Top 10 South End Restaurants:
DeLux Café & Lounge
100 Chandler Street
Walls covered in '50s album covers, an Elvis shrine offset by Christmas lights, a crowd as thick with tattoos as with suits, restrooms wallpapered with old Eloise and Spiderman clippings-DeLux is a funky and cozy, South End bar-restaurant with terrific food--fat quesadillas stuffed with moist chicken and an abundance of veggies; a grilled-cheese sandwich with artichokes and tomatoes that melts on your tongue; and a shrimp and crab tamale that evokes warm Latin vibes.
553 Tremont Street
Famous for sporting a Red Sox hat instead of a toque, Gordon Hamersley has a reputation for quality service as well as nationally renowned (and delicious) food. A Reuters top 10 celebrity chef-owned restaurant, this eponymous bistro has been around since before the South End's dining scene was chic, and still serves up the same comfort fare to a classy clientele. Feast on the oft- (but deservedly) hyped roast chicken, hearty cassoulet filled with homemade sausages, and rich duck confit. A more casual neighborhood crowd gathers at the bar and adjoining café, which offer lighter fare and cozy seating.
B & G Oysters
550 Tremont Street
When summer finally arrives in Boston there's just something wildly appealing and Secret Gardenâ€“like about the sunken back patio at the South End's B&G Oysters. Almost primitive in design, with seemingly rogue vines gripping the stone walls, it feels the way a real outdoor eatery should: comfortable and slightly magical, a lovely aesthetic backdrop to the splendor on the plate. Inside the pearly gray walls and open kitchen is more than a fancy clam shack: Master oyster shuckers serve up the best varieties, which change daily depending on what's fresh. The menu includes standards like fried whole-belly clams and upscale items such as seared halibut and sea scallops. And then there's the peerless lobster roll, moistened with mayo and presented on a lightly toasted hot dog bun with a heaping portion of crispy fries.
439 Tremont Street
Masa, where the Southwest meets the South End, is a great restaurant boasting over 100 tequilas ranging from the big houses to smaller, artisan tequilas. This collection is reason enough to visit Masa, but this is not your ordinary tequila bar; the bar's tapas menu and the restaurant's dinner menu feature terrific dishes that highlight flavors and cooking styles of a Southwestern kitchen with fresh New England ingredients. The bar area is quite large, taking up almost half of the modestly sized restaurant, and features a strong wine collection in addition to tequila and other spirits. Tapas are only $1.00 each.
541 Tremont Street
The Beehive is an underground Bohemian eatery & bar featuring fabulous cuisine, libations, artwork and world class live music nightly. Nestled below the Boston Center for the Art's historic Cyclorama in Boston's South End, The Beehive serves the eclectic fare of Chef Rebecca Newell - rustic comfort food infused with American, European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern influences. By the time the live music starts around 8 p.m.--And by your second Negroni--it dawns on you that those are legit Berklee jazzers onstage, the artwork is by real local artists, and that cod with bacon, butter beans, and red chili gnocchi is pretty darned good. Open for dinner seven days a week, weekend jazz brunch, and with cocktails and live entertainment available nightly until 2:00 am; The Beehive is the perfect location for after-work cocktails, dinner, live music, special events and more.
513 Tremont Street
Picco, a simple take on the traditional neighborhood pizza and ice cream parlor, offers a refreshing alternative to the South End's more upscale dining options. The no-frills menu offers enticing pizzas (roasted garlic and mushroom is a standout), sandwiches, and salads at—extra! extra! read all about it!—reasonable prices. Pizzas are chewy and fired in a $30,000 specially designed oven, as is the better-than-homemade grilled cheese. The house-made ice creams are creamy and flavorful.
Addis Red Sea Ethiopian Restaurant
544 Tremont Street
Nestled in its hip South End quarters, this longtime Ethiopian favorite has proven its authenticity—and staying power. Settle into one of the traditional low woven tables for a feast beginning with sambusas (pastry filled with spiced lentils, beef, or vegetables) and sweet honey wine or an Ethiopian beer. (American and European wine and beer are also on the menu.) Next up are a variety of curries, served family style, with the traditional soft flatbread called injera. It's different—similar in texture to a thin sponge—but delicious. Even better, it serves as a utensil to scoop up whatever you choose.
525 Tremont Street
Brothers David and Bob Kinkead are both expert cooks. And Sibling Rivalry is their chance to show off—and try to one-up each other. Here's how it works: The menu is divided into two columns, one for David and one for Bob, and into ingredients like salmon, ginger, and bacon. So, for example, Bob might make an appetizer of Scandinavian salmon stew with mushrooms, potatoes, and dill, while David turns out an entrée of grilled salmon steak with green lentils, horseradish, and a mini bacon-leek tart.
Francesca's Espresso Bar
564 Tremont Street
A dapper storefront in a grand building along bustling Tremont Street in Boston's trendy South End, Francesca's is a reliable and highly popular choice for potent coffee drinks, fine teas, and decent salads, sandwiches, and baked goods. Inside you'll find a few cafe tables plus a counter overlooking Tremont Street that's a perfect place to read or work away on your laptop (there's free WiFi for customers).
Emilios Pizza & Sub Shop
536 Tremont Street
Emilio's is a simple, affordable, and straightforward option for pizza and delicious sub sandwiches that's a mainstay in the South End. The place is not fancy by any means--but you are instantly greeted at the door, usually by Emilio himself from behind a long counter. With lots of seating along the large windows, Emilio's is an honest short-order take-out place with pizzas, pastas, gyros, meatball subs, and an entertaining kitchen staff in full view. It's the kind of local joint you see in the movies.
Click here for vegetarian suggestions!