- Best for History Lovers: Durgin-Park has packed 'em in since 1827. It serves classic New England fare in abundant portions at communal tables, delighting everyone from local tycoons to visiting toddlers. Well, almost everyone: The famously crotchety staff is so much a part of the legend that some people are disappointed when — quite often — the waitresses are courteous and pleasant. Our other historic choice is Union Oyster House. Wise guys sneer about all the tourists, but the Union Oyster House is popular with both visitors and locals for a reason — the unbeatable combination of historic atmosphere and traditional food that's drawn crowds since 1826.
- Best for a Special Occassion Meal: The setting is sleekly minimalist at Asta, perhaps a bit too much so, but what's served is a celebration on a plate.This is, quite simply, one of the most sophisticated restaurants in town, a tasting menu-only joint that expertly showcases the talents of Alex Crabb, a man with a penchant for unusual ingredients and boldly colorful plates.
- Best for Devoted Foodies: Get ready to overeat! Not only are the Turkish inspired regular menu items revelatory at Sarma (OMG! The seven layered hummus!), but staff walk around with the nightly specials, dim sum style, inviting diners to try items inspired by what was freshest at the market that day. Don't even try to resist.
- Best for Burgers: Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage. Trends in food and fashion come and go, and Harvard Square sees them all. Luckily, the neighborhood has a place that puts the "comfort" in comfort food. Bartley's is famous for its juicy burgers, incredible onion rings, and a down-to-earth atmosphere that's increasingly rare in these parts.
- Best for Pizza: With its red-and-white-checked tablecloths and fiery oven, Pizzeria Regina looks like Hollywood's idea of a pizza joint. After one bite of slightly smoky crust, you'll be sending Martin Scorsese to the back of the line.
- Best for Kids: The wood-fired brick ovens of the Bertucci's chain are magnets for little eyes, and the pizza that comes out of them is equally enthralling. Picky parents will be happy here, too.
- Best for Groups: Little Donkey has all the elements necessary to keep groups happy: a buzzy atmosphere, great music and tapas plates that are big enough to share and unusual enough (foie gras brachwurst anyone?) to start conversations.
- Best for a Business Lunch: Plenty of deals go down at private clubs and formal restaurants, but that can take hours. Show your local savvy by joining the line at the Sultan's Kitchen.
- Best French Cuisine: The brasserie craze that has Boston in its grip started at Brasserie Jo, and all of the copycats fall short. The long hours make it a good respite during a Back Bay shopping spree.
- Best Italian Cuisine: The best restaurant in the North End, Mamma Maria, is one of the best in town. In a lovely setting, it offers remarkable regional Italian fare in a spaghetti-and-meatballs neighborhood.
- Best Wine List: A wine list that suits the tricky cuisine and doesn't break the bank is just one of many things to love about Market.
- Best Value: You'll do a double-take when the check arrives after dinner at the Helmand. Yes, you're really that satisfied for that little money.
- Best Chinese Food: And by that we mean ALL of China, including Tawain (the hard-to-find-in-the-U.S. oyster pancakes are a delight). Dumpling Cafe is the place to go in Chinatown, especially if you're in need of a dim sum brunch.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.