It’s easy to understand why Back Bay is such a desirable neighborhood. With trendy shops lined down Newbury Street, Boylston and Commonwealth Avenue; Back Bay is a fashionable destination for both Boston locals and tourists. And when it’s time to take a break from shopping, there’s plenty of chic and elegant restaurants to try. Here are our top 10 in Back Bay.
Lobster gnocchi @Intercontinental Hong Kong/Flickr
Sorellina brings sophisticated and modern Italian-Mediterranean cuisine to its tables, set in a warm-modern aesthetic. Chef-owner Jamie Mammano’s elevated menu is a mix of contemporary and classic dishes, like gnocchi with Maine lobster and Vermont butter, or the Maacheroncelli with American Waygu beef meatballs, Montepulciano sauce and parmigiano, For secondi dishes, try the Striped Bass with aqua di pomodoro, toy box heirloom tomatoes, fava beans and basil oil. Make sure to finish the meal with something sweet, like the traditional bombolini, with blueberry, lemon curd, semolina crumble, and lemon-frozen yogurt. Address & telephone number: 1 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA; 617-412-4600
Atlantic Fish Company is a longtime favorite in Boston for fine seafood dining, serving the freshest catch since 1978. You’ll soon be hooked on the elegantly presented coastal cuisine, with items such as pan-seared sea bass with spinach and lobster ravioli, lobster cream sauce, tomato and fresh basil. There are shellfish platters, plenty of lobster dishes and a variety of ‘fresh catch’ dishes such as Block Island swordfish steak or giant New Bedford sea scallops, all of which is available grilled, broiled, fried, pan-seared, blackened or baked with garlic bread crumbs to fit the diner’s palette.
Diners rave about L’Espalier’s food and decor, which has an elegant, upscale vibe to it and is spread across four airy dining rooms. It’s the ultimate occasion restaurant, perfect for birthdays or celebrations. L’Espalier has prix fixe menus, which are prepared daily but you’re welcome to mix and match from any of the offerings listed to essentially create your own menu. Some past dishes have included roasted Amish chicken (with herb mousseline, chanterelles, Florida sweet corn, black garlic puree and foie gras jus), butter-poached East Coast halibut (with kohlrabi, parsley juice and Maitre Gaspard), or Jamison Farm’s rack of lamb (with white eggplant-sesame puree, garlic-herb sausage, charred cucumber and yogurt).
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Regulars at Stephanie’s will tell you they keep coming back to this New American bistro for its sophisticated take on comfort food and for the great people watching on Newbury Street. Stephanie’s offers food that has big flavors and fresh ingredients with a simple, but elegant presentation. Chic and delicious, the menu offers dinner and lunch, and includes items such as the Albacore Tuna Melt, Pancherllo sandwich, and Maine Lobster Salad roll. In the evening, choose from comfort food classics such as Lobster Pot Pie, Churrasco Style Skirt Steak, or the Scallops Saltimbocca. They also have afternoon fare, breakfast and Sunday brunch menu, and don’t miss the scrumptious desserts.
Top of the Hub is known for its breathtaking, birds eye 360 view of the city and its wonderful, elegant decor. Sitting on the 52nd floor of Back Bay’s Prudential Center, its glass walls offer a sublime dining atmosphere with New England dishes and contemporary cuisine, influenced by the cooking styles of Asia and California. There’s a heavy emphasis on fish and shellfish dishes, including Boston lobsters and New England clam chowder, along with the highest quality beef, veal, lamb, chicken and game that make up the changing, seasonal menus. Finish the meal off with something sweet like their Blackforest Cake with brandy sauce and cherry coulis, and if you’re just looking to enjoy some cocktails, Top of the Hob has its own lounge set for just that. Address & telephone number: 800 Boylston St., Boston, MA; 617-536-1775
Abe & Louie’s
Get in touch with your inner carnivore with one of Abe & Louie’s steakhouse dishes. Their tender and flavorful ‘Flinstone-sized’ cuts and classic sides will delight anyone’s palate. Choose from meat-based appetizers like the beef carpaccio, sirloin steak tartare, or the wood-fired bacon with Nueske’s bacon, blue cheese, whole grain mustard and peppadew relish. There’s an extensive steak and chops list featuring filet mignon, lamb chops and bone-in aged prime ribeye, along with main dishes like swordfish steak or herb-marinated and oven roasted chicken breast with natural pan jus and whipped potatoes. Every meal can be perfectly paired with one of their 600 definitive wine options, which both the novice and the most pronounced connoisseur will find fit their tastes. Address & telephone number: 793 Boylston St., Boston, MA; 617-536-6300
Mistral is a high-end, elegant bistro that serves acclaimed French-Mediterranean cuisine. Since its opening in 1997, Mistral has showcased uncomplicated cuisine highlighted with the season’s finest ingredients. Inspired by the wind that sweeps through the south of France, the decor is reminiscent of Provence, with hand picked pottery and arch windows evoking a vibrant and sophisticated warmth in the dining room. For appetizers, try the Maine Crab Ravioli with rock crab, thyme, and tomato broth or the Steamed Black Mussels with smoked tomato marinara and grilled semolina toast. As for main courses, there’s a variety of incredible dishes to choose from, including Pan Roasted Halibut or Half ‘Whole Roasted’ Duck.
Bar, Restaurant, American, Contemporary, Beer, Wine, Cocktails, $$$
Pollo saltimbocca | @Joan Nova/Flickr
An urban tavern in Boston’s Back Bay, Post 390 offers refined American classics and elevated farm-to-table fare. They’re known for their top-notch service and bi-level restaurant, with upscale comfort food served in the lower level, and modern takes on seasonal American dishes upstairs. Downstairs in the tavern, expect a raw bar and charcuterie, along with seasonal dishes such as the grilled octopus, fried haddock and chips, and hand-pinched burrata. Upstairs, fare like handmade arugula ravioli (with snap peas, baby tomatoes, idiazabal and crimini mushroom pesto) and seed encrusted Atlantic salmon will please any palate.
Lucca is a chic restaurant offering high-end Northern Italian fare in a beautiful space with floor-to-ceiling windows. Their award-winning menu includes contemporary classic pasta and secondi dishes, such as Tagliatelle Nero (with grilled Spanish king octopus, hand-rolled squid ink pasta, fennel and a Fresno pepperoncini roasted red pepper puree) or the Pollo Saltimbocca (Statler chicken breast, La Quercia prosciutto, and heirloom tomato risotto with basil oil). Be sure to check out the extensive wine list, which has won the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence.
Mexican aficionados will appreciate this Back Bay joint, which serves as both a Mexican bistro and tequila bar. Putting flavorful spins on authentic Mexican eats, Zocalo also has a patio, which can get rowdy and crowded, so get there early. Make sure to try one of the house favorites, like the elote con chile (grilled corn on the cob drizzled with garlic-jalapeno aioli, cotija cheese, fresh squeezed lime and chile powder) or the tacos de pescado with either grilled or baja-style beer battered fish with pickled cabbage, cilantro pesto, chipotle mayo, sesame seeds and radish on corn tortillas.