The Hit List: New Boston Restaurants to Try Right Now

We checked out these new restaurants and loved them.
Spread of udon dishes from Yume Ga Arukara.

photo credit: Joe St. Pierre

When new restaurants open, we check them out. This means that we subject our stomachs and social lives to the good, the bad, and more often than not, the perfectly fine. But every once in a while, a new spot makes us feel like we stumbled upon a free parking space in the North End. When that happens, we add it here, to The Hit List. 

The Hit List is your spot to find all the best new restaurants in Boston. As long as it opened within the past several months and we’re still talking about it, it’s on this guide. If it’s not, well, you can figure it out for yourself.

We've also got a guide for the absolute best restaurants in Boston as well.


photo credit: Joe St. Pierre


Seaport District

$$$$Perfect For:LunchCheap Eats
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If you’ve been to this noodle shop’s Cambridge location, you know the drill: long line, short menu, quick service, and deeply delicious bowls of udon served to just 16 diners at a time. It’s mostly the same at their new Seaport spot, but the experience feels a little less rushed, more efficient, and extremely friendly, with all the same delicious noodles. Lunch at the bar is the move here—they’ll take your order when you’re in line if it’s busy—where you can watch the busy chefs pull long strings of fresh udon, slice and plop some fatty beef into your bowl, and drop in a perfect soft-boiled egg. It’s the perfect under $20 lunch in an area where that same amount of money will probably only get you half of a lobster roll (if you’re lucky).

Somenya is one of the more exciting openings in Chinatown this year—sorry to all the boba spots with more franchises than George Lucas. The noodles on the menu feel like what would happen if there was an official buckwheat chapter of The Avengers: brothy roast duck udon with big hunks of breast and sweetness from yuzu and cold truffle snow crab soba with generous helpings of salmon caviar, just to name a few. Prioritize one of these, but know the subterranean restaurant works great as a group spot since the rest of the snacky menu is so good, too. Come and hang out for a couple of hours, drinking sake and sharing chili-powder-flecked koji fried chicken under the bright umbrellas dangling from the ceiling.

photo credit: Donald Phung



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Sure, you could settle for Legal if you’re in the Seaport, but Hook + Line is a step above that and all the overpriced chains that look like glassy boxes in the neighborhood. Don’t get us wrong, the seafood here isn’t cheap, but they really nail the details. The wood-fired grill gives the lobster feast a smoky char, and flaky branzino comes split and covered with crunchy hazelnuts. Gaze longingly out at the harbor through the massive windows, and order some scallops, stuffed clams, and anything else from that roaring grill. They also have a solid half-bottle wine list, which is about as rare in Boston as somebody proudly wearing a Mets hat. 

Mamaleh’s or Zaftigs might be Boston's go-to Jewish and kosher restaurants, but it’s time to add Lehrhaus in Somerville to that list. They do food from the Jewish diaspora, so you’ll see Mexican and Ethiopian dishes, no meat, but some really excellent fish. The combo of thinly sliced herring, labneh, and acidy pickled peppers on the tartine is like the best whitefish salad ever, and the filling lentil-stuffed delicata squash will make any meat truther question everything. The space is half restaurant, half library, and they also host book signings, live music, and cooking classes. So come by on a weeknight for a cocktail made with arak, or sign up for a class that’ll teach you why Phish has a rabid Jewish fanbase.

Long Bar on the 17th floor of the Raffles in Back Bay has set a new standard for the hotel bar, with great food and ample people-watching. Folks come here dressed up, fresh off seeing The Cher Show at the nearby Wang Theatre, and keep the night going until suddenly it’s last call and they’re singing “If I Could Turn Back Time” with whoever they met at the bar. For us, it’s a bougie guilty pleasure where we can eat razor clams conservas, sip a potent Boston sling, and devour a burger topped with a bloomy young harbison cheese and pepper jam that hits all those sweet, spicy, umami notes. We can’t wait until it warms up to check out the outdoor patio situation.

On the scale of Applebee's to Super Serious Restaurant With Persimmons On The Menu, Sloane’s falls somewhere comfortably in the middle. If we lived in Allston, we’d be here all the time, having a spicy margarita at the bar next to people we want to be friends with, while working our way through every comforting corner of the menu. Most entrees are around $20, so we appreciate this newer, lower-stakes dinner spot where you can eat fries fancied up with taleggio and garlic butter and some pot roast mac and cheese without needing to tap into Ben Affleck’s Dunkin’ money to pay the bill. 

Union Square is where you’ll find some of the city’s best restaurants and quirky cocktail spots (you can catch us at Backbar at least once a week). But the neighborhood’s been missing a place like June Bug that’s a step up from a slice shop, where you can drink a glass of skin contact wine and have a fluffy, expertly charred Neapolitan pizza. The oval bar is where you want to be, rubbing elbows with regulars who live a block away, and finding common ground over spreadable sausage. Order the Like A Pepperoni, which swaps nduja for cold cuts. They also have really good salads—because, you know, balance—that don’t feel like an afterthought, especially the Kitchen Sink with perfect cheesy croutons.

Somerville’s Bow Market has tons of food options and scarves and organic soaps for sale—it’s all there. But until now, it’s never quite had a perfect Vietnamese date spot that pumps disco. The tiny space is shrouded in plants, seats maybe 25 people, and glows in purplish light, so naturally, it’s a good place to consider falling in love. But it’s the food that’ll keep you coming back—the Vietnamese dishes can hang with any of the top places in Field’s Corner. The menu changes often, with dishes like duck confit gyoza, a light but satisfying shrimp vermicelli, and local fish tartare that, depending on the day, might be dressed with lemongrass. They take reservations, but you can still walk in for a casual dinner (for now).

photo credit: Donald Phung



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Moon Bar in Back Bay is in the rotation for gossiping with friends—the bossa nova and hip-hop will cover up all the whispered secrets about your coworkers who skipped the company offsite and went to Croatia together instead. The menu has things like mahi mahi ceviche, sweet potato samosas, smoked pork ribs, and other shareable snacks that we don’t really want to share. It’s the more casual spot from Mooncusser, which is right upstairs, but you’re better off coming here instead, where the horseshoe bar is high-energy and the bartenders wear Hawaiian shirts.

The New York City location of this Allston Szechuan spot is an institution, and it’s one of the few transplant restaurants in Boston we’re actually excited about. Their swinging pork belly dish has mandolined strips of meat and cucumber draped over a wooden stand, with the whole thing dangling above a bowl of garlic and chili oil. Once it arrives at your table, it’ll first get your attention for presentation, and then for being your new favorite way to eat pork belly. Order that, the pepper lover chicken that has some decent spice without setting your tongue on fire, and a couple of other plates to celebrate crushing the first half of the workweek.

Eastern Standard closed in 2020, with plans to return, and unlike countless other Boston reboot promises, actually pulled off reopening in Fenway with the same level of quality. It’s still a place where you can splurge on bavette steaks, have that nerve-wracking first date, or celebrate sharing fridge space with somebody for the rest of your life. The menu has all the Boston bistro classics: the baked rigatoni with lamb sausage, steak frites, and a roasted half chicken that you’ll greet like an old friend. The now larger space is also more polished, but aren’t we all these days?

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