2014 Top 10 Outdoor Dining Restaurants in Boston, MA, USA
Dante Location Royal Sonesta Hotel Boton, 40 Edwin H. Land Blvd, Cambridge, MA 02142


Cuisine Mediterranean/Contemporary
Web site URL Link
Review Inside the modern art-filled restaurant, which offers spectacular views of the Charles River, there are two dining rooms, two bars, a lounge with a DJ-ready sound system, a patio overlooking the Charles and even a private balcony, where dinner is served nightly. When dining al fresco, be sure to request a seasonal cocktail, such as those “from the garden,” which may include acai vodka, Fernet Branca, Chambord and mint, or the Basilicata made with vodka, raspberry and fresh basil. Seafood selections range from tomato-braised tripe and charred octopus to pan-roasted Gloucester blue cod. Homemade pastas and gnocchis provide added comfort. Don’t miss chef Dante de Magistris’ signature “semplice” salad—simple greens paired with creamy cucumber yogurt and sweet grappa raisins, topped off with a red wine vinaigrette—before moving on to the veal porterhouse with mustard greens. The wine list hails predominantly from Italy but there are some surprise selections from France, Germany and Spain. The bar offers $1 oysters daily from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and a weekly grilled cheese for $2. If you’re in the suburbs, try de Magistris’ sister restaurant, an Italian trattoria, Il Casale, in his hometown of Belmont.
Eastern Standard Location Hotel Commonwealth, 528 Commonwealth Ave, Boston MA 02215


Cuisine Brasserie/Contemporary/Small Plates
Web site URL Link
Review Eastern Standard Restaurant Review

Owner Garrett Harker, the former partner of Barbara Lynch (he put the G in B&G Oysters), reigns over the enormous dining room where everyone from Red Sox fans to pre-theater diners come to indulge in retro cuisine for the post-millennium. Though Eastern Standard is located in the Hotel Commonwealth, you’d never mistake this place for some average hotel restaurant. Mixologists at the miles-long bar churn out fun throwback cocktails like the Pink Lady and Brandy Alexander. The American-European menu features small delights such as roasted bone marrow and moules Provençal that segue to entrées like grilled salmon and applewood smoked pork porterhouse with crispy polenta, apple and bitter greens. There is a nice selection of sparklers, Rieslings and light-bodied reds available by the glass, but the best vintages — from Alsace, Austria and Germany — can be found by the full or half bottle. Anything from the suggested list of wines pairs well with a platter of chilled bivalves. Butterscotch bread pudding with praline ice cream and salted caramel is a good ending. Late night crowds pack the bar most nights

Hamersley’s Bistro Location 533 Tremont Street, Boston, MA   02116


Cuisine French/Contemporary
Web site URL Link
Review Hamersley’s Bistro Restaurant Review

Gordon Hamersley’s restaurant is a case study in the transformation from small wonder to major player. Back in 1987, he opened shop in a small Tremont Street storefront, which is now in the center of a vibrant dining scene born in part of Hamersley’s magnetic pull. In the kitchen, Hamersley has always had a knack for masterfully conceived yet rootsy French food that doesn’t deny its shift onto American soil. The wonderfully rustic and seasonal small plates menu may feature figs in prosciutto with salted pistachios, while standard appetizers might include crispy duck confit with marinated watermelon. The signature roast chicken with garlic, lemon and parsley deserves its cult following. Those who can’t live on chicken alone, however, can branch out with seasonal comforts like rabbit ragoût with eggplant, tomato and zucchini, or grilled beef skirt steak with smoky bacon. Round it all off with a mint chocolate chip cookie sandwich with candied mint leaves. No meal is complete without one of Fiona Hamersley’s adroitly chosen wines, predominantly French and all with exceptional character. There’s just one thing that dampens the country bistro spirit: big city prices.

Legal Harborside Location 270 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210


Cuisine Seafood
Web site URL Link
Review Legal Harborside Restaurant Review

This enormous waterfront outpost of Legal Sea Foods at Liberty Wharf is situated on three levels, each with its own unique menu. On the first floor, there is a massive circular bar that overlooks the patio with outdoor seating and a view of Boston Harbor. Order up a local brew and share a small plate of tuna crudo bruschetta before proceeding to the oyster bar to indulge in some Wellfleet, Bluepoint or Cape Spear Salt bivalves. Head up the massive staircase to the second floor for a more formal and intimate dining experience. The menu is also more upscale with innovative dishes like seared foie gras with chocolate brioche, crispy pig’s head and butter poached lobster. If you come for drinks and appetizers, don’t miss the third floor roof deck that is open year-round. In the warmer months, the retractable glass roof opens for al fresco seaside snacking, while in the colder months, you can warm up by the fireplace. The limited menu features a raw selection, some spreads with grilled pita and sandwiches (think lobster roll or open-face crab meat).

Miel Location Intercontinental Boston, 510 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02210


Cuisine Brasserie
Web site URL Link
Review Miel Restaurant Review

This self-styled “brasserie Provençal” located in the InterContinental Boston offers many honey-infused cocktails and dishes in keeping with its name, and thanks also to its very own bee farm located on the roof. Simple, organic fare complemented by olive oil is the focus (they don’t cook with butter and it is not available as a side with bread baskets). Executive chef Didier Montarou has designed a seasonal menu that features pistou soup and steak frites. In keeping with French tradition, entrées are on the smaller side but delightfully constructed, such as duck leg confit and bouillabaisse filled with cod, Acadian redfish, merluza, sea bream and red mullet. Save room for the honey pear tarte Tatin with salted caramel ice cream. In the warmer months, one may enjoy al fresco dining on the patio that overlooks the waterfront. Just up the street from South Station, the restaurant is ideally located for business travelers and local commuters

Rattlesnake Bar & Grill Location 384 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116


Cuisine Tex-Mex/Bar
Web site URL Link
Review Rattlesnake Bar & Grill Restaurant Review

What was once four parts boozy hangout to one part eatery is now led by chef Brian Poe, who headed up the kitchen of the rooftop deck before taking over the restaurant. At night, the hot-spot lures frat boys and sorority gals of all ages with a party vibe that wafts down from the aforementioned deck (aka The Urban Canyon). Food was formerly secondary to the cocktails, but a menu update thanks to Poe has injected life into the dining room — look for sassy items like chipotle wings, steak quesadillas on garlic naan with veal stock reduction, and spicy Cubano tacos. Poe’s love of the game is also reflected with adventurous offerings of antelope tacos, duck quesadillas and wild boar burritos. South-of-the-border style items include a braised beef tamale, rib-eye fajitas and grilled cornbread.

Rowes Warf Sea Grille Location Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Warf, Boston, MA 02110


Cuisine Seafood
Web site URL Link
Review Rowes Wharf Sea Grille Restaurant Review

You can’t beat the view at Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, which sits prominently on the waterfront. Chef Daniel Bruce of Meritage fame designed a menu that focuses on creatively prepared fresh seafood. Grab a seat outside on the terrace for al fresco dining. Start with a dozen oysters with saffron mignonette or the golden buttermilk fried Ipswich belly clams and chive tartar sauce. Another lovely beginning: pair a glass of wine from Bruce’s handpicked collection with the duet of robiola and aged cheddar cheeses, complemented by minted strawberry compote. We like the miso-glazed, sesame-crusted seared Scottish salmon served with a baby bok choy stir-fry, as well as the pan-roasted halibut. But the real crowd-pleaser is the two-pound roasted Maine lobster with sweet corn pudding. During the summer months, be sure to ask about the soda fountain floats (a scoop of sorbet or ice cream combined with alcohol — mango cooler anyone?), which make for the perfect grown-up dessert. If you are in the mood for a quick lunch, check out Sea Grille to-go, the hotel’s nod to the food truck craze, where you can order a sandwich to take with you.

Smith & Wollensky Location 294 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210


Cuisine Steakhouse
Web site URL Link
Review Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Review

Enormous cuts of beef, dry-aged for 28 days on the premises, are delivered to tables by attentive servers at this waterfront steakhouse. An oyster bar, open kitchen, “wine library,” and outdoor patio for al fresco dining in the warmer months are all part of this outpost of the Smith & Wollensky chain. Sip a Boston Tea Party martini while noshing on the deconstructed rib-eye or “cracklin” pork shank. The famous split pea soup and shellfish “bouquet” of oysters, claims, crab meat, lobster and shrimp are available too. Sides are mammoth—the baked potato is big enough to be shared among a table. Why not pair up a classic steak with the restaurant’s own private reserve Napa Valley cuvée? Also located at 101 Arlington St., Boston

Stephanie’s on Newbury Location 190 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116


Cuisine Contemporary/American
Web site URL Link
Review Stephanie’s on Newbury Restaurant Review

Location, location, location has always been a strong point for Stephanie’s. It is more or less the hub of activity on Newbury Street, with a bustling streetside patio that reigns supreme when it comes to people-watching. What the interior lacks in chic it makes up for in comfort—much like the modern American eats. Signature salads, such as the grilled tenderloin with Gorgonzola and the seared yellowfin with crispy wontons and wasabi vinaigrette, have something of a cult following, while guilty pleasures such as cream cheese-and-jam-filled and battered french toast also delight. The afternoon fare menu includes simple standards like baked spinach and artichoke dip and fried calamari and provides adequate, if not stunning, fuel for a night on the town.

Yard House Location 126 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA 02215


Cuisine American
Web site URL Link
Review Yard House Restaurant Review

The Yard House offers more than 150 beers on tap (with some handles reserved for local rotating brews) that circle the main bar. There’s also an outdoor bar that’s open during the summer months, packing in patrons during Red Sox home games with fans flocking around two fire pits. The lengthy menu includes some 130 items: soups, salads, sandwiches, seafood, pasta and rice dishes, as well as steak, chicken and vegetarian selections. The spicy tuna roll is filled with rare ahi, avocado, edamame, cucumber and wasabi. We suggest the spicy jambalaya, the chicken rice bowl, and the miso-glazed sea bass with brown rice, bok choy, carrots and edamame. The Kona coffee ice cream sundae for dessert is pure chocolate bliss.

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