By Eric Twardzik

Downtown Boston’s one-time reputation as a restaurant desert is thankfully outdated. Today it’s home to a wonderfully diverse set of eateries, from authentic ethnic fare to swanky special-occasion spots.


Interior of haley.henry

In a neighborhood otherwise split between take-out lunch spots and swanky power dining, Haley.Henry is refreshingly different. You won’t find rushed lunch breaks or client meetings within its tiny industrial-chic space. Instead, expect friends and couples lingering over bottles of natural wine, charcuterie, and one of the city’s best selections of tinned fish.

From an a la carte menu to a six-course chef’s tasting, there are a variety of ways to enjoy No. 9 Park, Barbara Lynch’s fine dining destination bordering the Boston Common. We enjoy dropping in for the bar menu, which includes an ever-changing but always on-point preparation of Prime Steak Tartare. It pairs perfectly with the Palmyra, a refreshingly easy cocktail made with vodka, lime juice, and mint.

Hand-pulled noodles from Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe
Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe

Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe, a lunchtime outpost straddling the Downtown Crossing and Chinatown border, has earned righteous acclaim for its starchy and stretchy hand-pulled noodles. For first-timers we recommend the #4 Hand-Pulled Noodles, which are doused in spicy red chili sauce and garlic. Come back for the #9, a cumin-and-lamb rendition which ups the ante with plenty of meat, spice, and shredded vegetables.


Chandeliers, sculpted ceilings, and a portrait of Christopher Walken in Napoleonic garb make Yvonne’s one of the most over-the-top settings for dinner in the city. Its menu matches the extravagant aesthetics, featuring bites like Chicken and Quinoa Meatballs in Chinese garlic sauce and feeds-two “feasts” like a Grilled “Viper” Chop with crispy kimchi fried rice. It’s worth visiting for the cocktails alone—just bring a group to partake in the large-format drinks that require a party of four or more to share.

Villa Mexico Café 

Villa Mexico Café is the brainchild of a Mexican immigrant (and former lawyer) frustrated with the lack of authentic Mexican cuisine in Boston. Here, every burrito comes grilled and can be filled with the likes of carnitas, chorizo, or chicken in a house-specialty mole sauce. Just be sure to get the timing right: Villa Mexico is only open until 5 p.m. each day and is closed on weekends.

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