HOT AND GETTING HOTTER: Fort Point and the Seaport

Long touted by optimistic realtors and bargain-hunting artists as the next South End, Fort Point and the Seaport still lack amenities you associate with real residential areas. There aren't enough grocers, dry cleaners, cafés, florists, pet shops, and pizzerias to hide its origins as a lowercase-S seaport and industrial warehouse district. But steady commercial development, anchored by the new convention center and several business-traveler hotels, hint otherwise. Most interesting is the flock of recent and imminent restaurant openings, which include Barbara Lynch's ultra-swank French joint Menton (354 Congress Street, Boston, 617.737.0099); the airy, lively pub Barlow's (241 A South Street, Boston, 617.338.2142); the smart-looking Sam's (60 Northern Avenue, Boston, 617.295.0191) in the new waterfront Louis; the handsomely casual Whiskey Priest (150 Northern Avenue, Boston, 617.426.8114), whose stunning views may make you forget the goofy name; a second outlet of Jerry Remy's Sports Bar & Grill (Liberty Wharf, between the Fish Pier and the Bank of America Pavilion); upscale steak house Del Frisco's (Liberty Wharf); mid-high Mexican venue Papa Gallo's (283 Summer Street, Boston); and a gigantic Legal Sea Foods (Liberty Wharf, 242 Northern Avenue, Boston), coming to the one-time site of bygone seafood landmark Jimmy's Harborside. It's no longer crazy to think that the Other Southie may accrete enough local foot traffic and year-round residents to make it into an actual neighborhood, not just a stopover for conventioneers, tourists, and suburban gastronauts.