It’s hard to know where to begin in this food-rich city. Here’s our vote on what restaurants—and dishes—to add to your list.
BEST FRENCH CUISINE Menton (354 Congress St., mentonboston.com)
Twelve guests can partake in eightcourse tastings with hand-paired wines at the chef’s table boasting panoramic kitchen views. Bespoke requests welcome. Recent standout? Venison loin with quince vincotto, hazelnuts and black trumpet mushrooms.
BEST MEAT RESTO Mooo…. (15 Beacon St., mooorestaurant.com)
The 6-ounce serving of Japanese A5 wagyu sirloin is the priciest beef in Boston. The highly marbleized, melt-in-your-mouth sirloin is massaged daily and bathed in sake before landing on your plate alongside herb and marrow butter.
BEST SUSHI TASTING O Ya (9 East St., o-ya.restaurant)
The 22-course Grand Tasting menu puts forth hard-to-come- by offerings of seasonal fish, white truffles and beverage pairings, all of which is more “experience” than mere meal, complete with the $545 per person price tag.
BEST BOTTLE COLLECTOR AUCTION Skinner (63 Park Plaza, Boston, skinnerinc.com)
Bid on collectibles that rarely appear on the worldwide market. In fall, a case of pre-Prohibition Old Oscar Pepper Bourbon, distilled in 1911 and bottled in 1917, sold for $19,680. The next Fine Wines & Rare Spirits auction begins Jan. 30.
BEST WINE LIST Troquet (107 South St., troquetboston.com)
Chris Campbell buys and holds white and red Burgundies that have connoisseurs across the country clamoring. Couples jet in for dinner to uncork rare vintages such as a $13,500 Romanée-Conti pinot noir.
BEST BESPOKE COCKTAIL Better Sorts Social Club (90 Tremont St., bettersortsboston.com)
As if Naomi Levy’s menu of highly inventive cocktails isn’t reason enough to hunker down at the wood-paneled gastropub on the second level of the Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel, you can now request that she create a concoction just for you. Using an online reservation platform called TALK, the new bespoke cocktail program allows guests to put forth general flavors and ingredients. Levy will invent an off-menu recipe on the fly, which will be in a decanter at your table when your arrive.
BEST TABLESIDE CARVING Deuxave (371 Commonwealth Ave., deuxave.com)
Chef Christopher Coombs tucks black truffles under the skin of a chicken, which he then roasts to perfection so the mushrooms’ essence is infused through the entire bird. It’s a fantastic datenight experience, as the dish is meant for two and carved tableside in the chic dining room with a fireplace and urban views.
BEST WHISKEY Grill 23 & Bar (161 Berkeley St., grill23.com)
Beverage Director Brahm Callahan has curated close to 150 different whiskeys from around the world, including the hard-to-find bottles such as Kurayoshi 18-year-old pure malt from Japan (one of Brahm’s personal favorites) and Glenfiddich 40-year-old single malt scotch. A $689 bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle 25-year-old bourbon, one of just 710 bottles released, is the pick to mark a major occasion.
BEST CHEF’S TABLE L’Espalier (774 Boylston St., lespalier.com)
For a front row seat to what makes this culinary gem tick, book the Chef’s Tasting Journey with wine pairings ($417 per person) at the chef’s table in the heart of the kitchen. Chef Frank McClelland, who celebrates the 10th anniversary of this larger, sleeker space, orchestrates an exploration of his specialties. The menu might include barely cooked king salmon with dill, asparagus, lemon-rosemary crisps, green garlic and watercress, or perhaps matcha and pea cake with milk chocolate, pea-lime ice cream and passion fruit meringues. Stay as long as you’d like; they accept just one reservation per night.
BEST SAKE PABU (3 Franklin St., pabuizakaya.com)
Boasting approximately 75 choices of esoteric sakes, including imports entirely new to Boston, sake sommelier Mayuka Yatomi has curated one of the largest sake menus on the East Coast. The 1-liter bottle of award-winning Born Yume Wa Masayume has a $545 price tag and fruity aromas of kiwi and pineapple.
BEST SEAFOOD TOWER Saltie Girl (281 Dartmouth St., saltiegirl.com)
Owner Kathy Sidell and chef Kyle McClelland present a glittering array of the ocean’s most sumptuous treasures with the Royale. The tower includes 18 oysters on the half shell (East and West coasts), four littleneck clams, four top neck clams, four jumbo shrimp, four Jonah crab claws, king crab, Maine sea urchin, lobster salad, tuna poke and an ounce of Siberian caviar. The feast comes with housemade Fresno chile hot and mignonette sauces, harissa aioli, cocktail sauce and a fluffy pillow of freshly grated horseradish.
BEST RAMEN Uni (370-A Commonwealth Ave., uni-boston.com)
At $135, the ramen noodle cacio e pepe hardly resembles the college staple. This gourmet incarnation, which takes its name from a Roman dish meaning “cheese and pepper,” is a savory mound of noodles blended with miso butter and white truffles, topped with a grilled egg.
BEST LOBBY BAR DRINK Kimpton Marlowe Hotel (25 Edwin H. Land Blvd., Cambridge, hotelmarlowe.com)
Baby, it’s cold outside! This time of year, you’re looking to sidle up to any bar (or a comfortable seat by the fireplace) to ponder life over a glass of something really good. This $500 glass of Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac certainly does the trick, but you want it warmed to the right temperature to release the spirit’s fine aromas and rich flavors. Enter the new Steampunk-style Br andillary, a bespoke cocktail warmer that is the brainchild of Boston artist Bruce Rosenbaum and mechanical artist Todd Cahill, and inspired by the armillary sculpture that the former designed for the hotel cour tyard. Want to learn more about brandy? Sample from the bar’s 60 different varietals on their Taste of the Good Life brandy menu.