I don't know why Boston is so rarely discussed, comparatively speaking, as a restaurant city. There are some fantastic restaurants here, some as good as any in America. Here's where I hasten do when in the Hub.
Some of the most accomplished and modern barbecue in the country is produced at this unassuming South End restaurant, whose chef, Andy Husbands, happens to be the most successful competition barbecuer to ever come across the Mason Dixon line.
An obscure and out-of-the-way restaurant in the proletarian hamlet of Revere, Floating Rock is more than worth the trip, thanks to its intense flavors and exotic, authentic Cambodian home cooking.
Some of Boston's very best oysters, not to mention a lobster roll that just won't quit, are to be found at this justly famous seafood spot.
Pretty much all the elements you would want from a tapas restaurant are to be found here: extraordinary food, fantastic sangria, a cool but festive atmosphere. Best to go with a big group, though. There's a lot to taste here.
Boston's best sushi destination, like all great sushi restaurants, costs a fortune and delivers accordingly. It's original and innovative, and departs somewhat from tradition, but that's one of the reasons it's so admired. Reserve ahead.
Tony Maws has created a modernist meatery of the first order here: although it may be best known for its burger in some circles, the proteins are amazing across the board. This isn't tweezer food; all the magic happens in the back.
The No-Name restaurant is not admired for its decor. Or its cookery. Or its service. It is essentially a delivery system for the freshest fish in Boston. That's why it's on a fish pier and lacks a name. And why you need to go there.
Ken Orringer and Jamie Bisonnette's salumi temple is one of the very best in the US. Simply put, if you are into great cured meats, you have to go here.
Shanghai Gate is as good a Shanghai restaurant as I know, and I know some pretty good ones. The flavors are intense, the menu is big, and there are some definitive dishes, like soup dumplings and tea-smoked duck, that are worth the trip in themselves.
Bondir is an ambitious, critically lauded American restaurant at the forefront of the whole sustainable, farm-to-table movement, using great proteins and cooking with deceptive simplicity. It is refined, intimate, and comparatively affordable for what it is.