Best Boston-Area Restaurants of 2017

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Hidden Boston
Ashmont Grill: This place just continues to impress, and in a way, the Ashmont Grill could be considered the top place of them all this year (though Ganko would be up there as well). Between the modern takes on comfort food, decent beer and excellent cocktail list, and shaded back patio with a fire pit, there is definitely a lot to like about this spot. [Honorable Mention: 75 Chestnut]
Hidden Boston
NewBridge Cafe: Perhaps more Italian-American in a way than American, this neighborhood joint is the place to go for their legendary steak tips as well as their turkey, pork, and lamb tips, and their antipasto, house-made meatballs, and huge steak fries (potato wedges, really) are nothing to sneeze at, either. If you like local hangouts with excellent pub grub, this is a can't-miss spot. [Honorable Mention: Winthrop Arms]
Hidden Boston
Cagney's: It is easy to mistake this place for a dive bar, but Cagney's is really more of a neighborhood dining and drinking spot than a down-and-dirty watering hole. And the menu tends to prove this, with excellent takes on burgers, pizza, macaroni and cheese, wings, tenders, and more, and the beer list is surprisingly great, with some of the best brews in New England offered here. [Honorable Mention: Four Winds]
Hidden Boston
McKenna's Cafe: A longtime fave that has gone from being a real hidden gem to a spot that is being discovered more and more, this bustling Savin Hill eatery gets high marks for its basic breakfast plates, coffee, and efficient service which helps move the line along on busy weekends. There aren't too many surprises at McKenna's, but it's just a good, solid breakfast spot that also has some tasty lunch options as well. [Honorable Mention: The Grill and Eye]
Hidden Boston
Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe: Picking best Chinese is so difficult because there are so many different types of Chinese cuisine--and there are also so many great options in the Boston area. But this little storefront in Woburn Center will make your knees weak with such options as hand-pulled noodles that are heavy on the garlic, hot and sour dumpling soup, and a weekend-only chilled noodle dish. [Honorable Mention: Bess's Cafe]
Hidden Boston
Cagney's gets not one, but two "best ofs" this year, and it's well-deserved, as their huge, meaty burgers are one of the best of many options on their menu. And one of the best burger options here is a ghost chili burger that doesn't seem hot at first, but it'll creep up on you as you continue to eat it (without being so hot as to overwhelm the flavor of the meat). [Honorable Mention: O'Sullivan's]
Hidden Boston
Dunn-Gaherin's Food and Spirits: There are some great Irish pubs in the western suburbs of Boston, and this cozy spot in Newton Upper Falls sits at the top of the heap with its authentic-feeling atmosphere, solid Irish, Irish-American, and pub grub options, and well-poured pints. Dunn-Gaherin's has been around for a long time now and it continues to be a place that is welcoming to all, including families, large groups, softball teams, and couples on dates. [Honorable Mention: Hillside Pub]
Hidden Boston
Tavolo Ristorante: Another category with many options this year, Tavolo narrowly beats out the wonderful Massimo's in Wakefield in part because of its house-made pasta, upscale takes on Italian classics (like the chicken parmigiana), well-made cocktails, and comfortable atmosphere. Tavolo and the Ashmont Grill are under the same ownership and are basically across the street from each other, which always makes for a difficult decision. [Honorable Mention: Massimo's Ristorante]
Hidden Boston
Ganko Ittetsu Ramen: Another restaurant that could be seen as the top spot of them all this year (in addition to the Ashmont Grill), this tiny eatery within the historic Arcade Building in Coolidge Corner is head and shoulders above so many other ramen spots, with their miso, tan tan, and shoyu options all being almost otherworldly with their balance of flavors. But as mentioned last year, if you are more into fatty broths, Sapporo in Cambridge may be your place instead. [Honorable Mention: Tampopo]
Lone Star Taco Bar: Perhaps more Cal-Mex and/or Tex-Mex than purely Mexican, this little storefront between Inman Square and Lechmere can get crowded and for good reason--the street food here is tremendous, with such items as Sonoran dogs, beef barbacoa, guacamole, and refried bean tostadas all being delicious options, along with a nacho plate inspired by a restaurant in Mexico that reportedly invented nachos. [Honorable Mention: Villa Mexico]
Hidden Boston
Poopsie's: Can it be that a tired-looking place in a suburban shopping center gets the nod for pizza this year? Yup, and considering how much great bar pizza (and pizza in general) is out there is a testament as to just how good the bar pies at this South Shore watering hole are. Many debate whether Poopsie's, the Lynwood Cafe in Randolph, or Cape Cod Cafe in Brockton wins out for bar pizza, but this year, at least, it is this humble little spot with a funny name. [Honorable Mention: Brewer's Fork]
Hidden Boston
Bob's Italian Foods: Unlike Nick's in Beverly, which won last year on the strength on one specific sandwich (its roast beef), this old-world Italian market offers so many terrific subs that it can be hard to choose from among them. A few highlights include their Italian subs, of course, along with eggplant parm, roast beef, steak and cheese, Italian sausage, and their truly sublime meatball subs. [Honorable Mention: Tasty on the Hill]
Hidden Boston
Out of the Blue: A restaurant that doesn't get enough credit--especially considering it resides in the always-busy Davis Square--this Sicilian seafood restaurant may not be flashy, but some of their menu items are certainly not to be missed. If you're a fan of such items as mussels, cherrystone clams, pan-seared scallops, grilled swordfish, baked stuffed lobster, shrimp scampi, and calamari, chances are you will adore this spot. [Honorable Mention: CK Pearl]
Hidden Boston
Ocean Sushi: Last year, this out-of-the-way sushi bar came very close to winning the "best sushi" award, and this year, it makes the grade in part because of its beautifully-presented and fresh-tasting sushi options and its bright and cheery atmosphere. Buried away in a luxury apartment complex, Ocean Sushi is very easy to miss, but for sushi lovers who live in this development, they basically have it made. [Honorable Mention: Village Sushi and Grill]
Hidden Boston
Dok Bua: There is always talk of a "hall of fame" for best hidden restaurants that continue to impress over and over again, and if there ever were to be one, this casual cheap eats spot between Coolidge Corner and the Allston line would be one of the first to get in. The simple street food dishes at Dok Bua remain among the best in the region, with highlights including pad Thai with crispy chicken, pad se ew, drunken noodles, and curry puffs. [Honorable Mention: Thai Moon]
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