Boston Mag, Best of Boston 2019 - Discuss

Many of these are discussed on the boards, some I’ve never heard of, and some I scratch my head about. You?

(I’ve done my best here, If I missed something or typos apologies in advance . . . . )

Restaurant General Excellence - Craigie on Main, Cambridge
New Restaurant - Fox and the Knife, South Boston
Outdoor Dining - Legal Harborside, Seaport
Italian - SRV, South End
Steakhouse - Grill 23 & Bar, Back Bay
Power Lunch - Kamakura, Downtown
Barbeque - The Smoke Shop, Cambridge

Fast Casual
-Sandwiches - Flour Bakery, South End and others
-Bowls - Whole Heart Provisions, Allston
-Wraps - GreCo, Back Bay/Seaport
-Snacks - Mei Mei, Fenway

Morning Delights
-Boozy Brunch - Committee, Seaport
-Daily Breakfast - Cafe Luna, Cambridge
-Breakfast Sandwich - Blunch, South End
-Reason to get out of bed - Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant, South Boston

Boozy Late Nights
-Drunk food - Moon shine 152, South Boston
-Sweets - Bova’s Bakery, North End
-Second Dinner - Eastern Standard, Kenmore Square
-Bar Scene - Hojoko, Fenway

Taste Makers
-Sommelier - Lauren Friel @ Rebel Rebel, Sommerville
-Chef, General Excellence - Colin Lynch @ Bar Mezzana, No Relation, Shore Leave
-Pastry Chef - Dee Steffen Chinn @ Fool’s Errand, Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama, Fenway
-Bartender - Naomi Levy @ Better Sorts Social Club, Downtown
-Chef, Coming Up - Ellie Tigiao @ Taman, Sommerville

Sweet Treats
-Doughnuts - Blackbird Doughnuts, Brighton and other locations
-Bagels - Bagelsaurus, Cambridge
-Bread - Iggy’s, Cambridge
-Cannolis - Maria’s Pastry Shop, North End

Booze and Brews
-Brewery - Trillium Brewing
-Dive Bar - The Jeanie Johnston Pub and Grill, Jamaica Plain
-Beer Bar - Lulu’s Allston, Allston
-Cocktail Bar - Longfellow Bar at Alden & Harlow, Cambridge
-Wine Bar - Haley-Henry, Downtown

They go on to list "Destination Dishes’ Pizza (Dragon Pizza), Sushi (O Ya), and then a lot of Neighborhood Bests, and then a lot of “Best” by cuisine - but this is enough to post here :smiley:
I’d add a link but it doesn’t appear their website has the lists up yet, still shows 2018 . . . .



okay okay okay - i’ll add the by cuisine since I don’t know a lot of them . . . . . maybe people can start threads about the ones that they have strong opinions on so that all the feedback doesn’t get lost in this one thread . . . . I really wanted to skip some of these but then felt bad for the people in those categories . . . . .

Pizza - Dragon Pizza, Sommerville (hard to tell if they are saying this is the best)
Sushi - O Ya, Downtown
Chowder - Boston Sail Loft, Downtown
Roast-Beef Sandwich - Beachmont Roast Beef, Revere
Crudo - Whaling in Oklahoma, South End
Seafood Boil - Bootleg Special, South End
Thai - Dakzen, Somerville
Greek - Kava Neo-Taverna, South End
Middle Eastern - Sarma, Somerville
Chinese - Five Spice House, Chinatown and Cambridge
Caribbean - La Fabrica Central, Cambridge
Vietnamese - Anh Hong, Dorchester
Korean - Seoul Seoulongtang, Allston
Southern - Southern Proper, South End
Mexican - Tuy Yo, Somerville
French - Bar Lyon, South End
Indian - Zam Zam, Meford
Japanese - Uni, Back Bay
Spanish - Toro, South End
Vegetarian - cuong’s Vegan, Chinatown
African - Etheopian Cafe, Jamaica Plain
South American - Celeste, Somerville
Jewish Deli - Michael’s Deli, Brookline
Food Truck - Penny’s Packers, its a truck people, it moves around :slight_smile:
Raw Bar - Saltie Girl, Back Bay
Tasting Menu - Tasting Counter, Somerville
Pop-Up - Night shade
Seafood Restaurant - Select Oyster Bar, Back Bay
First Date - The Havens, Jamaica Plain
Bakery - Sofra, Cambridge
Wine Program - Butcher Shop, South End
Beer Program - Publick House, Brookline
Chocolate Shop - EHChocolatier, Cambridge
Cheese Shop - Formaggio Kitchen, Cambridge
Butcher - MF Dulock, Somerville
Fishmonger - New Deal Fish Market, Cambridge
Wine Shop - Urban Grape, South End
Coffee Chop - George Howell Coffee @ the Godffrey Hotel, Downtown
Place to Spot a Celeb - Strega, North End (this is a real category)


Thanks so much for posting this. You’ve gone to a lot of trouble.

I’m in a bit of a rush right now, but let me say that some choices (the butcher, the baker, the fishmonger, the cheesemonger, the bagel-maker,… ) are entirely obvious and entirely excellent. EHChocolatier is new as an actual store and I can confirm that they are indeed very good.

I have mixed feelings about Dakzen as best Thai. Despite what I believe was originally claimed they offer a mix-and-match approach to their food (choose a protein, choose a sauce…) that’s depressing. On my last visit, many items were off the menu, some officially taped over, others just “not available today.”

Zam Zam was a new one for me. Has anybody here eaten there?

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I just had some wedding favors from EHChocolatier and they were delicious! (Also I love their story…)

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always pleased to see these cannolis acknowledged: so much better than mike’s or even modern. they also make an excellent pizza chiena for easter.

a little off of the north end’s main drag, which is good since it’s a such a small space.

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As a whole, I think the list is a little Cambridge/Somerville heavy, especially when they get into the best of by cuisine - but I realize that those two neighborhoods are trendy and right now they have the most “new openings” - or at least that is how it seems from all the media attention (so my source is biased to begin with) but that said.

I’ve always heard good things about Craigie on Main (haven’t been yet), so I can’t complain or comment on that one.

I haven’t heard anything about Fox and the Knife really - so anyone been to that one?

I’ve heard good things about all the Fast Causal places and would recommend Flour, and Whole Heart, except GreCo - which I’m not familiar with. I don’t get to the Fenway very often but have heard good things about Mei Mei

There are discussions about bagels already - and I do love Iggy’s. The Cannolis battle will never be won, but I agree that I like Maria’s being in the mix.

I’ve only been in the Boston area for 4 years - and there are TONS of restaurants - so the whole “best of” list really just reinforces how many more places I need to get to!

Love Bar Lyon - have posted about it
Sofra gets a lot of love

One’s I’m curious to hear other people’s opinions on . . . .

Who’s been to:

Bootleg Special in the South End - I love a seafood boil but never think about it when picking a place

I’ve been to a lot of Chinatown places but not to Five Spice yet. What makes it so special?

I’ve been trying to get to Saltie Girl but every time plans change last minute - so I think I’m not supposed to go

Korean is still relatively “new” for me, Anyone been to Seoul Seoulongtang? Any tips?

And Finally with Thai being the cooking of the quarter right now - Who’s been to Dakzen? Anything truly special about it?

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Could not agree more, stellar contribution to the community, thank you!

Also agree with this. And in general I have fewer quibbles than I normally do with lists like this. A bit surprised (as always) by the love for Bar Mezzana – we really did not have a good experience there – but perhaps it was an off night and I should go back and try again.


Saltie Girl is excellent. As good as any oyster bar type place in the city, but with more expansive offerings. I stick with the raw and tinned items there. Their crudos tend to be excellent. I don’t think great seafood needs a lot of messing with so I leave stuff like the fried lobster and waffles for their instagram account. The space is cozy and service generally very good. They do not take reservations, but Newbury and the Public Garden is an agreeable area to kill time while waiting for your callback. They are one of the places opening in the new Time Out Market, so hopefully there is no drop off there.

Dakzen is good, but not destination worthy IMO. They have good and fresh Thai cuisine with bright flavors and menu options beyond the standards. In my opinion there is a lot of borrowing in Boston food journalism and this is one several outlets picked up on (street food!). I’d be quite happy to have Dakzen in my neighborhood, but won’t seek it out.

I like GreCo quite a bit and have posted about it before. It’s a great fast casual option. I have only been to the original location on Newbury. We’ll see how they do with their expansion.

As far as cannolis are concerned, they’re not something I pine for. However I have found that the key is getting one filled to order, much more than were you get it.

Me neither

There’s a Dakzen thread at Dakzen [Davis Square, Somerville, MA]

I’ve also made some comments about it upthread. @uni: I don’t know when you ate there last, but from my recent experience there they are going downhill, although I was not as huge an admirer of it at any point. Even their khao soi, which got so much praise from the Boston food press, was only so-so to my taste. Plus, it was one of the dishes where protein was added as an afterthought (you got to choose), not cooked with the sauce. I’m in NY right now, awaiting a delivery of khao soi from Uncle Boon’s – if my past 10 or so experiences with it hold up, it will come with a silky chicken leg infused with the flavor of coconut and the sauce will be infused with chicken fat. Now that’s a ten-best dish.

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Oh, and we have a fledgling Five Spice thread too:

Every time I spend time in New York I return newly disappointed with our food options.

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Yes, I had fewer quibbles, too. There was a time when BM spread the praise around – I thought, naively, it was to let everybody feel special one by one, but the hardened cynics on HO corrected me by pointing out that it was all about advertising dollars. That led to ridiculous choices at times – a Whole Foods cheese counter one year, over Formaggio K, for cheese. The last two or three years they seem to be sticking truly to “the best.” That leads to less quibbling from us professional quibblers, but it also makes for less variety.

Somewhat like the recent San Pellegrino “50 best” list, perhaps some places (FK for cheese, perhaps Iggy’s for bread) could be moved to an-all-time-great category, and BM could tell us which places they think are the next best. Cheese, in particular, is popping up everywhere, like mold, and there are very likely other good places around, even if it’s hard to match the depth, breadth, or height of Formaggio’s offerings.

By the way, what of their choice of SRV? It’s a little hard to know if you like the place or not. (I want you to know that every day that passes without my having eaten there I feel guiltier, and think I am letting you down.)


I am so very subtle, I know.

Hard to quibble as it is such a good restaurant but I don’t really think of it as an Italian restaurant. As @bcc has pointed out more than once, it is not like any restaurant I’ve been to in Italy, I feel that is more inspired by Venice than trying to imitate it. So I would have maybe suggested they award SRV Besting Tasting Menu and given Best Italian to a more straight ahead Italian restaurant (and no, I don’t have a candidate I have been to, but maybe Giulia? which I have not been to yet).

If you, or anyone, like a place, then you like it. Basta. Nothing more has to be said.


since it’s Independence Day i independently decided that it’s kinda dumb that i don’t post here anymore and i also really felt like saying that while a fair bit of this list seems fine, the choice of best roast beef sandwich is an awful travesty because the last roast beef sandwich i had at Beachmont was flat out TERRIBLE and not fit for a dog


Great to see you again! You introduced me to Malden, for which I am eternally grateful.


Why is being able to select your protein depressing. With curries that’s very common. Sure Massaman is traditionally with beef, and green with pork, but they can work equally as well with others. Apart from availability, how is the food?

I love Thai, cook it often and visit Cambridge monthly. I am planning on trying Daken next week. Thank you for your help.

EDIT: I had not seen your posts further up.

Welcome back :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


It was the least I could do for someone who likes Moulton’s

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pal, i went to LA twice this year and wow, do i hear you there.

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