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The Best Tasting Menus in Boston

The Best Tasting Menus in Boston
Troquet on South / Credit: Chris McIntosh
By Emily Millian · 10/07/2022

Whether you’re new to a cuisine or a frequent flier, tasting menus can be the best way to get to know a restaurant. The ultimate tasting menus are tailored to feature both greatest hits and off-the-cuff creations. Many come with a hefty price tag worthy of special occasions, but tasting menus can be a fit for those just-because nights, too. From chef’s-whim experiences and traditional omakase to farm-to-table feasts, check out these memorable meals throughout Boston and beyond.

The Best Tasting Menus in Boston

 

Asta - The Best Tasting Menus in Boston

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Asta

Intentionally minimalist and consciously curated, Asta is built on the concept of tasting menus. (Well, that and the occasional, Saturday afternoon Fried Chicken and a Biscuit pop-up. This Back Bay beauty contains multitudes!) Each dish hyper-focuses on its specific ingredients to showcase its natural flavors—imagine a flawless heap of lobster salad with cucumber and basil, or a plated forest scape of fungi. Chef-owner Alexander Crabb may have cut his chops at the more traditional French fine-dining institution L’Espalier (now closed), but Asta flips the script. Each tasting menu ($120) is harmoniously paired with wine for an optional $70. Take me there.

Brassica Kitchen + Cafe

Buckle up and get ready for a wild ride. Brassica Kitchen + Cafe, a Jamaica Plain jewel, has a whimsical, no-holds-barred style that is fitting for the eclectic neighborhood. Take, for example, dishes like Crab & Donuts with massaman curry, or the so-called Spicy AF Tofu. So it’s no surprise that the tasting menu here, lovingly known as The Ride, is unconventional, defying the typical path of a multi-course meal. Available nightly in the Forest Hills neighborhood, the chef’s choice-style menu (price varies, with or without drink pairings) may include hand-picked dishes from the a la carte menu, such as the B.K. Fried Chicken, as well as the occasional off-menu treat. Take me there.

Deuxave | The Best Tasting Menus in Boston

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Deuxave

Situated on the prominent corner of Massachusetts and Commonwealth avenues, this upscale French restaurant gives glamorous special-occasion vibes. The Back Bay bistro serves up never-had-it-better iterations of classics like the 9 Hour French Onion Soup with Comté cheese and a bone marrow crouton, Tagliatelle “Bolognaise,” and seasonally accented Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras. For an all-in experience at Deuxave, let chef Chris Coombs take the wheel on a five-course tasting menu. To top it off, Deuxave’s sommelier can add supplemental pairings from the manuscript-sized wine list to best fit with each dish. Take me there.

Forage | The Best Tasting Menus in Boston

Credit: Chris McIntosh

Forage

Tasting menus don’t need to be formal and fussy. Cambridge neighborhood bistro Forage proves just that. Owner-operator Stan Hilbert and team curate approachable tasting menus for everyone—omnivore, pescatarians, vegetarians, and vegans. Honing in on local flavors and products, tasting menus are available at $60 per person with optional wine pairings for $45. All diners need to do is have the entire table participate in the tasting menu, and sit back and enjoy—whether in Forage’s  intimate dining room or outside on the heated patio. Looking for a cozy night at home? You can also take these tasting menus (with wine!) to go. Take me there.

Giulia

A workstation by day and dinner table by night, the custom-built, oak Pasta Table at Giulia is home to the Chef’s Tasting Menu. In true Italian style, this multi-course meal is served family-style and crafted from scratch every night. The Porter Square restaurant also follows the traditional Italian meal progression of sfizzi (small plates), antipasti, then a selection of pasta made dalla nostra tavola (“from our table”). The meal continues with a course of locally sourced meat or seafood, and concludes sweetly with an assortment of dolci. Monday through Thursday, a five-course menu is available for $95. On Friday and Saturday, there are two seating options, with three courses early on ($75) followed by the usual five. The Pasta Table may be reserved for seven to 12 people. Take me there.

Lenox Sophia

When it came to opening his own place, Lenox Sophia chef-owner Shi Mei always wanted it to feel like guests were sitting in his own home, dining in his own kitchen. Mission accomplished: This small, South Boston spot (formerly a counter-service pie shop) serves modern American prix-fixe fare in a casual, fine dining atmosphere. Omnivores and vegetarians alike will be treated to five-course menus ($98) of farm-sourced dishes, like King Trumpet Mushrooms sauced in elderflower miso, Tagliatelle with Italian summer truffles, and Monkfish atop succotash with onion soubise. What makes this hole-in-the-wall extra unexpected is the lack of liquor license. Lenox Sophia is one of the few Boston restaurants that allow guests to BYOB wine and beer. Take me there.

Menton tasting menu

Credit: Chris McIntosh

Menton

At the only Relais & Chateau property in Boston, Menton is a luxury worthy of the most special of occasions. The Fort Point fine-dining restaurant is from acclaimed chef Barbara Lynch. Named for a French seaside town near the Italian border, Lynch describes Menton as a blend of French discipline and Italian passion, seen in both its tasting menu and wine pairings (optional $135). The $190 Chef’s Tasting menu is full of decadence, including additions of luscious truffles and Royal Osetra Caviar, and it is an unmatched dining experience in Boston. Take me there.

Momi Nomni Boston

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Momi Nomni

This cozy yet modern Japanese tavern is an Inman Square neighborhood destination for chef’s-choice sushi and top-shelf sake. Chef-owner Chris Chung takes monthly reservations at Momi Nonmi for nigiri omakase dinners, ranging from 14 to 28 pieces and featuring the best seafood he can source from Japan and the U.S. Think: premium fish, uni and Hokkaido scallops. Folks feeling extra adventurous (and those ready to drop a pretty penny) opt for the Jukusei (aged) Sushi Omakase ($425), a specialty featuring cured and matured ingredients. For the most up-to-date dishes and last-minute omakase availability, be sure to check Instagram. Take me there.

Mooncusser

Lofted three stories above the picturesque, petite Boston neighborhood of Bay Village, Mooncusser is a stunning oasis of white tablecloths and nightly tasting menus that leave us swooning. From the team behind Concord’s classy 80 Thoreau, Mooncusser is helmed by Top Chef alum Carl Dooley, who’s no stranger to fine dining himself, as the former chef of now-shuttered gems, the Table at Season to Taste and Craigie on Main. At his latest perch, Dooley offers a seafood-centric, four-course prix-fixe ($95) with globally influenced dishes like Marinated Hiramasa Crudo with mango chutney, and optional wine pairings ($55). Guests choose between two dishes for each of the four courses, so it’s perfect for date night. Take me there.

Nightshade Noodle Bar

Without a doubt worth the venture beyond Boston to downtown Lynn, Nightshade Noodle Bar blends Vietnamese and French cuisine with additional Cajun and New England touches. The combo yields exciting seafood and noodle dishes, such as Grilled Langoustine with scallion oil and peanut romesco, a bite-sized Bone Marrow Banh Mi with green chili-citrus butter, and Homemade Egg Noodles with caramelized garlic sauce and chili crisp. By reservation only, the 24-seat restaurant offers blind tasting menus with seven, nine, 12,  or 14 courses, created by the inimitable chef Rachel Miller (former chef de cuisine at Clio). Custom beverage pairings with options from wine to a unique Coconut Margarita are also available nightly. Take me there.

No. 9 Park Boston

Credit: Chris McIntosh

No. 9 Park

Located on historic Beacon Hill and across from beautiful Boston Common, fine-dining doyenne Barbara Lynch’s flagship restaurant No. 9 Park is refined, regionally inspired, Italian and French cuisine. One may expect beautifully prepared dishes such as Agnolotti with ricotta and kale; and a Duet of Lamb with beet and spring onion. The Chef’s Tasting Menu of six courses is $160; add on pairings from a James Beard award-winning wine list for $95. Total bonus: This tasting menu is not confined to a formal dining room. It can be enjoyed anywhere in the restaurant including the Bar Room, low-key one of Boston’s ultimate cocktail destinations. Take me there.

No Relation

Tucked in an intimate room through the tropical cocktail oasis of Shore Leave, culinary thrillseekers will  find the underground sushi bar No Relation. The nine-seat nook is led by Shore Leave chef Colin Lynch (also of Bar Mezzana and Black Lamb), who plates an inventive, 14-course omakase ($150). It’s like a show, watching the artistry of the chef’s sushi preparation. Beverage pairings of sake or wine ($90) or a super-premium sake pairing ($150) are available to enhance this exclusive dining experience. Reservations are required and paid in advance; be sure to follow No Relation on Instagram for last-minute seat openings. Take me there.

O Ya Tasting Menu in Boston

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

O Ya

It’s been 15 years since owners chef Tim and Nancy Cushman debuted O Ya to the world, and it remains a crown jewel of the Boston dining scene. Known for beyond-stunning sushi, O Ya offers an extravagant omakase nightly: a 20-course, chef’s-choice menu that’s $250 (plus tax and gratuity) featuring nigiri, sashimi and cooked dishes. Expect the unexpected, such as the deliciously different Potato Chip Nigiri with black truffle. There’s an optional sake and beverage pairing for $150. In a dark, minimalist room, the space is a perfect backdrop for the colorful, indulgent, James Beard award-winning bites to really get the attention they deserve. Take me there.

SRV

Boston’s own Venetian-style bacaro with bite-sized cicchetti (small plates), SRV takes a different tack on Italian food—and is a South End delight. One of the best ways to navigate the menu is via the multi-course Arsenale. The nightly offering (currently $65 per person) includes the likes of chef Michael Lombardi’s heritage-grain pastas, made-to-order risotto, and homemade gelato, all plated to share among the table. Whether it’s for a special occasion or just a weekday outing, this tasting menu takes decision-making off the table so you can focus on your Negroni in hand and enjoy the courtyard-like back patio. Take me there.

The Best Tasting Menus in Boston

Credit: Chris McIntosh

Talulla

It’s intimate. It’s personal. And, it’s simply wonderful. Talullaled by husband-and-wife team, chef Conor Dennehy and sommelier Danielle Ayer—tells a story through each menu, each dish, and each bite. Drawing inspiration from their travels and family (Talulla is also the name of their young daughter), Dennehy and Ayer have beautifully curated five-course tasting menus ($85) with optional wine pairings ($55) available every night (even for walk-ins!). Menus change regularly based on seasonality of ingredients, but you can anticipate a balanced lineup starting with a crudo or raw seafood dish, house-made pastas and hearty mains, and pretty plated dessert. Pro tip: It’s worth starting with the warm, house-baked bread plate. Take me there.

Tasting Counter

A culinary experience like no other, Tasting Counter brings guests right to the (squeaky clean, calmy run) kitchen. This splurge-worthy adventure begins with an all-inclusive ticket for a two-hour, live culinary performance. Chef-owner Peter Ungár orchestrates a symphony of global techniques and local bounty, and his team executes flawlessly while personally serving and explaining every dish. The goal is to provide an uninterrupted meal—no menu choices need to be made, nor wallets opened up—and the result leaves diners transfixed. Tasting Counter is open Wednesday through Sunday for nine-course tasting menus with drink pairings ($325). For a lighter commitment, three-course lunchtime tasting menus are available on Thursdays and Fridays. Take me there.

Troquet on South | The Best Tasting Menus in Boston

Troquet on South

Located near South Station in Boston’s Leather District, Troquet on South is a French bistro helmed by sommelier and owner Chris Campbell, known for an award-winning wine cellar. Begin the meal with a glass of bubbles, and give into the modern French menu for an indulgent evening. For the entire table, tasting menus are offered as five courses ($120) or seven courses ($145) with classics like Steak Tartare and Lyonnaise Salad. A signature Rohan Duck Breast, which requires 45 minutes to prepare, is well-worth the wait. Simply peruse the wine list—filled with thousands of bottles—to pass the time. Take me there.

Umami Omakase

Directly translated from Japanese to “I’ll leave it up to you,” omakase is the quintessential rendition of a chef’s tasting menu. At Cambridge Japanese restaurant Umami Omakase, leave it up to chef Gary Lei, an Uni alum, to take you on an 18-course culinary journey ($158-$168). From assorted sashimi and sushi to decadent Japanese A5 wagyu, each dish is presented exquisitely as it shows off fresh and flavorful ingredients. In addition to the tasting menu, there are sake tasting flights with three, four, or five different sips—a treat for both sake lovers and novices alike. Take me there.

Uni spoon from Uni

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Uni

Originally a small sushi bar within chef Ken Oringer’s bygone fine-dining game-changer Clio, Uni came into its own several years ago. It’s always been a special place, serving the freshest seafood from Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji Market and from local New England fishermen. While the restaurant at the Eliot Hotel does not offer traditional omakase, groups up to 12 people can dine at the semi-private, high-top Chef’s Table overlooking the bar for a family-style, prix-fixe tasting menu, personally curated by executive chef David Bazirgan and team. With creations like Crab Butter Fried Rice, Maine Uni, and even Foie Gras Nigiri, this is an experience you won’t soon forget. Take me there.

Urban Hearth

“Slow food for fast times” is the motto of Urban Hearth, but it’s also an invitation to take pause amid the real-world hustle at this intimate Porter Square gem. A reservation at the four-seat Chef’s Counter is just the ticket: Nightly, chef Erin Miller is there, crafting a globally inspired, five-course Chef’s Tasting Menu ($120) and giving guests a front-row seat. A variety of dishes sourced locally from land, sea, and garden encourage conversation with the team throughout the meal. Optional curated wine pairings are offered ($60) as well as seasonal craft cocktails. Reservations are required for this dining experience. Take me there.

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