Boston’s restaurant scene gets a bad rap: blame the small-town vibe or the Puritanical history. In fact, however, the city is crawling with top-notch restaurants. Here, a few of the best for the luxury-oriented.
Menton: Boston’s answer to Eleven Madison Park, local star Barbara Lynch’s latest restaurant hits all the checkpoints: beautiful space in an up-and-coming neighborhood (the once dodgy, now elegant Fort Point), exquisite service, and refined, ultra-fresh food. The menu is available as a four-course prix fixe ($95) or a seven-course tasting menu ($145) – go for the latter and delight in dishes like wild bluefin tuna with gazpacho, cucumber and basil – summer in a bowl.
O Ya: Like your sushi inventive and fresh and your atmosphere reverential? Head to this spot near South Station where fish is treated with the worship you’d expect from a town who hangs a sacred cod in government headquarters. Don’t miss the hamachi, nicely cut with a banana pepper mousse. Though this is a sushi spot, the meat dishes are also top-notch: think foie gras with a balsamic chocolate kabayaki sauce and raisin cocoa pulp, or venison tataki with porcini crema and ponzu oil.
Craigie on Main: Chef Tony Maws is at the top of his game right now – he recently won Best Chef Northeast at the James Beard Awards. Everything here is excellent, from the ultra-rich umami-heavy bar burger to the eight-course tasting menu. Craigie also boasts one of the city’s best bars. Take full advantage with the cocktail whim, a sort of drink tasting menu: four mini-cocktails, served in a progression from lightest to heaviest.
Coppa: Celebrity chef Ken Oringer opened this South End Italian spot with protege Jamie Bissonnette in late 2009 and it’s been crowded ever since, with South End upscale brownstoners mingling with Allston hipsters. Try the sea urchin-enriched spaghetti carbonara, but be warned: you absolutely cannot miss the Sicilian Fisherman’s Pizza, a perfect pie topped with cherry peppers, tomato, parmesan, and, oh yeah, fried calamari.
Drink: Wash down all this delicious food with a cocktail from Boston’s best bar. Drink’s (effective) gimmick: there’s no cocktail list. The obscenely well-versed bartenders ask you about your spirit preferences and come up with a drink you’re almost certain to love. There’s also a small but excellent food menu with standouts like steak tartare with truffle and parmesan aioli, and grilled cheese with caramelized onion mustard. Come early – the bar is spacious, but it fills up early.