Like fondue, hot pot, or shabu-shabu, is a great communal experience. You can share with friends and family, or even break the ice on a first date. With a large simmering pot of broth in the center of the table, you get involved with your food as you pick and choose the ingredients to add and make it yours.

Meats, vegetables, noodles, tofu, and seafood play a part — you just have to drop them into a boiling broth and let them cook. A great pick-me-up on a cold rainy day – or if you're just tired of the A/C. Here are some amazing hot pot spots around Boston to enjoy.

A Hot Pot with choices of broth, protein, and veggies, at Kaze Shabu Shabu.
Eating hot pot is a very different dining experience with your choice of broth, protein, and veggies.
Courtesy of Kaze Shabu Shabu

Kaze Shabu Shabu

With a hip mural of a Totoro enjoying a hot pot, you'll have no trouble finding Kaze Shabu Shabu. The menu is broad, making this a great place to start for hot pot beginners. And when you're ordering appetizers, don't let the fried spicy jumbo tentacles scare you, they'll be sure to octopi your heart with their taste. These little suckers pack so much spice and crunch that you'll wish you had extra arms to finish them.

The first step to ordering your hot pot is choosing your broth base. The Szechuan broth at Kaze is a favorite - deliciously spicy; three out of six "peppers"; the perfect level of heat. Next comes the DIY part: choosing a platter of fixings for your broth. The meal comes with a plate of fresh vegetables, but the protein is up to you. The meat lover combo is a favorite. It's a feast of prime rib eye, Kobe, Black Angus rib eye, boneless short ribs, and beef. Delicious!

Fun fact? You might recognize this spot as “ Zhu’s Authentic Hong Kong Food’’ from the 2016 movie "Ghostbusters."

1 Harrison Ave., Chinatown, 617-338-8283,

Happy Lamb Hot Pot

Located near Central Square, Happy Lamb Hot Pot is part of the evolving, authentic Asian restaurant scene in Cambridge. Affiliated with the international hot pot chain Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, it will fulfill all of your expectations with its fresh soups and ingredients.

The Half & Half pot, a mixture of spicy broths, pairs deliciously with New Zealand spring lamb. Throw in the vegetable combo platter: greens, corn, sliced radish, and spinach, and you have one flavor-packed meal.

The Mongolian grilled skewers and house pork dumplings are a delightful way to start your meal. And the self-serve cotton candy machine near the door is worth saving room for.

485 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 857-285-6933, Happy Lamb Facebook

A DIY hot pot meal spread at Shabu-Zen Allston.
A DIY hot pot meal spread. Is your mouth watering?
Courtesy of Shabu-Zen Allston


A solid shabu restaurant with two locations, Chinatown and Allston, Shabu-Zen is a hot pot spot known for its bustling bistro-like atmosphere and earthy broths.

The sweet and spicy Korean kimchi broth is a home run and pairs well with thick and chewy udon noodles. It comes with a heaping side of vegetables, including napa cabbage, corn, mushrooms, bok choy or watercress, carrots, and a square of tofu. The surf and turf combo is also a winner. The fresh seafood and beef pairs well with the accompaniments and allows you to try several different soup combinations.

At the end of every meal comes a complimentary bowl of sweet red bean soup, a traditional Asian dessert made with azuki beans. It's a refreshing way to end your meal.

16 Tyler St., Boston & 80 Brighton Ave., Allston,

Hot Pot Buffet

Are you looking for a lot of hot pot while staying on budget? Head over to Hot Pot Buffet. It's enormous - three floors of all-you-can-eat goodness! The buffet has everything you could want, including: crawfish, sirloin, and scallops, and they mean business when it comes to their dipping options. You can get sides of chopped garlic, peppers, and cilantro that you can add to the satay and soy-based sauces so that you can make them just the way you like.

In addition to hot pot, you can get Korean BBQ at Hot Pot Buffet. This is also a DIY event where you use a gas-heated grill to cook your food. You can even grill the classics like Spam, and hot dogs. It's a new take on old favorites, and makes the experience feel like an indoor camping trip!

70 Beach St., Chinatown, 617-338-0808, Hot Pot Buffet Facebook

Ying Yang pot at Q Restaurant.
Two is always better than one with this Ying Yang pot.
Courtesy of Q Restaurant

Q Restaurant

A blue bubble wall is the first sign that Q Restaurant is not your typical hot pot spot. The food more than reflects the funky decor, and you can enjoy chocolate martinis with you creative cuisine. Excellent.

Start your meal with the spicy seafood salad, a combination of octopus, shrimp, crab, flying fish roe, and julienned cucumber mixed with a spicy mayo dressing and crunchy taro flakes. It's a refreshing and tasty appetizer that'll prep you for the main course.

You'll love the Q's Ying Yang pot. It comes with a large vegetable platter and your choice of two broths. For tofu lovers, the array of fried, soft, iced, and dried allows you to experience every texture. Meat lovers should try the angus sirloin, which absorbs the most flavor from the broth. The Q also has lamb, pork, and Wagyu beef. Finally, when ordering noodles, always ask for the large. The broths will have you slurping them up throughout your entire meal.

660 Washington St., Chinatown, 857-350-3968,

Meats cut to paper-thin slices, at Shabu Restaurant.
Meats are cut to paper-thin slices to allow for fast cooking.
Courtesy of Shabu Restaurant

Shabu Restaurant

Shabu Restaurant is in a cozy location that offers indoor, outdoor, and bar seating. Space is limited, so plan on getting there early and be prepared for a wait - it'll be worth it.

Start with their Tom Yum broth, a spicy, sour, and savory Thai shrimp soup that pairs well with all dipping options. Scallops are a perfect protein for this dish, and Shabu serves them fresh. If you're looking for a real seafood adventure, order a plate of fish paste along with your meal. It's a pillowy dumpling-filling that you scoop into the broth to amp up the flavor.

Save room for dessert - the fried ice cream is delicious! There are seven flavors to choose from, including favorites like coconut and ginger. And if you're on a mission to eat your weight in hot pot, check out the daily lunch buffet, or the dinner buffet on Monday and Tuesday nights.

397 Hancock St., Quincy, 617-689-0288,

Little Q Hot Pot

Little Q Hot Pot serves an enormous selection of vegetables, meats, and soup broths, and after a move from Quincy to Arlington, it has maintained a reputation for being one of the most unique hot pot experiences around.

Their miso broth is simmering umami goodness and pairs well with a variety of add-ins, including scallops, quail eggs, seaweed knots, Chilean sea bass, and more. The extravagant spread they serve can stand up to any feast. It's A+ dining here.

196 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, 781-583-1367,

Hot pot dipping sauce at Shabu & Mein.
Hot pot dipping sauce is a very personal thing — everyone makes their own concoction of scallion, garlic, satay, and soy sauce.
Courtesy of Shabu & Mein

Shabu & Mein

Shabu & Mein, some of the tastiest hot pot on the Cambridge side of the Charles, is a mood we all need. They're known for their funky fresh vibe, and an unmatchable thick and creamy Tonkotsu broth that gets used for both ramen and hot pot.

When it comes to add-ins, Shabu & Mein is all about quality. Their vegetables are crisp, and their seafood is as fresh as it can get. Options include lobster tail, salmon, white fish, scallops, squid, shrimp, fish cake, and clams, and pairs well with their local beer selection. Order a Rogue Sriracha Hot Stout with your pot and spice things up.

148 1st St., Cambridge, 617-577-7888,

Royal Hotpot Sushi & Bar

How does having a seat in a big comfy chair while metal carts roll out your food sound? You'll be treated like a noble when you dine at Royal. You'll also eat like one, their all-you-can-eat buffet is top-notch and includes an enormous selection of sushi and seafood, like crab, eel, red clam, white tuna, and salmon.

Start with sashimi and work your way to the hot pot. Try the Chinese herbal broth, a fragrant and light base for the noodles and protein to cook in, and can be flavored any way you like. BBQ sauce and extra peppers are a fun combo - a perfect balance of sweet and spicy.

Be sure to save room for a green tea. Their offerings, which include a delicious black currant green tea, are ample and a refreshingly way to end your meal.

227 Parkingway, Quincy, 617-481-4874,