The Most Anticipated Greater Boston Restaurant Openings, 2024

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There’s a lot to look forward to this year: All-you-can-eat wagyu shabu-shabu; “listening bars”; love letters to Greece, Portugal, and Thailand; and more.


The live Boston diver scallop at XOXO Sushi Bar, now open in Chestnut Hill. / Photo by Margaret Flynn

When we first published this guide, we were a month into 2024, and the Boston dining scene was already jam-packed with delicious new openings—Mexican in Somerville! Noodles times two in Cambridge! A café/plant shop on Mission Hill! A pepperoni Negroni-filled food hall downtown! Casual omakase in Charlestown!

Now, a few months later, even more spots have opened (Jody Adams’s La Padrona opens in Raffles Boston; Citrus & Salt 2.0 is here!) and even more chefs and restaurant groups have announced upcoming plans, so we’re adding some updates. As 2024 continues, we’re looking forward to plenty of openings, reopenings, and expansions—restaurants fancy and casual, bars, cafés—spanning a variety of cuisines and neighborhoods. Below, check out the details on 40-plus spots we’ve got an eye on, and stay tuned for more restaurant opening coverage throughout the year. Know of something that should be on our radar? Our inbox is open.

Last updated on May 14, 2024.


Jump to: 

  • Coming Soon: These restaurants are currently slated to open in the spring/early summer.
  • Coming Later: You’ll have to wait a little longer for these.
  • Now Open: Brand-new places to check out.

Coming Soon

Althea

With lovable Italian restaurant Vialé going strong for nearly a decade now in Central Square, the husband-and-wife duo behind it, Greg Reeves and Shauna Reyburn, are opening a new restaurant right down the street. Althea, taking over the recently closed Dial space on Main Street, is aimed at “healing the soul with food, wine, and humans,” says Reyburn. She and Reeves describe the food as creative American with “thoughtfully sourced ingredients,” including local veggies that’ll get cooked up on an outdoor grill. “We know what the community wants and needs—and deserves,” says Reyburn. “Althea lets us do more of that with a new twist—but still growing from strong local roots.” Watch for live music and a raw bar on the spacious patio come warmer weather.

Anticipated opening: April 2024. 907 Main St., Central Square, Cambridge, altheacentralsq.com.

A bowl of mussels in broth, accompanied by bread, sits on a counter with other seafood dishes and glasses of beer.

Bluefin’s mussels. / Photo by Carlie Febo

Bluefin

Lobster rolls, clam chowder, raw bar items, and more: A seafood shop and takeout restaurant at Somerville’s Bow Market is expanding into bigger digs in Jamaica Plain. The second location will similarly operate as a fresh fish market and seafood-focused takeout joint, but with a bit more space for customers—and for executive chef Manya Lulek to have fun with seasonal plates to complement the core menu of New England classics. The expansion also allows the Bluefin team, founded by lifelong fisherman Jason Tucker, to improve its farmers market program, bringing fresh seafood to more communities, and the plan is to launch a fresh fish subscription service, too (think seafood CSA).

Anticipated opening: Early 2024. 660B Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston, bluefinrawbar.com.

Café Gloria

Local industry vet Will Isaza is best-known for his bartending skills, most recently as director of bar operations for cocktail gems Blossom Bar, Ivory Pearl, and Birds of Paradise. But the East Boston native will soon be bringing a different drink to his old neighborhood with his first solo project: coffee. Café Gloria, which he’s describing as a neighborhood coffee and espresso bar, will highlight Colombian coffee beans, as well as a co-branded roast with Cambridge-based Broadsheet Coffee Roasters. There’ll be a variety of coffee-shop beverages and canned cold brew, not to mention a nonalcoholic version of Isaza’s award-winning coffee-and-passionfruit “Gloria” cocktail. Also on the menu: the Colombian rice bowls of his childhood, plus other snack-y recipes from his mother (Gloria!).

Anticipated opening: Late spring 2024. 287 Maverick St., East Boston, cafegloriaeastie.com.

Crush Pizza

Downtown Boston lost an excellent source for casual, Neapolitan-style pizzas—cooked fast and hot in wood-fired ovens—at the end of 2020, when Crush’s State Street location shut down after seven years. A Quincy location, open since 2019, has been going strong since then, but at the time of the downtown closure, chef and owner Tony Naser expressed hope to open another location somewhere in Boston at some point. It’s finally coming to pass: Crush will debut soon in East Boston. “It will have that same vibrant, industrial feel that our Quincy location has,” per a spokesperson, “but still a touch of old-school vibe that we love.” The Italian-imported ovens are different this time, conveyor-style gas/electric hybrids meant for consistency and perfect for Crush’s current Italian-meets-New-York style. Also on the menu: sandwiches, salads, wings, and other fun stuff, like loaded fries in various styles.

Anticipated opening: Mid-May 2024. 975 Saratoga St., East Boston, crushpizza.com. 

Few & Far

Stan Hilbert, who owns Forage in Cambridge, is opening a farm-to-table restaurant in Dedham, Few & Far, next to his recently opened natural wine shop, Satellite Bottle Shop. Forage chef Eric Cooper will lead the culinary team here, too, “creat[ing] innovative dishes that showcase the flavors of the region while offering a contemporary twist.” The duo met 15 years ago working at Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain. (Forage is located in the former Ten Tables Cambridge space.) “We’re just super passionate about great produce and want to share our love with other people,” Hilbert told the Globe.

Anticipated opening: Late April 2024. 566 High St., Dedham, fewandfardedham.com.

Jacob Wirth

Steeped in history, German restaurant and beer hall Jacob Wirth (home to decades of piano singalongs!) operated from 1868 until its closure following a 2018 fire. It had actually been put up for sale earlier that year—and now, finally, new owners are working on reopening it. (Its interior is designated as a Landmark, which adds some challenges to renovations, but construction is ongoing, and the team’s been having a fun time stumbling on lots of old safes in the walls—disappointingly empty.) The revamp is a collaboration between City Realty and Royale Entertainment Group, and a lot will be the same, but with an accessible entrance, a roomier bathroom for women, televisions, and—the team and we say this lovingly—improved food.

“The guts, the history, the bones are still there,” says Jamison La Guardia, vice president of sales and operations for Royale Entertainment Group. “We’re just contemporizing it.” The piano, of course, will be back, and the team’s even considering adding a second piano for occasional dueling piano nights, but plans are still fluid. The menu, too, won’t be finalized for a while, but the team does plan to bring back some nostalgic dishes from the most recent incarnation as well as historical menus they’ve found from the 1950s-60s. “We’re definitely keeping the German elements,” says La Guardia.

Anticipated opening: Late spring 2024. 31 Stuart St., Downtown Boston. 

Several Uyghur noodle dishes and a dish with hot chili oil are spread on a colorful carpet with a copper pot of tea and a glass of wine in view.

A spread of dishes at Jahunger. / Courtesy photo

Jahunger

Providence’s acclaimed Uyghur restaurant—fresh off a James Beard semifinalist nod for chef and co-owner Subat Dilmurat—is on the verge of opening in Cambridgeport. The full-service restaurant will have mostly the same menu as the original in Providence, plus some specialty regional dishes from Jahunger’s early days (back in 2017) and whole roast lamb. Look for spicy hand-pulled noodles, marinated lamb kebabs, and more, with beer and wine available. “We’re excited to introduce more people to Uyghur food and culture, and Boston felt like the perfect place to share our passion with a diverse and vibrant community,” says co-owner Nadira Parhat. “Brace yourselves, because we are about to take the world by storm!”

Anticipated opening: Early May 2024. Brookline Street, Cambridgeport, jahunger.com.

Kyuramen and more

Ramen, sushi, rice rolls, and more! Right down the block from H Mart, half a dozen new restaurants highlighting various Asian cuisines will open later this year on Beacon Street, jointly taking over a trio of spaces that used to house O’Leary’s, Sichuan Gourmet, and a Dunkin’. The new spots will reportedly share a heated pergola, complete with retractable roof, on the front sidewalk, with space for a few hundred seats. The roster includes ramen chain Kyuramen, which also serves omurice and burgers with buns made of rice; Sushi Jiro, serving sushi; Rice Roll HK Cafe, featuring cheung fun, or steamed rice noodle rolls; Mini Punjab, an Indian restaurant; and Baby Cafe, a “Hong Kong bistro” chain that also has an Allston location in the works. There’s also Kyo Matcha, a café and bakery chain that showcases matcha, which already made its debut in mid-April (look inside.)

Anticipated opening: Baby Cafe has announced a spring opening; the rest are also likely opening early this year. 1004 Beacon St., Brookline.

Matria and Bar Fellini

It’s the end of an era at the InterContinental: The hotel has closed the French restaurant Miel and cocktail lounge RumBa, both open since the hotel’s 2006 debut. They’ll soon be replaced by an Italian steakhouse, Matria, and a new bar, Bar Fellini. Matria looks toward northern Italy with a meaty menu and pasta dishes like agnolotti. Those who remember Miel’s spacious waterfront patio will be pleased to see it reborn (and renovated) as part of Matria.

Anticipated opening: Late spring 2024. 510 Atlantic Ave., Downtown Boston, 617-747-1000, ihg.com.

Thai-style small plates are spread across a table, including sausage in a bun, dumplings, noodles in a thick orange sauce, and more.

A spread of dishes from the opening menu at Merai, with lobster-topped khao soi fettuccine in the foreground. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Merai

Here at Boston, we’re just a tad obsessed with Brookline’s Thai hotspot Mahaniyom, so we’ve been eagerly awaiting its forthcoming sibling, Merai, an “elevated dive bar” that melds Thai flavors with global cuisines. That means intriguing dishes like khao soi fettuccine, tom kha risotto, Korean-style cold noodles with Thai accents, and more. The bar (with a full liquor license) will be a focus, too—merai, after all, is a Thai word referring to alcohol. Leading up to the opening, keep an eye on social media: The team has been popping up at bars and restaurants around town to offer a sneak peek at the concept.

Anticipated opening: Late April 2024. 14 Harvard St., Brookline Village, instagram.com/merai.bar. 

Mikiya Wagyu Shabu House

Restaurateur Kevin Liu (of Matsunori Handroll Bar, among other ventures) might be one of the busiest folks around. In addition to a handful of restaurants in operation, he and his partners have around a dozen new projects in the works in various cities, including quite a few in Greater Boston. Currently under construction: a Chinatown location of Mikiya, a growing all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu chain showcasing—like many of Liu’s restaurants—wagyu. (Conveniently, he owns a wagyu ranch in Miyazaki, Japan.) The vibes are luxurious. Stay tuned for details on other intriguing restaurants coming down the pipeline, too.

Anticipated opening: Early 2024. 21 Hudson St., Unit 101, Chinatown, Boston, mikiyashabu.com.

MonteVerdi

The former Dante space at the Royal Sonesta will welcome a new Italian restaurant this spring: Restaurateur Seth Greenberg (Mistral, Mooo, Boston locations of Serafina) is opening MonteVerdi, serving pasta, seafood, roast chicken, flatbreads, and more. Chef Christian Ellis is an Ashmont Grill and Rendezvous alum. The restaurant—which will include a spacious Charles River-adjacent patio and a private dining room—will initially offer daily dinner and weekend brunch, with lunch and an outdoor raw bar in the works for later.

Anticipated opening: May 2024. 40 Edwin H. Land Blvd. (Royal Sonesta Boston), East Cambridge.

Mr. H

COJE Management Group—known for its gorgeously designed restaurants and nightlife destinations, including Yvonne’s, Mariel, Coquette, and more—has a new modern Chinese restaurant in the works. Mr. H will open in the former Legal Test Kitchen space this spring, and that’s about all the team is sharing at the moment, aside from this teaser reel declaring 2024 to be the Year of the Dumpling and the promise of “the vibrant, intimate energy of a Shanghainese cocktail lounge.” Stay tuned.

Anticipated opening: Spring 2024. 225 Northern Ave., Seaport District, Boston, mrhchinese.com.

A bowl of dark brown broth is full of crispy chashu pork, meatballs, and herbs.

Menu testing for Ricen: crispy chashu boat noodles with stewed pork, pork ball, and pork rinds, with Thai chili oil and fermented chili on the side. / Photo by Panupak Kraiwong

Ricen

The long-empty Rod Dee space in Porter Square will finally get new life—as another Thai restaurant! Panupak Kraiwong, who founded Best of Boston winner Dakzen in Somerville (but left the company a few years back), is behind Ricen, which will focus on rice and noodle dishes, inspired by his most recent trip back to Thailand. “I was amazed by how much Thai food has changed,” says Kraiwong. “We will serve new Thai food” and focus on careful sourcing of ingredients like fresh calamari and salmon. Ricen’s meals fall under the category of “jaan diew,” essentially single-dish meals where an entrée is served complete with noodles or rice (as opposed to, say, dining with a big group and sharing lots of à la carte entrees with separate sides of carbs). Kraiwong’s friend’s mom, Sasirin (July) Siwayawirote, is cofounder and executive chef of Ricen. “She used to have her own restaurant in Thailand,” says Kraiwong, “so we can guarantee that the taste is really close to original taste.”

Anticipated opening: May 2024. 1906 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge, instagram.com/ricenboston.

Exterior shot of a curved building. Paper in the ground-floor windows reads "top shelf low brow."

Find Small Victories right by the Andrew T stop. / Courtesy photo

Small Victories

This “no-frills neighborhood tavern,” coming soon to South Boston, is “mostly a carbon copy of [East Boston sibling] the Quiet Few, but if the Quiet Few drank a Monster Energy drink,” says founder Josh Weinstein. (The new spot is about twice the size of its older sibling.) It’ll focus on whiskey and American pub fare, serving as “a place for people in the neighborhood to congregate, celebrate, and commiserate with old and new friends alike.” The larger size will allow for even more whiskey than its big sibling, not to mention a bigger food menu (“Seafood!” notes Weinstein), an amaro list, a photobooth, and more fun.

Anticipated opening: Imminent. 400 Dorchester St. (across from the Andrew T stop), South Boston, smallvictoriesbar.com. 

Unnamed fast-casual restaurant from Will Gilson

The chef and restaurateur behind Puritan & Co., Puritan Oyster Bar, and more is opening a casual rotisserie chicken spot with Mediterranean flare not far from his Cambridge Crossing trio of businesses (the Lexington, Geppetto, and Café Beatrice). Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant will have a year-round indoor farmers market attached. More to come soon, including a name.

Anticipated opening: Late May 2024. 68 First St., East Cambridge.

Three cups of ice cream with Van Leeuwen branding in cursive sit in front of a yellow background.

Van Leeuwen ice cream. / Courtesy photo

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

Praline butter cake ice cream, anyone? New York City-founded ice cream chain Van Leeuwen—which now has over 50 locations nationwide, plus one in Singapore—is adding Massachusetts to its roster with three locations opening this year, starting with an April debut at the Street Chestnut Hill (now open). Seaport and Harvard Square locations will follow. Van Leeuwen is known for its creative (and sometimes weird!) flavors of rich, French-style ice cream (heavy on egg yolks, aside from its extensive selection of vegan options). Core flavors include peanut butter brownie honeycomb, lemon poppyseed muffin, marionberry cheesecake, Sicilian pistachio, and more, not to mention one of the best vanilla ice creams on the market, per a review from The New York Times’ “Wirecutter” section.

Anticipated openings: Summer 2024 (Seaport District) and fall 2024 (Harvard Square); the Chestnut Hill location opened in April 2024. 55 Boylston St. (The Street Chestnut Hill), Chestnut Hill; 131 Seaport Blvd., Seaport District, Boston; 1 Brattle Sq., Harvard Square, Cambridge; vanleeuwenicecream.com.

A rendering of a casual bakery and cafe features a mix of green vertical tiling, white subway tiling, potted plants, and shelves of breads.

Rendering of the counter area of Verveine Cafe & Bakery. / Rendering by Niemitz Design Group

Verveine Cafe & Bakery

The old gang is getting back together: Acclaimed pastry chef Monica Glass, who worked at restaurateur Ken Oringer’s restaurant Clio a decade ago, is partnering with Oringer to open a Cambridge bakery and café with global influences. This means treats such as kimchi egg cheddar danishes, black sesame croissants, ube brownies, and strawberry chamomile doughnuts, not to mention rotating Neapolitan-style pizza specials and sandwiches aplenty. The beverage menu will play along the same lines, with “some fun coffee and latte drinks,” says Glass, featuring flavors like black sesame, ube coconut, peanut butter, and miso caramel. Also on deck: fresh juices and spritzes.

Anticipated opening: Late April 2024. 298 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge, verveinecafe.com.


Coming Later

Rendering of a multi-story city development with green space, a hotel, restaurants, and stores.

Lyrik Back Bay. / Rendering by Elkus Manfredi Architects

Avra Estiatorio, ChiCha San Chen, George Howell Coffee, and Pink Carrot

As the Lyrik Back Bay development comes together in 2024 and 2025, it will entirely change the landscape of the intersection between Newbury Street and Massachusetts Avenue—notably featuring an elevated public plaza across the Pike. In March 2024, developer Samuel & Associates announced a first batch of retail tenants, including several restaurants (a mix of out-of-towners and locals). Upscale Greek destination Avra Estiatorio—hailing from New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles—will feature a seafood-rich menu and private balcony seating, while Taiwan-based boba chain ChiCha San Chen will offer on-the-go beverages. Also on the beverage side, Boston’s own George Howell Coffee will open here, plus the North End’s Pink Carrot, a casual spot focused on smoothies, wraps, and the like.

Anticipated openings: Fall 2024 (ChiCha San Chen), spring 2025 (Avra Estiatorio), sometime in 2024/2025 (George Howell, Pink Carrot). Newbury Street at Massachusetts Avenue, Back Bay, Boston. 

Rendering of an indoor pickleball complex with a red, white, and gray color scheme.

Rendering of Bosse, opening fall 2024 at the Natick Mall. / Courtesy image

Bosse

America’s pickleball obsession continues with a giant new facility at the Natick mall featuring 21 courts for the tennis/badminton/Ping-Pong-like sport, courtesy of former tennis pro D.J. Bosse. Wondering why we’re including a suburban pickleball complex on our list of anticipated restaurant openings? Well, Boston chef and restaurateur Chris Coombs (Deuxave, Boston Chops, Dbar) is collaborating on the project and opening four dining concepts there. He’s not sharing too many details yet, but there’ll be a restaurant focused on rustic Italian dishes, an all-day café, a sports bar and lounge, and a “courtside culinary experience.”

Anticipated opening: Fall 2024. 1245 Worcester St. (Natick Mall), Natick, bosse.net.

Cook House

The team behind bustling South Boston restaurant Lincoln Tavern is reportedly taking over a couple adjacent spaces—formerly South Boston Chinese Restaurant and Certified Meatball Company—to open Cook House. The new restaurant will have seating for over 350, spanning a variety of different vibes, per Universal Hub’s accounting of a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. In the plans: an open, wood-fired kitchen; a circular fireplace; an intimate seating area with large trees; and a bakery-café that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Anticipated opening: Unknown. 429 W Broadway, South Boston.

Desnuda Cocina e Bar

Part restaurant, part music-focused “listening bar,” Desnuda “will take traditional Mexican, Peruvian, and Asian cuisine and strip it bare,” courtesy of executive chef Jesus Preciado, per a spokesperson for MAZI Food Group (also behind Kava Neo-Taverna, Ilona, and Gigi). Preciado will draw inspiration from his own Colombian roots as well as travels around Latin America and Asia. Expect an emphasis on cocktails and music, too, with the overall concept aiming to “capture the fiery, Latin heartbeat.”

Anticipated opening: Summer 2024. 647 Tremont St., South End, Boston.

Four buns are stuffed with cheese and ham, served with a fruit preserve on the side.

Folio’s manchego gougères with Serrano ham and quince-apricot mostarda. / Photo by Samantha Barracca Photography

Folio

Beacon Hill’s gorgeous membership-based library, the Boston Athenaeum, is undergoing a massive renovation—and that includes the addition of an open-to-the-public restaurant run by the Catered Affair, the team behind food and beverage offerings at other local libraries, museums, and beyond. (See also: the Map Room Tea Lounge at Boston Public Library.) At Folio, expect French and Mediterranean fare, served breakfast through dinner, alongside a French-leaning wine list. The team is describing the cuisine as “bistronomy,” a portmanteau of bistro and gastronomy.

Anticipated opening: 2024. 14A Beacon St., Beacon Hill, Boston, thecateredaffair.com/folio.

The Great American Beer Hall

Medford’s been on a roll over the past year, with recent openings including the long-awaited Mexican restaurant and bar El Tacuba and the music venue and restaurant Deep Cuts. Next on the horizon? An enormous brewery, taproom, and beer garden for South Medford, not far from Tufts. Here’s a sneak peek at the impressive space.

Anticipated opening: Summer 2024. 142 Mystic Ave., Medford, gabhall.com.

Kaia

Xenia Greek Hospitality—the team behind 2023 showstopper Bar Vlaha (not to mention Greek wine bar Krasi, mysterious cocktail bar Hecate, and growing fast-casual chain Greco)—is opening “an homage to the Aegean Coast” in the South End. The Xenia crew isn’t sharing many details yet but asserts that Kaia will continue the group’s “dedication to making Boston home to one of the most exciting Greek dining scenes in the country.” (Meanwhile, they’re also opening a new Greco location at the Burlington Mall in the spring.)

Anticipated opening: Summer 2024. 380 Harrison Ave., South End, Boston, xeniagreekhospitality.com.

McCarthy’s

Porter Square institution Christopher’s has been closed since the start of the pandemic, but now it’ll get new life—along with its adjacent tiny live-music venue, Toad—under exciting new ownership. Tommy McCarthy and Louise Costello, who own Irish pub and music venue the Burren in Davis Square, are stepping in. (The duo also owns a similar food-and-music spot, the Bebop, near Berklee.) McCarthy and Costello will convert Christopher’s into McCarthy’s, with some renovations, and keep Toad as is. While details on the McCarthy’s revamp are currently scarce, any kind of music-and-food formula in the hands of the Burren team is sure to draw crowds.

Anticipated opening: September 2024. 1912-1920 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge. 

Overhead view of a bento box with seasoned white rice, saucy meatball skewers, gyoza, noodles, butter cake, and more.

Mimi’s Chūka Diner’s hanami bento. / Photo by Ted Woo for Mimi’s Chūka Diner

Mimi’s Chūka Diner

Popular pop-up Mimi’s Chūka Diner—which showcases chūka cuisine (Japanese-style Chinese food)—is putting down roots in Somerville, taking over the former Tasting Counter space in Aeronaut Brewing Company’s food hub. The permanent space will allow cofounders Ted Woo and Jon Awerman to dig farther into the “diner” side of the concept they’ve always wanted to incorporate, too, melding “classic American diner or luncheonette” influences with chūka cuisine. Mimi’s will include full-service dining as well as a “modest tachinomi bar”—a standing bar for snacks and drinks—and a separate takeout menu with dishes optimized for grab-and-go. (You can bring your takeout into the Aeronaut taproom.)

Anticipated opening: Late spring/early summer 2024. 14 Tyler St. (inside Aeronaut Brewing Company), Somerville, mimischukadiner.com.

A cheeseburger, cut in half with one half stacked atop the other, features a thin bun, American cheese, and bright orange sauce.

Nowon’s “legendary cheeseburger” with roasted kimchi, kimchi special sauce, American cheese, pickles, and onion. / Photo by Young Skeletons

Nowon

The team from New York City-based Nowon, a Korean-American pocha (gastropub), is “very excited” to expand to Boston’s Seaport District, says chef and proprietor Jae Lee. The restaurant, with current locations in New York’s East Village and Bushwick, is named for Lee’s South Korean hometown. The “legendary cheeseburger” gets top billing, a smashed double burger with kimchi special sauce, roasted kimchi, American cheese, pickles, and onion (although we’re already eyeing “Jae’s chicken bun,” with double-fried chicken thigh, soy-pickled jalapeño, parmesan, peanut, and cabbage slaw). Tasting menus are available for the groups who want to try a little bit of everything. Open seven days a week (lunch, brunch, and dinner), the Boston restaurant will feature seasonal outdoor seating and a full liquor license.

Anticipated opening: Late summer 2024. 117 Seaport Blvd., Seaport District, Boston, nowonusa.com.

Saigon Babylon

The team behind Best of Boston coffee shop Cicada and exciting new Vietnamese restaurant and cocktail bar the Eaves are at it again, working to open a rooftop “bar, coffee garden, and restaurant.” It’ll take over the former Blue Owl location in Central Square, upstairs from another soon-to-open restaurant, Althea (see above.) Keep an eye on Instagram for updates on the renovation process, which apparently involves the movement of several tons of antique stones. Owners Vincenzo Le and Duong Huynh are known for creating quirkily beautiful spaces—here at Boston, we’re a tad obsessed with Cicada’s hidden back garden, in particular—so it’ll be exciting to see exactly what they’re up to on this Cambridge rooftop.

Anticipated opening: Unknown. 907 Main St., Central Square, Cambridge, instagram.com/saigon_babylon.

SJ’s

While chef Sarah Wade, a Chopped champion, is best-known for the hearty comfort food she serves at her first two restaurants, Stillwater and Sloane’s, she’s going a little more elevated at her third endeavor, SJ’s, in the works in the tiny Leather District in Downtown Boston. With the slogan “good food done well,” SJ’s will serve an eclectic menu with lots of house-made pasta; upscale apps like chicken liver mousse macarons; and dessert selections displayed table-side on a silver tray. Also: “old-school” value in the beverages. “The wine glasses are going to feel bigger than normal; the martini glasses are going to feel big,” says Wade.

Anticipated opening: Fall 2024. 745 Atlantic Ave., Downtown Boston (Leather District), instagram.com/bostonsjs.

Southern Pines

Currently in residence at Somerville’s Bow Market, chef Matthew Bullock’s Southern Pines Diner Car is a sandwich-filled exploration of southern foodways and traditions; Bullock has also brought sibling concept Southern Pines Supper Club around town in pop-up form, celebrating southern cuisines with New England ingredients. But the dream? A permanent location—possibly in East Cambridge. He’s currently fundraising via NuMarket to amp up staffing and equipment at Bow Market and ultimately land that new home. (NuMarket contributions aren’t donations; if you contribute, you earn back 120% in credits to use at the business in the future, with the credits distributed over several months.) Bullock hopes that his future restaurant will be “a hub for a more diverse dining scene in Boston” with an emphasis on giving back to the community and fostering employees’ work-life balance, living wages, and access to healthcare.

Anticipated opening: Unknown. East Cambridge (?), instagram.com/southernpinessupperclub

Rendering of a bright white restaurant dining room with dark blue and wicker accents and some greenery.

Taco Azul rendering. / Courtesy image

Taco Azul

Restaurateur Dan Leyva—who counts spearheading a massive overhaul of the Wings Over chain among his 15 years of hospitality experience—is bringing “a modern Mexican taco restaurant” to Boston this year, opening first on Beacon Hill, with the Seaport and Cambridge in his sights—“and all throughout Massachusetts,” he says. The restaurants will be casual (but full-service, and with full liquor licenses) and feature “delicious guacamole, tacos, and margaritas,” he says, perfect for “a quick business lunch, a family dinner, a date night, or a fun night out.”

Anticipated opening: Mid-2024. Beacon Hill, Boston, tacoazul.com.


Now Open

A seared filet of cod leans on a crispy rectangle of potato, with chunks of sausage in a pool of green sauce.

Baleia’s seared cod with caldo verde, crispy potato, and chouriço. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Baleia

The Coda Group looks to Italy with its restaurants SRV, the Salty Pig, and 2023 newcomer Gufo, but the team takes Boston diners on a trip to Portugal with its newest endeavor, Baleia (Portuguese for “whale”), now open at the Troy Boston apartment building. Executive chef Andrew Hebert is serving a Portuguese-inspired menu heavy on seafood, featuring dishes such as cataplana (braised pork and seafood stew) and whole roasted black bass (charred lemon, presunto, and anchovy XO), not to mention non-fish options like piri-piri chicken and lamb shank tagine. The latter is a nod to North African cuisine; Baleia’s menu touches on not just Portugal but “port cities that have been heavily influenced by Portuguese cuisine,” per Coda partner and director of operations Ted Hawkins. The wine list is entirely Portuguese, and the cocktails are inspired by the region. Look inside.

Opened: Early March 2024. 264 E Berkeley St., South End, Boston, 617-505-3243, baleiaboston.com.

Fresh twists of campanelle pasta sit in a white storage container.

BE Pasta Bar makes its pasta in-house. / Photo by Paige Harding

BE Pasta Bar

Sometimes you just need a quick, customized cup of on-the-go pasta, especially if you’re cramming for finals. This Boston University-area fast-casual restaurant, inspired by European pasta shops, makes its pasta in-house, sourcing ingredients from Greece and Italy as well as locally. Diners are able to choose from pasta shapes such as rigatoni, fusilli, campanelle, and more; toppings such as local sausage, house-made meatballs, and battered eggplant; and sauces such as lemon garlic, pesto, and alfredo. Also available: sandwiches, salads, and more.

Opened: Early April 2024. 1026 Commonwealth Ave., Brookline (on the Boston border), 617-860-4035, bepastabar.com.

A quartet of leopard-spotted pizzas with various toppings sits on a table.

A selection of Ciao Somerville pizzas. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Ciao Somerville

The tiny original location of Ciao! Pizza and Pasta in Chelsea gets loads of acclaim for its irresistible Neapolitan-style pizzas. This Somerville expansion—located in the the former Eat at Jumbo’s space in Ball Square—allows fans to enjoy the pies more easily with easy Green Line access and a bit more seating, plus new menu items. For one, the original location’s popular salsiccia pizza (house-made fennel sausage with pickled cherry peppers) is a little bit different on the Somerville menu; plus, look for new pasta dishes, more salads, and various bruschetta options.

Opened: Early April 2024. 688 Broadway, Ball Square, Somerville, 617-764-1108, ciaopizzaandpasta.com.

Photo of a pink and white dining room with a ceiling of lush pink flowers.

The relocated Citrus & Salt is now open. / Photo by Mike Diskin

Citrus & Salt

After a little over six years, Jason Santos is moving his coastal Mexican-inspired Back Bay restaurant—awash in pastels, Dole Whips, and pitchers of margaritas—to a larger space in Fort Point. It’ll be open for lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, and late-night service, with a mix of old favorites and new dishes. Local firm Assembly Designs is working on the space, which will be decorated with flamingos, flowers, and sugar skulls galore. Compared to the original location, which closed in February, it’ll have a larger dining room, more space for private events, and a big patio. (Santos is also opening his previously announced fast-casual, all-day restaurant Butterbird at Arsenal Yards in Watertown around July 2024, showcasing biscuits, fried chicken, and beignets.)

Opened May 4, 319 A St., Fort Point, Boston, citrusandsaltboston.com.

See also: Beloved Mexican Restaurant Citrus & Salt Relocates to Boston’s Seaport District

An arcade space features racing simulators.

F1 Arcade. / Courtesy photo

F1 Arcade

A London-based group of Formula 1 simulator racing venues expands to Boston this spring; this will be F1 Arcade’s first United States location, with an eye toward 20 over the next five years. It joins an ever-growing collection of activity-based bars in Boston, from darts to Ping-Pong to pickleball to ax-throwing. Here, you can compete with or against family and friends as you virtually race around tracks—prizes, merch, and your pride are on the line. There’s also a full bar and a food menu with sharing-friendly options like wagyu sliders, fried chicken, charcuterie boards, flatbreads, and tacos. Look inside.

Anticipated opening: April 22, 2024. 87 Pier 4 Blvd., Seaport District, Boston, f1arcade.com.

Photo by Brian Samuels

La Padrona

Raffles Boston, the glitzy Back Bay hotel that debuted last year, already has a few dining and drinking options up and running, like upscale Portuguese destination Amar. Joining the lineup in 2024: La Padrona, an Italian restaurant from A Street Hospitality, the group behind Trade, Porto, and more. The team includes James Beard award-winning chef Jody Adams as Chief Culinary Officer, as well as Eric Papachristos as CEO and Jon Mendez as COO. At La Padrona, Adams and executive chef Amarilys Colón will highlight a variety of Italian regional cuisines with lots of fresh seafood and house-made pastas. The glamorous two-story space—with design inspired by late Italian post-war architect Gae Aulenti, among other sources—will include a bar and lounge on the ground floor with the main dining area on the second. Look inside.

Opens May 15, 2024. 40 Trinity Pl. (Raffles Boston), Back Bay, Boston, raffles.com/boston.

Overhead view of an herb-covered whole roasted fish with vermicelli next to a plate of seared scallops and a plate of crawfish and noodles.

Lê Madeline’s cá nướng branzino and other dishes. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Lê Madeline

After a decade-long run, restaurateur Tam Le converted his Quincy restaurant Pho Linh, which served traditional Vietnamese fare, into Lê Madeline. The new concept, which Le tested as a pop-up at Pho Linh in late 2023 and early 2024 before the official launch, showcases creative Vietnamese fare—mixing in some global flavors and techniques—by executive chef Peter Nguyen, a Dorchester native whose resume includes stints at Cambridge’s Little Donkey and Houston’s Riel. While the classic Pho Linh menu remains available at lunch, Nguyen’s new dishes come out to play at dinner, from Viet Cajun crawfish noodles (inspired by his time down south) to gỏi vịt, pan-seared duck breast salad. Also: fun, Vietnamese-inspired cocktails from industry vet Allan Yee, such as the Second Wind, an espresso martini with Vietnamese coffee and fig vodka.

Opened: February 2024. 409 Hancock St., Quincy, lemadeline.com.

A whole lobster is cut in half and stuffed, accompanied by a side of fries.

Seamark’s lobster frites. / Photo by Paolo Verzani for Seamark

Seamark Seafood & Cocktails and Old Wives’ Tale

While there’s no shortage of food and drinks at Encore Boston Harbor, we’re always up for a shiny new option. (Can’t have a fancy steak every day, we suppose.) A new seafood restaurant—complete with a speakeasy-style cocktail bar—is now open (look inside), from Vegas-based Carver Road Hospitality, which is owned by Boston native Sean Christie, and chef-partner Michael Schlow (Radius, Via Matta). You’ll find elevated New England seafood dishes (and some meat, including Schlow’s beloved burger) and nautical-inspired design, spanning a large main dining room and several other seating areas, including a seasonal terrace.

Old Wives’ Tale, an intimate cocktail bar, is hidden behind a wall of the restaurant, allowing spirits enthusiasts to “explore ports of call around the globe.” The team promises craft cocktails that “pay homage to the essence of the ocean”—and they’re certainly photogenic, if that’s your priority, thanks to “oceanic glassware” and sea creature-like garnishes.

Opened: Mid-April 2024. 1 Broadway (Encore Boston Harbor), Everett, seamarkencore.com.

A table is covered with dishes of Korean food, including a selection of small side dishes of kimchi and more.

A spread of dishes and banchan at Somaek. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Somaek, Temple Records, and Sushi @ Temple Records

Restaurateur Jamie Bissonnette’s 2023 departure from the restaurant group he built with Ken Oringer (Toro, Coppa, etc.) came as a surprise to longtime fans citywide. Now, he’s onto the next adventure—or, rather, three. With Andy Cartin and Babak Bina (JM Curley, Bogie’s Place, the Wig Shop), he has opened a Korean restaurant called Somaek (with homestyle cooking inspired by his Korean mother-in-law, Soon Han, who is the restaurant’s consulting chef); a listening bar (is 2024 the year of the listening bar?) called Temple Records (with Bissonnette’s “super-eclectic” collection of music); and a 20-seat sushi counter, Sushi @ Temple Records. These are all in Downtown Crossing, near Cartin and Bina’s existing spots. The trio is apparently planning more restaurants for 2024, too. Big year!

Opened: Late March 2024. 11 Temple Pl., Downtown Crossing, Boston, somaek.com.

Overhead shot of raw salmon plated with a dramatically dripping green sauce.

XOXO Sushi Bar’s Ora King salmon. / Photo by Margaret Flynn

XOXO Sushi Bar

With Uni and Fat Baby alum Kegan Stritchko heading up the kitchen, American-Japanese restaurant XOXO Sushi Bar features omakase as well as à la carte sushi and robatayaki options. Dramatic cocktails accompany—think smoke bubbles and fancy garnishes—in digs the team is describing as “sleek and modern,” centering around a 16-seat bar. Owners Fred Starikov and Steve Whalen are involved in a number of restaurants and bars in Greater Boston, including the reborn versions of the Thirsty Scholar in Somerville and the Silhouette in Allston.

Opened: March 2024. 1154 Boylston St. (across from the Shoppes at Chestnut Hill), Chestnut Hill, xoxosushi.com.

Overhead view of two bowls of udon, each featuring thick noodles, thinly sliced beef, scallions, crispy tempura flakes, and other toppings.

Yume Ga Arukara’s cold niku udon (spicy on the left, not spicy on the right). / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Yume Ga Arukara

There’s something to be said for the very concise menu at Cambridge mega-hit Yume Ga Arukara: You only have to choose hot or cold udon, spicy or not—and then sit back and enjoy your noodles. No appetizers, no desserts, no frills. (Seasonal specials occasionally appear.) That said, we’re excited to see the team get creative with an expanded space—more seating, full service, booze, and a bigger menu!—at the Seaport location as service ramps up in the coming weeks.

Opened: February 2024. 70 Pier 4 Blvd., Suite 260, Seaport District, Boston, yumegaarukara.com.

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