Interior shot of Cinquecento

Had enough of year-end retrospectives and best-of-2012 lists? So have we: we're already setting our sights on the slew of new restaurant openings that 2013 will shortly bring our way. From popular independent chef/owners branching out to open second restaurants, to longtime hired guns going out on their own for the first time, to nationally famous names hanging out their first shingles in Boston, here are the forthcoming spots we're anticipating the most, plus some brand-new eateries that just fired up their burners.


Cinquecento:: 500 Harrison Ave, Boston :: 617.338.9500 or This new "Roman trattoria" from the Aquitaine Group (Metropolis, Union, Gaslight, and the Aquitaines) took over the old Rocca space in SoWa and effected a gorgeous, warm interior redesign. Chef de cuisine Justin Winters has rolled out an initial region-trotting menu that includes eight pastas, a bunch of salumi, and Roman specialties like trippa alla Parmigiana (tripe braised in tomato sauce with Parmesan). We can't wait for the South End's loveliest patio to re-open too.

Giulia:: 1682 Mass Ave, Cambridge :: 617.441.2800 :: Michael Pagliarini, who long helmed the kitchen at Michael Schlow's Back Bay Italian eatery Via Matta, has gone solo with this handsome, rustic, exposed-brick room in the old Rafiki Bistro space between Harvard and Porter squares. Look for Italian small plates and lots of house-made pastas.

Sycamore:: 755 Beacon St, Newton :: 617.244.4445 or Chef/owner David Punch has gone indie after years of building the Ten Tables brand into a trio of affordable and beloved bistros in JP, Cambridge, and Provincetown. He just opened this 50-seat space in Newton Centre, which features a full bar with classic cocktails and craft beers and a New American menu heavy on local sourcing and charcuterie, all with a slight French accent.


Flour Bakery & Café:: 131 Clarendon St, Boston :: Joanne Chang claims that Flour number four will be the extent of her empire of patisserie/sandwich/coffee shops that currently generate long lines in the South End, Fort Point, and Central Square. Expect similar crowds at this new location in the old Hard Rock Café space near Back Bay Station.

Boston Chops:: 1375 Washington St, Boston :: The partners behind Dorchester's dbar and the Back Bay's Deuxave, including chef Chris Coombs (recently recognized in Forbes magazine as one of America's 30 most influential food and wine personalities under the age of 30), have taken over the South End space formerly home to Ginger Park to offer a creative take on the big-steakhouse concept. Gone is its predecessor's avant-garde interior design in favor of a more convivial, brasserie-like feel.

Asta:: 47 Mass Ave, Boston :: Chef/owner Alex Crabb has ventured out on his own with a concept centered on tasting menus: a modest, homey three-course one, and more elaborate, adventurous menus of five and eight courses. Expect a lighter take on the refined French style he honed over seven years in the kitchen of Boston's storied L'Espalier.

Bronwyn:: 255 Washington St, Somerville :: 617.864.4745 or Tim Wiechmann, chef/owner of Huron Village's small, arty New American bistro T.W. Food, gets a long-awaited second venue in the Union Square space that formerly housed Thai joint Ronnarong. The excitement here is his plan to do the kind of Middle and Eastern European fare rarely seen in Boston, including the cuisine of Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Italy's Alto Adige region. A full bar and outdoor beer garden should add to its allure.

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