Casual Dining in Boston

Casual dining in Boston runs the gamut from super casual bar food to upscale casual which borders on fine dining. But either way you slice it, the town knows how to do casual dining.


Equator is a family owned business with authentic Thai cuisine in a very Thai atmosphere. The food is wonderfully authentic and the staff couldn’t be friendlier. But one of the best parts about Equator is you don’t have to get dressed up for a fabulous dinner. In fact it’s perfect if you’re just popping in on a last minute whim.


Kashmir is one of a collection of Indian restaurants in the Boston area that are called One World Cuisine. Kashmir brings Indian flavors and traditions together with modern approaches to food and the result is incredible. Kashmir has a great décor but if the weather is cooperating head outside for the patio seating. Kashmir does take reservations but they’re typically not necessary and it’s a great stop for takeout, lunch or the weekend brunch buffet.

The Wine Cellar

The Wine Cellar is the only fondue and wine restaurant in the Boston area. There are several different oil based fondues to try but the cheese ones are really the highlight. And what goes better with cheese than wine? Cap off your evening with an incredible melted chocolate fondue with grapes, berries, pineapple, cantaloupe, and pirouette wafers. Bring your friends along because fondue takes a while and is interactive which means it’s more fun with good friends and even better conversation.

Vox Populi

Vox Populi is located in the historic Back Bay and a convenient stop for many downtown activities. The menu claims to be contemporary continental and is punctuated by a large variety of organically grown or harvested wild ingredients. Vox is open for brunch, lunch and dinner and the new patio is an excellent way to enjoy their culinary concoctions on a sunny day. If you’d just like to dip your toes in the water at Vox Populi then grab a seat at the bar and dive into the $5 small plate options.


Davio’s is one of the more upscale casual dining restaurants in Boston. No need for formal attire but you don’t want to look like you just came in from a wilderness hike either. Davio’s is a northern Italian steakhouse that serves hearty fares for those with big appetites. The food is delectable and worth a visit for anyone looking for an upscale casual atmosphere with food that compares with the best fine dining in the area.


Laurel is owned by husband and wife team, Executive Chef Russ Berger and Executive Pastry Chef Sherry Berger, so a trip to Laurel really isn’t complete without having a homemade dessert to wrap things up. The restaurant is sort of a high scale bistro so dress casual is the motif here. Restaurant selections are fairly traditional bistro style dishes and are cooked to perfection. Remember to enjoy the whole experience from beginning to dessert.

Match Burgers & Martinis

Match Burgers & Martinis is a hip restaurant in Boston on the cutting edge of trendy with two of the big culinary fads leading the way, martinis and mini burgers. The atmosphere may not be built for everyone but earlier in the evening it’s more tame and relaxed, as the evening progresses the volume moves up a notch and the restaurant gathers a more club-like vibe. Take note that Match is open daily from 5pm to 1am so it’s great for a late night snack, especially on Tuesdays when the mini-beef burgers are only $1 or on Thursdays when women can order any entrée for $5.

The Elephant Walk

The Elephant Walk brings award winning Cambodian and French cuisine to the table. The Cambodian menu is full of traditional dishes from street food to high-end delicacies and even features a few original dishes in the traditional Cambodian style. The French portion of the menu is almost fully stocked with original dishes. Some claim that the food is a fusion of the two traditions, but they’re pretty separated, giving you a unique range of options that you can fuse yourself by order a little from each menu. It’s also a good place for vegetarians or those with food allergies as they work diligently to provide healthy alternative dining for everyone. The Elephant Walk is an upscale dining establishment so dress appropriately.

Stephanie’s on Newbury

Stephanie’s on Newbury is located in the upscale Back Bay region of Boston with street side dining for people watching or taking a load off between shopping trips. The atmosphere at Stephanie’s is incredible if you decide to forego the sidewalk the bar has a club-like feel and the dining area features a fireplace and sky-lit illumination. The food at Stephanie’s on Newbury is most often described as upscale comfort food, which means its food all Americans are familiar with done with a little flair.

Cottonwood Restaurant & Café

Cottonwood Restaurant & Café is an old staple in Back Bay but remains popular due to its three season patio dining, the fresh Southwest cuisine and award winning margaritas. Lunch menus are fairly priced and designed to get the working crowd in and out with new options daily. The dinner menu is for a slower pace with the mesquite grill playing center stage and fresh seasonal ingredients providing some variety. If you’re going to sit in the café, the more casual section, there is a lighter fare available at extended hours.


Oliveiras is a pay by the pound buffet with a Brazilian touch. Not all pay by the pound restaurants are a good deal but this one is. And it’s a great way to experience Brazilian food for the first time, as you can sample just a bit of each thing and then decide which dishes you really like and go back for as much as you’d like. Be forewarned though, this is not a place for vegetarians as a lot of Brazilian food uses meat as the center piece and Oliveiras really relies on its meats.
Creative Commons License photo credit: cherrylet