A banner printed with tiny white fish flutters above Ma Soba's sushi bar, where chefs in pert white hats tuck ribbons of fish atop rice and seaweed. In the kitchen, stovetops sizzle with Chinese, Korean, Thai, and other Asian dishes, such as bulgogi, tempura-battered seafood and vegetables, and entrees spiced with chili-and-ginger general tso's sauce. Wine and water goblets moor maroon tablecloths in the softly lit dining room, where potted orchids and bromeliads complement a Japanese screen painted with branches and cherry blossoms. Ma Soba also packs entrees into tidy containers for carryout and delivery orders to offices, homes, and tree houses.
Year after year, accolades and awards shower down on Erbaluce, often named the best Italian restaurant in Boston by local and national press alike. This Bay Village restaurant run by chef Charles Draghi draws from the cuisine of the Piemont region in Italy, but with the ingredients of New England. There’s no set menu as dinner courses change on a whim, but guests can always expect pasta – handmade, of course – and something approaching Draghi’s signature dish, wild boar with wild Concord grapes and lavender sauce. Best of all, Draghi doesn’t depend much on butter or oil for flavor; instead, he uses fresh herbs and sauces based on fruit and vegetable essences, as well as roasting juices, to give his dishes a much lighter touch. Service in the mostly white dining room with wooden accents and a mosaic-tiled floor is excellent, offering a calm oasis to savor the fine cuisine.
It may be known for its beef, chicken, and seafood noodle soups, but Pho Pasteur also devotes nearly an entire page of their menu to vegetarian dishes. They fry meat-free egg rolls, craft vegetable stir fries, and sub tofu for meat in a host of salad, lo mein, and vermicelli dishes. The restaurant even features a tofu pho. Whether made with meat or without, the Vietnamese restaurant uses minimal MSG in their cooking and also offers gluten-free options. The location is also worth craving. Situated near the Theater and Financial districts, Pho Pasteur makes a great spot to grab dinner before catching a play or diving into a big pool of money.
A restored, 14-foot whaling dory hangs from the ceiling at the Barracuda Tavern—a tribute to the tavern's husband-wife owners' honeymoon in Key West, according to The Thrillist Boston. It's one of many nautical accents in the eatery, which also features nautical wheels, an antique ship lamp, a menu packed with seafood specialties, and an overprotective clownfish just looking for his son. An L-shaped bar juts out from exposed-brick and blue walls and it's where guests dine on tapas like buffalo shrimp, spicy scallops, and Key West conch fritters or sip seasonal drafts and glasses of wine. Along with small plates, the menu catalogs seafood specialties such as clam dinners and New England clam chowder, plus crab-cake sandwiches and burgers.
Xinh Xinh may be located in the heart of Chinatown, but its menu is centered around the heart of Vietnamese cooking. As one might expect, noodle soups, or pho, take center stage with varieties such as curry chicken or beef, fish paste, roast duck, tripe, and pig liver. Guests may choose any of five noodle types––yellow, rice, broad, clear, or pho––to customize any of the noodle soup specialties, though Boston.com recommends the Hu Tieu Nam Veng. The clear noodle soup is served with pork, liver, quail egg, shrimp, and "tiny, toothsome fishballs", and was dubbed, "so flavorful, we forget all about the chili paste and garnishes […] we usually heap into soup at Vietnamese restaurants." For those who shun the soup spoon, Xinh Xinh also offers up a full menu of other Vietnamese and Chinese specialties including hot pots, vermicelli buns stuffed with BBQ meatballs or grilled pork, and rice plates piled high with lemongrass chicken, stir-fried vegetables, or grilled pork. And, of course, there is the avocado shake that Boston.com called "sweet, creamy, cold, and subtly and soothingly flavored", like a scoop of ice cream sandwiched between two soft jazz records.
Blink as you walk near Mei Sum and it’s quite possible you’ll miss the tiny storefront. This tiny Vietnamese bakery/sandwich shop focuses on super cheap eats in the form of pineapple buns, chocolate cake, cold cut meat-stuffed bánh mi sandwiches on crispy bread and delicate shumai dumplings. There is no menu on display and only two tables in the cramped, friendly space, so expect your meal to be of the takeout variety. Buns and sandwiches are less than $5 each, and other hearty dishes include shrimp noodles, barbecue beef and spicy tofu bánh mi, while popular dessert specialties include egg custards and coconut tarts.