The town most closely associated with the American revolution is on the map these days for the outstanding new restaurants joining some old favourites. Union Oyster House 41 Union Street The Georgian brick building that houses this institution has been standing for more than 250 years, and the restaurant has been serving oysters, chowder and cornbread for 180 years. It's the oldest restaurant in the US and the interior and much of the menu haven't changed since the 18th century, when oyster stew cost 20 US cents. Today, at more than 50 times that, it's worth it for a taste of history and a shot at glimpsing Boston insiders such as former Bush rival John Kerry and 2008 presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, both regulars, as is Ted Kennedy. Main courses cost HK$160-HK$235. L'Espalier 30 Gloucester Street Set in a 19th-century town house, this Boston Back Bay favourite is idyllic and exotic. In an intimate dining room of a high Victorian brownstone, traditional French fare meets fresh New England in dishes such as Maine lobster poached in Vermont cultured butter. Chef Frank McClelland not only cooks but also gardens; all the greens and herbs on the menu come from the restaurant's organic rooftop plot. He's also a wine collector and the inventive wine list includes organic wines from Alsace and rarities such as L'Oustel Blanc Naik 5, only 1,000 bottles of which are produced every year. L'Espalier's prix fixe menu costs HK$585-HK$1,365. Stella 1525 Washington Street Stella is a neighbourhood hangout in the gallery glut of SoWa (south of Washington Street). The Italian eatery, known almost exclusively by word of mouth, has been on the scene for little more than a year but is packed most nights. 'So not Boston', one regular says of the large, dazzling, white space with wraparound windows and an outdoor patio. The city, full of generally dark wood and brick restaurants, seems ready for this cool late-night spot. It's great for people watching, boasts superb pasta Bolognese and linguine with asparagus. The buzz, beautiful people and reasonable prices (no entree costs more than HK$235) mean you need to book ahead. Toro 1704 Washington Street This South End Barcelona-style tapas place is often crowded but, say locals, worth the wait. Chef Ken Oringer serves moderately priced (HK$165-HK$235) tapas and main dishes such as garlic prawns with a hint of saffron and salt-crusted sea bass. The hubbub and interesting food make it a hot spot, and even the wait for a seat at one of the long communal tables is enjoyably spent at the stainless steel bar or, during a cold Boston winter, hunkered down at a seat near the fireplace.