Takeaways From the ‘New York Times’ 25 Best Restaurants in Boston List

Takeaways From the ‘New York Times’ 25 Best Restaurants in Boston List

The New York Times has been busy deleting city-specific restaurant lists for the past six months. There’s the mega list of the top 100 restaurants in New York City, for which Times restaurant critic Pete Wells is responsible, and then smaller top 25 lists in Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans etc. publishes San Francisco. This week it was Boston’s turn for treatment.

On Monday, April 15, the newspaper released its guide, “The 25 Best Restaurants in Boston Right Now,” highlighting 25 restaurants in and around the city. It’s a major highlight for our city’s restaurant scene, which has historically been underrepresented in national media attention.

The process of compiling the list “involves a lot of scouting and a lot of restaurant visits,” Jordan Cohen, a spokesman for the Times, said in an email. “For all of these lists, including Boston, as part of our careful research, we eat at all of the restaurants we feature, as well as many that don’t make the lists. We also pay for all of our meals and give no advance notice of our visit.”

The initiative was led by Kevin Pang, a former Chicago Tribune restaurant critic and food writer who lives in Chicago but, according to Cohen, traveled to Boston frequently for work as the former editorial director of America’s Test Kitchen. San Francisco-based editor Brian Gallagher and New York City-based writer Priya Krishna also contributed entries for three restaurants they previously explored for the Times’ annual list of the best restaurants in America. In 2022, Gallagher added Neptune Oyster, the North End seafood star, while Krishna added Dorchester’s Comfort Kitchen to the 2023 version of the list and Cambridge Bakery and Café Sofra to the 2021 list.

Another local spot that made The Times’ 2022 national best restaurant list, Cambridge wine bar Dear Annie, was missing from this Boston-specific list. However, Field & Vine, another restaurant from Dear Annie co-owners Andrew Brady and Sara Markey, was included.

The list is rich with Italian and seafood restaurants, including Jamaica Plain gem Tonino and Quincy staple Ming Seafood Restaurant. However, some familiar names with popular Italian restaurants in Boston, including Karen Akunowicz (Fox & the Knife, Bar Volpe) and Douglass Williams (Mida), were left out. No Italian restaurant in the North End made the list.

Many types of cuisines were not represented at all, including Mexican, Korean, Indian and Portuguese restaurants. The Times’ city-specific restaurant lists also include bars elsewhere, but no Boston bar made the cut here. There were no pizza places on the list either.

In total, seven Boston neighborhoods were represented on the list. Dorchester was the neighborhood with the most restaurants (Comfort Kitchen, Banh Mi Ba Le, and Via Cannuccia), while other neighborhoods with lots of restaurants like Chinatown and Roxbury were not represented at all. Further afield, restaurants in Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline and Quincy were included, while Newton received no entries on the list.

Here are some insights based on the numbers:

New restaurants: 4. The restaurants on the list that opened in the last year (approximately) are Via Cannuccia, Comfort Kitchen, Bar Vlaha and The Eaves.

City council: Boston itself has 10 entries on the list; Cambridge has 6; Somerville has 4; Brookline has 3; Quincy has 1; and Winthrop has 1.

Neighborhoods with the most restaurants on the list: Dorchester, Union Square and Porter Square each have three entries on the list.

Seafood: 5. Row 34, Ming Seafood Restaurant, O Ya, Neptune Oyster and Belle Isle Seafood

Italian: 3.5. Giulia, Via Cannuccia, Tonino. Pammy’s is Italian, with a strong pasta program, but also serves other fare outside of the kitchen and is labeled “New American” on the list.

Tasting menu restaurants: 3. O Ya (which only serves a 20-course omakase), Nightshade Noodle Bar and Mooncusser

Vietnamese: 2.5. Banh Mi Ba Le, The Eaves and Nightshade Noodle Bar, which focuses on both French and Vietnamese cuisine.

Chinese: 2. Ming Seafood Restaurant and Sumiao Hunan Kitchen

Greek: 1.5. Bar Vlaha and Sofra which try some Greek dishes

Thai: 1. Mahaniyom

Peruvian: 1. Celeste

Sushi: 1. Oh yeah

Sandwich places: 1. Cutty’s

Pizzerias: 0.

Ramen spots: 0.

Restaurant groups with more than one location on the list: 1. Oleana boss Ana Sortun is also co-owner of Sarma and Sofra, both of which were on the New York Times list.

Most expensive restaurant on the list: O Ya, where 20-course omakases start at $295 per person.

Cheapest restaurant on the list: Bagelsaurus, where bagels start at $2.75 each.