Where to Find the Best Jamaica Plain Restaurants

By Jacqueline Cain
08/10/2022
Where to Find the Best Jamaica Plain Restaurants
Brassica Kitchen

Jamaica Plain is one of Boston’s most unique neighborhoods. Full of charming Victorian homes, welcoming green spaces like the Arboretum and Jamaica Pond, and diverse blocks of indie businesses and restaurants, it's a true community and you can feel it when you step foot off the Orange Line. Whether it’s a date-night destination on Centre Street, a lively pub, or a bakery to swing by for brunch, JP has it all. Next time you’re between Jackson Square and Forest Hills, here’s where to go for the best JP dining.

Brassica Kitchen + Cafe

This James Beard award-nominated dining experience suits quirky Jamaica Plain, from the sugar-coated churronuts, locally roasted coffee, and breakfast sandwiches of destination-worthy weekend brunch to the spirulina-spiked drinks come dinnertime. A lively open kitchen, dining room with mismatched furniture, and an endearingly ad-hoc parking-lot patio, Brassica Kitchen + Cafe is located on Washington Street across from Forest Hills Station. It’s helmed by a passionate team of hippies: Your server will explain the night’s selection of house-infused vermouths, hot sauces, and the latest fermentation projects, showcased across cool cocktails and small plates. Seasonal, globally influenced dishes join staples like B.K. Beets, Koji Risotto, and the crunchy, juicy B.K. Fried Chicken on the nightly changing menu, available a la carte or chef’s-choice style via “The Ride” tasting menu.

TRES GATOS | Where to Find the Best Jamaica Plain Restaurants

Part Spanish tapas bar, part record and bookstore, and part actual living room, Tres Gatos is another only-in-JP type of place. The cozy, welcoming neighborhood restaurant offers delicious renditions of tapas classics like Patatas Bravas with hazelnut romesco, Paella, and Gambas al Ajillo (shrimp with a vibrant cilantro-lime sauce). Chef’s specials, such as rotating ceviches, make use of farm-fresh ingredients and occasionally even herbs grown on the garden patio. Along with local craft beer and seasonal cocktails, there’s an extensive selection of Spanish wine and sherry. The restaurant feels lived-in—after all, it really was once somebody’s apartment—with a lively bar, small dining room open to the kitchen, and the bookstore in the back. Patio seating in the front yard as well as along Roseway Street is available into the fall.

Vee Vee

Vee Vee | Where to Find the Best Jamaica Plain Restaurants

Dining at Vee Vee is like going over to your friend’s house in JP who collects local art and has the best-stocked beer fridge. The intimate restaurant has a small bar with just four tap lines, but the offerings are always fresh and never the usual suspects (think Trillium IPAs or an Honest Weight stout). Beyond its beer cred, Vee Vee is a longtime neighborhood favorite with a reliable seasonal menu of apps, entrees, and desserts. We love the Crispy Shiitake Mushrooms and marinated Statler chicken with ricotta gnocchi. The husband-and-wife owners are locals who opened the place in 2008 and have employed a familiar team of friendly faces ever since. This summer, they debuted an awesome outdoor dining area off of Eliot Street with an outdoor bar and plenty of shade.

The Haven

The Haven Jamaica restaurant

Boston’s only Scottish restaurant just got new digs in Jamaica Plain: After a decade in Hyde Square, The Haven is now open at the Brewery Complex on Amory Street, next door to the Sam Adams Brewery. All of our favorites made the move, from the Scotch Egg, The Haven Burger, and Fish Supper to the Deep-Fried Mars Bar. The larger, fancier pub expands on the offerings with new-to-The-Haven pizzas and vegetarian dishes, plus a larger selection of local and imported craft beer, cider, and cocktails. The Haven is Boston’s authority on single-malt Scotch, with a huge selection behind the mid-century modern bar and weekly DRAMnight tastings on Thursdays. Other eclectic events populate the calendar, from Premier League brunches to live comedy and music performances. 

Blue Nile

Blue Nile Vegetarian food Boston
Brian Samuels Photography

The lively Hyde Square area of Jamaica Plain boasts a few enticing cuisines from around the world, including Ethiopian restaurant Blue Nile. The spot itself is as bright and welcoming as the comfort food on the menu: Lemon and lime-painted walls are decorated with art, photography, and instruments from the Haile family’s homeland. Ethiopian food features lots of legumes, making it very vegetarian-friendly, and it’s meant to be shared and savored. Fragrant stews and braises like Misir Wat (spiced red lentils) and Gomen Wat (chopped collard greens) are served and sopped up with tangy injera flatbread. Order a colorful combo plate to try scoops of four or six options (and this hearty cuisine makes great leftovers). Blue Nile has a seasonal patio and also offers takeout.

CHILACATES Boston

Since debuting in JP in 2015, this brand of Mexican street food spots has expanded into other Boston neighborhoods (and infiltrated their best-of lists). Its home territory now boasts two locations, one on Centre Street and the original, mostly takeout outpost kitty-corner to Stony Brook station. Give us all the Chilacates: We have yet to find anything on the menu we don’t like. Pick your protein, like spicy Chicken Tinga or pineapple-jeweled Al Pastor, and your vessel. Some days we go for a taco plate with homemade tortillas, other days we’re shouting from the rooftops about how Chilacates makes the best burritos in Boston. The enchiladas are excellent and so are the tortas. You really can’t go wrong. Treat yourself to Birria, the decadently drippy grilled cheese-and-meat tacos; and a cup of brightly tart Agua Fresca de jamaica (hibiscus). Chilacates also has a stellar, low-key weekend brunch menu.

Brendan Behan Pub

The Best Irish Pubs In Boston - Brendan Behan

This authentic Irish pub is the type of neighborhood bar we always want to live near. It’s seemingly open all the time, cash-only, and pouring a rotating selection of craft beer along with other dive-bar essentials, like few-ingredient cocktails. The Behan doesn’t serve food besides chips, but takeout is welcome and the pub is close by to JP staples like Blue Nile and places to pick up Cuban sandwiches. The Behan has a seasonal patio and wide-open front windows, plus a covered, heated backyard that feels like the best-kept secret in JP. Pull up a bar stool and check in on the fish tank, or cozy up with friends around a table for a live Irish music session.

Third Cliff Bakery

Third Cliff Bakery

Founder Meg Crowley named her bakery for a scenic South Shore spot, but luckily for us city folks, she rooted it in Jamaica Plain. Third Cliff Bakery, which started as a pop-up with a tricycle that Crowley would pedal to farmers markets, is located between Stony Brook and Forest Hills on Washington Street, where its crispy, crackly croissants in flavors like Kimchi Cheddar and Guava Cream Cheese have a cult following. Coconut Cold Brew iced coffee and fluffy loaves of Milk Bread are other reasons to love this bakery. Orange-cardamom Cardi Buns and savory slices of focaccia make an apt substitution if the “croix” are ever sold out when you visit; you can follow Third Cliff on social media for frequent availability updates (and to get familiar with the cute brand’s lingo). 

Samuel Adams Boston
Photo Provided by Samuel Adams

JP is historically a Boston brewing hotspot: Two dozen breweries operated around Jamaica Plain and Roxbury in the 19th century, most prominently Haffenreffer Brewery. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, Haffenreffer’s original brewery complex is also home to Samuel Adams, modern-day Boston’s forerunning brewery. In 1985, the then-brand-new Boston Beer Co. rented space at the brewery complex for local distribution and soon began brewing specialty beers on-site (Boston Lager and the like are made in Cincinnati). The Sam Adams’ brewery outpost became its first Boston taproom; the craft pioneer expanded to Faneuil Hall in 2020. The Jamaica Plain taproom is worth the diversion off the beaten path for exclusive beers on tap like Arborway Double IPA, a quiet patio with fire pits, and brewery tour packages any beer lover will appreciate.

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