Food & Wine Best New Chef 1996 Michael Schlow gives an insider guide to Boston, from the best brunch spots to the top bars.

By Ratha Tep
Updated: April 18, 2016

On Boston

What first drew me to Boston 13 years ago was its small-town feel and the love affair it had then-and still has-with its chefs, who are known on a first-name basis. Radius, which turns 10 this year, features modern Italian dishes (8 High St.; 617-426-1234 or

Favorite Cultural Activity

I like live music at The Middle East in Cambridge (472 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts; 617-492-9181 or You never know when someone like Peter Wolf, formerly of the J. Geils Band, might pop onstage and belt out a few tunes with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Favorite Brunch Spot

Chef Ken Oringer’s Spanish-influenced Toro (1704 Washington St.; 617-536-4300 or Toro is great at night, but I like it more at brunch when it’s more laid-back (I get the chorizo and eggs).

Favorite Nightlife Spot

Pho Republique for its funky decor and dedicated bartenders. If you’re there with a group, order the superpotent Scorpion Bowl cocktail (1415 Washington St.; 617-262-0005 or

Restaurant Recommendations

Oiishi, where Ting Yen makes some of the best sushi I’ve ever had (1166 Washington St.; 617-482-8868 or

B&G Oysters, for the best lobster roll in the city (550 Tremont St.; 617-423-0550 or

Grill 23, for perfectly cooked steaks. I sit at the quieter upstairs bar, where it’s a bit easier to talk (161 Berkeley St.; 617-542-2255 or

Blue Ginger in Wellesley. I’m addicted to chef Ming Tsai’s Bings (pot stickers) (583 Washington St., Wellesley, Massachusetts; 781-283-5790 or

Pigalle, which has one of the top wine lists in the city (75 Charles St. S.; 617-423-4944 or