Top Back Bay Restaurants

Guide to restaurants in Boston's Back Bay

Back Bay Boston restaurants offer outdoor dining during warm weather
Many Back Bay restaurants offer outdoor dining during warm weather

You’ll find plenty of excellent Back Bay restaurants in this fashionable Boston neighborhood, home to trendy Newbury Street boutiques, Copley Square, and many fashionable hotels.

Whether you're looking for a quick bite or haute cuisine, an American bistro or ethnic food, glamorous rooftop dining or a cozy neighborhood spot, you'll find plenty of choices at all price points.

Back Bay also offers some of the city's most romantic restaurants, a top seafood restaurant designed to feel like a New England clam shack, burgers and fries in a bowling alley, and several top steakhouses.

Use our Back Bay Restaurant Guide to find the perfect dining choices for you.

Very Expensive Back Bay Restaurants

L’Espalier 

L'Espalier at the Mandarin Hotel in Boston's Back BayThe menus at L'Espalier, Back Bay's renowned French restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, change daily and seasonally but you can count on your meal here being a transcendent experience.  

Several prix-fixe menus, including a tasting menu, with and without wine pairings are offered.  

If you're planning to propose to someone, book a reservation here.  You won't be guaranteed of a "yes" - but the elegant surroundings and food will become part of your special memories if you get the answer you're hoping for.  

774 Boylston St, in the Mandarin Oriental Boston  |  Green Line/Hynes Convention Center  |  617-262-3023  |  www.lespalier.com

 

Clio

Clio at the Eliot Hotel in Boston's Back BayMore than just a sushi bar, Clio offers some of Boston's most intriguing, innovative cuisine - presided over by renowned Boston chef Ken Oringer (Mooo).

370A Commonwealth Ave, at the Eliot Hotel  |  Green Line/Hynes Convention Center  |  617-536-7200  |  www.cliorestaurant.com

Abe and Louie's 

Abe and Louie's Steakhouse - Back Bay RestaurantPrime steaks, huge portions, and a great wine list make award-winning Abe and Louie's one of the city's most popular steakhouses. 

Choose from outdoor dining during warm weather or the comfy leather chairs and booths inside the handsome dining room featuring a barrel-vaulted gold-leaf ceiling, massive bronze chandeliers, and lots of mahogany.

Cutting back on red meat?   Not to worry - have a swordfish steak, grilled shrimp, or New England lobster.

793 Boylston St  |  Green Line/Copley  |  617-536-6300  |  www.abeandlouies.com

More Boston Steakhouses

Capital Grille

Order one of the delicious seafood appetizers - the shellfish platter or the smoked salmon from Maine - add a salad, and you may be tempted to call it a meal - but that would be a mistake. This favorite Back Bay restaurant serves up some of the best top-quality beef in town, along with perfectly prepared fish and shellfish.   Interesting salad and vegetables at this popular Back Bay restaurant keep vegetarians, as long as they ignore the plates filled with juicy steaks on the other tables.   Everyone will enjoy the robust wine list.

900 Boylston Street  |  Green Line/Hynes Convention Center  |  617-262-8900   |  www.thecapitalgrille.com

Grill 23 and Bar 

161 Berkeley St  |  Green Line/Arlington  |  617-542-2255  |  www.grill23.com

Grill 23 - Back Bay RestaurantAnother premier Boston steakhouse, Grill 23 specializes in prime, all-natural beef - although its grilled seafood offerings are also excellent. The menu looks extensive, but actually it's simple: if you want beef or lamb, decide which cut you fancy - and it will be cooked to your specifications. Seafood choices are also simple: large boiled Maine lobsters and large swordfish steaks.

Portions at this popular Back Bay restaurant are huge - be sure to come with a hearty appetite!   Grill 23’s 1,000+ choice wine list also contribute to a festive evening.

Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse

Davio’s innovative Northern Italian food and carefully chosen wine list will please meat lovers, fish lovers, and pasta lovers alike. And vegetarians and vegans will love the vegetables here.  More about Davio's

75 Arlington St, between Saint James and Stuart; Green Line/Arlington  |  617-357-4810  |  www.davios.com

 

Money-saving tip:  Some of Boston's most expensive restaurants call Back Bay "home."  If their dinner prices make you blanch, consider going for lunch instead.  Menus may be similar to dinner, but much more affordable. 

And to try top Back Bay restaurants without flattening your wallet, check out Dine Out Boston during March and August.


Expensive Back Bay Restaurants

Top of the Hub

Legal Sea Food at Pru Center- Back Bay RestaurantEnjoy a panoramic view of the city with your delicious lunch or dinner at this wonderful Back Bay restaurant on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Building . . . or enjoy it from the lounge as to live jazz in the evenings.

More about Top of the Hub

Prudential Tower  |  52nd floor, 800 Boylston St.  |  Green Line E/Prudential  |  617-536-1775  |  www.topofthehub.net

 

Brasserie Jo

Brasserie Jo in BostonAs its name implies, Brasserie Jo emulates a French bar/bistro, with favorites such as Salade Nicoise, Alsace-style pizzas, steak frites, veal blanquette, and steamed mussels.

In the spirit of bar food, you can also get a large selection of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, burgers, croques monsieurs, hotdogs, omelettes, and, ahem, canned sardines.   Do not miss the mousse chocolat!

Very nice wine list of mostly French selections plus lots of different beers and ales in the bar.

120 Huntington Ave, at the Colonnade Hotel  |  Green Line E/Prudential  |  617-425-3240  |  www.brasseriejo.com

 

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Deuxave 

Photo of Deaxave, Back Bay restaurant in Boston serving contemporary French cuisineDeuxave, a stylish, light-filled spot at the corner of Mass Ave and Comm Ave uses high-quality fresh local ingredients, contemporary French preparation techniques, and flavor inspirations from around the world. 

Wines also incline toward France, with a nice selection from affordable to celebratory, and 20 available by glass.

Enjoy the outdoor "terrace" (well, really the sidewalk) seating in the summer, the chic bar, and the cozy fireplace in the main dining room.

371 Commonwealth Ave  |  617-517-5915  |  www.deuxave.info

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Haru 

55 Huntington Ave (street level below the Shops at Prudential Center)  |  Green Line E/Prudential  |  617-536-0770  |  www.harusushi.com

Japanese food fans will love this spacious, stylish restaurant with its fabulous sushi bar, artwork by local artists, and Japanese garden. Even if you don’t love sushi or sashimi, you’ll find some great teriyaki, tempura, fish, and seafood options on the menu at this innovative Back Bay restaurant, part of a small Northeast chain.  Known for its innovative entree combinations, plus the sake and cocktail lounge.

Return to Top - Back Bay Restaurants

Sonsie

Sonsie in BostonLooking for a trendy, see-and-be-seen spot in Back Bay?   Sonsie is your place!  

The stylish red, black, and white interior, the glamorous tres chic bar, and French windows opening onto Newbury Street project a European flavor matched by the international menu. 

Sonsie feels glamorous at night, and during the day, spectacular light streams in through the large windows, giving you a "everything's right with the world" feeling.

Dinner options range from brick oven pizza . . . to herb polenta fritters with roasted artichokes and yellow tomatoes . . . to grilled duck breast with ruby plums and ginger . . . to steak au poivre. A full bar, downstairs Wine Room, a nice wine list, and music throughout the evening enhance the festive ambiance.

327 Newbury St  |  Green Line E/Prudential  |  617-351-2500  |  www.sonsieboston.com

Stephanie’s on Newbury  

Stephanie’s sophisticated comfort food may be just what you want after a long day of sightseeing, shopping, and museum visits. Imagine lobster pot pie . . . pan roasted sea scallops with cheddar corn bread . . . a double-thick pork chop with barbeque sauce and roasted sweet potatoes. A nice wine list gives you lots of affordable options. A fireplace warms the dining room in cold months, and in the summer you can opt for sidewalk seating on Newbury Street and people-watch.

190 Newbury St  |  Orange Line/Back Bay  |  617-236-0990  |  www.stephaniesonnewbury.com

Summer Shack

Jasper White's Summer Shack proves you don't have to leave the city in order to experience a real New England shore dinner. The food at this popular Back Bay restaurant has all the traditional clam shack favorites - boiled lobster, chowder, corn dogs, corn on the cob, grilled seafood, lobster rolls, the raw bar, bouillabaisse, fish and chips. The family-friendly atmosphere is fun, informal . . . and you can almost pretend that you're at the beach.

50 Dalton St across from Hynes Auditorium, upstairs above Kings Bowling Alley  |  Green Line/Hynes Convention Center  |  617-867-9955  |  www.summershackrestaurant.com

Legal Sea Foods 

Legal Sea Foods at Pru Center- Back Bay RestaurantEven though Legal Sea Foods is no longer just a local seafood place, Bostonians still think of it that way.   For many folks, Legal is best seafood restaurant in Boston.

You’ll find a wide variety of seafood prepared in many different and delicious ways listed on its extensive menu - something for every taste.  The menu even includes a small “turf” section and an excellent children's menu. 

3 Back Bay restaurant locations:

  • Prudential Center  |  800 Boylston St; Green Line E/Prudential  |  617-266-6800
  • Copley Place, 100 Huntington Ave  |  Orange Line/Back Bay  |  617-266-7775
  • 26 Park Plaza, in Park Square (flagship location with an extensive wine cellar  |  Green Line/Arlington  |  617-426-4444
  • Website for all locations: www.legalseafoods.com

Via Matta

79 Park Square  |  Green Line/Arlington  |  617-422-0008  |  www.viamattarestaurant.com

Via Matta features Italian regional cuisine of Piedmont, Tuscany, and Emilia-Romagna, , which relies on fresh, top-quality veggies, meats, and fish creatively prepared.

Innovative pastas. Menu changes daily at this very popular Back Bay restaurant in the Park Square area. . . tantalizing choices will cause you to want to eat too much, and return again and again. Separate bar menu. Very nice wine list.

 

Moderate Back Bay Restaurants

Casa Romero

You’ll find authentic Mexican food here (not Tex Mex) - and it’s mouthwatering!   Main course offerings include specialties like grilled shrimp with tomatillos and cilantro, stuffed squid with tomato and chipotle sauce, and chicken stuffed with nopalitos and cheese with mole poblano sauce. The carefully chosen wine list features selections from Spain and South America.

If you love real Mexican food, this Back Bay restaurant is a place you’ll want to visit more than once.   Great patio for warm-weather dining outdoors.

30 Gloucester St (side entrance on the alley) between Newbury and Commonwealth Ave  |  Green Line/Hynes Convention Center; 617-536-4341  |  www.casaromero.com

Return to Top - Back Bay Restaurants

City Table  

This casual restaurant located at the Lenox Hotel serves contemporary versions of American classics (mac and cheese made with top-quality cheese, fondue, wonderful fish, risotto), emphasizing fresh and organic ingredients.  Breakfast and dinner served daily.  Or, make a meal from the wonderful appetizers.

61 Exeter St  |  Orange Line/Back Bay  |  617-933-4800

Joe’s American Bar and Grill

181 Newbury St, between Dartmouth and Exeter  |  Green Line/Copley  |  617-536-4200  |  www.joesamerican.com

Convenient spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in the heart of Back Bay. 

Also on the Downtown waterfront next to the North End:  100 Atlantic Ave  |  Blue Line/Aquarium  |  617-536-4200   |  www.joesamerican.com

Kashmir

Photo of Deaxave, Back Bay restaurant in Boston serving contemporary French cuisineKashmir is another popular Indian restaurant - one of Back Bay's best.  Outdoor seating in warm weather. 

Enjoy specials from the tandoor oven, crispy pakoras at the bar, curries, and northern Indian specialties such as barbequed goat.

279 Newbury St  |  Green Line/Hynes Convention Center  |  617-536-1695; www.kashmirrestaurant.com

Kings Restaurant

50 Dalton St  |  617-266-2695  |  Green Line/Hynes Convention Center  |  617-266-2695  |  www.kingsbackbay.com
21+ after 6pm

Kings Restaurant has surprising good food - considering that it’s part of a bowling alley!  Yes, you can actually bowl here!  Plus, King's Restaurant is close to Hynes Convention Center, and it's a great spot to duck into between meetings or presentations . . . especially if you and a couple of colleagues want to get a little exercise by little bowling.  It's also right around the corner from the Prudential Center entrance on Boylston Street.

Food choices include pizzas, wraps, salads, burgers, and even simple but delicious entrees. All of the food is freshly made daily on the premises. While you might not come to a bowling alley (Kings also has billiards and a full bar) just for the food, this casual but fun Back Bay restaurant prepares food good enough to stand on its own. My kids love, love, love the ice cream sandwiches - and so do I!

Needless to say, kids will clamor to come to this place (especially after you let them bowl) but it’s a lot of fun for everyone. Did I mention the 6 huge screens and too many TVs to count for watching sports events? Kings is a little off the usual Boston tourist path - but if your significant other has dragged you around to too many museums, historical sites, and culture, Kings could be the perfect antidote.

 

Bangkok Blue  

Huge menu - you can probably find every Thai dish imaginable here.    Curries and seafood dishes are particularly good.   I love their tropical drinks, especially the mango and passion fruit smoothie!   Considering Bangkok Blue's location in an expensive part of Back Bay, you’ll love the affordable prices.  Outdoor seating during warm weather.

651 Boylston St, right across from the Boston Public Library  |  Green Line/Copley  |  617-266-1010  |  www.bkkblueboston.com

 

Cactus Club

Cactus Club in Boston's Back BayAlthough the emphasis at the Cactus Club is definitely on the margaritas, Tex-Mex bar food is actually quite good.  

If you’re exhausted from shopping, imagine a big, frosty margarita and a bite to eat in a super-casual Back Bay restaurant . . . this is your place!  Cactus Club also offers sandwiches, empanadas, and wraps.

If you're in the mood for dessert and want to try something you won’t find in perhaps any other Back Bay restaurant, order the cinnamon banana cheesecake, dulce de leche, or fried ice cream.

939 Boylston St  |  Green Line/Hynes Convention Center  |  617-236-0200  |  www.bestmargaritas.com

Cafe Jaffa

Cafe Jaffa in Boston's Back BayCafe Jaffa, a cozy spot tucked between Newbury and Boylston Streets, is where to come for Middle Eastern favorites - tasty stuffed grape leaves, kebabs, baba ganouj, hummus, and falafel.

Eat in, or pick up get picnic fixings.

48 Gloucester St  |  617-536-0230; Green Line/Hynes Convention Center  |  www.cafejaffa.net

 

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Chilli Duck

Chilli Duck - Back Bay RestaurantChilli Duck is where you'll find some of Back Bay's best Thai cuisine.  Great curries, wonderful pineapple fried rice, nice touch with seafood. 

As a bonus - huge portions (you'll definitely take some home) and affordable prices.  

829 Boylston, across from Prudential Center  |  Green Line E/Prudential  |  617-236-5208

Fire + Ice

205 Berkeley Street (Park Square Building, between St James and Providence St)  |  Green Line/Copley  |  617-482-3473  |  www.fire-ice.com

Choose your own meat, seafood, tofu, veggies, sauces, and put them in a bowl.  Hand the bowl to a chef, who cooks the whole mixture on an open grill.  With large drinks, entertaining chefs, and lively crowd, Fire + Ice can be lots of fun. 

India Samraat

Photo of India Samraat, Back Bay restaurant in Boston serving contemporary French cuisineSamraat's extensive menu and delicious makes it a perennial favorite with students and locals because of the affordable prices (mostly under $15).

Considered one of the best Indian restaurants in Back Bay - lots to love in the home-style cooking.

51 Massachusetts Ave  |  Green Line/Hynes Convention Center  |  617-247-0718  |  www.indiasamraat.com

Parish Cafe and Bar  

Photo of Parish Cafe, Back Bay restaurant in Boston serving contemporary French cuisineParish Cafe’s claim to fame is its sandwiches, created by and named for famous Boston chefs. 

Each features an out-of-the-ordinary combination of flavors, often with a twist.  A few salads and casual entrees round out the menu.

The concept is a little gimicky - but the food here is great.  Unique sides accompany each order, always designed to balance out the flavors.

361 Boylston St  |  Green Line/Hynes Convention Center  |  617- 247-4777  |  wwwparishcafe.com

Piattini Wine Cafe   

226 Newbury St  |  Green Line/Copley  |  617-536-2020

Small plates of Italian specialties and excellent wine by the glass bring raves of approval to this affordable neighborhood spot on Newbury Street. 

More about Piattini

Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake Bar   

384 Boylston St  |  Green Line/Copley  |  617-859-8555

Easy to pass The Rattlesnake by when you want a good meal, thinking it's just a bar, but Poe's Kitchen, headed by Boston Chef Brian Poe turns out excellent pub-type food made with a gourmet sensibility.  Try the Poe Burger (kobe beef burger stuffed with lobster, fois gras, and black truffle served with whiskey bacon, avocado, and Irish whiskey cheese).

I'm not too enthusiastic about most Boston versions of Mexican food, having grown up in Texas eating the real thing, but the Tex-Mex inspired offerings on Poe's Kitchen's menu meet even my very picky standards.

Trident Booksellers and Cafe 

Trident Booksellers and Cafe in Boston's Back BayIn addition to being the last independent bookstore in Boston Proper, Trident serves up delicious home-style food, including breakfast.

Look for favorites such as homemade meatloaf and cassoulet on the regular menu, plus daily pasta and risotto specials.  The downside:  you'll usually have to wait to get a table.

338 Newbury St  |  Green Line/Hynes Convention Center  |  617-267-8688  |  www.tridentbookscafe.com

 

Inexpensive Back Bay Restaurants

B Good 

You can get burgers (meat and veggie), sandwiches, salads, and fries at these popular Back Bay restaurants that emphasize speed, freshness, flavor, and value.   Come here for tasty, affordable freshly made food.  Part of a small local chain.  The Newbury St location offers patio dining during good weather.

Back Bay locations:

131 Dartmouth St, between Columbus Ave and Stuart St  |  617-424-5252
272 Newbury St; Green Line/Hynes Convention Center  |  617-236-0440
137 Mass Ave, at Berklee College of Music  |  617-236-5480

Other Boston locations:

255 Washington Street (Downtown Crossing)  |  617-227-1006
84 Summer Street (Financial District)  |  617-357-7192
24 Dunster Street (Harvard Square, Cambridge)  |  617-354-6500

Davio’s To Go 

One of Boston's "hidden" secrets - stop by Davio’s To Go counter to get delicious muffins, bagels, salads, panini, soups, and pizza by the slice straight from the kitchen of one of Boston’s best Northern Italian restaurants. Personal favorites:  the deep-dish mozzarella cheese pizza and chopped salads.  Plus, you get Davio's high quality at very affordable prices.

10 Saint James Atrium Galleria lobby (between Arlington and Berkeley Streets)  |  617-357-4810  |  www.davios.com

Men Tei Japanese Noodle Cafe 

66 Hereford St between Newbury and Boylston  |  Green Line/Hynes Convention Center  |  617-425-0066  |  no website

You’ll find great Japanese soups, stir-fried noodles, rice bowls, and fried rice at this pleasant and unpretentious Back Bay restaurant. Side dishes such as seaweed salad, steamed dumplings, and tofu with spicy sauce round out the menu.This is one of my favorite Back Bay restaurants for a quick and healthy meal - love the seaweed ramen bowl full of fresh veggies!

 

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