Eater’s annual Eater Awards, now in its ninth year, were released on Wednesday across 24 cities — including Boston, where a handful of local restaurants and bars were honored. Each of the five categories for Boston’s 2018 Eater Award Winners featured an Eater pick and a Readers’ Choice selection, though a few honorees came out victorious in both categories.
Restaurant of the Year went to Celeste, the Peruvian hit in Somerville that also just landed on Esquire’s Best New Restaurants in America list. Eater Boston editor Rachel Leah Blumenthal praised the restaurant’s entire dining experience, writing, “A lot of restaurants these days spout buzzwords about ‘community’ when opening — restaurants can’t just be restaurants anymore; they also have to be gathering spaces, art projects, a home away from home. Many restaurants try, but Celeste achieves this, and in a tiny, improbable space, no less.” Celeste also won this category’s Readers’ Choice award.
John daSilva, chef and co-owner of Seaport newcomer Chickadee, won Chef of the Year (he also won Readers’ Choice). DaSilva, who previously worked at Spoke, has garnered praise for his Mediterranean food that highlights New England ingredients, like sea scallops using honeynut squash and vadouvan.
In an award that was made for the ‘gram, Eater chose Nahita as the Design of the Year winner. The Back Bay beauty, which offers cuisine from all over the globe, worked with Zeynep Fadillioglu Design to create the jungle-meets-palace feel of the space. Readers chose Casa Caña as their winner, honoring the Latin kitchen and rum bar located inside the Studio Allston hotel. Tropical greens and blues fill the restaurant, as do photos from Cuba by photographer Lucy Sargent Lyons.
In a year that saw continued growth in fast-casual restaurants, it’s no surprise that Eater decided to honor a Fast-Casual Restaurant of the Year. Their pick: Dakzen, a Thai restaurant in Somerville, which Blumenthal writes will “redefine what you think of as pad thai — the dried shrimp are key — and introduce you to a wide array of soups, noodles, and curries that will have you booking your trip to Thailand right away.” The Readers’ Choice went to Hot Box, a new addition to Somerville’s Bow Market and one that serves North Shore roast beef and South Shore bar pizza.
In the final category, Bar of the Year, wine and beer won over cocktails. Eater Boston chose Nathálie Wine Bar as its winner; the small Fenway bar focuses on natural and female-produced wines and has a short menu of bar-friendly snacks. Readers chose Backlash Beer Company as their pick. The brewery opened in an old piano factory in Roxbury earlier this year and offers snacks, games, and a selection of beers like the Panic Button, a New England IPA with notes of grapefruit and tangerine.
Check out the full list of Eater Boston winners and nominees here.