Bostonians flock to Fenway/Kenmore for museums, colleges and universities, hospitals, and, oh, a ballpark you’ve maybe heard of. People may not immediately think of the area as a bona fide dining destination, but many exciting food options have landed there in recent years.
If you haven’t eaten in Fenway/Kenmore lately, you’re going to want to chow down there soon. Here are 12 tasty restaurants — from fast-casual to sit-down, beer bar to oyster bar — that you should check out.
So many watering holes near Fenway Park are sticky and crowded. Cheeky Monkey gets busy, but probably because of its hip space loaded with billiards, ping-pong, and shuffleboard; its surprisingly good street food-style plates; and house-brewed beers, which range from a refreshing blueberry wheat ale to hoppier options like 3 Landsdowne, an East Coast IPA. (3 Lansdowne St.)
This sophisticated brasserie with a strong bar program is always a good choice. Devra First put it this way in The Boston Globe a few years back: “Eastern Standard is a perfect restaurant. Eastern Standard is not a four-star restaurant. So often stars are beside the point.” (528 Commonwealth Ave.)
Save yourself the headache of finding dinner on Lansdowne Street before a Red Sox game and hike a few blocks over to this Mexican spot. Be sure to order your burrito with fried plantains if you want to kick your sweet and savory game up a notch. (92 Peterborough St.)
Expectations were high when Portland’s award-winning Eventide Oyster Co. announced at the end of 2016 that it would be opening its first-ever outpost in Boston. The fast-casual version has lived up, serving an even bigger edition of its famous brown butter lobster roll, fresh crudos and oysters, and snacks like nori-dusted potato chips and brown butter soft serve. (1321 Boylston St.)
Restaurateur Tiffani Faison has solidified her Fenway reign with Fool’s Errand, her third restaurant in the neighborhood and one that focuses on elevated snacks like smoked beef tongue fingers sandwiches, king crab tostadas, and yellowtail tartare. Culinarily-driven drinks at the standing-room-only bar include the Heart of an Artichoke, a citrusy martini garnished with a preserved artichoke. (1377 Boylston St.)
When you walk into Hojoko inside the retro Verb Hotel, you’re transported to a place that feels like a cool, underground izakaya — and definitely feels like it’s nowhere near Boston. The food is as strong as the atmosphere: Try the shrimp toast, with Japanese milk bread, kabayaki, truffle kewpie, and lemon, and the Funky Chicken Ramen, with 48-hour broth, soy egg, menma, and robata-grilled koji chicken. (1271 Boylston St.)
You can order a few namesake bivalves, but the raw bar list extends far beyond the Duxbury farm that started it all — as does the seafood-filled dinner menu. This sleek spot books up quickly, so be sure to make a reservation in advance. (500 Commonwealth Ave.)
The Double Awesome (two runny eggs, Vermont cheddar cheese, and pesto sandwiched between two scallion pancakes) is the main attraction, but every item on chef Irene Li’s carefully calibrated menu is a fun, original take on Chinese-American cuisine. (506 Park Drive)
The second project from haley.henry’s Haley Fortier is all about natural wine, female wine producers, and bar bites that go beyond basic. Snack on chicken liver mousse and pickled patatas bravas while sipping on one of the continually rotating varietals that the Nathálie staff has expertly curated. (186 Brookline Ave.)
James Beard Award winner Jody Adams is the chef and one of the co-founders behind this “tribute to the humble Greek sandwich shop.” Fenway is a sea of fast-casual restaurants, but Saloniki stands out for its freshness and, particularly, its pita. This is the original location of three. (4 Kilmarnock St.)
At Faison’s barbecue destination, you can sauce up plates of pulled chicken and brisket and top them off with scoops of mac ‘n cheese and farm salad. The biggest challenge is not filling up on the famous flaky biscuits and honey butter before your main meal arrives. (1381 Boylston St.)
Before opening Fool’s Errand, the Boylston Street block of Fenway became Faison turf when the acclaimed chef followed up Sweet Cheeks with this hot spot that serves shareable Southeast Asian dishes. You’ll know you’ve arrived by the disco ball elephant in the entryway. (1363 Boylston St.)