BOSGuide

The Best Restaurants In Somerville

Coffee shops, butchers, and ice cream spots too.

Some people think Somerville is filled solely with 20-somethings whose porkpie hats blow off their heads when they’re riding their fixed-gear bikes to the local tattoo parlor. And some people who haven’t been there in 20 years and don’t realize that it’s the real estate speculation capital of New England still call it Slumerville.

There are a lot of stereotypes that a lot of people think define Somerville, and none of them are really true. What is true, though, is that this place has a lot of great restaurants, coffee shops, and butchers. Here are the 21 best.

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The Spots

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Sarma

Mediterranean in Somerville

Hours: WEDNESDAY5:00PM to 12:00AM
    Perfect for
  • Birthdays
  • Date Night
  • Dinner with the Parents
  • Drinking Good Cocktails
  • Drinking Good Wine
  • First/Early in the Game Dates
  • Gluten-Free Options
  • Keeping It Kind Of Healthy
  • Literally Everyone
  • Small Plates

Currently open for indoor and outdoor dining, as well as takeout

Sarma seems like it’s pretty much everyone’s favorite restaurant in Boston. And while we don’t give in to peer pressure easily (we still haven’t signed up for TikTok), we do agree that it’s worth the hassle to get a table at this Turkish spot in Winter Hill. It has one of the biggest small plates menus we’ve ever seen, and nearly every dish seems to have an entire grocery store’s worth of ingredients in it. The result is some really intense stuff, like the harissa bbq duck with dates, almonds, orange blossom, and carrot, or the scallop-stuffed grape leaves. In a previous life, it could take up to two months to reserve a spot here, but Sarma is now doing takeout every day. On particularly rough days, we’re susceptible to small plate takeout feasts.


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Himalayan Kitchen

Nepali in Somerville

    Perfect for
  • Literally Everyone
  • Serious Take-Out Operation
  • Vegetarians

Currently open for takeout and delivery

Union Square has a ton of great places to eat and drink, and Himalayan Kitchen is right up there with the best of them. Sure, you can’t play Super Mario Kart or read about which bio-organic farm the carrots were sourced from here, but boy is that chef special goat curry good. The “Punjabi Wings,” with mint and a spicy chili sauce, are worth ordering too. And if you get them for takeout, you can still hang out with Luigi on the couch.


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Juliet

French in Somerville

    Perfect for
  • Drinking Good Wine
  • Quiet Meals
  • Special Occasions
  • Unique Dining Experience

Currently open for outdoor dining and takeout

This is Somerville, so it makes sense that there’s a place like Juliet that brings fine dining to the people in a space that feels less like a restaurant and more like the kitchen of good friends who accidentally bought way too many ramps and are just going to see what they can do with them. The themed prix-fixe meals cost $60-$75, change every few months, and sometimes come with prose poems. If you’re interested in things like squid stuffed with rice and topped with chocolate sauce, or rosemary roast lamb, you’ll have a great time here. A la carte options are also available right now, as well as meal kits, pantry boxes, and beer and wine.


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M.F. Dulock

Currently open for online ordering and curbside pickup

M.F. Dulock is on our list for one the best butcher shops in Boston, and for good reason. You can pretty much get any cut of meat you want at this nose-to-tail butchery, with everything being sourced from within 250 miles of the city. Plus, in our experience, everyone who works here was more than willing to answer our “we’re clearly not butchers” questions, which is arguably the most important part of shopping at a butcher shop anyway.


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Celeste

Peruvian in Somerville

    Perfect for
  • Date Night
  • Drinking Good Cocktails
  • Literally Everyone

Currently open for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout and delivery

Is ceviche still ceviche if it isn’t made with fish? That prompt would work pretty well as one of those unanswerable philosophy questions that supposedly promotes mindfulness. But if you’re more interested in eating great Peruvian food than achieving a higher state of mental being, head to this tiny, colorful spot in Union Square. The fishless ceviche (it’s made with artichokes and hearts of palm) is excellent, but so is just about everything else here - definitely get one of the stews.


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Revival Cafe

Bakery/Cafe in Davis Square

    Perfect for
  • Coffee & A Light Bite

Currently open for takeout and delivery

Revival in Davis Square has the single largest wooden bench we’ve ever had the pleasure of sipping a cortado on. While that may seem like a useless piece of information, on sunny days that are remotely warm, that bench is exactly where you’ll want to be. Along with the great coffee, Revival also has some solid sandwich options for breakfast and lunch, and pastries that make you want to yell, “Put me in coach!”


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Tanám

Filipino in Somerville

    Perfect for
  • Drinking Good Cocktails
  • Impressing Out of Towners
  • Special Occasions
  • Unique Dining Experience

Currently open for outdoor dining, takeout and delivery

Eating inside at Bow Market’s Tanam sort of feels like eating in a shipping container, since there’s only a single table in a rectangular room and you have to go outside and cross a courtyard if you want to go to the bathroom. But we would gladly spend months sleeping in a bunk, singing sea shanties, and dodging pirates if it meant having an all-access pass to Filippino food this good. These days, however, your only options are to eat outside by the fire pits or in another rectangular room that you call home. Kamayan boxes are available to pre-order, but you can also grab a tray of 60 wings with four different flavors for $52.


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Petsi Pies

Dessert in Somerville

    Perfect for
  • Serious Take-Out Operation
  • Special Occasions

Currently open for takeout

We’re not sure why, but we’ve never really been pie people. Then again, we didn’t grow up with the salted caramel apple, sweet potato pecan, or roasted broccoli and caramelized garlic ones from Petsi Pies either. Having any number of slices here is a revelatory experience, not unlike the first time we tried aerial yoga after a Blood Mary-heavy brunch. Yeah, we’ll just leave it at that.


3 Little Figs

Currently open for takeout

3 Little Figs is a tiny cafe with really good coffee and a tasty black pepper egg and cheddar breakfast biscuit sandwich. They also sell a variety of baked goods, smoothies, and lunch sandwiches. That’s pretty much all we have to say about 3 Little Figs - it doesn’t sound like a lot, but that biscuit is enough to get us out of bed in the morning. That’s pretty monumental, especially considering the 11 snoozes it would take otherwise.


Currently open for curbside pickup and delivery

Some days - also known as most days in 2020 - you just need a spot where you can order coffee, breakfast croissants, second breakfast ice cream, and lunch sandwiches from one place. Forge is that place, and while in pre-pandemic times we would spend our workdays hopping between the coffee and the ice cream bars, things obviously look a little different these days. And by different, we mean our takeout bags are filled primarily with pints of ice cream - and that’s perfectly fine by us.


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Ebi Sushi

Sushi in Somerville

    Perfect for
  • Casual Weeknight Dinner
  • Lunch
  • Serious Take-Out Operation

Currently open for takeout and delivery

Always order the specials off the chalkboard next to the sushi counter when you go to Ebi. It’s not that the rest of the menu isn’t any good, it’s just that it’s the pieces of truffle scallop tartare and torched salmon belly with honey-lime marinade and crunchy garlic that elevate this place from casual little neighborhood spot to a place that tempts you to always stop by Union Square on your way home. Whether you actually go out of your way to eat here, or you live nearby and come in as often as possible, you won’t be the only one placing orders here - it can get really busy.


Reliable Market

Currently open for indoor shopping

Reliable Market has been supplying Korean and Japanese groceries to Somerville residents for over 30 years. In the back of the store, there’s a fishmonger preparing sashimi-grade cuts right next to a takeout kitchen that offers things like bibimbap and udon soup. And if all that wasn’t enough, Reliable also has a huge selection of sake and craft beer. It’s the local supermarket we wish every neighborhood had.


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Field and Vine

American in Somerville

    Perfect for
  • Date Night
  • Dinner with the Parents
  • First/Early in the Game Dates
  • Vegetarians

Currently open for outdoor dining, takeout and delivery

If you’ve ever had a Honey, I Shrunk The Kids fantasy, except instead of being lost in a suburban backyard, you wanted to be lost in a farmers market, head to Field and Vine in Union Square. The restaurant itself is covered in vines, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by things like rainbow carrots with arugula and cranberry, or grilled beets with mint and labne. The result is that you kind of feel like a tiny talking crouton wandering through a salad, but you’ll gladly eat your way out. The fish and meat dishes are great too - particularly the braised oxtail. Field and Vine is also intermittently serving some great backbar cocktails on their patio, but even if they’re not, be sure to stop in for a to-go drink.


Tsurumen Ramen

Ramen in Davis Square

    Perfect for
  • Casual Weeknight Dinner
  • Quick Eats
  • Unique Dining Experience

Currently open for indoor dining and takeout

Your experience at Tsurumen will probably differ on your first visit vs. your 68th. That’s because the type of ramen served here changes pretty frequently, but whatever’s on the menu, you can be sure that it’s a well-balanced bowl of greatness. From the spicy paitan to kombu dashi to the curry tsukemen, you won’t be disappointed. After all, this is the best ramen in Boston.


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Istanbul'lu

Turkish in Somerville

    Perfect for
  • Brunch
  • Casual Weeknight Dinner

Currently open for indoor dining, takeout and delivery

The Turkish omelette at Istanbul’lu in Teele Square comes in the skillet it was cooked in. We hypothesize that this is because the kitchen staff has to get the runny, cheesy mix of eggs, vegetables, and sausage out as fast as they can so they don’t eat it themselves. Come to this tiny, casual spot with rugs on the walls for brunch if you want a really good Turkish breakfast, or come for dinner if you want great meze like steamed lentils with scallions or an eggplant-zucchini-yogurt mix that’s so good you’ll probably try to make it yourself later (and fail).


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Dakzen

Thai in Davis Square

    Perfect for
  • Cheap Eats
  • Lunch
  • Quick Eats

Currently open for indoor dining, takeout and delivery

Boston’s gotten a lot better at street food since the days when the only thing you could eat on the corner was a hot dog cooked in something that looks like it receives Superfund money, but judging by the Thai street noodles at this tiny counter-service spot in Davis Square, we have a long way to go. The menu is pretty small here, which in this case is a good thing, because you’re going to want to try every dish. Our favorite is the boat noodles with pork that falls off the bone if you just look at it, but it’s also really hard to beat the sweet and savory khao soi.


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Bronwyn

German in Somerville

    Perfect for
  • Casual Weeknight Dinner

Currently open for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout and delivery

If there’s one thing that Harry and Lloyd taught us, it’s that condiments can really alter the dynamics of dinner. That’s certainly the case at Bronwyn, a German-ish spot in Union Square with some truly fantastic house-made horseradish mustard. We’d happily consume that stuff in spoonfuls straight out of a jar, but since that’s neither socially acceptable or kind to the olfactory system, we’ll keep having it with the great wursts and pretzels served here. Have a couple rounds of Glühwein too - just keep the salt on the table.


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Tu y Yo

Mexican in Somerville

    Perfect for
  • Casual Weeknight Dinner
  • Literally Everyone

Currently open for indoor dining, takeout and delivery

We hypothesize that the number of Massholes on the road would significantly decrease if fines were issued for the incorrect use of a traffic circle. But until that day comes, we like to think of Tu y Yo, located right on the Powder House Square traffic circle, as a place for dinner and a show. While the terrible driving does get old after a while, the tamales, sopes, and chile relleno certainly do not. Plus, there’s a full bar here as well, which is helpful for when you want to stay a while and write up a petition to the RMV.


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Spoke

American in Davis Square

    Perfect for
  • Date Night
  • Dining Solo
  • Drinking Good Wine
  • Eating At The Bar
  • First/Early in the Game Dates
  • Small Plates
  • Vegetarians

Currently hibernating for the winter

Spoke in Davis Square is very much a wine bar, with small plates that are designed to complement your drinking rather than the other way around. But man are the small plates at this tiny spot good. The sunchoke doughnuts (which are onion ring-sized, not doughnut-sized) are the type of snack we’re always in the mood for, and they serve a couple more substantial things like Australian yellowtail with chickpeas and celery root.


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Tasting Counter

American in Somerville

    Perfect for
  • Corporate Cards
  • Special Occasions

Currently open for indoor dining and an at-home virtual dining experience

The great beers, board games, and live music are reason enough to go to Aeronaut Brewery, but if for some reason that’s not enough for you, what if we told you there’s also a nine-course, fine-dining restaurant hidden inside? The Tasting Counter is exactly what it sounds like: a counter that seats about 20 people here to taste some food. The food, in this case, is excellent - seasonal stuff like squab breast, langoustine, and miso ravioli. At around $200 per person, it’s not even close to cheap, but save it for something special and you won’t regret it. Tasting Counter is currently also doing at-home cooking sessions, with all the ingredients required for a three-course meal, for $125 per person.


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Gracie's Ice Cream

Currently open for takeout

All the alcohol cooks out when they make the salty whiskey ice cream at Gracie’s - at least that’s what we tell ourselves during our midday snack sessions. The salty whiskey happens to be our favorite scoop here, but we also enjoy the black raspberry chip and other seasonal flavors like ube and Golden Milk (ginger, turmeric, black pepper, and cinnamon). If you’re looking to change up those snacking blues, you can also get a Fluff cone any day of the year - a nod to the fact that Fluff was invented in Somerville.


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