6 Must-Book Restaurants in Boston Right Now

A seafood platter at Salt + Stone, which opened earlier this year in Somerville. | Credit: Salt + Stone

Whether you’re on the hunt for pub grub or the best of international cuisine without the cost of airfare, Boston’s newest—and reopened—restaurants have it all. These six spots, which include the city’s first Yemeni restaurant and one of its largest patios, are the hottest places to dine in Boston right now.

Bab al Yemen Boston (Back Bay)

Thanks to a robust international student population, Boston has always had a diverse food scene. But this new Kenmore Square spot, which opened in June, is the city’s first Yemeni restaurant, and the flavors of the Arabian Peninsula dance on the tongue in the form of dishes such as shakshooka and falafel. Lamb mandi, roasted with Yemeni spices over rice, is served with marak broth and sahaweq spicy chutney; tuna fahsa stew is cooked in a clay pot with tomatoes, onions and seasonings to sop up with homemade bread. Leave time for the tea service, served steaming in gleaming samovars.

The Dubliner (Downtown Boston)

The Dubliner’s delicious pub grub menu includes a scotch egg. | Credit: Dave Wade

Aidan McGee invites you to forget everything you think you know about Irish food at The Dubliner, which opened in June. As the executive chef and owner, McGee brings his experience at MICHELIN-starred restaurants in Europe across the pond—to the shadow of City Hall, to be exact. What’s offered is a menu that includes grilled garden leeks, curried mussels, and local lobster on Irish soda bread with seaweed butter. For those craving heartier plates, the luck of the Irish is on their side, too, with refined fish and chips, and shepherd’s pie. McGee will also reimagine one of his family traditions each weekend at The Dubliner through a traditional Sunday roast.

Salt + Stone (Somerville)

The bright bar at Salt + Stone. | Credit: Salt + Stone

You can’t please all the people all of the time, but the menu at Salt + Stone, which opened in February, comes pretty close. Whether you’re craving lighter fare such as perfectly seared ahi tuna or a hearty plate of house-made al dente bucatini with tomato sauce, Salt + Stone offers something for any palate or appetite. If you’re looking to share, opt for the seafood platter or charcuterie board, all sourced from local purveyors that owners Sean and Sue Olsen have forged relationships with over their 40 years in the Greater Boston restaurant scene. The space is also a feast for the eyes, with an open kitchen concept that provides plenty of action and entertainment.

Thirsty Scholar Pub (Somerville)

There’s nothing fancy about the Thirsty Scholar – but that’s part of this pub’s charm. Though it reopened in February after a COVID pause or two, new ownership hasn’t changed the ethos of the quintessential neighborhood grill. The menu is just what hungry and thirsty coeds are looking for: Chicken wings in hoisin chile sauce, nachos, salt & vinegar-tossed tater tots, and New England I.P.A.-battered fish & chips. Twenty taps with mostly local brews quench the thirst of students who test their smarts at weekly trivia night in the shadow of Harvard University.

Eva (Back Bay)

Shrimp fra diavolo pizza at Eva. | Credit: Eva

The largest outdoor patio in one of Boston’s best people-watching neighborhoods is back, but the sensory delights don’t stop there at Eva, which opened in April. Chef Luis Figueroa tempts the taste buds with lamb meatballs, grilled octopus, and a creative take on Italian food: fra diavolo pizza. The supremely shareable pie features tomato sauce, shrimp, pickled cherry peppers, and Aleppo pepper. Temper it with one of many drinks on an extensive cocktail list or beer menu with nine local brews on tap.

Moëca (Cambridge)

Seafood lovers, rejoice: the owners of beloved Italian restaurant Giulia cast some love on the region’s oceanic bounty at Moëca. The new neighborhood spot from well-traveled chef and owner Michael Pagliarini and his wife Pam Ralston, which opened this August, will offer a raw seafood bar featuring Asian and Latin American flavors and an extensive wine list that spans Spain, Portugal, and France (including Champagne). While the fresh catch in Boston varies—translation: the menu will rotate more frequently than most—that means there’s more opportunity for creativity from chef de cuisine Brian Gianpoalo, who’s been with Pagliarini and his team for almost a decade. Expect grilled prawns, cuttlefish risotto, and the meal for which the restaurant is named: In the Venetian dialect, moeca is a delectable soft-shell crab.

Tried them all? Check out other options here.

Carley Thornell-Wade is a Boston-based food, travel, and technology writer who’s been to more than 70 countries and delighted in tasting the regional delicacies of each.