Northern Africa. Expect raw bar starters, small plates like Beef Tartare and a mezze platter, and mains like Mussels with Curry and Coconut Milk, Roasted Branzino, and Merguez Lamb Sliders.
We firmly believe the city can never have too many French brasseries, and Batifol is a further case in point. The classic day-and-night menu is accompanied by craft cocktails and an excellent wine list, all contained inside a banquette-centric interior. It’s truly everything you desire in a brasserie menu: oysters, escargots, Nicoise Salad, Moules Frites, Coq au Vin, Steak Frites—you get the delicious idea. The long marble bar beckons Kendall Square professionals with after-work wines and White Negronis.
Within the convivial vibes of the Coolidge Corner Arcade’s second floor, at Cobble, chef and owner, Emily Vena, is reimagining the dinner party. Four tables, one seating, 12 guests, BYOB: It’s as intimate as a private party gets. The five-course, prix fixe Italian menu takes its cue from the seasonal vegetable haul. Currently on offer is English Pea Ranch Dip, Vegetable Crunch Salad, Fettuccine Vidalia ‘Fredo, Chicken Al Limon, and a Strawberry Short Stack for dessert. Here’s even better news: partner Rachel Trudel Vena has opened a BYOB bar downstairs called Bartlette (you bring the booze, they provide the mixers and accouterments).
This immigrant-, Black-, and women-owned space features both a cafe and full-service restaurant inside the most unexpected of spots: a former comfort station (aka public restroom). The diminutive interior has been transformed into a serene, airy respite, complete with kitchen-facing bar and pale pink cushioned booths, that feels a million miles away from the busy street just outside the window. The African Diaspora comfort menu might appear relatively straightforward on the surface, but the bright, delicate flavors elevate each appetizer and entree into something special. Early winners include the Jackfruit Sliders and Brown Butter Trout, but staff genuinely struggle to recommend one dish over another simply because they’re all so beloved.
How to book: Via Tock
This rooftop oasis perched atop The Newbury Boston is the cherry on top of the city’s most exciting vertical suite of luxurious offerings. From hospitality company Major Food Group, Contessa is a 4,000-square-foot grand trattoria space, luxuriously appointed in Art Deco details that almost—almost—pull you away from the sweeping skyline views. The Italian menu invites you to dine on prosciutto from five different regions, Tortellini en Brodo, pizzas, and Dry-Aged Bistecca Fiorentina. Start with a spritz, move onto a Negroni or Martini, and revel in an evening spent with your head literally in the clouds. Just plan ahead, because this is the most coveted reservation in the city; the lunch menu may be your best bet.
There’s no shortage of Irish pubs around these parts, but how often do we talk about the cuisine more than the perfectly poured Guinness? Chef and owner Aidan McGee, an Ireland native, is changing the narrative, with a spot that celebrates traditional Irish cooking. There are dishes you expect—Lamb Shepherd’s Pie, Fish & Chips, Irish Stew—and dishes you don’t: House-Smoked Salmon, Bone-In Curried Bacon Loin, and a Roasted Pork for Two. That smoked salmon also makes an appearance on the brunch menu, which includes a full Irish breakfast.
Faccia a Faccia
It’s not as if Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette were resting on their laurels—they just, you know, have a lot of deliciousness going on. But when the twin restaurateurs opened their first joint endeavor in six years, we rejoiced. This Newbury Street coastal Italian restaurant focuses on seasonal dishes that draw inspiration from Liguria, Sicily, and Sardinia. So the menu features a whole bunch of crudo, burrata, grilled octopus, homemade pastas, and Chicken Milanese. But wait, there’s more: Down below is a natural wine bar called Bar Pallino that’s inspired by today’s subterranean Paris wine bars.
Within the high ceilings of Grana’s grand dining room, chef Stephen Bukoff offers traditional Italian fare served with elevation and elegance for dishes like Crispy Eggplant Milanese and a Prosciutto Sandwich with Truffle. He also takes inspiration from his Italian grandmother for menu sections like Nonna’s Kitchen (hello, Spaghetti Pie!). Brunch is a mix of American classics and surprises like Carbonara Benedict and Lobster Cannoli (don’t worry; it’s savory).
At Lenox Sophia, chef and owner, Shi Mei brings an intimate—like, incredibly intimate—dining experience to Southie with New American cuisine that’s both elevated and accessible. With previous stints at spots like Bouchon and the French Laundry in California, and local restaurants such as Asta and Mida, Mei’s talent shines brightly here through a five-course, prix fixe menu. Settle in for a meal that feels more like a dinner party and enjoy incredible dishes like Sweet Pea Custard, Rohan Duck Leg Confit, and Agnolotti with Ricotta and Preserved Meyer Lemon. All menus are also available in vegetarian form. And no one can resist a BYOB opportunity, especially when it’s one of the very few in the city.
The seafood revolution in Kenmore Square continues. The latest entry from Blue Ribbon Restaurants celebrates the sea’s bounty in all its glory in a ship-sized 195-seat dining room that includes a 30-seat cocktail bar and separate ceviche bar. Featuring ocean dishes from around the world, crudo and seafood cocktails share space with Lobster Tacos, Wood Fire-Grilled Spanish Octopus, and a huge Seafood Paella; while the flavors are globally inspired, the catches themselves are mostly regional. When it comes to drinks, tequila and mezcal are front and center with more than 70 varieties on offer.
Matsunori Handroll Bar
Matsunori is a sushi destination entirely devoted to hand rolls (aka tamaki). The hand prepped pieces showcase New England seafood front and center with slices of spicy tuna or miso cod placed atop a piece of nori and sushi rice and then topped with a final drizzle of something special. If you’re feeling indulgent, you can also sample the Wagyu Beef Rolls—co-owner Kevin Liu actually owns a wagyu farm in Miyazaki, Japan, which keeps prices in an affordable range.
The best dumplings in town now have a new mother ship to call home. Inside Irene Li’s 4,000-square-foot cafe and factory—the latest addition to Southie’s Iron Works empire—diners can sit at one of the long communal tables and gaze right into the glass-walled kitchen to watch the dumpling assembly line in action. Along with dumpling varieties like Lemongrass Pork, Five Spice Tofu, and the aptly named Double Awesome (egg and scallion pancake sandwich), chase your spread with beer, wine, or cocktails. If you’re feeling inspired, you can also now take in-house cooking classes—public or private—to better your own home dumpling skills.
At this great addition to JP’s exciting dining scene, neighborhood locals Claire Makley and Luke Fetbroth, together with partners David Doyle and Mari Pérez-Alers, are filling a void with an eatery that draws inspiration from the everyday trattorias, enotecas and aperitivos that make Italian dining truly special. The succinct menu features dishes that make you want to hop a plane to Rome subito. Signatures include the Fennel Salad, Roasted Squid, wood-roasted pies, and gorgeous pastas like Lumache with Wild Mushrooms and Creme Fraiche and Chitarra with Clams and Breadcrumbs. A curated list of cocktails and wines by the glass (including three orange wines) make your drink ordering easier.
How to book: Via Tock
When it comes to a seafood restaurant involving the team from Giulia, we’re absolutely for it. Inside the onetime Chez Henri space is Moeca, a wonder of global, seasonal fare: Marinated Mussels with Green Tomato Salsa, Maine Lobster Spaghetti, Smoked Fish Rillette, and Green Crab Custard. It’s the kind of restaurant where you should bring many friends so you can share more plates. Save room for a surprisingly robust dessert menu that includes unexpected treats like the Miso Peanut Gelato and Hazelnut Financier.
The Winsor House
We may have all wept when the Kenmore Square Island Creek Oyster Bar closed, but the ICO team had another trick up their sleeve reimagining an early-1800s space to celebrate all things aquaculture. Besides the expected raw bar offerings and caviar, nosh your way through Tuna and Beef Tartare, Fried Oyster Sliders, Halibut Poached in Brown Butter, Whole Grilled Striped Bass, and the Winsor House Float Dinner: shrimp, clams, smoked sausage, corn, potato, onion, and all the sauces. The bar program focuses on rums and barrel-aged cocktails, and the wine selection—many natural—pairs well with oysters.
The restaurant’s origin story begins in Brighton. Five years and oodles of loyal customers later, the tiny noodle shop has set up a more ambitious restaurant in the former Equator space. This is not Americanized Chinese comfort fare—and hurray for that. Yunnan, or Dian, cuisine leans heavily on ancient cooking methods and ingredients: Fried Pea Jelly, Sizzling Braised Chicken in a Clay Pot, Boiled Fish Filet in Chili Oil, and Stir-Fried Udon Noodles. If you really must, you can dip a toe in the “classics menu” with dishes like Garlic Shrimp and Beef with Broccoli, but why play it safe when you can explore a new Chinese province on your plate?