Dinner in Boston? Here are 6 of our favorite restaurants.

old favorites

Anchovy

This is the South End, at least as much as any stylish bistro, buggy-filled bakery or bustling new watering hole. It’s a neighborhood bar. This is a super affordable Italian restaurant. It’s a reminder of a time when the South End was more eccentric, more gay, more artier. Some regulars have frequented Anchois for decades, and patrons from all walks of life mingle here. Joke: “A drag queen, a policeman and a psychiatrist walk into a bar.” Punchline: “Were they anchovies?” Order me a strong cocktail and something covered in red garlic sauce, will you?

433 Columbus Ave, South End, Boston, 617-266-5088, www.anchoviesbar.com

A lobster roll at Belle Isle Seafood in Winthrop.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Belle-Isle Seafood

In Winthrop, this casual, cash-and-carry restaurant/fish market is one of the best places to eat seafood near town. I often send visitors to lunch on the way out of town, one last stop before the nearby airport, so that they leave with the good taste in their mouths. Order the famous lobster roll, of course, brimming with big bites of mayonnaise-coated shank and tail. Homemade clam chowder wouldn’t hurt. And don’t miss the fried seafood platter, with haddock, shrimp, scallops, calamari and clams. Grab a cold beer and wait for your lobster-shaped buzzer to go off; if the weather is nice, eat outside, right on the water, and watch the planes fly low in the sky. (It’s a great place for kids.)

1 Main Street, Winthrop, 617-567-1619, www.belleisleseafood.net

Shojo Pig Bao (Kimchi, smoked BBQ sauce, grated cucumber, jalepeno) at Shojo.Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Shojo

The Moy family has been preparing Chinatown for over 60 years. His China Pearl on Tyler Street is a dim sum institution. On the ground floor of the building is Shojo, another family business. This one, by 30-year-old entrepreneur Brian Moy, looks to the future. Decorated with artwork inspired by graffiti and explosive hip-hop, the restaurant serves up traditional dishes: fried eggplant bao with fermented black bean aioli and yuzu salsa, fried chicken with Hong Kong egg waffles and five-spice butter, duck fat fries topped with mapo tofu and “kimcheese”. The bar mixes amazing and original cocktails using ingredients like pandan, Sichuan peppercorns and pho spices. They alone are worth a stop.

9a Tyler Street, Chinatown, Boston, 617-482-8887, www.shojoboston.com

The chimney of The Banks Fish House.Handout

New favorites

The Banks Fish House

At the intersection of “chic Back Bay restaurant” and “New England seafood shack,” sits the Banks Fish House, which opened in July. It’s the kind of place to celebrate a family occasion, bring an out-of-town business client, or head to an upscale brunch. It is also a true celebration of regional seafood. Owner Chris Himmel, whose Himmel Hospitality Group is behind Bistro du Midi, Grill 23 and Harvest, is a seasoned restaurateur; Executive chef and partner Robert Sisca has worked at establishments like Le Bernardin in New York. They are also avid anglers who have strong ties to the likes of Skip Bennett of Island Creek Oysters, Mike Geraty of Wulf’s Fish (he and Himmel grew up fishing together in Marblehead) and Larry Trowbridge of Snappy Lobster. Come and enjoy chowder and fried whole clams, fisherman’s platters and lobster gratins. Or for the tuna tartare and vadouvan curry mussels, spaghetti with uni squid ink and salmon with pork belly, peas, fava beans and fern heads in a carbonara emulsion. Whichever mode you choose, a platter of East Coast oysters is a must.

406 Stuart Street, Back Bay, Boston, 617-399-0015, www.thebanksboston.com

No canned fish, served with bread and pickles, at Dear Annie.Staff of Pat Greenhouse/Globe

Dear Anne

For a totally different pescatarian experience, head to this Cambridge wine bar specializing in fish and vegetable dishes and natural wines. It’s a collaboration between Andrew Brady and Sara Markey of locavore Field & Vine and Lauren Friel of Rebel Rebel, the Somerville wine bar powered by intersectional feminism and a happy attitude. For anyone wondering where hospitality is going, well, Dear Annie is too – so it’s here to try and learn by doing, perhaps paving a way towards a fair industry that’s good for humans and the earth. All spiritual philosophy aside, the food and wine are the bomb. There are snacks like deviled eggs with caviar, home-preserved fish and cheese with accessories, as well as a few heartier dishes (smoked mozzarella panini with anchovies, baked polenta with spicy tomato sauce) and a pie for dessert. Mondays are pizza night (Sicilian, plus chopped salads) and Wednesdays are pasta night (one deal, plus oysters and cheese).

1741 Massachusetts Avenue, Porter Square, Cambridge, www.dearanniebar.com

The Tambo 22 team.Staff of Pat Greenhouse/Globe

Tambo 22

For 20 years, visionary chef Jose Duarte shared his love of Peruvian cuisine at Taranta, an Italo-Andean hybrid from the North End. Chelsea’s restaurant Tambo 22 is a natural next step. Opened just at the start of the pandemic, it deserves recognition, showcasing more purely Peruvian cuisine and all sorts of regional ingredients – from yellow potatoes to an agave-based liquor used in some of the cocktails. Nutritious tarwi bean is the base for a vegetarian version of ceviche, while “Better Than Buffalo” wings are made with aji amarillo and rocoto peppers. The meat mixture of the “Tamburguesa” includes alpaca and the Amazonian fish paiche is served wrapped in banana leaves. If you come on a Sunday, you can get the pan con chicharron, a sandwich/hangover cure made with pork belly, sweet potato fries and mint salsa. Pisco sours, Peruvian craft beer and chicha morada are all here, perfect for sipping on the large patio.

22 Adams Street, Chelsea, 617-466-9422, www.tambo22chelsea.com


Devra First can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.

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