If Boston is your home, you already know the best farmer’s markets to artfully fill a bag with leafy greens before biking or walking home. However, if you’re visiting Boston, Massachusetts for the first time, it can be overwhelming to pick a restaurant amid diverse neighborhoods offering unusual venues and niche experiences.
If you open Yelp, chances are it will lead you to fast-turnover spots replete with buzzing tourists hungry for a distinctly Bostonian experience. Or for those interested in getting a quick bite to eat, tourists might head to humble storefronts like Mama’s Place, which offers cheap and delicious food options.
But what about when you want to have an experience that is centered around delectable cuisine instead of a clamoring hot spot? Look no further then downtown Boston where successful chefs flock to put their test kitchens and passion projects. You’ll find these delights nestled in quiet nooks of various charming city squares, extending all the way to award-winning Sarma in Watertown and back down to Cambridge street, which runs through Cambridge to Boston.
If I had to describe Field & Vine in one word it would definitely be ‘unique.’ The entrance to the restaurant, which is a reclaimed garage door, immediately catches guests’ attention. Once inside, the restaurant boasts whimsical and lush decorations, adding to its aesthetic appeal.
As for the food, the duck liver mousse crostini is a must, as well as the truly smoky smoked bluefin salad, follow by the chocolate lavender pot de creme for dessert. Another dish that is definitely worth trying is its braised, paprika-and-cilantro oxtail topped with a soft poached egg.
The bar is also a must-see affair with its artful tribute to greenery, adding to the restaurant’s ambiance and charm.
Puritan & Company has received rave reviews for years, but a true highlight that sets this classic Bostonian restaurant apart from others, is its incredible Julia Child night, where chefs from around the city prepare their favorite Julia Child dishes. If you’re savvy and follow @puritanco on Instagram, watch out for announcements of upcoming prix-fixe menus, featuring creative spins on Strozzapreti, the pasta ominously (yet glamorously) known as “the priest killer.”
However, if you miss the chance to attend the restaurant’s Julia Child night, don’t fret! Its 6-course tasting menu will more than make up for the missed opportunity. No matter what season, the crudo is always inspiring and a long table piled high near the kitchen overflows with a pastiche of dessert options, which all come from a bakery underneath the restaurant.
Giulia is a cozy spot tucked behind a thick, warm curtain to keep out the cold winter air of Porter Square. High on ambience, Giulia boasts an open kitchen with a pasta table, where guests can enjoy a custom, up-close experience. Giulia’s pappardelle with wild boar combines black trumpet mushroom, juniper and parmigiana for a flavorful, unusual punch. Another must-have dish is Giulia’s warm semolina cakes- filled with sweet corn, nutmeg, black truffles and all. Low-key, attentive waitstaff complete the intimate mood, making it the perfect place to sit, dine and relax.
P.S.: It’s also got the best Italian wine selection in Boston with deeply knowledgeable sommeliers.
A bit off the beaten path, this ultra-sleek location tucked behind Kendall Square caters to the Harvard/MIT innovation crowd. You may bump into a hotshot business founder or two, and you’ll certainly want to view the restaurant’s current exhibition before you settle in to dine.
Even if you choose to snack at the bar, you’ll find a tempting, finger-food friendly foie gras burger. The plating and presentation echoes the artistic fusion vibe of the high-ceilinged space. Tableside, you’ll find an excellent sea urchin panna cotta for a first dinner course, followed by lamb tartare, topped off with a dayboat lobster to die for. Floor to ceiling windows pull in as much light as possible, illuminating the space in the daytime and lending openness at night.
The restaurant is also a fantastic option for food sensitivities or dietary restrictions. The chef is wonderfully hands-on, ensuring everyone can partake in ArtScience’s Culture Lab and Cafe’s experience no matter their dining needs. ■