On the surface, Boston looks like a stiff and “straight edge” kind of city. But what many visitors and locals don’t know is that Boston is home to a myriad of cool, quirky, and unique restaurants that are world-class. From fun restaurants in Boston to other unique dining experiences, this guide to eating out in Boston will tingle your taste buds.
In Boston, it’s not uncommon to hear foreign languages spoken in the streets. After all, Boston is considered a top university town in the US, attracting people from all over the world. Boston has also been a melting pot for immigrants throughout history. Many neighborhoods— and consequently restaurants— have been shaped by this influx of immigration. All you have to do is look at the North End, Chinatown, East Boston, and Cambridge, and you’ll get an idea of the sheer diversity in Boston’s 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 will find some of the best seafood in the country, and an international gastronomical scene that packs a punch.
Here are the 13 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 will provide you with an amazing dining experience
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.
Visit Boston’s oldest restaurant along the Freedom Trail, and you’ll be in for a treat. Faneuil Hall is only a block away! It’s easy to see why this is among the most unique and fun Boston restaurants.
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.
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.
3. 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.
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.
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
4. Pon Thai Bistro
Looking for fun places to eat in Boston? Pon Thai Bistro in Brookline is what you’re seeking. This intimate Thai restaurant is a local favorite, and for good reason. It’s got a solid mix of Thai fusion cuisine that will always leave you coming back for more.
Enjoy the cozy and charming atmosphere. Indulge in the Drunken Noodles and Pad Thai that this restaurant is known for. Is this among the coolest restaurants in Boston? 100%!
5. CLINK Restaurant
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. You’ll easily see why this was one of Paul Revere’s favorite watering holes.
Read next: Coolest Airbnb Rentals in Massachusetts
7. 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.
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.
8. Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar
Loco is a funky restaurant in South Boston that’s known for its tacos, oysters, and tequila.
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.
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’!
9. 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.
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!
This old-fashioned food joint is easily one of the most unique restaurants in Boston.
10. Asmara is a unique restaurant near Boston
Looking for one of the most unique family-run restaurants in Boston? Look no further.
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!
This is a popular restaurant in Cambridge amongst vegetarians, but meat eaters will also have a lot to look forward to!
11. 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.
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. Nothing beats it!
12. 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.
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.
13. 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.
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!
The Best and Most Unique Restaurants around Boston in 2022
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!
Sadly, when I was putting together this article, I found that a lot of cool restaurants in Boston have closed due to COVID-19. If you’d like to contribute to keeping some of your favorite small restaurants open, consider donating to the Barstool Fund. Right now, it’s the best fund out there that directly supports small restaurants, and allows each of us to make a big difference. Plus, donations are tax deductible!
For more must-see places around Boston and New England, check out these articles:
– Coolest Weekend Getaways in Boston
– Unique Things to See and Do in Cambridge, Massachusetts
– Top Airbnb Rentals in Massachusetts
– The Ultimate New England Itinerary in 2022
– Best Hidden Gem Vacation Spots in New England
– Coolest Getaways in the Berkshires