Best Meal in and around Boston so far this year?

Wondering what people’s favorite meal/restaurant has been so far this year in Boston, or alternatively, around Boston? It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to be tasty

Here’s my two answers so far:

In Boston:
Kava Neo-Taverna was excellent. The service, the (crowded) setting and decor as well as the food was stellar. I’m still dreaming of their spicy feta dip (feta Psiti), and the fried zucchini chips (Kolokithakia).

Around Boston
Pizzeria Enzina in Waltham impressed me. It didn’t feel like any pizza I’ve had in the US and very European, which brought me back to my days growing up in Paris. Just very well executed, in a more unique style that’s not quite NY-ish, and not quite Neopolitan. The toppings were fresh and of great quality.


It’s quite sad that I had to struggle to come up with a response. We usually hit our local joints (Arlington), which won’t win any prizes.

For best overall meal thus far, it would be Oak to Ember in Gloucester in March, although I do miss Cape Ann Brewing, which was the previous tenant. Some unflattering/hohum photos which belie the deliciousness…our friends thoroughly enjoyed their meals (one of them is a resident of Gloucester). Guess who had the hot dog? :wink:

I think for best dish, B would vote for the huge chicken nachos he had at West Village Tavern in West Concord.

Oops, there I go, procrastinating again. :smiley:


In Boston, I think I have to go with Pho Le in Dorchester. It was a combination of good ordering, super hungry people, and good service that just hit the spot. Honorable mention to Contessa, which I’ve reviewed elsewhere, and which just feels so fun and fancy with the spring onions that it makes my favorite list.

Around Boston, Sugar and Spice Thai in Cambridge was a complete revelation, as I’d written it off as middling years ago and was so wrong.


Our perennial favorite is Sarma in Somerville, which has been written about several times.

Tasty Dumpling in Lowell, consistently good hand made dumplings and noodles.

And a new discovery north of Boston, Garlic Breath pizza. Thin crust well made NYC style pizza.
A pleasant surprise just down the road.


I remember your recent glowing review. We visited several times when we still were cool, and lived in Camberville many years ago (pre-2010). We were underwhelmed, but that’s when we were going to Thailand once or twice a year. Regardless of that though I’m excited that things may have changed in the kitchen — will definitely keep it in our back pockets.


Tough one to answer. On the spur of the moment I’d say Bar Mezzana. We go for the crudo but always find another app or two that are perfect for rounding out a meal.

Others in the running are Saltie Girl, Sycamore, and Yvonne’s.


We had an AMAZING meal at Tonino in JP. My daughter got a tortellini-like pasta that melted in your mouth.

Also had a fantastic recent meal at Sycamore - their strawberry green bean feta salad is back on the menu after a year’s hiatus and trust me, it’s worth the trip.

Finally, I also loved the zucchini chips at Kava neo-taverna.


For me, it’s been a few excellent meals at Puritan & Company in Cambridge. Oysters, crudos, salads and pastas have been consistently excellent. Great service and nice wines as well.


Interesting to see Pho Le on this list. I went to Pho Hoa a month or so ago for the first time, which is like 50 yards from Pho Le. Pho Hoa was decent but not that great - is Pho Le better? I may need to go.

I’m partial to Pho So 1 in Randolph which has been my go-to for the last decade or so. I’ve been there easily 100 times, by myself, with friends, family etc… I love good Vietnamese food. I’ve even made it a habit to bring my own Sriracha as of late because of the shortage.

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Tonino is on my short list of places to hit up soon but getting a reservation is brutal

@JeremyK - we got one by putting our names on the waitlist - and it looks they take walk-ins but I would double-check that!

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Pho Le IMO is better than Pho Hoa - the food, the service… it’s long been our go to Vietnamese. I’ve worked my way through the menu while one of us sticks with com dia or bun plates. The decor is more inviting at Pho Hoa.

Favorite can’t go wrong special place- I agree with grumpyspatient - is Sarma. Intrigued by what how what’s in season reflected on the menu choices, so always something new to excite one’s palate.

Overall most wow dinner was at Nightshade Noodle Bar in Lynn , opted for the 7 or 8 course tasting menu and was blown away. The price was worthy of the experience. Servers knew what they brought to the table, each person was genuinely happy to be working there.


Noted on the Vietnamese places - will have to give Pho Le a try although I don’t enjoy betraying Pho So 1 :smiley:

Can’t argue with Sarma. It’s stellar. Where the hell is their James Beard Award?


We really enjoyed Night Shade Noodle bar a few years back, before it went to the tasting menu only.
We haven’t been back since. So many places to eat …not enough time.


My two cents on the Pho Le vs Pho Hoa debate is that it depends on what you get. I generally like Pho Le’s pho and soup noodles better than Pho Hoa. But I like Pho Hoa’s rice plates and bun (the rice noodle bowls) better. I also think Pho Hoa does a really nice version of the roasted quail appetizer.


We drove up to Lynn from Somerville twice just to get Nightshade Noodle take out when they were serving lunch during the pandemic. Fantastic food. We hope to get to the take out lunch Clam Shack one weekend soon. The tasting menu is more than we ever spend on a meal out, so I’m sad that the homemade egg noodles with caramelized garlic sauce, chili crisp, thai basil, peanuts
+shredded beef isn’t served at the clam shack. That was one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten anywhere!


I’ve been procrastinating but now I’m more motivated to get to Nightshade

Same, same.

Yes, we’d had a few meals at Pho Hoa based on recommendations from this list and having had our first ever 7 course beef tasting menu at Anh Hong, which merged into Pho Hoa. While meals there were good, we felt our meal at Pho Le was superior. I wouldn’t claim to be an expert or to have done comprehensive eating in Little Saigon, but Pho Le is definitely the one we’ll return to.


The strawberry snap pea (sorry not green bean) and feta salad is amazing. I always order it when local strawberry season is here. It will probably leave the menu shortly. The corn soup that is currently on the menu is also fabulous. Many of my favorite meals have been at Sycamore over the years, but I ate for the first time this year at both Pammy’s and Mooncusser, nd both were outstanding.