The Best American Restaurants in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is certainly not short of great restaurants
Boston is certainly not short of great restaurants | © Inge Johnsson / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Culture Trip
9 July 2020

A visit to Boston just isn’t complete without a hearty helping of the city’s fresh seafood and classic American fare. Be sure to sample the best of the best with Culture Trip’s handy guide to the best American restaurants in Boston.

Bar, Restaurant, American
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Tremont 647 is an essential neighborhood restaurant and bar, whose multi-functionality has helped to establish it as a popular spot in the Boston South End. While offering fresh twists on classic American food, Tremont 647 and its sister property, Sister Sorel, put on special events right throughout the year, including wine dinners and tequila nights.

Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
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If you want tradition, get it here. Located in one of the oldest parts of the city, Union Oyster House dates back to 1826, making it the oldest seafood restaurant in the US. It’s also a designated National Historic Landmark. The building is still the same pre-Revolutionary War edifice built more than 250 years ago, and the interior is decorated with 18th-century American memorabilia. It’s perhaps one of the most loved and locally tolerated parts of the Faneuil Market area. There’s even a Kennedy Booth that JFK allegedly preferred to sit at when frequenting the restaurant. Expect to find a whole range of seafood, classic clam chowder, slow-roasted black beans in clay pots and, of course, Sam Adams beer on tap.

Atlantic Fish Co

Diner, Restaurant, Seafood, American, Vegetarian, $$$
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Atlantic Fish Co., which opened in 1978, boasts some of the freshest catches in the city. It serves seafood sourced from the harbor every morning and purchases nothing more than two days old. It even reprints its menus every day, and the chefs have proudly honed their craft of cutting and filleting all fish in-house. Its commitment to local waters and high-standard harvesting (working with a fourth-generation family fishing business) is reflected in the taste of the fish. Its classic Boston clam chowder is a must-try, as are its many lobster dishes. From its outdoor patio right in the Back Bay, enjoy people-watching, shmoozing and front-row seats to the Boston Marathon finish line.

Stockyard

Restaurant, Steakhouse, American, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
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Renowned for its succulent steaks and classic American cuisine, Stockyard has been a fixture on Allston’s dining scene since it first opened in 1972. This neighborhood staple features a spacious dining room bedecked in rich dark-wood paneling, comfy burgundy-leather booths and gorgeous chandeliers. Stockyard exudes classic American steakhouse charm.

Devlin’s

Restaurant, American, Beer, Vegan, $$$
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Devlin’s lies in the heart of Allston-Brighton and serves up traditional American cuisine with a contemporary twist. The restaurant’s beautiful patio is perfect for a relaxing meal on warmer evenings, or stop by for Sunday brunch to hear the live jazz band play as you sip your mimosa.

Mooo

Restaurant, Bar, Steakhouse, American, $$$
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Mooo Restaurant is a high-end steakhouse located in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. Make a reservation and try out their fresh seafood dishes, the Creekstone Farms pepper-crusted prime sirloin au poivre, or one of their impressive filet mignons. You can also have a private dining experience in their sophisticated wine cellar. As you’d expect, Mooo’s wine list is top-notch, with over 325 labels from all over the world.

Meritage Restaurant

Restaurant, North American, American, Vegetarian, $$$
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Meritage Restaurant pairs fine wines with delicious meals. Chef Daniel Bruce sources unique ingredients and flavors from vineyards around the globe for his vineyard-to-table concept. The restaurant is located at Rowe’s Wharf and offers stunning views of the harbor, making it a perfect destination for a romantic dinner. Enjoy wine that complements your seafood, duck, or tenderloin entrées, all cooked with olive oil sourced from a different vineyard each month.

Canary Square

Bar, Restaurant, American, $$$
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Canary Square exterior
Canary Square exterior | Courtesy of Canary Square

Canary Square is Jamaica Plain’s best place for outdoor eats. With both sheltered and unsheltered outdoor seating, this is a great place to come enjoy delicious re-imaginings of classic American food. This restaurant makes fantastic sandwiches and burgers, but be sure to try the mac and cheese with bacon and truffle oil as an essential side dish.

Russell House Tavern

Restaurant, American, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, $$$
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Russell House Tavern
Russell House Tavern | Courtesy of Russell House Tavern

Comfortably set away in an alleyway beset by hanging flowers and overhead festival lights, the outdoor seating at Russell House Tavern offers an intimacy rare in urban restaurants. With a great view of Harvard Square, this restaurant dishes up some of the best contemporary American cuisine in the city. With small plates galore, look to split the steak tartare and pork trio with your carnivore buddy, and watch the world go by from one of the best vantage points in Boston.

Morton’s Pizza

Pizzeria, Restaurant, Seafood, American, Vegetarian, Vegan
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Morton’s Pizza, also known as Morton’s Seafood and Subs, offers fantastic food with generous portions at great prices. Its delivery service is remarkably prompt, and the atmosphere of the restaurant is casually comfortable. Customers can go to Morton’s for any meal and expect to receive great service every time.

Pit Stop Barbecue

Restaurant, American, Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, $$$
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With recipes gathered over five generations, and all steeped in Southern tradition, Pit Stop Barbecue has deep roots to fall back on that make the menu so good. This authentic barbecue pit is a local find and always has a steady stream of pick-up orders. The restaurant offers great service and is family friendly.

Bistro, Restaurant, American, $$$
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Rustic Kitchen Bistro & Bar has a seasonal, New England menu that’s handcrafted with international inspiration. The Rustic Kitchen’s menu features only the freshest, local ingredients, guaranteeing that everything is made fresh each day, down to the potato chips and pastas. Winner of the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, the Rustic Kitchen has become one of the trendiest restaurants in Bay Village as well as Greater Boston. Each dish is served as an artfully plated masterpiece, and the ambiance of the Rustic Kitchen is chic yet inviting.

Liquid Art House

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Dancer Lia Cirio In Liquid Art House
Dancer Lia Cirio In Liquid Art House | Courtesy of Azur Mele
The Liquid Art House (L.A.H.) is a beautiful dining experience. Reviewers across the board have raved that it is unlike any other restaurant they have seen, and that it feels like they are dining in the center of a museum or art gallery. Funky pieces of art adorn the walls, and every style choice down to the chairs serves an artistic purpose. Even the bathrooms are aesthetically pleasing, and could be featured in their own modern art exhibit. Pair this incredible ambiance with L.A.H.’s delicious menu, and it is hard to find fault with anything here.

The Smoke Shop

Restaurant, BBQ, American, $$$
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The Smoke Shop BBQ - Kendall Square
The Smoke Shop BBQ - Kendall Square | Courtesy of The Smoke Shop

The Smoke Shop, located in Kendall Square, Cambridge’s trendy tech hub near the campus of M.I.T., is a go-to joint for Southern barbecue. With four TVs hooked to surround sound audio, you’ll be able to see and hear every second of the game. Plus, there’s a pool with prizes during each quarter of the game to make it even more exciting. You’ll have to buy tickets to attend, so be sure to take advantage of either the $29 dining room seats or the $49 bar seats. If you’ve got a large group, you can book the owner’s box package, which includes private TVs and a chef’s special spread, all for $79 per person.

These recommendations were updated on July 9, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.