If you tried to keep track of every brand new restaurant in Boston, you might go a little bit crazy. So just read this list instead. These are the new restaurant openings that seem like they have the most potential - although keep in mind, for the ones we haven’t tried, we make no promises. Go forth and be a pioneer.
After a pandemic-induced delay, the team from O Ya has now opened Bianca in Chestnut Hill. Expect pizza and pasta, but also sushi rolls and crispy nori tacos. We personally think a slice of pizza rolled up in seaweed would be pretty good too, but they’re no longer accepting new ideas for their menu.
The Lexington is the second of three new restaurants in East Cambridge from the team behind Puritan & Co. This opening comes right on the heels of Cafe Beatrice, which just welcomed diners in October. The Lexington is open for dinner on Tues-Sun from 4-8pm, serving things like baked stuffed clams, miso-grilled shrimp, and glazed Swedish meatballs.
B&B Fish in Marblehead promotes itself as a seafood restaurant, and sure, there are the expected fried platters, lobster rolls, and clam chowder. But there are also honey glazed biscuits, Nashville hot fried chicken, and fried Oreos on the menu. The Topsfield Fair may have been cancelled this year, but it seems that we have a worthy year-round substitute now.
In an attempt to compete against mega-corporations, Blackbird has opened up a new shop right outside Whole Foods in the West End. After all, smoked salt double chocolate donuts are probably the best (and most civil) way to stick it to Amazon.
Mexcito Street Tacos
Kendall Square has a wealth of dining options to choose from, and now there have been some tacos thrown into the mix as well. Mexcito has a number of tacos, like barbacoa and carnitas, to choose from, as well as some rice bowls and nachos. They’ve also got a small outdoor patio to dine on if you need some fresh air.
It’s 2020, so the newest speakeasy concept is serving cocktails in a space where people in suits used to drink cocktails... in 2019. Offsuit is located in Troquet On South’s corporate dining space, and they’re even going as far as making their own ice (you can make perfect ice at home too). Next up: a speakeasy that requires unkempt hair for entry.
The Smoke Shop BBQ
In some ways, we feel bad for all the Harvard alumni. Generations of bright minds worked so hard for a world-changing degree, and they didn’t even have The Smoke Shop’s cornbread to fuel their midnight paper writing. Count yourselves lucky, young Crimsons, for this new Harvard Square blessing.
Taco Bell Cantina
We have no idea if the Taco Bell hot sauce works well as a shooter for the Cantina’s boozy slushies, but we’re willing to give it a try. It’s safe to say we’re open to all forms of entertainment right now.
Zhu Vegan Kitchen
Zhu Vegan, which already has another branch in Arlington, has now opened a location in Brookline. The menu is exactly the same, with things like black pepper seitan, Malaysian curry stew, and kung pao eggplant. Lunch specials are available during the week as well.
It’s crazy to think that version 1.0 of Spyce, the robot-staffed restaurant, received $21 million dollars in funding, especially since Sifo-Dyas probably spent a lot less on his clone army. Now Spyce is back with an updated interior that’s significantly more modern, though they’re still serving vegetable-heavy bowls.
The executive chef behind Lower Mills Tavern and Yellow Door Taqueria must love a new challenge, because she’s also now running Stalk, a “ghost restaurant” that also happens to be fully vegan. Currently the menu includes things like fennel citrus salad and squash risotto, but we expect to see seasonally appropriate changes as well. All orders can be picked up at Lower Mills Tavern.
These days, the financial district is a lot quieter than usual, but Servia is looking to change that with a menu filled with a wide range of Eastern Mediterranean dishes. It’s also open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so it’ll be a welcome sight for those looking for a break from chain salads.
Orale Paco's Mexican Grill
There’s a new Mexican spot in Inman Square (it’s right next door to Atwood’s), and early reviewers are raving about pretty much everything on their menu. We’ll have to see for ourselves - not because we don’t trust strangers giving us their opinions, but rather because we just need some burritos and tortas right now.
Hen Chicken Rice
Chicken rice is a dietary staple in Southeast Asia, and now it can play the same role for you in Boston. Hen in Union Square is serving multiple varieties of chicken rice, which are illustrated on their menu with pixel art. Since we’re all stuck inside playing Minecraft anyway, that makes a lot of sense.
Villa Bakery Cafe
Brighton now has a new Brazillian cafe with smoothies, sandwiches, and açaí bowls. Sure, we enjoy açaí bowls from time to time, but we enjoy chocolate cakes with coconut cream filling and chocolate sprinkles more, and Villa Bakery sells those too.
The Back Bay has a new bubble tea spot, which by our count makes four places to grab boba while window shopping (do people still window shop?). Cha Feo specializes in cheezo tea, and they also have a small selection of desserts and pastries available.
Caffé Ducali is a new North End espresso bar run by the same team as Ducali - in fact, it’s located right at the entrance to the Roman-style pizzeria. There will be breakfast sandwiches, pastries, salads, and even Ducali wood-fired pies available to-go, along with your Monday morning Red Eye order.
Moon And Flower House
Moon & Flower House already has two locations in NYC and one in Allston, and now they’ve opened up another store in Chinatown. The menu has a lot of fried things on it - popcorn chicken, fish sandwiches, and squid rings are just a few examples.
Cajun Crab Shack
If we had a dollar for every Cajun-style seafood shack that has opened in the last year, well, we’d have enough for a whole lobster boil with garlic butter. Actually, no we wouldn’t - guess we’ll have to ask for a budget increase again before visiting this Roslindale spot.
Artifact Cider Project
Could there be a more perfect season to open a cider taproom? Artifact, a western Mass cidery, now has a second location in Central Square. There are a number of cider styles on tap, and some toasts and other small plates available. No word yet on whether fake leaves and apple cider donuts will make an appearance.
Flour Bakery + Cafe
Flour has opened another location in Beacon Hill, which means yet another life opportunity to grab a sticky bun with toasted pecans. We’re not mad about it.
OneZo / ZZDessert
This dessert and bubble tea spot, which makes all of their own boba in house, has opened not one but two new locations in Chinatown and Allston. They’ve also got one in Quincy - pretty soon, they’ll start competing with Flour.
Number One Taste
Rounding out the expansion list is Number One Taste, a Chinese restaurant with three other locations in Belmont, East Arlington, and Melrose. Their new branch is in Watertown Square.
Café Beatrice is the first of three “restaurant concepts” set to open at the new Lexington space in East Cambridge. It’s an all-day cafe run by the same team as Puritan & Co., so you already know to expect some interesting flavor combinations. Their opening menu, for instance, has a roasted pumpkin grilled cheese and miso broccoli melt.
TKK Fried Chicken
The ever-revolving door at the Super 88 food court has welcome another vendor - this time, it’s a Taiwanese fried chicken spot with wings, tenders, and fried chicken sandwiches. We wish opening our front doors would give us something half as good.
Third Cliff Bakery
Third Cliff Bakery has featured in farmers’ markets since 2015, and now they’ve opened their first standalone store in JP. There’s no word yet on exact offerings, though their Instagram has a number of promising focaccia, granola, and cookie pictures. And their online store has a baby onesie - if you’re currently on a pandemic shopping spree, it’ll probably fit on the pothos pot.
The Dial at 907 Main
The Dial and the hotel that houses it - 907 Main - both opened during a global pandemic, which is not something we get to say very often. “Kitfo, paella, and bucatini for the table” is similarly rare, but we’re hoping to speak those words soon on The Dial’s heated patio.
FAB Gastropub took over the former Bergamont space in Somerville and is now running a brewery, restaurant, and art gallery all at once. We’ve never had roasted pork shoulder while assessing a contemporary sculpture of bacon before, but we’re willing to give it a go.
Greystone is a new cafe in the South End that serves a whole range of homemade pastries, like apple cake and spinach and feta galette. For now, the cafe is running only as a takeout window, but will eventually become a sit-down lunch and dinner spot as well.
Cusser's Roast Beef & Seafood
The Back Bay’s roast beef and lobster roll takeout window now has an additional spot inside of Time Out Market in Fenway.
The family behind Esquite in Revere sold steamed corn around Boston prior to opening a restaurant. That same corn still features heavily on the menu, but there are also other things like cochinita tortas, enchiladas de mole, and bolitas de queso. Looks like we have some “work” to do.
Istanbul Diner Cafe
There are plenty of grilled meats and pide at Istanbul Diner Cafe, a new Turkish spot in Revere. Once the COVID pandemic has passed, a buffet-style breakfast and brunch will be available as well - now we have one more thing to look forward to on that glorious day.
We’re automatically fans of any place that sells arepas, and since Peka goes as far as putting the word “arepas” on its logo, we’re audibly cheering within the confines of our house. With arepas by our side, of course.
Gracie’s in Union Square is already well-known for their salted whisky ice cream, so it comes as no surprise that their new Kendall Square spot serves boozy milkshakes. Still, alcohol and frozen cream always excite us, especially with a pimento cheese dog on the side.
Zaaki, formerly a popular Egyptian food truck known for its koshari, is now a brick and mortar restaurant in Allston. The koshari is still on the menu (there are five types available), as well as a few salads and basboosa for dessert.
Thistle & Leek
If “thistle and leek” sounds like something straight out of Alice in Wonderland, that’s probably intentional. This new spot in Newton is modeled after British gastropubs, albeit the more modern kind that serves a bunch of small plates. We don’t want to stereotype, but the March Hare would probably enjoy the griddled carrots with dates.
BYOB is a true rarity in Boston, let alone at a spot that serves up multi-course Italian-inspired meals. Cobble also sells mixers, if you decide to bring some liquor along. If you’re worried that the BYOB is the main appeal, you should also know that the chef here worked for over 10 years at La Morra, one of our favorite restaurants in town. Needless to say, our expectations are high.
Lord Hobo Brewing Seaport
The self-proclaimed beer monarch is significantly expanding the kingdom’s territory. Lord Hobo has opened a massive brewery and restaurant space in Seaport, though seating will be limited to outdoor-only for now.
Mr. Roni Cups
Perillas was one of the first pop-ups at Union Square’s Bow Market, and now they’re back on a more permanent basis. This bibimbap spot is open for both lunch and dinner, and they’re also selling meal kits to-go.
Pearl & Lime
There’s a lot of change happening in Quincy, and Pearl & Lime - a Latin-inspired spot - is part of that change. They’ve got nachos, tacos, and empanadas on the menu, as well as a daily selection from the raw bar. Naturally, there are margaritas involved as well, which just goes to show that not all change is bad.
Phinista Cafe, a Vietnamese cafe, has taken over the Neighborhoods Coffee & Crepes location in Fenway. Look for some Vietmanese coffee with condensed milk, as well as a variety of sweet and savory crepes.
Stella in the South End, an Italian staple for 15 years, shut down as a result of the pandemic. But now they’ve started a food truck business, with a full coffee bar and restaurant favorites like the bolognese on sale from 7am-8pm daily. Yes, that means you can have bolognese for breakfast. For now, it’s cash only.
Daily Catch Waterfront
The people can’t get enough squid ink aglio olio and lobster fra diavolo, it seems. The ever-popular Daily Catch now has a new downtown waterfront location, so now you can enjoy your seafood and look out over your seafood’s previous habitat at the same time.
Chilacates, the Mexican restaurant with multiple outposts across the Boston area, has now expanded to Roslindale. There are already two JP locations, but you can’t really complain about having more places to buy tortas and enchiladas.
Kantipur Cafe is located right between Inman and Central Square, serving a variety of Nepali and North Indian food. For some reason, their website features a Jamie Oliver restaurant and some tacos - perhaps “The Naked Chef” is running a taqueria pop-up here at some point.
Ivory Pearl Bar
The Baldwin Bar team must be selling a lot of drinks these days. After opening Blossom Bar last year, they’ve now launched Ivory Pearl - a seafood-focused spot complete with a full raw bar. There’s also a brand new cocktail menu that seeks to break the perception that cocktails don’t pair well with seafood. Sure, we’ll enjoy some cocktails while we dismantle our preconceived notions.
Elm Street Sweets
There’s a new bakery in town, sort-of. The team behind Rosebud Kitchen has launched an online-only bakery with pies, cookies, and cakes. A number of these are from Rosebud’s well-known dessert menu, but this expansion is with a national delivery plan in mind.
We’re not really sure how many burger chains Boston can sustain, but it seems we’ll find out soon enough. Colorado-based Smashburger is now open in Back Bay, right across the street from H&M and Boston Sports Clubs. So you can grab a burger, go shopping for clothes, and then hit the gym - all within the same block. It’s truly an American dream.
When a chemical engineer opens a restaurant, you know it’s going to be unique. That was certainly the case at Cafe Artscience, the modernist cocktail bar and French restaurant at Kendall Square that closed in December. Now that engineer has opened a Mediterranean-inspired spot in the same space, with things like redfish a la plancha and calamari au gratin on the menu. For now the food is only available for takeout, but dine in will be open soon.
Bánh Mì Oi
The team behind Phinista Cafe has also opened a Vietnamese restaurant in West Roxbury. Naturally, there will be bánh mì available, but phở, vermicelli bowls, and bubble tea are all on the menu as well. Phinista Cafe’s Vietnamese-style coffee is also on offer.
Revival Cafe + Kitchen
We’re fans of the breakfast sandwiches at this Cambridge spot, which has locations both in Davis Square and Alewife. Now they’ve opened a new branch on Newbury, making the street even more of a coffee destination (Blue Bottle, Pavement, and Thinking Cup are all there too).
The original Alumni Cafe opened in Quincy the 60’s, and apparently they served up some pretty legendary bar pizza. Some have said Alumni Cafe is as iconic as New York City’s Carnegie Deli. We’re not sure what to make of that statement, but since Alumni is now returning to its hometown, we’re certainly open to having more pizza.
Speaking of more pizza, Liberty Tavern is also opening in Quincy, featuring wood-fired pies and entrees like seared scallops and pork chops. They’ll also be serving brunch items like poutine and s’mores french toast on the weekends.
The Lexington at Picnic Grove
The team behind Puritan & Co. was supposed to open three new places in East Cambridge in June, but the pandemic altered that timeline. For now, they’re running an outdoor picnic pop-up of sorts with wagyu hot dogs, lobster rolls, and pretzel Rice Krispie treats.
City Works - Watertown
Just in case you needed a spot with 15 flat screen TVs and 90 beers on tap, City Works in Watertown has you covered. They’ve also got a large outdoor patio, perfect for sipping all those brews while you get your annual dose of Vitamin D.
Season To Taste
The highly acclaimed fine-dining spot The Table at Season to Taste closed in June, and the same team behind that Cambridge spot is opening a more casual gastropub in the space. They’ll have outdoor dining to start, with plans for indoor dining at a later date.
Jamaica Mi Hungry
The Jamaican food truck specialists now have their first brick-and-mortar location in JP. Curry goat, oxtails, and the Arboretum are now the top three reasons to move to that neighborhood.
Seis Pies, which translates to six feet, is a burrito pop-up that was born out of the pandemic. Now their San Francisco “mission-style” burritos are available at Hot Box in Bow Market - the menu can be found here.
Faces Brewing Company
Faces Brewing is the newest brewery in town, and it’s now open for both indoor and outdoor dining. There are sandwiches and pizza to go, along with 11 different beers on tap at this Malden spot. Naturally, half of them are IPAs.
Nu Do Society
We weren’t sure either at first, but we can now confirm the Nu Do Society is distinctly different from the folks at Sandy Terraces. The team was scheduled to open a new brick-and-mortar location in Cambridge, but encountered some COVID-related renovation issues. However, they’re still serving noodles weekly - more information on their website.
Tasty has added a fifth location to their ever-expanding patty empire - this time, it’s a new place in Downtown Crossing.
Kabobs, falafel, and spanakopita are all available at this new Mediterranean-inspired spot in North Cambridge.
We suppose life would be a little easier sometimes with well-behaved, pan-seared pork dumplings instead of a screaming two-year-old. This Chinese spot recently opened a new branch in Brookline to go along with locations in Cambridge and Weston.
If you’ve never had the chance to indulge in Hainanese chicken rice, here’s your chance. Chic Chick in Allston is serving the classic poached chicken on rice and soba noodles. If you’re anything like us, you won’t be able to get enough of that ginger-jasmine rice.
My Happy Hunan Kitchen
Admittedly, we’d be pretty happy too if we were served red-braised pork, spicy shrimp, and lamb stew every day. With this new Hunan spot in Brighton, it seems that a quick pick-me-up is pretty achievable.
Weltkuche in East Cambridge claims to be an “international restaurant,” though it appears most of the items on the menu are more Northern Indian in nature. It adds another dining option for those living in the ever-changing Cambridge Crossing area.
Tambo 22 is a new Peruvian spot run by the same team behind one of our favorite North End restaurants, Taranta. If there’s one thing that could help lift our spirits a little this year, it’s more places to drink pisco sours and eat ceviche.
Sombrero Chiquito in Fenway opened right before the quarantine restrictions hit, but this Mexican spot is still making things like burritos, nachos, and street corn for takeout and delivery.
Mexicali Sushi Bar
Mexicali in East Boston serves Mexican-inspired sushi rolls, which is pretty unique for the Boston area. The aguachile roll, in particular, sounds interesting.
Yellow Door Taqueria
Dorchester staple Yellow Door Taqueria has opened a second location in the South End. There are 12 taco varieties, like scallop frito and sunchoke, to choose from, all of which come on homemade corn tortillas. The restaurant also has a text-a-taco service, which you use to gift tacos to your friends. Turns out technology can actually be used for good.
Wine bars are opening all over the city, and Krasi has joined the party. This Greek restaurant in Back Bay features lesser-known wines from the region and a large selection of mezze plates like celery root carpaccio and smoked monkfish. There’s also a “Feast of the Gods” for $349, if you’re feeling particularly divine.
Libertine is a new North End restaurant that, shockingly, isn’t Italian. It calls itself a “gastropub,” serving a wide range of things from street corn to chicken pot pie to BBQ ribs. There’s also a number of mac and cheese options, probably because any place that doesn’t serve pasta in the North End will inevitably be shut down by the tourism board.
Southie now has its own Brazilian steakhouse right next to Lawn on D. So this summer you could foreseeably eat an ungodly amount of meat and then play bubble soccer - Boston’s version of the Krispy Kreme Challenge.
The team behind Beehive has a new street food-inspired Mexican spot inside the Revolution Hotel in the South End. The menu has a variety of tacos and rice bowls, as well as a selection of larger entrees like cochinita pibil (pork that’s spent hours detoxing within a banana leaf).
Bubor Cha Cha
This Chinatown restaurant, which previously served Cantonese and South East Asian dishes, has now reopened with a focus on Hunan cuisine. Expect some spicy things like steamed fish with red peppers.
A small Mexican restaurant and bar has opened right next to Celeste in Somerville. There are mezcal and tuxca cocktails, as well as five to six small plates (like aguachile) daily. Weekend brunch is also available.
The Theater District is now home to a New Orleans-themed restaurant, complete with fleur de lis, sazeracs, po-boys, and gumbo. No word yet on whether Drew Brees will make an appearance.
Lucie Drink & Dine
There’s a new kind-of-American restaurant inside The Colonnade Hotel in Back Bay, and its goal is to become a “great neighborhood restaurant.” We’re not entirely sure what algorithm they’ll use to get there, but having Maine lobster pie and make-your-own-sundaes on the menu is a good start.
The speciality Japanese tea store Gen Sou En in Brookline recently closed, but the space has now been converted into a grocery store. There’s a deli housing Brooklyn Ramen in the back, which serves ramen and okonomiyaki.
A casual West African restaurant is now open in Roslindale, serving staples like meat patties, puff puffs, and Jollof rice.
The team behind Select Oyster Bar now has a Tour de France-inspired bistro just around the corner in Back Bay. The menu has some unique takes on French classics, like escargot pie and rabbit with parsley salad. The most expensive thing on the menu is the caviar omelette at $60 - even if we were gifted one every morning, we still wouldn’t ride a bike for 3,570 miles.
Dorchester has a new soul food and Asian fusion restaurant, serving unique dishes like jambalaya egg rolls and a smoked brisket bánh mì. It’s more interesting than almost everything at Legal, where the chef used to work.
La Mei Hotpot
The Coolidge Corner section of Brookline now has another hot pot restaurant in the neighborhood. There’s a “crazy spicy” broth option here - while Denny’s has a similar option, we guarantee it will taste better at LaMei.
Osaka udon-chain Tsurutontan now has its first Boston location inside of the Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square. Udon’s not the only thing on the menu, though - there’s also sushi, donburi bowls, cocktails, and sake.
Southie now has a Middle Eastern vegan restaurant. You’ll have salads, sandwiches, smoothies, and a mezze bar to choose from, as well as some bakery items. A Turkish coffee cardamom-cherry muffin seems like a delicious option to us.
Dorchester Brewing Company, one of our favorite Boston breweries, is now home to a BBQ restaurant. So the next time you’re “working from home,” you’ll be able to pair some pulled pork with an IPA during an important “lunch meeting.”
Poke By Love Art
The Love Art team already has a sushi and udon restaurant, so now they’re adding a poke spot to the mix. Everything is gluten-free at this Downtown establishment, apart from the spaghetti self-portrait on the wall by local artist Nord Fine.
Instead of another dispensary (which was originally supposed to be in this space), Brookline just got a new Italian restaurant from a Rhode Island restaurant group. The menu is made up of a variety of small plates and pastas, as well as a specific type of Rhode Island pizza made famous in the 1980s. Tracksuits and ruffled shirts are making a comeback, so we suppose there’s no reason to discriminate against pizza.