All those beautiful spots near the water, once waiting for commercial tenants, are filling up fast with eateries, lounges, bars, and shops. Fort Point Channel, the Seaport, and South Boston neighborhoods are flush with upcoming restaurants. Boldface openings slated for the coming months include Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca from culinary superstar Mario Batali on Summer Street; Pastoral, which promises artisan pizza from chef Todd Winer, formerly of the MET Restaurant Group, on Congress Street; and Row 34, a seafood-centric endeavor from the team behind Kenmore Square’s successful Island Creek Oyster Bar, also slated for Congress Street. No need to wait, though. There are already plenty of new spots to visit. These establishments, mostly open within the last year, offer something tasty for office workers, visitors, and a growing crowd who call the neighborhoods around the water home.
Empire Asian Restaurant & Lounge at Fan Pier
One Marina Park Drive, Fan Pier, Boston, 617-295-0001, www.empireboston.com
Big Night Entertainment Group, known for Red Lantern and Shrine nightspots, runs this Asian-themed lounge and restaurant, which opened last summer. A good choice for large parties and 9 to 5ers looking to unwind, the restaurant specializes in shareable plates like scallion pancakes, lobster or crab rangoon, and sushi, typically washed back with tropical cocktails. On Monday nights, you can order all-you-can-eat $25 sushi and pupu platters. New this summer: a lobster “cupcake,” with sushi rice topped with lobster meat, sriracha, and kewpie mayo.
Trillium Brewing Co.
369 Congress St., Fort Point, Boston, 617-453-8745, www.trilliumbrewing.com
Owner Esther Tetreault calls Trillium, which opened in March, “a real urban farmhouse”-style brewery. “We make American farmhouse ales utilizing both traditional and modern processes and equipment,” she says. Tetreault, who runs the craft brewery with her husband, JC, notes that Fort Point is where most Boston breweries were based in the 1800s. Nowadays, Trillium fills 32- and 64-ounce growlers for customers on Thursdays through Saturdays; Tetreault says that many stop by neighboring Flour Bakery or Bee’s Knees for a post-beer bite.
Tavern Road & TR Street Foods
343 Congress St., Fort Point, Boston, 617-790-0808, www.tavernroad.com
This vast restaurant and lunch counter, new in February, is a labor of love for chef Louis DiBiccari (left) and his brother, Michael. “I’ve been here every day since we opened,” says Louis. His dining room is adorned with work from Fort Point artists and family heirlooms, namely a 30-foot mural that honors the work of his uncle, a local sculptor; the restaurant is named for the street where the artist had a studio. At lunch, office workers line up for fast-casual lunches that crisscross the globe (beef tacos, za’atar chicken wings), tote them to a table, or grab and go. At dinner, there’s charcuterie and a lively bar scene.
324 A St., Fort Point, Boston, 617-338-8585, www.ming.com/blue-dragon.htm
Ming Tsai (pictured) first attracted attention with his upscale Blue Ginger in Wellesley, which blends Eastern and Western cuisines in a special-occasion setting. His casual gastro-pub, opened in February, marks the TV chef’s first city foray, and it draws lunch and dinner crowds for small plates. Tsai serves mini bison burgers and braised beef potstickers; unusual chalkboard specials like General Tso’s sweetbreads add an element of surprise. A to-go lunch menu, with a large selection of banh mi, has intrigued neighborhood workers. In summertime, there’s a patio.
Bee’s Knees Supply Co.
12 Farnsworth St., Fort Point, Boston, 617-292-2337, www.beeskneessupply.com
Jason Owens, known for his work at Davis Square’s M3, operates this gourmet neighborhood market, which opened in March, and sells sandwiches (including Berkshire prosciutto with goat gouda, fig jam, arugula, and French butter), smoothies (like the virtuous spinach, avocado, berries, and hibiscus-lime iced tea), a large cheese selection, wine, and beer. Free beer tastings (Wednesdays at 5 p.m.) and wine tastings (Fridays at 4 p.m.) have a neighborly vibe. It’s the only place in town to get Jamaica Plain’s Batch ice cream by the scoop.
Harpoon Beer Hall
306 Northern Ave., Seaport, Boston, 617-456-2322, www.harpoonbrewery.com
The new Harpoon beer hall, accommodating roughly 300 brew lovers, doesn’t have much in the way of food — mainly baked pretzels. Sit at a bar or a wooden communal table and sip a pint of draft (choose from about 20 seasonal and year-round taps, plus test batches). The brewery also sells memorabilia like 64-ounce growlers (fill it on site), caps, and T-shirts. Tours ($5) take place daily and include a tasting. If you’re hungry for more than a pretzel, many neighborhood restaurants, like Rosa Mexicano and Trade, often stock Harpoon beers. The hall opened in February.
75 on Liberty Wharf
220 Northern Ave., Seaport, Boston, 617-227-0754, www.75onlibertywharf.com
A sister restaurant to 75 Chestnut, 75 on Liberty Wharf opened in October. While the dinner menu mirrors its Beacon Hill counterpart, the similarities stop there: Here, there’s a view of Boston Harbor, plus a 60-seat patio. There’s also lunch service, plus a heavy emphasis on seafood. Corporate chef Markus Ripperger loves mussels sauteed with tomatoes, garlic, and chorizo. Ripperger aims to create a neighborhood feel: “We try to serve anything you might want on a typical Tuesday night,” he says. To keep regulars guessing, he changes up dinner specials nightly, posting to Facebook by midafternoon.
155 Seaport Blvd., Seaport, Boston, 617-476-6122, www.rosamexicano.com
A national franchise specializing in higher-end Mexican food, Rosa Mexicano debuted its first Boston location last May. A primary draw is chili-spiked guacamole, mashed tableside, and Rosa’s extensive weekend Mexican breakfast menu. Chilaquiles, tamales topped with poached eggs, and a bracing Mezcal Bloody Mary make it a worthy stop in particular for visitors and expense account diners. Also on the menu for summer: guacamole ice cream, served in a frozen molcajete.
Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant
425 West Broadway, South Boston, 617-765-8636, www.lincolnsouthboston.com
Chef Nick Dixon, who won fans at Fort Point’s Lucky’s Lounge, drew immediate crowds to this versatile restaurant and bar, which opened last fall. Fish tacos and brick-oven pizzas are the big menu sellers. Weekend brunch is also a neighborhood rite of passage. Go for the $24 make-your-own mimosas, where a bottle of Prosecco, paired with mixers like orange or grapefruit juice purees, are deposited tableside. Meanwhile, dedicated drinkers should try the signature cocktail, the Quiet Man. It’s the restaurant’s twist on a Manhattan, named for Southie’s long-gone Quiet Man pub.
69 L St., South Boston, 617-425-4444, www.tastyburger.com
This is the South Boston walk-up branch of an expanding burger chainlet opened in September 2012, delighting fans of late-night burgers and hot dogs. The Franklin Restaurant Group’s David DuBois, who runs the restaurant, says that many features distinguish this Tasty Burger from sister establishments in Harvard Square and Fenway: Notably, it’s the only branch to sell soft-serve ice cream. Expect onion rings on the Southie menu soon, outdoor seating, and delivery service. Calorie-counters, take note: DuBois is considering adding salad to the menu.
Moko Japanese Cuisine
674 East Broadway, South Boston, 617-752-4601, www.mokoboston.com
You’ll find a wide selection of sushi and sashimi at this sit-down restaurant, which opened on East Broadway last winter. There are creative rolls, like Broadway maki topped with crispy onions, as well as standards like spicy tuna and California maki. There’s also a smattering of katsu, noodles, and tempura. Take-out makes it convenient for locals too tired to cook.