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From yakitori to hearty plates of pasta to dumplings, these are 15 of the best restaurants near Boston’s Orange Line MBTA stations.
Hand-pulled noodles and a lamb skewer from Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal
After a month-long shutdown—sorry, “diversion”—the Orange Line has finally reopened, hallelujah. (Or at least that’s what the MBTA says. We’ll believe it when we ride it ourselves.) In celebration, here’s a guide to 15 excellent restaurants along this branch of the T, which runs from Malden to Jamaica Plain, stopping in Somerville, Chinatown, and other prime eating destinations along the way.
Every restaurant on this list satisfies two simple conditions: It’s within a five-minute walk of an Orange Line station, and it’s great. This certainly isn’t an exhaustive collection of every must-try restaurant within an easy walk of the Orange Line, but it should be enough to get you started as you begin commuting again or just exploring. Read on for details on garlicky hand-pulled noodle lunches and ritzy Cuban dinners downtown, a trio of Italian options in Back Bay and the South End, Cambodian sandwiches in the North End, Jamaican food in Jamaica Plain, and more.
Alcove’s carbonara. / Photo courtesy of Alcove
Nearest Orange Line Station: North Station
Since opening in late 2018, Alcove has been a hospitable destination tucked away from the TD Garden/North Station hustle and bustle, with industry veteran Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli (East Coast Grill, Craigie on Main, Island Creek Oyster Bar, etc.) at the helm. A new addition to the team in early 2022 has taken Alcove to another level: chef Charles Draghi, who owned the late, great Italian restaurant Erbaluce in Boston’s Bay Village. Look for a few Erbaluce favorites on the Alcove menu, particularly Draghi’s famous carbonara. Aside from those Italian highlights, the menu is mainly what the team describes as “coastal New England,” full of seafood.
50 Lovejoy Wharf, West End, Boston, 617-248-0050, alcoveboston.com.
 
 
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Nearest Orange Line Station: Roxbury Crossing
This neighborhood mainstay has been serving halal African and Middle Eastern food since 2007, located steps from the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center and Roxbury Community College. Braised lamb and lamb shank are the best-sellers, and don’t forget a cup of Somali chai. Feeding a group? Try a “sports plate”—multi-meat combos with rice or spaghetti.
291 Roxbury St., Roxbury, Boston, 617-427-0599, ashur-restaurant.business.site.
 
 
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Nearest Orange Line Station: Forest Hills
Take a ride to the Forest Hills end of the Orange Line to take “the ride,” a globe-trotting tasting menu, at Brassica, a casual neighborhood spot turning out fine-dining-worthy plates. If instead you opt for the a la carte menu, don’t miss the koji risotto, a dish with very few ingredients but unbelievable flavor; the Brussels sprouts, amped up with lemon, maple, and miso; and the ever-popular fried chicken.
3710 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, Boston, 617-477-4519, brassicakitchen.com.
District Kitchen’s XXL soup dumpling. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal
Nearest Orange Line Station: Malden Center
Malden Center is a treasure trove of dining options, but one of the closest restaurants to the T also happens to be one of the neighborhood’s absolute best: District Kitchen, a Chinese restaurant that especially shines in its seafood dishes and various dumplings, such as the jet-black cuttlefish dumplings and the kind of silly but fun XXL soup dumpling (eat it with a straw, carefully.)
2 Florence St., Malden, 781-480-3113, district-kitchen.com.
Nearest Orange Line Stations: Downtown Crossing and Chinatown
Those unfamiliar with Gene’s may be tempted to order the Xi’an-style cumin lamb flatbread sandwiches hinted at in the restaurant name, but Gene’s really shines in its thick, chewy, hand-pulled noodles, dusted generously with minced garlic and chili powder. Throw a skewer of lamb and a tea egg on the side for a hearty downtown Boston lunch. The tiny spot is counter-service with a few seats inside, so have a backup seating plan—picnic on the Greenway, perhaps?—during peak weekday lunch hours.
86 Bedford St., downtown Boston, 617-482-1888, genescafe.com.
 
 
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Nearest Orange Line Station: Stony Brook
Now open at its new address at the Brewery complex, the Haven—Boston’s best (and only) Scottish pub—is taking full advantage of the space, larger than its original home elsewhere in Jamaica Plain, with a busy events calendar. With comedy, trivia, whisky tastings, and more on the calendar, this is where you go for hospitality, haggis (returning to the menu soon), deep-fried Mars bars, and more whisky. There’s a sizable patio, too, and easy parking.
284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, Boston, thehavenjp.com.
Jerk chicken, coconut shrimp, and sides from Jamaica Mi Hungry. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal
Nearest Orange Line Station: Jackson Square
Right next door to the Jackson Square T station, Jamaica Mi Hungry serves hearty portions of flavor-packed dishes like braised oxtail, jerk chicken, and garlic shrimp, paired with sides like an irresistible mac and cheese. This location opened a little bit before the pandemic hit, but the business has been around in various forms for a decade; you can still catch its food truck around town or book catering for special events.
225 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston, 617-708-0465, jamaicamihungry.com.
Mariel’s fufu gnocchi. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal
Nearest Orange Line Station: State
Drink mojitos galore at this eye-catching, swanky tribute to Cuban cuisine from the team behind Yvonne’s, Lolita, and more. The stunning Post Office Square space provides the perfect backdrop for dishes like fufu gnocchi in garlic-brown butter; mini corn and crab arepas; and sticky ribs in a smoky guava sauce.
10 Post Office Sq., downtown Boston, 617-333-8776, marielofficial.com.
 
 
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Nearest Orange Line Station: Massachusetts Avenue
A meal at Mida must start with two things: glazed duck wings and the heavenly garlic butter focaccia. Then, dig into one (or more) of the impeccably made pasta dishes, like the classic carbonara or paccheri Bolognese. Better yet, dig into five pastas with the popular Mangia Monday special, which feeds two people a hefty helping of pastas, plus salad and bread, for $80. Find Mida on the border of the South End and Roxbury, a quick walk from the Mass. Ave. T stop.
782 Tremont St., South End/Roxbury, Boston, 617-936-3490, midarestaurant.com.
 
 
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Nearest Orange Line Station: Roxbury Crossing
One of Mission Hill’s favorite breakfast spots, the very friendly Milkweed is known for dishes like the Dutch baby pancake, topped with lemon ricotta, blueberry compote, and strawberries, and the comforting shakshuka, accompanied by meatballs or falafel. But don’t ignore dinner, which features, among other things, an exceptional sirloin mac and cheese.
1508 Tremont St., Mission Hill, Boston, 617-516-8913, eatatmilkweed.com.
 
 
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Nearest Orange Line Station: Back Bay
Right across the street from the Back Bay station, the Salty Pig is always buzzing with activity thanks to its choose-your-own-adventure charcuterie boards; pick among quite a few meat and cheese options, as well as accoutrements like smoked shallot marmalade and Fresno pepper jam. The pizzas, too, are a neighborhood favorite.
130 Dartmouth St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-536-6200, thesaltypig.com.
 
 
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Nearest Orange Line Station: Massachusetts Avenue
From the same team as the Salty Pig (see above), SRV is an homage to Venice, particularly noticeable in its cicchetti—Italian bar snacks. Don’t fill up on too many snacks, though, because SRV’s pastas are also top-notch, and you’ll want to end with gelato or sorbet in flavors like grilled pineapple or cookies and cream with olive oil.
569 Columbus Ave., South End, Boston, 617-536-9500, srvboston.com.
Suasday’s kroeung beef curry salad bowl. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal
Nearest Orange Line Station: Haymarket
Disembarking from the T at Haymarket puts you steps from the North End and all the cannoli and pasta you can eat. But there’s more to the North End than Italian food, like this fairly new addition, a tiny Cambodian sandwich shop that stuffs toasted baguettes with fillings like crispy five spice tofu or coconut kroeung beef curry. (Try the fillings in salad form, too.) To drink, get the passionfruit juice with coconut jelly.
227 Hanover St., North End, Boston, 857-829-1299, suasday.com.
Taiwan Cafe’s sauteed rice cakes with pork and preserved mustard greens. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal
Nearest Orange Line Station: Chinatown
Without a doubt, Chinatown is one of the best dining neighborhoods in Boston, so this is just one of many stellar spots to check out a short walk from the Chinatown T stop. Taiwan Cafe’s soup dumplings—called mini steamed buns on the menu—are among the best around, as are the Taiwan-style pan-fried dumplings. Beyond dumplings, you’ll want to try the Taiwan-style duck and cold cut beef shank over rice or the Sichuan-style white fish in a spicy broth.
34 Oxford St., Chinatown, Boston, 617-426-8181, ordertaiwancafe.com.
Yakitori Totto’s kawa (chicken skin). / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal
Nearest Orange Line Station: Assembly Row
The Assembly Row T stop drops you right on the edge of the seemingly ever-expanding Assembly Row development, full of shopping, dining, and residential buildings. There are around 30 places to eat and drink, catering to most moods and appetites. One can’t-miss spot is one of the newer arrivals, Yakitori Totto, whose big sibling in New York has been around for almost two decades. Dig into a long list of skewered meats and vegetables, from chicken heart to kurobuta sausage to eggplant with miso paste.
455 Foley St., Assembly Row, Somerville, 617-616-5047, tottonyc.com.
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