Unique Restaurants in Boston: 15 Coolest Boston Places to Eat

by Jon Miksis
Coolest restaurants in Boston street view
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On the surface, Boston looks like a stiff and straight edge city. But what many visitors (and locals) don’t know is that Boston is home to cool, quirky, and unique restaurants that are world-class. From historic speakeasies to modern rooftop terraces, these fun restaurants in Boston will surprise you.

Welcome to my deep dive into Boston’s most unique dining experiences! As a Bostonian who’s eaten my way through 58 countries around the world, I have a keen eye for spots that offer more than just a meal. Boston, steeped in history and innovation, offers eateries that are as diverse as its neighborhoods.

Between being a top university town and a melting pot for immigrants, Boston attracts people from all over the world. Many neighborhoods— and consequently restaurants— have been shaped by this diversity. All you have to do is look at the North End, Chinatown, East Boston, and Cambridge, and you’ll get an idea of the Boston’s varied food scene.

Think of Boston as a miniature version of NYC, steeped in rich history and world-class attractions. Boston embraces its maritime heritage, while also looking to the future. Here, you’ll find the best seafood in the country and an international gastronomical scene that packs a punch.

In this article, I’m thrilled to share with you the hidden gems and gastronomic wonders I’ve discovered in this city. Here are the 15 most unique restaurants in Boston that offer a dining experience like no other.

For more unique spots around Boston and New England, be sure to follow me on Instagram (@Global.Viewpoint)!

Unique restaurants in Boston that have amazing food

Unique Restaurants in Boston, MA: 15 Incredible Boston Eateries

Ready to dive into Boston’s unique dining scene? Boston’s not just about history; it’s a city with a diverse and exciting array of eateries. From hidden gems to culinary wonders, there’s something for every food lover. Let’s embark on a journey to uncover the best spots to eat in Boston, Massachusetts, where each meal is an adventure.

Craving something different, like wood-fired pizzas with a creative twist? Or maybe a dessert that’s more than just sweet, but an actual show? Boston’s got you covered. From Newbury Street to the North End, here’s your guide to Boston’s most unique and unforgettable dining experiences.

1. Union Oyster House

Established in 1826, Union Oyster House is one of the oldest operating restaurants in the US. Today a National Historic Landmark, it serves seafood in a quaint, historic setting that harkens back to Boston’s colonial days.

Union Oyster House is a unique restaurant in Boston
Union Oyster House

Visit Boston’s oldest restaurant along the Freedom Trail, and you’ll be in for a treat. Faneuil Hall is only a block away! Exploring these two historic sites on foot is one of the top free things to do in Boston, so don’t miss it. It’s easy to see why this is among the most unique and fun Boston restaurants.

Lobster at Union Oyster House
Lobster at Union Oyster House

2. Yvonne’s

For fun food and drinks at one of Boston’s most fun restaurants, check out Yvonne’s. This place is a foodie paradise, blending a speakeasy vibe with modern dining flair.

Yvonne's New American Restaurant and Supper Club
Yvonne’s New American Restaurant and Supper Club

Nestled in the heart of Downtown Boston, it’s a treasure trove of gastronomic delights. The ambiance is electric, reminiscent of a secret 1920s lounge, yet buzzing with contemporary energy.

Their menu is a creative fusion, offering mouth-watering dishes that are both familiar and exotic. The cocktails are masterpieces, each with its own story. Dining at Yvonne’s is an unforgettable experience, where every bite and sip feels like part of Boston’s vibrant, eclectic soul. Truly, Yvonne’s is a culinary twist you won’t want to miss!

3. Shōjō

Is this one of the most unique restaurants in Boston? Absolutely!

Shōjō offers modern Asian food in a trendy hip hop setting. The art mural décor is incredibly unique, and the Japanese fusion cuisine is second to none.

Shōjō street mural. This eatery is one of the top restaurants in Boston
Shōjō street mural

Sip on a Japanese cocktail while enjoying this tapas-style dining experience in Chinatown, and you’ll see why Shōjō is among the coolest restaurants in Boston.

Small portions that are perfect for sharing
Small portions that are perfect for sharing

4. New Republik

The counter-culture movement in Cambridge is alive and well, and perhaps no restaurant does it better than New Republik (formerly the People’s Republik) on Cambridge Street.

People’s Republik is tucked between Harvard and Central Square. It's easily among the most unique restaurants in Boston
New Republik was recently opened by the former manager and co-worker of People’s Republik, a bar and restaurant that used to be on Mass Ave.

This edgy restaurant is best known for its Communist-themed décor. History buffs will appreciate the atmosphere, as there are lots of artifacts from the USSR from the mid-20th century. With a laid-back vibe, dart boards, and a solid beer selection, New Republik is a great spot to hang out with friends.

Play darts and check out the Soviet Union posters and artifacts.
Play darts and check out the Soviet Union posters and artifacts.

Unlike the other unique restaurants in Boston on this list, New Republik is more of a dive bar. So, if you’re a bit of a food snob, this probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re looking for good beer and food at a reasonable price (for Cambridge standards), this fun restaurant in Boston won’t disappoint.

Read next: Top Things to See and Do in Cambridge, MA

Located inside the Liberty Hotel, this unique restaurant in Boston was once the site of the old Charles Street Jail. CLINK is decked out with jail décor and prison bars, something you certainly don’t see every day.

CLINK's prison theme makes it one of the most unique restaurants in Boston.
CLINK’s prison theme makes it one of the most unique restaurants in Boston. | Source: TripAdvisor/CLINK Management

Feast on the delicious American dishes, including New England seafood, and wash it down with some specialty cocktails. You’ll definitely want to come back again and again.

The dishes at CLINK use locally sourced ingredients
Many of the dishes at CLINK use locally sourced ingredients

Read next: Top Weekend Getaways in New England

6. Warren Tavern is one of the most historic restaurants in Boston

Looking for some of the best pub grub in the Greater Boston area? It’s hard to beat Warren Tavern in Charlestown.

Warren Tavern in Charlestown is among the most unique restaurants in Boston
Warren Tavern in Charlestown, MA

Dating back to 1780, Warren Tavern is one of the oldest taverns in the state of Massachusetts. During the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, much of Charlestown was burned to the ground. Warren Tavern was one of the first establishments erected after that legendary battle.

With lots of colonial charm, this tavern was frequented by some of the Founding Fathers. The Sons of Liberty Burger is a must, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the pub food on the menu.

Burger, fries, and beer at Warren Tavern. Nothing beats it!
Burger, fries, and beer at Warren Tavern. Nothing beats it!

After a long day of walking along the Freedom Trail, one of the best New England hikes, have a bite to eat at this historic tavern near Bunker Hill. And don’t forget to enjoy some craft beers, which will make it a fun night you won’t forget. You’ll easily see why this was one of Paul Revere’s favorite watering holes.

Read next: Coolest Airbnb Rentals in Massachusetts

7. Beehive Restaurant

Beehive Restaurant in Boston’s South End is a standout, embodying the city’s artistic and bohemian spirit.

This place is all about jazz, and you feel it the moment you step in. Live music fills the air, setting a backdrop that’s both lively and intimate.

The Beehive is a top restaurant in the South End
The Beehive is a top restaurant in the South End

The menu is a creative journey, with standout dishes like their sumptuous short rib and the perfectly seared scallops. It’s the kind of food that demands attention, yet doesn’t overshadow the conversation. And the cocktails? They’re inventive, with a local twist that adds to the Beehive’s unique charm.

Beehive takes fun Boston restaurants to a whole new level. It’s not just a meal; it’s a night out in Boston’s artistic heart. And with its live music performances from Thursday through Sunday, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of the vibe here!

8. Saus Boston

Looking for fun restaurants in Boston? Give Saus a try! This casual dining venue in Boston and Somerville is known for its condiments. There are 15 types of sauces on its menu, the perfect addition to its delicious fries and poutines.

Grab a quick bite at Saus, and you'll see why it's among Boston's best restaurants.
Grab a quick bite at Saus, and you’ll see why it’s among Boston’s best restaurants.

For a fun and fast dining experience and a diverse palette of vegan and vegetarian food, look no further than Saus. It’s no wonder this is one of the most trendy Boston restaurants.

15 different sauces at Saus.
15 different sauces at Saus.

9. Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar

Loco is a funky restaurant in South Boston that’s known for its tacos, oysters, and tequila.

Loco is definitely among the top restaurants in South Boston.
This is definitely among the top restaurants in South Boston.

This Southie staple offers an incredible brunch menu, but you’ll find plenty of mouthwatering dishes during all times of the day. Wash down some of your favorite Mexican dishes with a frozen margarita. Or try one of the more local specialties, including the raw oysters. It’s not cheap, but it won’t break the bank either.

Oysters at Loco
Oysters at Loco

With its live music scene over the weekend and some amazing food and drinks, Loco is among the best restaurants in Boston. It will definitely drive you ‘loco’!

10. The Breakfast Club is among the most unique restaurants in Boston

Looking to pair 1980’s nostalgia with a hearty American breakfast? The Breakfast Club in Malden (formerly in Allston) has got you covered. This is a classic attraction in Boston’s North Shore, and it’s easy to see why!

The Breakfast Club is among the coolest restaurants in the Greater Boston Area.
The Breakfast Club is among the coolest diners in the Greater Boston Area.

Sure, you can find many amazing brunch places around Boston, but this retro diner hits different. Enjoy your pancakes, waffles, eggs, and home fries at a fraction of the price of other local eateries. The portions are huge, the quality is excellent, and the ‘80s memorabilia and music is a bonus!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

This old-fashioned food joint is easily one of the most unique restaurants in Boston.

11. Asmara is a unique restaurant near Boston

Looking for one of the most unique family-run restaurants in Boston? Look no further.

Asmara in Cambridge, MA is one of the best restaurants in Boston
Asmara in Cambridge, MA

Asmara is an authentic restaurant on Mass Ave that serves a host of Eritrean and Ethiopian dishes. Unlike the other restaurants on this list, you won’t be needing any silverware or utensils. In this type of cuisine, you’re supposed to eat with your hands, using the injera (sour flatbread) to wrap the meat and vegetables. It’s definitely a neat experience!

Delicious Ethiopian and Eritrean-style dishes
Delicious Ethiopian and Eritrean-style dishes

This is a popular restaurant in Cambridge amongst vegetarians, but meat eaters will also have a lot to look forward to! And with its cozy dining room, it’s also a great place for a date night in Great Boston.

12. Lookout Rooftop and Bar (The Envoy Hotel)

Looking for a unique restaurant in Boston with unbeatable views? The Lookout Rooftop and Bar at the Envoy Hotel is a solid pick. It’s one of the prettiest places in Boston that I recommend to everyone who visits here!

Igloo Bar at the Envoy Hotel
Igloo Bar at the Envoy Hotel

Located in the Seaport district, this is easily one of the best rooftop spots in Boston. Enjoy a delicious meal and a cocktail with panoramic views of the Boston skyline and waterfront area. In the winter months, there are also rooftop igloos with glowing fire pits. So, you can enjoy the outdoor seating year-round. Nothing beats it!

13. The White Bull Tavern Downtown Boston

The White Bull Tavern, tucked away in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall, is a vibrant burst of energy in the city’s dining scene. This place is cool, not just for its location but for its spirited approach to dining.

Downtown Boston restaurants like White Bull Tavern make me proud to call this my city
Downtown Boston restaurants like White Bull Tavern make me proud to call this my city

Imagine a colonial tavern, but with a twist of modern irreverence. The menu is a playful take on American classics – think lobster rolls with a zesty twist and burgers that are a cut above. The real star, though, is their pizza, cooked to perfection in a wood-fired oven.

It’s the kind of place where the food is as much a conversation starter as the quirky, eclectic decor. Add to this a selection of local craft beers and inventive cocktails, and you’ve got a spot that’s quintessentially Boston: historic yet hip, traditional yet daring.

The White Bull Tavern isn’t just a place to eat; it’s a place to experience the pulse of Boston’s vibrant culinary culture. And with live events such as comedy nights, karaoke, and DJs, this is my go-to among the best restaurants in Boston. It’s a must-visit during nights in Boston, for sure!

14. Sweet Cheeks Q

Cute restaurants in Boston are hard to come by, but Sweet Cheeks Q definitely hits the spot. Located on Boylston Street, this Southern eatery serves some of the best BBQ food around. It’s definitely a memorable dining experience for the whole family!

In 2022, Sweet Cheeks is easily among the best restaurants in Boston.
In 2024, Sweet Cheeks is easily among the best restaurants in Boston.

Enjoy the family-style seating and chat with your neighbors as you sip Southern-inspired cocktails. Indulge in the best biscuits and butter in Beantown. With its amazing Southern barbecue food, Sweet Cheeks is among the coolest restaurants in Boston.

The Southern BBQ food at Sweet Cheeks is good for the soul.
The Southern BBQ food at Sweet Cheeks is good for the soul.

15. Liuyishou Hotpot is among the coolest restaurants in Boston

Have you ever tried hot pot? If not, here’s your chance!

Liuyishou Hotpot is known for its authentic hot pot, which is not just a meal, but an experience. Sit around the table with your family/friends, as you watch strange and unfamiliar foods cook in a simmering hot broth. The delicacies are organ meats, many of which are not widely available in the US, but you can cook just about anything in this spicy and non-spicy broth.

Liuyishou Hotpot is one of the most unique restaurants in Boston.
Liuyishou Hotpot is one of the most unique restaurants in Boston.

Last year, I visited Chongqing, China, which is considered the de facto capital of hot pot. It’s said to have the spiciest hot pot in the world! I can say that Liuyishou Hotpot is the closest you’ll get to authentic hot pot in Boston (and perhaps in the entire US). It’s not quite as spicy as what I remember in Chongqing, but the ingredients are amazing!

For fine dining in Boston’s Chinatown, I highly recommend this spot’s lively atmosphere.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Most Unique Restaurants in Boston, Massachusetts

Are you searching for more information about where to eat in Boston? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Boston’s most unique restaurants.

Where do celebrities eat in Boston?

In Boston, celebrities often dine at restaurants with excellent cuisine, exclusive ambiance, and sometimes, a bit of privacy. Some of the popular spots among celebrities include:

  1. Yvonne’s: Located in Downtown Crossing, this modern-day supper club is known for its chic decor and inventive menu. It’s a hotspot for celebrities looking for a trendy, upscale dining experience.
  2. Ostra: This upscale Mediterranean seafood restaurant is known for attracting celebrities with its elegant atmosphere and exquisite seafood dishes.
  3. Strega Waterfront: Part of the famed Strega group, this Italian restaurant on the Boston Harbor is a favorite for its delicious food and potential celebrity sightings.
  4. The Capital Grille: With its classic steakhouse fare and refined setting, The Capital Grille is a go-to for celebrities seeking a high-end dining experience.
  5. Scampo at the Liberty Hotel: Located in the stylish Liberty Hotel, Scampo is known for its Italian-influenced cuisine. The unique setting and excellent food make it a popular choice for celebrities.
  6. Sorellina: Offering contemporary Italian-Mediterranean cuisine in a sophisticated setting, Sorellina is a favorite for a high-end dining experience.
  7. Neptune Oyster: For celebrities craving seafood, Neptune Oyster in the North End is a top choice, known for its intimate setting and exceptional oysters and seafood.

What is the most famous food in Boston?

The most famous food in Boston is undoubtedly the New England Clam Chowder. This creamy, hearty soup is a quintessential part of Boston’s culinary identity. It’s characterized by its rich, creamy base, tender clams, potatoes, and onions, often served with oyster crackers. Boston’s version of clam chowder is particularly known for its thickness and creaminess, distinguishing it from other regional variations like the clear broth Rhode Island clam chowder or the tomato-based Manhattan clam chowder.

In addition to clam chowder, Boston is also renowned for other seafood dishes, particularly lobster rolls and fried clams. This reflects the city’s strong connection to the Atlantic Ocean and its seafood-rich waters. Boston baked beans, a dish made from navy beans, molasses, and salt pork, is another traditional food. These dishes, along with others like Boston cream pie and cannoli from the North End, showcase Boston’s diverse culinary landscape.

How many Michelin star restaurants does Boston have?

Boston currently does not have any Michelin star restaurants. This absence of prestigious Michelin Stars in the city’s local restaurants is not necessarily due to a lack of deserving establishments. The Michelin Guide, which awards these stars, has not yet expanded its coverage to include Boston. This means that while Boston has a vibrant and diverse food scene with many high-quality restaurants, they have not been evaluated by the Michelin Guide for potential star ratings.

A classic Bostonian tavern
A classic Bostonian tavern

Where can I find unique places to eat in Boston?

There’s a wide array of best fun restaurants in Boston. From establishments nestled in historic buildings like Union Oyster House to innovative culinary adventures like Oleana, the city is brimming with distinctive eateries. Exploring neighborhoods like the North End and the South End will lead you to a variety of hidden gems. The North End, known for its authentic Italian cuisine, and the South End, with its eclectic mix of trendy and diverse restaurants, are particularly noteworthy. Additionally, places like Yvonne’s in Downtown Crossing offer a blend of history and modern dining flair, ensuring that Boston’s culinary scene is as rich and varied as the city itself.

Are there affordable yet unique places in Boston to eat?

Certainly! In Boston, you can find unique and affordable eats by exploring neighborhoods like the North End or Cambridge on foot. Local recommendations are key – they often lead to hidden, budget-friendly gems. Whether it’s a quaint bakery in Beacon Hill or a family-run ethnic spot in East Boston, there’s plenty of diverse and inexpensive dining options to discover.

Is Boston known for any particular type of cuisine?

Boston is renowned for its seafood and traditional New England cuisine, thanks to its coastal location. Fresh seafood dishes like clam chowder, lobster rolls, and oysters are local favorites. The city’s historical roots also shine through in classics like Boston baked beans and Boston cream pie.

Are there any themed or uniquely designed restaurants in Denver?

Certainly! In Boston, Yvonne’s offers a speakeasy vibe in a historic library setting, while the Beehive in the South End features a bohemian atmosphere with live music. These are just a couple of examples of Boston’s restaurants that combine great food with unique, themed environments.

Wrapping up Boston’s Unique Restaurants

Boston is a city that continually surprises and delights, particularly in its culinary scene. From the historic cobblestone streets of the North End to the trendy, bustling avenues of the Back Bay, each neighborhood in Boston offers its own unique flavor. Here, food is more than just nourishment; it’s an adventure, a narrative, and at times, a captivating journey.

Hope you enjoyed this article on the coolest restaurants in Boston! Have you been to any unique eateries in the area? Send me an email at jon(at)myglobalviewpoint.com or shoot me a message on Instagram, as I’m always looking to try new places!

For more must-see places around Boston and New England, check out these articles:

– Coolest Weekend Getaways in Boston

– Top Boston Day Trips

– Unique Things to See and Do in Cambridge, Massachusetts

– Top Airbnb Rentals in Massachusetts

– Unique Stays in New England

– The Ultimate New England Itinerary in 2024

– Top Stays in Cape Cod

– Best Hidden Gem Vacation Spots in New England

– Coolest Getaways in the Berkshires

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