See how the sausage is made – almost literally – at these kitchen-side seats where you can watch the culinary goings-on while you eat. From intimate little tables for two that put you right in the middle of the action to first-come, first-served counters, you can see cookers, shuckers, ceviche-makers and sushi rollers doing their thing. Scroll on for 40+ spots where you can dine with a view.
Pull up a chair along the line—Davio's chef's counter faces right into the kitchen to give you an up close look at the inner workings of the Italian eatery. Gnocchi, spring rolls, arancini: it's all prepped and plated before your eyes when you settle in to a chef-side seat.
Davio’s – Chestnut Hill
55 Boylston Street Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 617-738-4810
At the Chestnut Hill outpost of Davio's, the Italian kitchen is integral to the dining experience. Guests can step right up to the bustling back of house and have a seat overlooking the cookery at the bordering chef's counter.
Davio’s – Lynnfield
1250 Market Street Lynnfield, MA 01940 781-944-4810
Owner Steve DeFillipo recreates Davio's swanky Northern Italian steakhouse vibe in his hometown of Lynnfield. Skip the trip into the city and take in all the action (and spring rolls!) from the elegant chef's counter that runs in front of the kitchen at this suburban outpost.
Enjoy dinner and a show at Empire. If you play your cards right, you can snag one of the seats at the sushi bar to watch the talented team slice and roll the freshest seafood into an array of traditional and inventive takes on maki and nagiri.
970 Great Plain Avenue Needham, MA 02492 781-449-6200
The four-seat chef’s counter at the farmhouse in Needham was originally intended for a tasting-menu-only perch but due to popular demand, the seats are available every night serving the regular menu which, coincidentally, you'll be watching them cook.
At Giulia, you can enjoy handmade pasta at a reclaimed white oak table—the very surface on which, just hours earlier, the signature carbs were crafted from scratch. When you dine at the pasta table, which the folks at Giulia call the “heart and soul” of their restaurant, you’ll be served a family-style tasting menu featuring seasonal dishes and—of course—Chef Michael Pagliarini’s custom pasta.
1271 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02115 617-670-0507
Sit down at the Hojoko sushi counter for a rock n' roll (emphasis on roll) dining experience at the Verb Hotel. A place at the long bar offers a first-look at (and taste of) the evening's fresh sashimi and sushi plates from the Japanese izakaya.
The Hourly Oyster House
15 Dunster Street Cambridge, MA 02138 617-765-2342
If you didn't make it in time to reserve your seat at the Hourly's marble-topped raw bar, nab one of the elevated communal tables adjacent to try and sneak a peek at the shuckers expertly handling island creek, cape cod bay, and wellfleet oysters.
il Casale Lexington
1727 Massachusetts Avenue Lexington, MA 02420 781-538-5846
The kitchen is the heart of the Italian home and it's no different at il Casale Lexington where rasied rustic barnwood tables give guests a look at the back-of-house happenings. Hand-painted tiles from southern Italy provide a border but keep the kitchen open and airy (with a touch of the Amalfi coast).
Island Creek Oyster Bar – Burlington
300 District Avenue Burlington, MA 01803 781-761-6500
If anyone knows how New England seafood is really done, it's Island Creek Oyster Bar. The Burlington counterpart boasts its shellfish acumen with an open display raw bar, full of dayboat lobsters, littlenecks, and hand-harvested razor clams you can stop to admire- before you dig in.
125 Washington Street Salem, MA 01970 978-594-1908
The wood-fired grill at the heart of Ledger's large open kitchen chars its rustic charm into its local fish, meat, and supper offerings (think: wood fired mushrooms, brussels sprouts, and lamb shank), pairing perfectly with rums, sherries, and house-made shrubs that pays respect to Salem pubs of old.