5 Best Restaurants in Boston in 2018

If you’ve been to Boston, read about Boston, seen a Red Sox game, heard of the New England Patriots, or you are simply a human then you probably know that Boston knows how to do food. The problem we at Worldly Winos encounter is that we do food so well it’s damn near impossible to pick the 5 best restaurants in Boston in 2018.

So, consider yourself lucky you just found this list of our favorite restaurants in Boston – cuz we’ve done all the hard work for you. We have gone from neighborhood to neighborhood forcing ourselves to eat at the best rated restaurants (life is so hard) so that we can provide you with 5 places to choose from when you’re Boston.

1. Neptune Oyster

This is the one. Hands down our favorite restaurant and what we think is the best restaurant in Boston. If you see the name and think “Oyster? I don’t even like Oysters” fear not – this restaurant has more in store than raw shellfish.

Neptune is a tiny (and we mean tiny) spot in the heart of Boston’s North End neighborhood. We won’t sugar coat it, Neptune is always crowded and we’ve never waited for less than an hour for a seat. You can’t make reservations so you’ve got to show up and put your name on the list. They will take down your cell number and give you a shout once your table is ready which is great because it gives you the chance to bop around the North End.

5 Words. Hot Butter Maine Lobster Roll

Neptune Oyster Hot Butter Maine Lobster Roll 5 Best Restaurants in Boston in 2018

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If you order one thing it should be the Hot Butter Maine Lobster Roll with a side of fries. This roll has huge chunks of fresh lobster and the hot butter on a sturdy roll makes the whole thing just melt in your mouth. Combine that with their awesome always-crunchy french fries and you have yourself the best dish in Boston.

Neptune Oyster in Boston's North End
Neptune Oyster in Boston’s North End

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Not far behind the Hot Butter Maine Lobster Roll is the New England Clam Chowder and (obviously) the Oysters. The chowder is made fresh to order and has nice big clams with a not-too-creamy base. The raw bar is always fresh and market price so you never know exactly what you’re getting until you get there – but its impossible to go wrong.

In summary, if you’re in Boston you have to go to Neptune Oyster and get the lobster roll. If we’re being honest, we haven’t gotten too adventurous with the menu yet because the lobster roll is just that good. We get it every. single. time. and have never been disappointed. It’s this lobster roll that makes Neptune number 1 of our 5 best restaurants in Boston in 2018.

Pro Tip: If you’re really hungry and there’s a 2 hour wait at Neptune Oyster then hop across the street and check out Vito’s Tavern. We like to grab the Sriracha and Honey Wings or Veggie Nachos with a Guinness, subsiding any hanger that may creep in when considering the daunting wait for Neptune’s. 

2. Saltie Girl

Saltie Girl is anything but conventional seafood and that’s why it’s second on our Best Restaurants in Boston List. It’s located in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston near all of the great Newbury Street boutiques. They’re not on Opentable and everyone in your party must be present in order to be seated. Wait times can be long so we recommend trying to go in the off hours in order to sit down quickly.

Pineapple Cocktail Saltie Girl Boston Back Bay
Pineapple Cocktail

There are ton of great options to choose from and the portions of most meals are medium in size – meaning you get to try many different dishes. They also have some notable cocktails like the Pineapple which comes in a giant pineapple shaped copper glass (perfect for sharing). The go-to dish, in our opinion, is the incredibly crafty fried lobster and waffle (what?!). It puts it’s land based chicken’n’waffle counterpart to shame.

Like most places we go we ordered family style so we could share everything and taste more. For starters we highly recommend the torched salmon belly and snow crab avocado toast. The salmon belly was basically nigiri sushi with a light char and a soy glaze – this combination was unlike anything we’ve had before. The crab and avocado toast has a little stracciatella cheese (think: burrata) on it that really pulls the whole dish together.

Fried Lobster and Waffle at Saltie Girl
Fried Lobster and Waffle

In summary, Saltie Girl is a (sort of) hidden gem in Back Bay with a unique twist on already trendy dishes. Everything we touched was delicious which is why this place is second on our list of the 5 best restaurants in Boston in 2018.

3. Island Creek Oyster Bar

We know what you’re thinking – “Another Oyster Bar?” and, well, yes another Oyster Bar. Boston is known for seafood so it makes sense to have more than 1 oyster place on our Best Restaurants in Boston list.

Island Creek Oyster is in close proximity (5 min walk) to Fenway Park. If you’re visiting Boston and plan to see Fenway Park then you stop in at Island Creek. They take reservations so you can easily get on Opentable and fit this place into your schedule.

Island Creek Oyster Bar Boston Fenway 5 Best Restaurants in Boston in 2018

It goes without saying that the oyster selection here is amazing but we’ll say it anyway. The oyster selection here is amazing. If you’ve got a larger group or just really love shellfish then the shellfish platter is a real treat (beware, it’s $100). We love the fish and chips here and would venture to say that it’s the best fish and chips plate in the city. The portion size of the fish and chips is enough to feed two, especially if you’re like us and enjoy splitting meals.

In summary this place is a clean, elegant, no frills seafood restaurant that really kicks ass. It’s consistently delicious and they always have the freshest island creek oysters you can find outside of Duxbury, MA, earning it third place on our list of the 5 best restaurants in Boston in 2018.

4. Lolita Cocina and Tequila Bar

Q: Which of the 5 best restaurants in Boston in 2018 can you go to that gives a free tequila slushy as an appetizer and free cotton candy with pop rocks as dessert?

A: Lolita Cocina and Tequila Bar. Not Kidding.

They do tacos and tequila like no one else in Boston and provide a truly unique twist on Mexican cuisine. Whenever we go we do things family style because they’ve got such a great selection of items on their menu.

Lolita is in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston and has a decent amount of space. You should jump on Opentable a few days in advance if you want to get a table on a weekend.

Upon being seated you are presented with a smoking tequila slushy on a platter. Granted its pretty small but it really puts you in a good mood at the start of dinner. If the slushy isn’t enough – and it never is for us-  we highly recommend trying one of the Margaritas or Mojitos.

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When it comes to menu items you have to order some chips and guac. They offer 3 styles of guacamole and we recommend their Especial Guacamole which comes with lobster and jumbo crab. If you can’t make up your mind they’ve got the Los Tres option which gives you a sample of each.

Since we follow no real order when eating here we recommend you order the Iron Pan Cornbread, Tuna Tartare, and Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos and split it up. Once you’ve finished eating you’re going to leave this place with a smile on your face as you enjoy the combination of cotton candy and pop rocks for dessert. Knowing you’ll leave with a smile earns Lolita the number 4 spot in our best restaurants in Boston list.

5. Figs by Todd English

Figs is an unassuming Italian place with a couple of locations in Beacon Hill and Charlestown. The Beacon Hill location is near the Boston Common and the State House. The Charlestown location (our personal favorite) is walkable from the Bunker Hill Monument.

One of the first things you notice when walking into Figs is their brick oven and square pizzas. They live by the quote “Never trust a round pizza”. The crust is super thin and crispy and the toppings are as fresh as we’ve seen.

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Not only are the pizzas great but they have some of the best mussels we’ve ever eaten (except that one time in Seattle). They use a tomato based broth and the mussels are moist and fluffy. The meatball and chicken parm sliders are another great choice for a shareable appetizer. If pasta is what you are looking for – look no further than the bolognese. Its hard to begin to describe how delicious it really is, so trust us – you’ll love it. The crispy pizza and amazing bolognese earns figs the last spot our list of the 5 best restaurants in Boston in 2018.

Thats it. That’s our list of the 5 best restaurants in Boston in 2018. We haven’t been able to eat at every spot and new restaurants are always popping up, so if you’ve got some suggestions for us to try please tell us below!

Full disclosure – some of these places might be considered touristy by locals but we have no shame. If we think it’s delicious then it’s on this list. You should know we are reviewing based on our experience dining in at each restaurant.

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