Boston's Hidden Restaurants

Sunrise Restaurant (CLOSED)

1157 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02125
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Photo of Sunrise Restaurant, in Dorchester, MA It has often been said that when diners in the Boston area want to get good Vietnamese food, they head to Dorchester. And while the Fields Corner section of this Boston neighborhood seems to be the area where many people go, there are also a number of good options in other parts, including Savin Hill which is a short distance north. And one such spot there is Sunrise Restaurant, which is one of those blink-and-you-miss-it restaurants that gets very little notice outside of the immediate area. But it is every bit as good as its competitors down the road, and it has the added benefit of a parking lot (which is a relatively rare feature in the city of Boston).

Sunrise Restaurant resides in a tiny shopping center/strip mall on Dorchester Avenue, about a block south of the heart of Savin Hill where Dot Ave intersects Savin Hill Avenue. The dining spot shares the strip mall with a Vietnamese supermarket and a sandwich place, with all of the businesses here sharing a small lot that has a few spaces (there is street parking as well). It is pretty easy to miss Sunrise because the signage is rather plain, and the strip mall is set back enough from the road so that it is slightly hidden, plus this part of Dorchester Avenue can be a bit of a speedway because it is a straight road with no lights between Savin Hill Avenue and Hancock Street/Freeport Street several blocks to the south. Although Sunrise's interior is about as plain as its exterior, it is clean and brightly lit, and it generally is a very quiet spot where you won't have to compete with other diners when trying to talk. A handful of tables are set well apart in its dining room, and the eatery does has full service, though a lot of its business comes from takeout as well.

The menu at Sunrise is quite extensive, with a mix of familiar and not-so familiar Vietnamese dishes, all of which are at very reasonable prices. A few of the options here include summer rolls with shrimp, pork, basil, sprouts, and vermicelli, all wrapped in soft rice paper and served with a delicious peanut sauce; grilled beef skewers in a zesty marinade with a sprinkling of sesame seeds added; a hearty Peking duck soup that is served bone-in and is combined with yellow noodles, Chinese broccoli, and dried mushrooms; a pork chop over a bed of rice, with two sunny side up eggs being available as an option; a rare steak and flank pho where the hot water helps cook the meat as it is eaten; caramelized fish in a clay pot, with choices being salmon or catfish; a savory grilled beef vermicelli with carrots, cucumbers, sprouts, and peanuts; and stir-fried squid with tomatoes and cucumbers. Drinks at Sunrise include a variety of smoothies, including one with durian--and no, it does not have the famously-bad smell that this fruit is known for, probably because of it being so cold.

To be honest, it is tough to go wrong with nearly any of the Vietnamese restaurants in Dorchester, but Sunrise is one that is just a bit less known than, say, places like Pho So 1, Pho Hoa, and Pho 2000. Add to that a lot with free parking, a serene dining area, and excellent food that won't break the bank, and you definitely have a winner of a spot in Sunrise Restaurant.