South End Staples

By Eric Twardzik
Myers + Chang

Don’t be fooled by this neighborhood’s low-key ambiance; these brownstones hide countless stellar restaurants manned by some of Boston’s top chefs.

Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesian—there’s a shout out to several genres of Asian cooking in the family-style menu at Joanne Chang’s Asian fusion favorite Myers + Chang. Street food classics like Pork + Chive Dumplings and Dan Dan Noodles coexist with modern creations like Fried Chicken + Ginger Waffles. It may also be one of Boston’s most thoughtful restaurants: Separate menus for vegetarian, gluten-free, nut-free, or shellfish-free diners ensure that no taste buds go unsatisfied.

Barbara Lynch has opened more than a few of Boston’s most acclaimed restaurants—but subterranean B&G Oysters is her one and only exploration of classic New England seafood, serving perfectly fried clams and simple, expertly garnished lobster rolls that put Maine’s to shame. An oyster list boasting a dozen varieties at any given time will satisfy the most manic of mollusk enthusiasts, and during fair weather the backyard patio is an excellent venue for al fresco slurping.

Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer’s Barcelona-style Toro may have opened more than a decade ago, but the tapas restaurant still inspires hours-long wait times—even on weekday nights. Once inside its tightly packed confines, diners are rewarded with Toro classics like pressed uni sandwiches, roasted bone marrow, and grilled street corn. Toro’s even managed to pull off that rarest of culinary coups: It’s a Boston original with a second location in New York.

The Gallows

The team behind Banyan Bar + Refuge and Blackbird Doughnuts began with The Gallows, a gastropub that elevates burger-making into a holy art with creations like the French Dip Burger or a pulled pork-topped Southern Comfort Burger. The rest of the menu strikes a similar high/low balance with creations like Lobster Gyro and Duck Pot Pie. Classic Poutine is served, but for something out of the ordinary opt for an always-changing “Out of Control” option (past iterations have smothered fries with Southwest chili, chop suey, and more).

Another hit from Bissonnette and Oringer, tiny Coppa channels the duo’s creative energies into pizza and pasta. And with great success; decadent spaghetti carbonara with sea urchin and a white bone marrow pizza with roasted beef heart have earned local fame. Peckish diners can content themselves with plates of cheese and salumi, best enjoyed on the patio that spills into the adjacent sidewalk and provides the perfect backdrop for a pitcher of Aperol spritz in warmer months.