Want to find the best under-the-radar spots in Boston? We asked, and you answered. Ahead, check out our favorite hidden gems in the arts, innovation, restaurants, and nightlife, along with our readers' favorites.


Best two-hand burrito

WINNER: Villa Mexico

In early 2013, when this friendly little spot lost its home inside a gas station on Beacon Hill, many regulars thought they’d never enjoy Julie and Bessie King's sublime burritos... Read More >

Best eccentric pizza


While the throngs head to institutions like Regina’s, Picco has quietly earned some cred of its own. The retro-feeling Tremont Street eatery churns out perfectly charred pizzas with a relatively thin crust... Read More >


Best brunch that will bring you back to life

WINNER: Renee’s Cafe

Conveniently located between Davis Square and Teele Square in Somerville, this homey, bustling two-room eatery offers sweet takes on a number of reasonably priced brunch items... Read More >

FAN PICK: Paramount

Most Instagrammable menu

WINNER: Lone Star Taco Bar

Mexican food isn't always photogenic, but Mexican street food is another story. At Lone Star Taco Bar, the menu’s presentation is on par with its flavor. The Sonoran dogs, offered at the restaurant’s Cambridge location... Read More >

Best cheap eat

WINNER: Tampopo

A lot of people don't realize that the old Sears building (now called University Hall) in Cambridge's Porter Square has an Asian food court tucked inside. The place is cheap eats heaven... Read More >


Best dance party to cut loose


In a town known for working hard, a proper place to cut loose is a civic necessity. Enter Zuzu, a Cambridge restaurant that transforms into a pretension-free boogie zone under the cover of night... Read More >

FAN PICK: Common Ground

Best hidden bar to impress your date

WINNER: Backbar

Nothing submarines a date faster than dealing with a mixologist on a power trip, but that’s not something you need to worry about at Backbar: service at this Somerville cocktail lounge is genuinely hospitable... Read More >

FAN PICK: Yvonne’s

Best place to catch the next big thing

WINNER:The Sinclair

In its design, The Sinclair is able to pull off an uncommon highwire act: the venue is intimate enough to get up close and personal, yet large enough to sport impressive acoustics... Read More >

FAN PICK: The Sinclair

Best improv night

WINNER: ImprovBoston

Though the tourists love it, there’s nothing common about ImprovBoston. Its in-house improv school and funkily-minded location—right in the middle of Central Square, a proverbial hotbed of out-of-the-box thinkers... Read More >

FAN PICK: Improv Asylum
RUNNER UP: The Riot Theater

Best eclectic beer list

WINNER: Row 34

The Fort Point seafood restaurant trafficks principally in oysters, but since opening in 2013, Row 34's beer list has been a revelation. You might order a dozen alongside a glass of Win Bic, a tart, wild ale... Read More >

FAN PICK: Publick House

Best record store

WINNER: Deep Thoughts

Since 2013, vinyl junkies have visited Deep Thoughts for current and vintage records. The store curates the best and weirdest from local acts and small labels, and it’s a trove of obscure, old vinyl.... Read More >

FAN PICK: Tres Gatos

Best tour not for tourists

WINNER: Taza Chocolate Factory Tour

Taza’s factory is located in an industrial area of Somerville, so most tourists won’t bother with the trek. Their loss, because visitors get to learn the company’s traditional Mexican stone ground process.... Read More >

Best under-the-radar theater

WINNER: The Cabot Theater

When it opened in 1920, this theater was home to silent movies and vaudeville performances. Back then, it rivaled other huge, elaborately decorated venues in New York City. Today, it's a live performance.... Read More >

Best knick-knacks

WINNER: Boston General Store

The Boston General Store is one of the newest additions to Coolidge Corner. And yet, the store’s comprehensive inventory of high-quality gifts—from handmade kitchen ceramics to leather journals to.... Read More >

FAN PICK: Magpie

Best hidden gem

WINNER: The Boston Athenaeum

From the outside, the Athenaeum’s stone facade blends right into Beacon Hill. Inside, the private library is home to more than 620,000 volumes, including some of the rarest finds in Boston.... Read More >


Best new business we really needed

WINNER: ArtLifting

By buying a standout piece of art, you can give a homeless or disabled artist the chance to earn an income. Browse a wide selection of prints, posters, phone cases, tote bags, and greeting cards.... Read More >

FAN PICK: ArtLifting

Best upgrade for Mother Earth

WINNER: Grove Labs

Warm weather and abundant outdoor space can be hard to come by in these parts. Thanks to Grove Labs, you can grow fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs year-round without ever leaving your apartment.... Read More >

FAN PICK: DoneGood

Best new health and fitness power boost

WINNER: Swet Studio

This South End fitness studio launched in 2015 with 1,500 square feet of exercise space and a creative lineup of fitness classes. It’s LGBT-friendly and offers Bollywood-inspired BollyX, hip-hop yoga.... Read More >

FAN PICK: bikebus

Best new trick from an old standby

WINNER: Chuck Taylor II

It came as a surprise when Converse upgraded its classic, about-a-century-old sneaker last summer with the help of Nike technology. Dubbed the Chuck Taylor II, the enhanced sneak has the signature look.... Read More >

FAN PICK: Sam Adams

Best app that makes your commute easier

WINNER: ParkBoston

Finding a parking spot in Boston is hard. Having to rely on quarters makes it even harder. Meet ParkBoston, a free mobile app that enables drivers to pay for parking without spare change. Simply find a space with the ParkBoston.... Read More >

FAN PICK: ParkBoston

Just like our uncommon commitment to reimagined banking for Boston, Capital One has an uncommon commitment to the community around us. That's why we asked if you know a non-profit organization, community group, or grass-roots effort that is improving the lives of Bostonians in uncommon ways.

WINNER: Rosie's Place

Rosie's Place provides a safe and nurturing environment that helps poor and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives. Capital One is proud to present $5,000 to assist Rosie's Place in the important work that they do for our community.

FAN PICK: Rosie's Place