Exposed brick walls and two-person tables inside Paolos Trattoria help convey a sense of intimacy. As guests lean in to whisper over tables, waiters fill glasses with wine and discreetly deliver plates filled with Italian favorites such as mixed greens salads tossed with dried figs and goat cheese, lobster ravioli, and roasted vegetable pizzas pulled straight from a brick oven. Most portions are large enough to share, which makes for a romantic and delicious dinner, unlike eating a silver tray filled with red roses, which is just romantic and not delicious. After finishing bites of panko-crusted veal milanese or salmon seared in a cast iron skillet, dessert is served in the form of tiramisu, chocolate mousse, or bread pudding with rum butter sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Since its founding in 2001, The Upper Crust Pizzeria has fashioned artful thin-crust pizzas in 19 storefronts with modern, architectural touches. Chefs craft specialty pies inspired by local landmarks, from the sundried-tomato cobblestones of the Beacon Hill to the pesto-painted walls of the Green Monster. Diners can opt to spread sweet sauce over a regular or whole-wheat crust or request that any pie be served white without sauce, and combine slices with crisp salads or pounce on the geometric goodness of a spinach square or half moon-shaped calzone. Restaurant interiors are accoutered with modern flourishes such as flat-screen TVs and pan-decorated ceilings, allowing one to lie down and admire their reflection before a postmeal nap.
As you sit down on one of the The Red Hat's green vinyl barstools and lift a mug of lager to your lips, you might be replicating the movements of a patron from more than 100 years ago. Except that he or she would have snuck a nervous glance at the back door between every sip. The historic establishment survived the Prohibition era in Scollay Square—an area known for its bawdy vaudeville theater and risqué entertainment—by functioning as a reputable restaurant by day and a speakeasy by night.
Though the taps now flow freely in the daylight, some things at The Red Hat haven't changed. The menu still provides sailors, dockworkers, and local shoppers with hearty, comforting dishes of wings, fried fish, and other pub snacks. As Mike Dunphy of Beacon Hill Patch put it, "The Red Hat is a rare reminder of Boston's yesteryear, bringing an earthy spice to the more refined palate of Beacon Hill—an unpretentious watering hole to gain some courage for the climb." The exposed brick, wood-paneled walls, and old-timey memorabilia also give the space a turn-of-the-century feel. So do the nostalgic street-scene murals depicting the days when Saturns were Studebakers and people walked their Electrolux vacuums instead of pet dogs.
More than 100 plasma televisions light up inside Sports Grille Boston, treating every diner to a front-row seat for the evening’s sporting events, many of which take place at the TD Garden across the street. The screens share wall space with sports memorabilia, including jerseys, hockey sticks, a Michael Jordan statue, and Ted Williams’s favorite paint color. The restaurant's extensive menu of bar food echoes its milieu with thematically named dishes such as Spud Webb potato skins, Larry Bird chicken, and Fenway sirloin tips, which the kitchen staff douses in a secret house marinade. To accompany each bite, bartenders keep up to 25 beers on tap alongside numerous brews in bottles, buckets, and pitchers.
The chefs at 29 Newbury arrange fresh ingredients into artfully presented, gourmet cuisine for guests dining between crisp white walls or on the outdoor patio. Both the eatery's menu and the local art adorning its walls rotate with the seasons to incorporate the latest harvests and trends in art criticism. A starter of steamed clams and mussels prepared with white wine, chorizo, and garlic warms up palates for a pan-roasted entree of sesame-encrusted salmon, which floats atop a blizzard of snow peas drizzled with soy-sesame sauce. Warm lobster salad tosses together sautéed white beans with mixed greens, avocado, and basil-lemon vinaigrette. Patrons concerned with etiquette debate between dessertspoons and grappling hooks before spelunking into layers of 29 Signature tiramisu or sojourning through heaps of homemade whipped cream topped with seasonal berries.
The first of acclaimed chef Barbara Lynch’s restaurants, No. 9 Park represents the James Beard Award Winner to a tee, from the elegantly refined fare to the carefully crafted cocktails and hand-selected wines. An expanse of dark wood floors unfurls across the historic Beacon Hill townhouse, juxtaposed by soft taupe walls and the shimmer of antique chandeliers. A blend of Italian and French traditions, Lynch’s cuisine effortlessly complements the swank decor, comforting palates with housemade prune-stuffed gnocchi, Colorado lamb loin dressed with pea green and pistachio pesto, and perfectly seared prime hanger steak with Nova Scotia lobster. Though desserts––such as the pomegranate and earl-grey tres leches cake––partner just fine with dinner, guests will surely want to pair their meal with something from the bar as well. Perfectly balanced, every drink is thoroughly researched first, allowing the mixologists to understand how it was born and why. The result: an assortment of unique creations—laced with everything from smoky scotch to foie gras-washed bourbon—to complement Chef Lynch’s unique fare. It’s no wonder Eater named No. 9 as the city’s best cocktail bar, an honor that is only further substantiated by sommelier Cat Silirie's James Beard Award-winning wine list.