Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Best Restaurants in the Boston Area, 2018

We've come to the end of another year, and 2018, like 2017, was a good year for food and drink, with a number of top restaurants and bars checked out over the past twelve months. A sampling of the best of the best have been included here, and like last year, honorable mentions for each category have been included--and the focus is (of course) on lesser-known restaurants and bars for the most part, with a few newcomers as well as repeat favorites. (Note: Last year's picks can be found at the following link: 2017 Best Boston Restaurants List)

Best American Restaurant (New), 2018
Ashmont Grill, Dorchester, MA
When it comes to elevated takes on comfort food and American classics, it is really tough to beat this neighborhood spot. Highlights include everything from macaroni and cheese to wood-grilled steak, and the "train wreck" fries are always a favorite, while the cocktails here are often outstanding, including a Negroni that's among the best we've tried in the Boston area.
Honorable Mention: Snappy Pattys, Medford

Best American Restaurant (Classic), 2018
Winthrop Arms, Winthrop, MA
It's fun just getting to this hidden hotel restaurant which is located on a peninsula above the ocean, and the old-world atmosphere makes it feel like a real find. The Winthrop Arms is a true throwback that includes such comfort food dishes as pork chops, macaroni and cheese, veal parmigiana, and chicken pot pie, and they sometimes have some pretty good beers so ask what they have on special.
Honorable Mention: Newbridge Cafe, Chelsea

Best Bakery/Pastry Shop, 2018
B.C. Baking Co., Hyde Park, MA
Among the most hidden spots in the entire region, this tiny neighborhood bakery is buried away in a residential area of Readville near the Dedham line, and it features excellent pastries and baked goods along with Sicilian pizza that actually rivals Galleria Umberto in the North End. Hyde Park/Readville residents are certainly fortunate to have such a wonderful shop in their area, and one that no one else seems to know about.
Honorable Mention: Bricco Panetteria, Boston

Best Bar, 2018
Atwood's Tavern, Cambridge, MA
Among our favorite bars not just in the Boston area but also in all of New England, this Inman Square watering hole features good food, an excellent beer list, live music, a hidden side patio, and a dark and moody interior that makes people not want to leave. With so many music clubs closing of late, Atwood's has taken up the slack to an extent, so it's not quite so hidden anymore, at least among music fans.
Honorable Mention: Cagney's, Quincy

Best Breakfast Place, 2018
The Grill and Eye, Weymouth, MA
Greasy spoons often get overlooked when it comes to breakfast, perhaps because brunch is such a big craze these days, but this under-the-radar breakfast and lunch spot just outside of Weymouth Landing is the ultimate greasy spoon in a way, featuring hefty portions for those who like a big meal to start the day. Highlights include a marvelous breakfast pouch with eggs, cheese, and bacon, and a biscuits and gravy dish that will put you in nap mode after eating it.
Honorable Mention: McKenna's Cafe, Dorchester

Best Chinese Restaurant, 2018
Home Taste, Watertown, MA
Hand-pulled noodles are pretty popular these days, and few do it better than this little storefront on the edge of Watertown Square. Home Taste also offers some other great options, including a sublime "Chinese burger" with stewed meat, some very good steamed dumplings, and even a tremendous version of a Chinese-American fave--General Tso's Chicken.
Honorable Mention: Qingdao Garden, Cambridge

Best Greek Restaurant, 2018
Esperia, Brighton, MA
The Greater Boston area doesn't have a lot of casual Greek sit-down restaurants, but the ones in the region tend to be pretty impressive, which makes this such a tough category. But with all due respect to such great places as Greek Corner in Cambridge and Farm Grill in Newton, this friendly spot in Brighton Center continues to bowl us over with delicious takes on spanakopita, moussaka, stuffed grape leaves, keftedes, and more.
Honorable Mention: Greek Corner, Cambridge

Best Hamburgers, 2018
Flat Patties, Cambridge, MA
Cambridge and Somerville seem to be right in the wheelhouse of great burger places, including O'Sullivan's, Craigie On Main, Alden & Harlow, Charlie's Kitchen, and this unassuming little spot in the heart of Harvard Square. If you like West Coast-style burgers that are cooked on a flat top, Flat Patties is certainly one of the better options to hit in the area.
Honorable Mention: O'Sullivan's, Somerville

Best Irish Pub, 2018
Flann O'Brien's, Boston, MA
How do you choose a best Irish pub in a region that has so many? It isn't easy, but this Mission Hill/Brigham Circle watering hole gets points for its cozy feel inside (with the fireplace adding to the atmosphere) and its low-key vibe while its food can be really good, including some of the best Irish curry we've tried in the Boston area. Indeed, there are few better spots to hit on a rainy evening than Flann's.
Honorable Mention: Hillside Pub, Canton

Best Italian Restaurant, 2018
Massimo's, Wakefield, MA
A potential hall of fame pick (if we ever build a hall of fame for the site, that is), this homey little restaurant behind Wakefield Center seems to get better and better, with amazing takes on everything from chicken parmigiana to eggplant rollatini to their simple pesto dish that can be made even better with the addition of potatoes. The owner is a skilled pastry chef, by the way, so saving room for dessert is a must.
Honorable Mention: Bocelli's, Medford

Best Japanese Restaurant (Not Including Sushi), 2018
Ganko Ittetsu Ramen, Brookline, MA
Speaking of hall-of-fame contenders, this Coolidge Corner eatery is one for sure, which is impressive considering that it is still a relatively new spot. But Ganko is deserving of all the accolades it gets, as its ramen options are not only among the best for ramen in the local area, but in some ways, it could be our favorite restaurant of them all in the Greater Boston area.
Honorable Mention: Tampopo, Cambridge

Best Mexican Restaurant, 2018
Villa Mexico, Boston, MA
When this friendly Mexican spot announced that it was leaving its home within a gas station on Beacon Hill some years ago, it saddened a lot of people who went there for its incredible burritos and its salsa that was almost guaranteed to make people's knees weak. But it returned awhile back in a new downtown Boston location and the burritos, tacos, tamales, and salsa continue to be memorable, as is the true hospitality shown here.
Honorable Mention: La Victoria Taqueria, Arlington

Best Middle Eastern/Mediterranean Restaurant, 2018
Aladdin's Grill, Revere, MA
While certainly not a household name, this roadside restaurant just off Route 1 is something special, a true hidden gem with such tasty dishes as stuffed grape leaves, olives, hummus, chicken shawarma, and falafel sandwiches. Aladdin's Grill leans toward Moroccan fare, though its menu features mostly familiar Middle Eastern and Mediterranean options.
Honorable Mention: Fairouz, West Roxbury

Best Pizza, 2018
Lynwood, Randolph, MA
Not everyone likes bar pizza, but for those who do, this rickety old place near the Holbrook line continues to be the bar pie champion to many, though it faces some tough competition from such places as Poopsies in Pembroke, Venus Cafe in Whitman, and Home Cafe in Brockton. Featuring a crust that almost seems like a shortbread, the pizzas here are simply extraordinary, and can be made even better by asking for burnt edges.
Honorable Mention: Pleasant Cafe, Roslindale

Best Sandwiches, 2018
Bob's Italian Foods, Medford, MA
One of the problems with going to this South Medford market for a sandwich is choosing which one to get, since there are so many good options both hot and cold. Among the hot sandwiches are great takes on eggplant parm, chicken parm, meatball subs, and steak and cheese, while the cold sandwiches are all about the Italian subs, with the Delux being the way to go.
Honorable Mention: Avellino's, Medford

Best Seafood Restaurant, 2018
Out of the Blue, Somerville, MA
A repeat winner, and for good reason, this quiet Davis Square spot could have gotten "best Italian restaurant" as well, but with the focus being on seafood, Massimo's got the nod for that category. Another spot that could be headed toward hall of fame statues, Out of the Blue has so many great options on the its menu, including a haddock stew that's perfect for a chilly day, a thick grilled swordfish, and one of the best fried calamaris in the area.
Honorable Mention: Tony's Clam Shop, Quincy

Best Sushi, 2018
Ocean Sushi, Melrose, MA
A bright, clean, cheerful spot that continues to impress, this restaurant is also well under the radar, being located in a higher-end mixed-use development near the Malden line. Ocean Sushi focuses on the use of organic ingredients and the sushi here just tends to taste better and fresher than many other places, with both the spicy and non-spicy options being worth getting.
Honorable Mention: Village Sushi and Grill, Roslindale