By Mayeesha Galiba & Kimberly Romero, news staff
Boston’s restaurant scene has seen dozens of additions over the last six months. From food trucks to taquerias and seafood bistros to local cafes, the city and its suburbs offer a diverse and growing range of cuisines suitable for quick lunches and date nights alike.
With scores of eateries vying for attention – and diners – city residents don’t need to look far to find a place worth visiting. To stand out, several local eateries have put new twists on old formulas. A reimagined farmers’ market, rock-and-roll tapas and an expansive pizzeria highlight the city’s most interesting new places to eat this fall.
Boston Public Market – 100 Hanover St., Boston
At the Boston Public Market, the expression “farm to fork” is taken seriously. The market, which opened at the end of July, is home to more than 35 vendors that offer a diverse range of foods from across New England. Patrons can shop for fresh produce and sample prepared foods made from locally-sourced ingredients.
“I’m an advocate of clean eating, and they have a lot of fresh produce and a lot of products to look through,” Katt McNutt, 29-year-old visitor to the market, said. “I’m pretty excited about [visiting].”
McNutt, a flight attendant, said she was passing through Boston and had never been to the market before.
The market is located indoors, and vendors are arranged in long rows of counters and produce crates. A walk up and down the aisles reveals fresh seafood, ice cream, apples, flavored honey and more. In the market’s seating area, patrons can relax while children play with toys in a dedicated space nearby.
The foods that attracted the most attention from visitors included a lobster roll from Red’s Best, a cheese plate from Jasper Hill Farms, freshly-fried donuts from Appleton Farms and pumpkin ice cream from Crescent Ridge.
Despite space constraints and bustling customers, vendors feel a sense of harmony and unity, said Jon Lee, a production manager working at the Appleton Farms counter.
“We don’t sell too many of the same products, but when we do, I think most of the vendors work together, and everyone is really friendly.”
The market appeals to both the health-conscious and those who want a fun place to explore, added Lee.
Boston Public Market is open Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Hojoko – 1271 Boylston St., Boston
Blaring rock music and Asian cuisine may not be a common combination, but new tapas bar Hojoko aims to change that, according to General Manager Mike Tobins.
“We are a rock-and-roll-themed izakaya, which is a Japanese tavern,” Tobins said. “We are doing very unique and cutting-edge Japanese pub fare, but all at a reasonable price. It’s fun; it’s a really upbeat environment.”
Hojoko, located in the Verb Hotel near Fenway Park, opened a little over a month ago. Tobins’ vision of a rock-and-roll aesthetic includes murals covering outside walls and a dark, loud interior filled with people talking and laughing over the music.
The restaurant’s tapas menu encourages sharing and spans a variety of dishes from different Asian cultures. One highlight is steak ums – two thin pieces of seared Wagyu beef. For the more adventurous eater, Hojoko offers dishes like torched uni (sea urchin roe) or fried calf brain
Hojoko also offers a wide range of options for vegetarian customers, Maribeth Macaisa, a patron and co-founder of the food truck Boston Pro-Juice, said.
“I’m a vegetarian allergic to seafood,” Macaisa said. “Coming to a Japanese restaurant isn’t necessarily the thing that will give me the most options, but it was wonderful and they were really accommodating without any problem.”
Hojoko is open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca – 11 Fan Pier Blvd., Boston
Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca, Mario Batali’s Seaport District restaurant, stands out nearly as much for its windows as it does for its pizza. The Italian establishment sports large windows facing the waterfront, bathing customers in daytime light and nighttime views of the harbor.
As for the food, Babbo’s extensive menu offers a variety of pasta dishes, salads, meat, soup, gnocchi and thin-crust pizza, among other options.
While the pizza has some inconsistencies – a few slices were noticeably less cooked than others – its ingredients and flavors made up for it.
“This is probably one of the top five pizzas I have had in my life,” Kim Davis, a customer who lives in Cambridge, said. “The goat cheese is insanely good. I have been dreaming about it ever since I had it.”
Babbo is affordable, especially given the quality of its ingredients, Davis added.
Babbo Pizzeria is open 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to midnight on weekends.
Photo by Scotty Schenck