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Best Restaurants in Boston

Our favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare. You'll never lack for options when you look for places to eat in Boston.

In the Historic North End

Restaurants are plentiful in Boston’s historic North End, which is renowned for authentic Italian cuisine, so you'll never have to wonder where to eat. Serving traditional favorites like caprese, risotto and parmigiana since 1931, Cantina Italiana is likely the oldest eatery in the neighborhood. Born in Italy, brothers Chuck and Fiore Colella currently operate the longtime gem, which garners repeat customers with savory dishes and a warm, casual atmosphere.

Set in a 19th-century North End row house, Mamma Maria features five private dining rooms and a nice selection of creative dishes with a focus on Italian cuisine. Order the carpaccio with shaved truffles or the braised rabbit with pappardelle pasta. The slow-roasted veal shank, served in classic osso buco style with saffron risotto, also is delightful.

A Taste of the Sea

With its modern nautical decor, chalkboard menus, and exposed wood beams and air ducts, Jasper White's Summer Shack looks like an urbanized version of a rustic seafood shanty. Inspired by traditional New England clambakes, the Back Bay location of this local chain attracts a lively crowd thanks to its proximity to Fenway Park and Kings bowling alley. If you're hankering for steamers, lobsters and corn on the cob in an über-casual setting, this is the destination for you.

Get Personal With the Locals

From Jasper White's, it's a short walk (or a short ride on the Green Line) to Kenmore Square, the location of two restaurant/bar establishments where mingling with locals is part of the fun. Sleek, bright and airy, Island Creek Oyster Bar serves up fresh regional oysters (natch) as well as a to-die-for clam chowder enhanced by buttermilk biscuits and house-cured bacon bits. At nearby Eastern Standard Kitchen and Drinks , raucous patrons toast classic cocktails (made with housemade vermouth and exotic bitters) and nibble on rich foodstuffs like roasted bone marrow, foie gras and bacon pâté. Although the space is large and open with high ceilings and a massive bar, with Fenway Park right around the corner, the trendy brasserie gets packed to the brim with faithful Red Sox fans during baseball season. In addition, brunch menus are offered at both Island Creek and Eastern Standard, bringing throngs of carefree—and ravenous—twenty- and thirtysomethings to Kenmore Square on Sundays and making it a go-to for fun things to do with friends.

European Flair

Bistro. Wine bar. Delicatessen. The Butcher Shop , owned by James Beard Foundation Award-winning restaurateur Barbara Lynch, captures the essence of a European market. You must stop in when you travel to the area. At the South End eatery, large picture windows overlook Tremont Street, while refrigerator cases at the back of the restaurant draw eyes to neat displays of sausages, cheeses and pâtés. Menu selections include steak tartare, porchetta, and a charcuterie platter so grand it costs $82 bucks.

Barbara Lynch owns several area restaurants, but Menton is thus far her crowning achievement. Seasonal menus (diners choose between a four-course prix fixe menu and a seven-course chef’s tasting menu) showcase sophisticated fusion fare that effortlessly melds cooking techniques and ingredients from France and Italy. (Appropriately, the restaurant is named after a French seaside town near the Italian border.) Located in the Fort Point neighborhood, Menton is on the same block as two of the South Boston native's other businesses: Sportello , the Italian trattoria-meets-American diner, and Drink , a craft cocktail bar.

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Boston, MA

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.

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Travel Information

City Population

617,594

Elevation

20 ft.

Sales Tax

The state sales tax in Massachusetts is 6.25 percent. Combined city and state taxes on hotel occupancy in Boston is 14.45 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(617) 343-4500

Fire (non-emergency)

(617) 343-3550

Time and Temperature

(617) 637-1234

Hospitals

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, (617) 667-7000; Boston Medical Center, (617) 638-8000; Massachusetts General Hospital, (617) 726-2000; Tufts Medical Center, (617) 636-5000.

Visitor Information

2 Copley Place, Suite 105 Boston, MA 02116. Phone:(617)536-4100 or (888)733-2678

Air Travel

Logan International Airport (BOS) is just 3 miles east of downtown across Boston Inner Harbor.

Rental Cars

Boston is served by most major rental car agencies. Hertz provides discounts to AAA members; phone (617) 568-5200 or (800) 654-3131.

Rail Service

Amtrak offers service to and from New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., out of Boston's South Station at Atlantic Avenue and Summer Street. Connections to all points in the national Amtrak system can be made at the Back Bay Station, 145 Dartmouth St.; phone (800) 872-7245 for reservations and information. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates commuter rail service; phone (617) 222-3200.

Buses

Greyhound Lines Inc., (800) 231-2222, and Peter Pan Bus Lines, (800) 343-9999, operate from South Station.

Cruise Ports

Cruiseport Boston’s Black Falcon Cruise Terminal is at 1 Black Falcon Ave. in South Boston.

Taxis

Cabs in Boston are metered, with the fare $2.60 for the first 1/7 mile or less and 40c for every 1/7 mile thereafter. Phoning for a pickup or going to a hotel taxi stand is easier than hailing a cab on the street. Local companies include the Independent Taxi Operators Association, (617) 268-1313. Limousine service is available throughout the Boston area for about $80 an hour, normally with a 4-hour minimum.

Public Transportation

Transportation by trolley, bus, boat and subway is available in Boston.

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