Best Restaurants & Food in Boston 2011

Chefs

2011 Best Sommelier

Don’t underestimate Kai Gagnon because of his soft-spoken gentility. The man knows his wine, and better yet, he knows what the palate wants. At Bergamot, he’s crafted an adventurous, not-so-typical...

Winner

Chefs

2011 Best Chef, General Excellence

He’s pushed diners’ expectations at kitchens across the city, from Tremont 647 and Clio to Pigalle and Toro. Then, at Coppa, Bissonnette got us all comfy—nay, obsessed—with eating as many...

Winner

Chefs

2011 Best Caterer

If God is indeed in the details, Au Soleil must be nigh holy. The operation gets every last request right, and often adds a few flourishes of its own. That...

Winner

Advertisement

Chefs

2011 Best Chef, Up and Coming

Boston is blessed with a bumper crop of young culinary talent injecting our food scene with energy and enthusiasm. But while many seem to spend as much time on the...

Winner

Chefs

2011 Best Bartender

While the sheer number of cocktails on the 80-drink list makes our frontal cortex twitch, it’s the list’s creator who brings it to refreshing, delicious life. With extreme attention to...

Winner

Chefs

2011 Best Pastry Chef

Plenty of pastry chefs around town put together fussy, high-styled confections that scream “innovation.” But if you’re looking for someone versatil—someone who can do comfort sweets as well as fine...

Winner

Cuisine Type

2011 Best Thai Restaurant

How do we love thee, Dok Bua? We love the Thai-American comfort food you so expertly turn out (the gloriously delicious pad see ew; the rich, spicy-sweet pineapple curry). We...

Winner

Advertisement

Cuisine Type

2011 Best Barbecue Restaurant

Trust us: Don’t take your Redbones carryout on the T. At best, your bag of slow-smoked, spice-rubbed, damn-tasty barbecue will have fellow passengers growling like wild beasts; at worst, you’ve...

Winner

Cuisine Type

2011 Best Chinese Restaurant

The finest Chinese around, it turns out, isn’t anywhere near Chinatown. JoJo specializes in Taiwanese cuisine, but there are enough options for every level of taste and bravery, from the...

Winner

Cuisine Type

2011 Best Indian Restaurant

It’s not exactly off the beaten path, but don’t hold that against this Newbury Street establishment. The menu packs in polished regional specialties like lentil-based dal makhani, as well as...

Winner

Advertisement

Cuisine Type

2011 Best Mexican Restaurant

With a rash of Mexican and Latin-inspired restaurants invading Boston in recent months, there’s finally some competition in this category. But sometimes shiny and new can feel cold or corporate....

Winner

Cuisine Type

2011 Best Spanish Restaurant

Even diners who prefer their atmospheres serene are willing to brave the frenetic crowd here for one reason: the food. Simple tapas like tortilla espanola shine; the wine-braised short ribs...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Bread Bakery

This tiny, nestled-away Brookline bakery may not have prime real estate, but it’s easy to find. Just follow the intoxicating aroma of fresh, crusty baguettes down Comm. Ave., turn left...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Wine List, Casual

Guided by chef Steve Johnson’s dedication to local, sustainable ingredients, Rendezvous wine director Nicole Bernier puts an emphasis on organic and biodynamic options from the West Coast and Europe. But...

Winner

Advertisement

Food

2011 Best Cookie

Let the cupcake lovers revel in their frosting-induced myopia; those of us who truly love pastry still embrace tarts, cakes, and cookies. Particularly when they’re made the way Joanne Chang’s...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Vegetarian Restaurant

Despite the proliferation of earthy-crunchy types in town, only a handful of restaurants here dedicate their menu to meatless meals, and even fewer elevate the concept past casual fare. At...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Cheese Plate

Order a cheese course at L’Espalier and you’ll get something far more interesting than a few hunks of blue and Brie. Maitre d’ and house fromager Louis Risoli tends to...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Frozen Yogurt, Nonfat

No child’s play, this. Christina’s ice cream is an acquired and—unless your offspring have preternatural palates—grownup taste. By that we mean green tea. Adzuki bean. Carrot cake. Fresh rose. Herbal...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Bakery for Sweets

Let the cupcake lovers revel in their frosting-induced myopia; those of us who truly love pastry still embrace tarts, cakes, and cookies. Particularly when they’re made the way Joanne Chang’s...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Chowder

Like spaghetti sauce or competition chili, clam chowder is one of those foods that’s better made in enormous quantities. The big-batch approach melds all the flavors—and no one in town...

Winner

Advertisement

Food

2011 Best Hot Dog

Where Carson Beach and Fort Independence meet sits a summer shack that’s been a Southie icon for 60 years. There you’ll find plump, grilled Kayem franks topped with fixings and...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Pizza, Shallow Dish

A warning sign should be posted on Santarpio’s front door: EAT THESE PIES AT YOUR OWN RISK. Because when those pepperoni-and-sausage-strewn slices hit your table just seconds after being pulled...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Frappe

The rest of the country can have their thin (ice cream-free) milkshake; we Yankees will happily take the frapp—preferably from Toscanini’s, where the ice cream is supernatural and the milk...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Fries

Carb addicts, allow us to introduce you to your downfall: Monk’s Frites at the Publick House. A mere $6 gets you a shareable portion of hand-cut fries worth their weight...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Burrito

The Fenway area suffered greatly when this beloved taqueria was lost to fire twice in recent years. Thankfully, it reopened in Brighton, and the owners have promised a new Fenway...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Drink, at Sunset

Sure, it’s a scene out of a Vineyard Vines catalog, but the views of the setting sun from the Chart Room’s lawn mercifully eclipse all the beautiful people in their...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Ice Cream

The rest of the country can have their thin (ice cream-free) milkshake; we Yankees will happily take the frapp—preferably from Toscanini’s, where the ice cream is supernatural and the milk...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Raw Bar

Gleaming, deep-cup Island Creek oysters. Salty-sweet Wellfleets. Fleshy shrimp and crab so tender, they go down in one gulp. This is the ocean’s bounty as originally interpreted by way of...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Ice Cream, Classic

Connoisseurs of pure and simple ice cream are all about two things: richness of flavor and quality of texture. Picco delivers both, first by using the most intense ingredients available...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Burger

The best-loved burgers in Boston fall into two camps: the frills-free fast-food type (Flat Patties, Tasty Burger) and the oversize variety topped with high-end accoutrements (Radius, Craigie on Main). Bristol’s...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Chocolatier

Between British import Hotel Chocolat hitting Newbury and New York’s Max Brenner setting up shop on Boylston, the city’s chocoholics are on a high. But for all the appeal of...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Ice Cream, Exotic

No child’s play, this. Christina’s ice cream is an acquired and—unless your offspring have preternatural palates—grownup taste. By that we mean green tea. Adzuki bean. Carrot cake. Fresh rose. Herbal...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Chocolatier

Between British import Hotel Chocolat hitting Newbury and New York’s Max Brenner setting up shop on Boylston, the city’s chocoholics are on a high. But for all the appeal of...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Pizza, Traditional

A warning sign should be posted on Santarpio’s front door: EAT THESE PIES AT YOUR OWN RISK. Because when those pepperoni-and-sausage-strewn slices hit your table just seconds after being pulled...

Winner

Shops

2011 Best Kitchen Supplies

When Kitchen Arts closed last year, homechefs lost a good friend—a hardware-store-like shop stocked with culinary tools. Thankfully, Jennifer Hill (co-owner of Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill) revived the place, enhancing...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Pizza, Gourmet

With its mod open layout and warm brick and wood, Posto is snazzy enough for date night and relaxed enough for family get-togethers. But to truly appreciate one of Posto’s...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Deli

Sure, the sandwiches are just as good at Michael’s Deli, located half a mile down Harvard Street, but what sets Rubin’s apart is the atmosphere. Step inside, eavesdrop on the...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Wine List, Upscale

Many of the guests here are oenophiles, behaving as they would at a wine festival—eating, sure, but mostly between sips. The list (packed with plenty of by-the-glass options) is a...

Winner

Food

2011 Best Steakhouse

Let the newcomers show off their newfangled steakhouse specialties; people who really love steak will always return to Boston’s exemplar of the genre. Here you’ll find dry-aged, bone-in chops and...

Winner

General Restaurants

2011 Best Tasting Menu

Experiencing a chef’s tasting is as much about entertainment as nourishment—and nobody plays with his food quite like chef Tim Wiechmann. He serves up whimsical, hyperseasonal preparations like wheat-berry fettuccine...

Winner

General Restaurants

2011 Best Service

So many spots that boast great service smother you with attention, inserting themselves into your dinner conversation at every turn. Not Menton, where service isn’t so much about delivering as...

Winner

Advertisement

General Restaurants

2011 Best Brunch

It’s no wonder that the restaurant boasting the city’s best poutin—a natural hangover cur—would also dish out this year’s best brunch. The “sunrise” version of the fries-and-gravy plate comes topped...

Winner

General Restaurants

2011 Best Bistro

The Cape does fried seafood really, really well. Beyond that; dining in the area can be hit-or-miss. Loire Valley expat Frederic Feufeu reels it in with authentic French bistro fare...

Winner

General Restaurants

2011 Best Diner

From eggs, home fries, and pancakes to the turkey club piled with crispy bacon, the 24-hour South Street Diner nails the classics, then ups the ante with plates like chocolatey...

Winner

General Restaurants

2011 Best Bistro

“Quaint,” “romantic,” and “personal” describe many a bistro around here. But underrated Salts takes those attributes to a new level, due partly to its inn-in-the-French-countryside polish, but owing mostly to...

Winner

General Restaurants

2011 Best Brasserie

Over the past four years, Gaslight has proven it’s more than just the restaurant du jour. It consistently turns out terrific takes on French classics in an authentically Parisian atmosphere....

Winner

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Shops

2011 Best Coffee Shop

Amid the vibeless businesses catering to tourists around the Common, Thinking Cup reminds us of the downtown that Bostonians deserve: grownup, urbane, and a little sexy. Outfitted with a sweeping...

Winner

Advertisement

Shops

2011 Best Butcher

The exotics section—black bear, kangaroo, rattlesnak—may score all the novelty points, but it’s the top quality of the more-conventional meats at this family-run business that has won the dedication of...

Winner

Shops

2011 Best Fish Market

There’s nothing flashy about this 85-year-old institution. But when it’s New England seafood you’re shopping for, quality trumps flair. The fish at Wulf’s, mostly local and undeniably fresh, comes in...

Winner