This is the sixth year that we have been picking the best of the best when it comes to little-known restaurants in the Boston area, and this year we have some repeats as well as some newcomers. To see the choices are for the best little-known restaurants of 2010, read on to see our picks in various categories! (Note: This Best of 2010 Boston Restaurant page is part of our restaurant features section, which also includes our 2009 Best Boston Restaurants List, 2008 Best Boston Restaurants List, 2007 Best Boston Restaurants List, 2006 Best Boston Restaurants List, and 2005 Best Boston Restaurants List).
Best American Restaurant, 2010
Scup's in the Harbour, East Boston, MA (CLOSED)
A dining spot that could also be the winner in the "Most Hidden Restaurant" category, Scup's downright weird location doesn't keep it from being known to food lovers around the city. From their sublime BLT to their tasty hot dogs, this little eatery within the Boston Harbor Shipyard is a comfort food lover's dream.
Best Breakfast Place, 2010
McKenna's Cafe, Dorchester, MA
Now a three-time winner, this friendly breakfast spot and lunch place in Dorchester's Savin Hill neighborhood seems to be getting more and more well-known with each passing year. But it still is a hidden gem of sorts, especially since it is on a street that basically goes nowhere in a section of Boston that doesn't get a whole lot of foot traffic.
Best Cafe, 2010
Strip-T's Restaurant, Watertown, MA
A repeat winner, this unassuming little dining spot in East Watertown has some of the best individual dishes that we have had anywhere in the Boston area. It is tough to beat such items as their incredible curried mushroom soup, their savory flank steak burrito (which can be found on special, depending on the day), and their delicious Thai rollup.
Best Chinese Restaurant, 2010
Sichuan Garden, Brookline, MA
While it looks a bit plain and well-worn from the outside, Sichuan Garden happens to have what we consider to be some of the best Chinese food outside of Boston's Chinatown (and perhaps including Chinatown as well). From the flavorful carmelized baby eggplant to the tender pork dumplings in a red-hot chili vinaigrette, this is a place that lovers of authentic Chinese food need to try.
Best Diner, 2010
Victoria's Diner, Boston, MA
A two-time winner, this bustling diner in the Newmarket Square section of Roxbury is a bit out of the way, especially if you depend on public transportation. But it is worth making the effort to get to Victoria's Diner, as the eatery has some of the most decadent breakfasts you will find around Boston, including a fabulous Nutella-smothered French toast and an equally sinful monte cristo breakfast sandwich.
Best Greek Restaurant, 2010
Greek Corner, Cambridge, MA
There aren't that many Greek restaurants in the Boston area, and very few really great ones. But Greek Corner is probably one of the best, and it also remains little-known even after being featured on Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" this year. The thick and rich lemon chicken soup and the hearty moussaka are especially good here.
Best Hamburgers, 2010
Flat Patties, Cambridge, MA
Finally, a burger place that knocks O'Sullivan's in Somerville off the throne after five years. And Flat Patties deserves to be at the top, as the juicy, greasy burgers at this Harvard Square eatery are completely addictive and also pretty reasonably priced. In addition, the new digs for the place are a bit more spacious and comfortable than the old location in the nearby Garage.
Best Hot Dog Stand, 2010
Simco's, Mattapan, MA
It seems like each year, Simco's makes our Best Of list, and for good reason; this tiny takeout joint just north of Mattapan Square features some of the best hot dogs not only in Boston, but in all of New England. And they have been doing it for many, many decades. Simco's still remains mostly under the radar, however, as it isn't near any major highway and is a bit of a hike from any subway station.
Best Indian Restaurant, 2010
Shanti, Dorchester, MA
Shanti returns to the list this year for several reasons, including its wonderfully spicy food, its dark and romantic atmosphere, and its friendly service. Prices may be a bit high at this Savin Hill dining spot, but the extra dollar or two for an entree is worth it, as Shanti features some really outstanding Indian dishes, including a delicious biryani.
Best Irish Pub/Restaurant, 2010
Townsend's, Hyde Park, MA (CLOSED)
A newcomer to the list, Townsend's is perhaps more of an Irish restaurant than a pub, and has a much more classy (almost elegant) feel than your typical Irish drinking establishment. A combination of Irish, New American, and traditional American dishes can be found here (including some excellent mussels), and the tiny bar to the left is a great place to chill out while hearing some great stories from the person behind the bar.
Best Italian Restaurant, 2010
Abbondanza, Everett, MA
Abbondanza has been around for quite a while, but it remains a relatively little-known restaurant. This romantic and surprisingly spacious eatery, however, features some of the best Southern and Northern Italian dishes in the Boston area, including an unforgettable frutti di mare and an outstanding beef braciole (when it is available, that is). The restaurant has seating both on the ground level and in the basement, with both rooms being cozy and appealing.
Best Japanese Restaurant, 2010
Toraya, Arlington, MA
There are so many good sushi places and Japanese restaurants in the Boston area that it is tough to pick just one, but Toraya in Arlington is indeed our pick this year, partly because the sushi is fresh and delicious, and the place itself continues to fly under the radar (though many Japanese and Japanese-Americans seem to know about it). The restaurant is tiny, but it usually isn't too difficult to find a table.
Best Mexican Restaurant, 2010
Taqueria Mexico, Waltham, MA
Our pick for best Mexican restaurant in 2010 is also a spot that has been a personal favorite for many years. Situated on a narrow side street in the middle of a residential neighborhood, Taqueria Mexico is a local favorite with a nice mix of authentic Mexican and familiar Mexican-American fare. The chicken mole is particularly good at this spot, which happens to have a small patio for outdoor dining during the warmer months.
Best Pizza, 2010
Picco Restaurant, Boston, MA
A South End eatery that should be on any pizza lover's list of places to try in the Boston area, Picco makes our list once again mainly because it might have the best pizza in all of Boston. The particularly flavorful crust puts these pies over the top, with the sauce and cheese only adding to the goodness. Oh, and the house-made ice cream at Picco is also pretty darn good, too.
Best Seafood Restaurant, 2010
Pescatore, Somerville, MA
Our pick for best little-known seafood restaurant of 2010 could also have been the pick for best Italian restaurant of 2010, which goes to show you just how special this Ball Square dining spot is. And their recent expansion has made Pescatore a bit more comfortable without taking away from its cozy charm. Dishes of note here include the sauteed haddock and the fusilli with seafood.
Best Thai Restaurant, 2010
Dok Bua, Brookline, MA
Dok Bua may eventually be put into our Hall of Fame (if we ever decided to create a Hall of Fame, that is). That's just how great this no-frills Thai restaurant is. Housed in what looks like a convenience store (the space used to be a small market), the eclectic eatery offers authentic Thai dishes at dirt-cheap prices, with standouts being too numerous to mention here (the vermicelli with crispy chicken in chili sauce is a personal favorite, however).