After 2023’s plethora of impressive restaurant openings, from star-studded to favored reopenings, 2024 has some big shoes to fill.
As it currently stands: It seems Boston’s culinary scene will have no problem continuing to expand and dazzle with the increase of global flavors from Portuguese to Greek, Boston’s only all-you-can-eat wagyu beef concept and a massive pickleball establishment anchored by four restaurants all on the horizon.
We’ve compiled a guide to the new restaurants where we can’t wait to book a table, organized by the hottest culinary trends that they fall under: from international flair to popular expansions, reopenings, long-awaited eateries and new but mysterious offerings.
After temporarily shuttering amidst the pandemic in 2020, China Pearl, remained closed to complete a series of renovations that wouldn’t have been possible without the forced downtime. The decades-old Chinatown banquet hall and dim sum house is run by the Moy family who refer to the venue as “the oldest active Chinese restaurant in Boston.” Though guests may not recognize the once dark, gaudy interiors now replaced by new windows and exposed brick walls, diners can expect the same nostalgic menu of Chinese favorites, including shu mai, pork buns, steamed dumplings, rice and noodle dishes as well as contemporary riffs on classic entrees.
Downtown Boston’s Leather District will also see the return of a legendary locale as City Realty and Royale teamed up to reopen Jacob Wirth. The 4,100-square-foot German beer hall was Boston’s second-oldest continually operated restaurant until it closed due to an upstairs fire in 2018. The revival of Jacob Wirth – slated to open in Q1 of 2024 – will bring a return of local and global brews, and a revamp of its culinary offerings for a combined menu of modernized German dishes and Boston bar favorites.
The South End will welcome two globally-inspired restaurants in 2024. The first is a modern Portuguese concept from Coda Restaurant Group (SRV, The Salty Pig, and Gufo) called Baleia, that will offer dishes like Piri Piri Chicken, Lamb Shank Tagine and Pork and Seafood Stew at the base of The Troy Building starting in January.
Xenia Greek Hospitality (behind Krasi, Bar Vlaha) will also move in to the South End come the spring with a new approach to Greek cuisine as they continue to make Boston home to one of the most exciting Greek dining scenes in the country. Aptly named Kaia (pure earth and sea), the restaurant’s menu will pay respect to what these elements have already perfected.
Across the bridge in Cambridge, Will Gilson (Puritan & Co., Cafe Beatrice) is planning a new fusion of fast-casual Mediterranean and rotisserie chicken on First Avenue set to debut in March 2024.
This past year saw an influx of out-of-towners opening flagships and multiple locations throughout the city and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down in 2024.
New Haven pizza-icon, Sally’s Apizza opened their first location outside of Connecticut in Woburn in mid-December, and in the second half of 2024 will open a new flagship location in the Seaport.
Cambridge’s renowned udon hotspot, Yume Ga Arukara, is also opening their second location in the Seaport in the first month of the New Year. Celebrated for their cold and hot udon noodle bowls, the new location will feature a selection of unique appetizers and sake served at dinner, whereas lunch will remain a quick grab-and-go operation.
Chinatown will welcome Boston’s first all-you-can-eat (AYCE) wagyu beef concept in early 2024 (late January or early February): Mikiya is a national Shabu eatery with locations in Texas, California and Las Vegas, offering a sleek Asian interior with a menu to match.
Come September, Bosse Pickleball will open their second outpost at Natick Mall. The 90,000-square-foot facility will feature the largest indoor pickleball complex in the state as it takes over the former Neiman Marcus property, while offering social amenities including four restaurants and private event spaces.
A few 2023 openings were pushed to early 2024, which further builds the anticipation behind their grand introductions. XOXO Sushi by chef Keegan Stritchko (formerly of Uni and Fat Baby Sushi) will open in March 2024 across from the Shoppes at Chestnut Hill. Diners can expect contemporary new American-Japanese cuisine with a rotating chef’s omakase menu. The restaurant will cure its own fish in-house as well as dry-age its beef for an elevated dining experience.
Chef Jason Santos will finally unveil ButterBird, his all-day, fast-casual concept in Arsenal Yards, come July 2024. Santos reinvents his signature biscuits as the foundations for mouthwatering breakfast sandwiches while items like fried chicken sandwiches and seasonal salads jump out on the lunch menu.
Sister restaurant to Thai-favorite Mahaniyom, the new Merai was slated to open in late 2023 but will now satiate in early 2024. The Brookline Village restaurant will incorporate Thai flavors into a variety of cuisines for an ultra-unique menu. This extends to its bar program as Merai is a Thai word in reference to alcohol, so there’ll be distinct flavors and presentations used for their cocktails, too.
Over in Everett, Seamark Seafood is slated to open in the former Sinatra space at Encore Boston Harbor Hotel and Casino in April. Helmed by Carver Road Hospitality, their inaugural seafood spot will offer a signature pier-to-plate concept that presents the freshest available cold-water fish, lobster and shellfish. The multi-faceted space is anchored by an 82-seat dining room, with a 30-seat alcove dining area, 41-seat showcase bar and lounge as well as a 34-seat alfresco terrace, 21-seat corridor terrace and 16-seat private dining room.
The team behind Trade, Porto, Saloniki and The Venetian will open their newest venture in the spring: La Padrona at Raffles Back Bay. The Italian restaurant was designed to transport guests from the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston to a custom-designed Grand Italian villa. Chef Jody Adams and Executive Chef Amarilys Colon will delight with their interpretations of traditional Italian cuisine, relying on ingredients sourced directly from Italy (like salumi and artisan cheeses) and around New England (produce and seafood) to stitch in local flair. All pastas will be house-made, and the dishes will span the entire country, from northern Piedmont to the islands of Sicily.
New and mysterious
While some of Boston’s hottest openings have been forthcoming with launch details, others have been slightly more discreet as they arrange final features. Though we don’t know all the particularities, we’re eager to learn more about Garrett Harker’s fourth concept that will join his reopened Eastern Standard and new All That Fish + Oyster at The Bower in Fenway. MAZI Food Group (Ilona South End, KAVA-Neo Taverna and Gigi South End) will also reveal a fourth concept in the spring. Fans of Sarah Wade (behind Stillwater and Sloane’s) will want to keep an eye on her anticipated new spot at 745 Atlantic Ave. slate for summer 2024. And finally, Jamaica Plain should see a new Mexican restaurant in the former El Oriental de Cuba space, with whisperings of Abuela’s Table by chef Adolfo Alvarado set to replace it.
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