The Best Restaurants in Dorchester

By Emily Millian
11/23/2022
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Just south of Boston proper, Dorchester is the largest neighborhood in the city. The densely populated area—aka Dot—also claims attractions like Franklin Park and the JFK Presidential Library and Museum. For us, what really makes it special is the wide array of cuisines to be found. From Vietnamese joints to local pubs and a family-owned ice cream shop, check out the best Dorchester restaurants.

M&M BBQ Sandwich
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Perched above the neighborhood, the beer scene at Dorchester Brewing Company is picturesque and quenching. House brews go hand in hand with city skyline views from the brewery’s open-air roof deck and “Hopservatory,” a four-season rooftop greenhouse. The taproom serves up classic and creative beers like Light Year Journey NEIPA and a fruited sour ale called Acai Bowl, along with other beers from local partners. Pairing with a brew or two, order some of Boston’s best barbecue from M&M BBQ, located inside the taproom, such as finger-licking ribs and one of our favorite Fried Chicken Sammies.

Yellow Door Taqueria

Credit: Chris McIntosh

Head over to Lower Mills in search of the yellow door—Yellow Door Taqueria, that is. Serving up California-inspired Mexican fare, the menu is filled with colorful tacos including a fun spin on New England’s fried seafood in Scallop Frito, with pickled jalapeño and celery mayonesa and pico slaw. To pair with a taco or three, choose your own adventure with De La Casa, the house margarita which comes in flavors like spiced guava and lime leaf and ginger. On the brunch menu, the YDT Breakfast Taco is a must—scrambled eggs, spicy chorizo, cotija cheese, chipotle aioli, crispy tortilla strips, and salsa verde on a soft house-made tortilla. Yellow Door also has a larger location in the South End with a huge bar and outdoor patio, plus a brand-new outpost in Mission Hill.

Singh's Roti

Credit: Chris McIntosh

A dish with Trinidadian roots, the namesake is not to be missed at Singh’s Roti Shop. The Upham’s Corner spot has a full section of the menu dedicated to roti, a thin, round unleavened flatbread paired with curry-like stews. We love the Goat Roti and Vegetarian Roti. Along with anything from the roti section, an order of Doubles is warranted—two pieces of fried dough packed with flavorful chickpeas. And if you so dare, add a side of House-made Trinidad Pepper Sauce to your order. Fair warning: this is not for the spice-skeptical.

Ba Le

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Dorchester is home to a large Vietnamese diaspora and some of the best Vietnamese food around. Ba Le, located in Fields Corner on Dot Ave.—a cultural district newly known as Boston Little Saigon—is a standout. The Vietnamese coffee shop and bakery makes homemade baguettes made daily, the vessel for the classic banh mi, as well as nearly a dozen options of the beloved street-food sandwich. Each Ba Le banh mi is dressed with house-made mayo, fish sauce, scallion oil, and crunchy veggies. We love the archetypical Dac Biet version, with “combination pork” of cold cuts and pȃté. The best part of all? The entire menu is well under $20 while the quality is top notch. 

Shanti

Credit: Chris McIntosh

Shanti Restaurant has made its mark in Boston with three outposts of traditional Indian and Bangladeshi cooking in Kendall Square, Roslindale and Dorchester. The menu does well by gotta-have-it snacks, such as roti bread and chaats, as well as curries and chicken tandoori baked in a clay oven. Shanti is open for both dine-in as well as takeout and delivery

American Provisions

American Provisions Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

After becoming indispensable in South Boston, American Provisions owners Matt Thayer and Andy Fadous did it again in Dot. At the Ashmont location, AP has a full breakfast menu as well as new sandwiches (and of course some favorites from Southie like the beloved Italian). Holidays on your mind? Take the stress out of baking and tag American Provisions to take care of holiday pies, available annually for pick up at both locations.

Pho 2000

Pho 2000 Boston
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

In the heart of Dorchester’s Fields Corner, Pho 2000 is an absolute standard for some of the best pho in the city. The namesake classic calls for an extra large, steaming beef noodle bowl. The signature dish includes sliced rare steak, well-done brisket, flank, tendon, and tripe in a wildly savory beef broth. For other Vietnamese dishes, order some fresh rolls and assorted vermicelli.

Molinari's

Credit: Chris McIntosh

When you go to Molinari’s, you are essentially at the family dinner table. The Adams Village restaurant takes it back to grassroots, focusing on quality Italian comfort food and family tradition. The golden child is the wood-fired oven, cranking out delightfully charred pizzas and adding smoky flavor to other dishes like the Oven Roasted Chicken Wings. 

Venice Pizza

Credit: Chris McIntosh

Venice Pizza is a longtime neighborhood pizzeria in Savin Hill which was revived in 2021 by alumni of Pastoral and Neptune Oyster. The thin-crust, New York-esque pie starts with a milk-based dough that is fermented for 48 hours, then rolled with a pin. Toppings span the usual suspects—pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers—to less so, like cotto ham and creamy mashed potato. Pizzas are the star, but not the only thing that shines here. Garlic bread knots, handmade mozzarella sticks, and wings are fan favorites. Having people over for the big game? Order the Knots Party Box, which includes not only garlic but also Italian Knots, Mozz Knots, and Chocolate Knots.

dbar

Credit: Elissa Garza

While Dbar may come to mind for its nightlife, the food scene is just as exciting. From chef-partner Christopher Coombs (best known for Deuxave) and team, Dbar takes the liveliness from Back Bay to Dot. As a nod to its fine French sibling restaurant, Dbar serves up riffs on signature dishes like the Penne Bolognaise, a lush, Italian tomato sauce Frenchified with veal and pancetta; and Giannone Chicken Under a Brick. 

The Banshee

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

In a city filled with sports bars, The Banshee is a tried and true haunt for international soccer fans, especially the European leagues as the Irish pub opens at 9 a.m. on weekends. Early-morning games come with a breakfast menu of Salsa Verde Baked Eggs and Pulled Pork Breakfast Burritos. Not just a soccer bar, it is also a go-to spot for rugby fans, and for that matter, most American sports, too. Along with an extensive beer list of imports and local brews, the bar stays open late for pub fare and cocktails.

 

Reign Drink Lab

Credit: Tam Le

Tucked behind Fields Corner mainstay Pho Hoa, Reign Drink Lab reimagines Vietnamese iced coffee and teas with fresh additions and Insta-worthy preparations. Among the original libations is the Dark & Stormy, which uses novel, nitro-poured Vietnamese-style cold brew layered with a shot of regular Viet coffee, and sweetened sea salt cream. Get there early on the weekend to catch creative mochi doughnuts from Brighton’s Pon de Joy.

The Ice Creamsmith

Credit: Chris McIntosh

Located in Lower Mills, The Ice Creamsmith has been scooping homemade ice cream seasonally in Dorchester since 1976. The family-run operation, which is open from April through Thanksgiving, produces small-batch ice cream, all made onsite in the hole-in-the-wall spot. It’s the type of old-school ice cream shop that has been known to have a line out the door on summer nights. The Ice Creamsmith keeps it simple with about 10 classic flavors including a New England favorite of Maple Walnut along with monthly specials. The shop also has a slew of parlor treats like ice cream sandwiches with homemade cookies, frappes, and sundaes. Follow on social media to find out when it reopens for the season.

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