Thursday, December 28, 2006

Favorite Boston Restaurants of 2006

As I had mentioned earlier, the Best Boston Restaurants of 2006 page is up on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. But I was wondering what people's favorite restaurants of 2006 might be. "Favorite" and "best" can indeed be two different things; for instance, one of my favorite restaurants of 2006 is the Salem Wood Cafe in Malden, but I wouldn't quite consider it one of the best restaurants in Boston, though their steak tips aren't too far behind those of the New Bridge Cafe in Chelsea.

If you have a favorite restaurant of 2006, we have a section on the site where you can post it. Go to the Visitors' Favorite Restaurants page and write a brief description of your favorite dining spot. Chances are, it will appear on our site!


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Our Latest Review: Salem Wood Cafe in Malden

photo of Salem Wood Cafe, Malden, MAThe latest review that is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is the Salem Wood Cafe, which is in the Maplewood section of Malden. The Salem Wood Cafe is a friendly, old-fashioned place that is a good alternative to the nearby New Bridge Cafe in Chelsea, as the Salem Wood has outstanding steak tips, but unlike the New Bridge, it is rarely all that crowded.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Restaurants for New Year's Eve in Boston

photo of Ristorante Romanza, Providence, RIIt is only a few days until Christmas, with New Year's Eve not being too far behind, so it is definitely time to start making plans for New Year's Eve. I have dined at Ristorante Romanza in Providence (see photo) over the past two New Year's Eves, but this year I think we are doing something different (perhaps a restaurant closer to Boston). Needless to say, I need to make reservations by today or tomorrow, or it will be Chinese food and the Three Stooges for me!

New Year's Day is also a fun time to go out to eat. Last year, we went to Doyle's Cafe in Jamaica Plain for brunch. This year? Not sure at this point, but if the weather is nice, I definitely want to go out for brunch someplace around Boston that is also close to an area where I can take a long walk before the college football games start on TV. Perhaps Doyle's and the nearby Arnold Arboretum will work out. We shall see...

Speaking of Jamaica Plain, for those of you who read my previous entry on the Christmas lights at Dominic Luberto's house on the Arborway in Jamaica Plain, I believe the lights will remain on Mr. Luberto's house until the end of January, so there is still plenty of time to view this amazing scene of what is basically a castle lit up with thousands of bulbs.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Macaroni Grill, Burlington

I went to a large Christmas/holiday dinner at the Macaroni Grill in Burlington last night. I went with a bit of trepidation, since I am not a big fan of chains, and I had heard mixed reviews of the place. But it turned out to be a good night, with mostly satisfying dishes and decent wine.

My favorite item was the wild mushroom ravioli appetizer, but the Caesar salad was good, as was the chicken cannelloni. The calamari was ok, but a bit bland, and the rosemary bread was tasty. The tiramisu was fantastic--not sure how I was able to finish it, but I did. And the Pinot Noir was surprisingly good, and not too expensive at about $7 for a glass.

Most of the 20 people who went enjoyed the Macaroni Grill, too. I wouldn't choose it over any of the restaurants in the North End, East Boston, or Medford, but it was good enough, and a great place for a large group.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Prairie Star in Boston Has Closed

Well, December has been a tough month for restaurants in the Boston area, with so many of them closing (or about to close). Add one more to the list, as Prairie Star has shut down. Prairie Star, which was located on Dartmouth Street near Columbus Avenue, was never a big hit among diners in the Boston area, so it is not a huge surprise that they are gone.

Clery's might be expanding into this spot, as it is next door to where Prairie Star was. This might be a good move, as Clery's is a decent place that attracts hoards of people looking for comfort food and a pint or two. Clery's, which is owned by the same group that owns the Black Rose and the Purple Shamrock, might become a big player in the Boston Irish pub scene if they go ahead with this move.


Monday, December 18, 2006

No Restaurant Reviews This Week

Just to let everyone know that there will be no new featured restaurant on Boston's Hidden Restaurants this week. There should be a new restaurant reviewed either next Sunday or next Tuesday (Christmas is on Monday!).

I hope everyone is having a good holiday season!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Meze Estiatorio in Charlestown is Closed; Copia Takes Its Place

For those of you who didn't hear this (as it happened earlier in the fall), Meze Estiatorio in City Square, Charlestown, has closed. The restaurant has been replaced by an upscale Mediterranean restaurant called Copia. The menu does not seem a whole lot different from that of Meze Estiatorio, and the prices are pretty similar.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Caffe Umbra in Boston Is closing at the End of 2006

Caffe Umbra, an upscale restaurant on Washington Street in the South End that is favored by locals as well as lovers of New American and Mediterranean cuisine, will be closing at the end of December. This is yet another loss to the Boston restaurant scene, as Caffe Umbra has been known for their innovative dishes and their stylish atmosphere.

Word has it that the owner of Sage will be opening an Italian restaurant in this spot early in 2007.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Our Latest Review: Farm Grill and Rotisserie in Newton

photo of Farm Grill and Rotisserie, Newton, MA
The latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is Farm Grill and Rotisserie, a Greek restaurant on busy Needham Street in Newton, MA. Farm Grill is a simple, unpretentious place with counter service, with the food being fresh, cheap, and delicious.


Friday, December 08, 2006

While We Are on the Topic of Restaurant Closings...

Just wondering if it would be of any help for Boston's Hidden Restaurants (the site I work on) to add a section to its restaurant forum that allows people to tell about restaurant closings and openings? Let me know; if there is enough interest, perhaps I will add it to the forum.


Yet ANOTHER Restaurant Closing: Viet's Cafe, Arlington

Viet's Cafe, a Vietnamese restaurant in Arlington Center, has closed down. This was one of the first Vietnamese restaurants to come to the Boston suburbs, and it was a pretty good one, but it was in a low-traffic area and was almost always empty. It's a shame that Arlington is losing this place, as it added even more diversity to the Arlington restaurant scene.

A new restaurant is going in to take its place. The restaurant is called Mifune; not sure exactly when it will open, but it should be within the next few weeks.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas Lights on the Arborway, Jamaica Plain

photo of Christmas lights on the Arborway, Jamaica PlainWe were heading back from the Farm Grill and Rotisserie in Newton (great restaurant, by the way), and ended up on the Arborway in Jamaica Plain. I had read awhile back that there was a house on the Arborway that had an amazing Christmas light display, so we went up a ways, looking for it. And did we ever find it! The house, which is owned by Dominic Luberto, is absolutely beautiful even without the lights; with the lights, it is something I won't soon forget.

photo of Christmas lights on the Arborway, Jamaica PlainMr. Luberto's house, which is located just south of Jamaica Pond and a few blocks north of the Arnold Arboretum, looks more like a castle, and must be one of the biggest single-family homes within the Boston city limits. He did a terrific (and tasteful) job of decorating his house. If anyone wants to see his house, it's a quick ride down the Arborway from the Fenway area. And believe me, you can't miss it from the road!


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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Bad News Keeps On Coming: Newbury Pizza Is Closed

Well, not to be the continued bearer of bad news, but yet another beloved dining spot in Boston has closed. Newbury Pizza has closed, which means that Newbury Street has one less dining spot to go to that is affordable. Once again, December is shaping up to be a terrible month on the Boston restaurant scene with all kinds of good restaurants closing down. Let's hope this trend lets up soon, though it seems that it might not, as rents are exhorbitant and the competition among restaurants is enormous.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Say It Aint So: Classic India is Closed

photo of Classic India, Quincy, MAOne of my favorite restaurant in all of the Boston area, Classic India, is closed. This Quincy restaurant was perhaps the place I returned to more than any other over the past couple of years, as the food was simply tremendous.

It has been a bad few weeks as far as restaurant closings in Boston are concerned, but this one is especially hard for me to take. Perhaps with the grand opening of the new and improved Punjab in Arlington Center tomorrow, I may end up having a new favorite Indian restaurant; we shall see...


Monday, December 04, 2006

Another New Review: Union Station Brewery in Providence

photo of Union Station Brewery, Providence, RIAnother new review is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. The restaurant is called the Union Station Brewery, and it is in the heart of downtown Providence, in the lower floor of an old train station. The Union Station Brewery is owned by the same people who own John Harvard's Brew House in Cambridge and Framingham, but it has its own unique beers and menu.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Verna's Donut Shop in Cambridge is Closing

After more than 30 years in business, Verna's Donut Shop in North Cambridge is closing at the end of December. A local institution of sorts, Verna's supplied fresh donuts to residents of North Cambridge day in and day out, but competing against Dunkin' Donuts apparently became too difficult, especially with the opening of a huge Dunkin' Donuts up the street near the Arlington border.

Yet another great Boston-area food place is soon to be history. A very sad day indeed for donut lovers everywhere...


Thursday, November 30, 2006

The New Punjab Location in Arlington Looks Just About Ready

Walked through Arlington Center the other night and I noticed that the new spot that Punjab is moving into looks nearly ready. The new place looks beautiful as seen through the windows, and much bigger than the present location of Punjab (a couple of doors down).

As soon as they move into their new spot, I'll try to head over there to check the new digs out. Can't wait!


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fasika to Re-Open in Somerville

Fasika, an Ethiopian restaurant that was located in Mission Hill at the edge of Jamaica Plain before closing a few months ago, has moved to a new location at 145 Broadway in East Somerville. The restaurant is supposed to open this week, so hopefully there will be reports back soon on whether Fasika is as good as it was when it was in JP. If anyone tries it, please send a comment along. Thanks!


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Eastern Pier II and Seaport Bar and Grille: The Future Looks Uncertain

The South Boston waterfront property that includes the Eastern Pier II and the Seaport Bar and Grille has been sold. According to the Boston Globe, it appears that the property will probably be developed into luxury condos, along with restaurants. Whether Eastern Pier II and the Seaport Bar and Grille will stay here remains to be seen, but if luxury condos indeed go up, these two restaurants might not fit into the plans, as they are gritty dining spots that tend to cater to working- and middle-class folks.

According to the Globe, Eastern Pier II has about 5 years left on their lease, so hopefully they will be around for awhile. The lease at the Seaport Bar and Grille expires next year, so they may have a tougher time of it.

Here's hoping these two restaurants can somehow remain open, as there are precious few casual, reasonably-priced restaurants along the Boston waterfront that are still in business.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Yet Another Review: Sal's Pizza in Lawrence

photo of Sal's Pizza, Lawrence, MAThe latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is Sal's Pizza, a pizza place and Italian restaurant on the Merrimac River in Lawrence. Sal's has terrific pizza, much in the style of some of the classic New York pizza places. And the atmosphere is very nice, with a large outdoor deck facing the river, and classic lounge music piped into the place.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Desmond O'Malley's in Framingham Is Closed

Desmond O'Malley's, an Irish pub in Framingham that was built in Dublin and shipped to America and rebuilt, has closed for good. It appears that some kind of steak house may take its place.

Desmond O'Malley's was a popular spot, with decent food and drink, and good music. It will definitely be missed, as the Framingham area has relatively few decent Irish pubs.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Back to the Bean!

photo of Vanilla Bean Cafe, Pomfret, CTI went with some of my family to a post-Thanksgiving meal at the Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret, CT today. The Vanilla Bean is a great place to go for healthy, delicious food if you are in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut. Since it was such a nice day out, we decided that it was the perfect place to head to today.

The food, as always, was perfect; my steak and bean burrito was outstanding, as were the sandwiches that others ordered. And the desserts were terrific for the most part, with the chocolate chip cookie and the brownie being pretty sinful.

I wish the Vanilla Bean Cafe were a little closer to the Boston area, but I suppose half the fun of going there is the drive, since that part of Connecticut is so beautiful. I can't wait to go back!


Thursday, November 23, 2006

How to Help Danversport Residents

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! As always, there is so much to give thanks for, but I'd say that by far the biggest thing to give thanks for is the fact that no one perished in the terrible chemical explosion in Danvers.

The good people of Danversbank have set up a fund to help victims of the explosion. If you would like to donate, go to either of the links below for more details. And once again, I hope everyone has a terrific day today!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Olive Branch in Arlington Is Closed

After many years of serving decent Middle Eastern food in East Arlington, it appears that the Olive Branch has closed. The place is dark and renovations are taking place.

I had several good meals at the Olive Branch, but the problem was that it used to be a Dairy Queen, so the atmosphere was lacking, and its location on Broadway between Arlington Center and Somerville is not the best place for a restaurant.

It is unknown at this time as to what will be going into this space. As soon as I find out, I'll let everyone know.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A First Look at the Best Boston Restaurants of 2006!

photo of Duck Creeke Tavern, Wellfleet, MAThe "Best Boston Restaurants of 2006" page on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is complete, but it not quite ready to be placed onto the site yet. For viewers of this blog, however, you can be one of the first to see this Best Of list by going to the Best Boston Restaurants of 2006.

Keep in mind that these are the best "hidden" restaurants of 2006, as decided by Boston's Hidden Restaurants, so more popular places such as Pizzeria Regina and the Brown Sugar Cafe won't be on it. But if you are looking for lesser-known restaurants that are true hidden gems, this list should be of help to you. Enjoy!


Monday, November 20, 2006

Another New Review: A Lighter Fare in Milton

photo of A Lighter Fare in Milton, MAThe latest review that is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is A Lighter Fare, which is an outstanding breakfast place behind East Milton Square near the Southeast Expressway. A Lighter Fare is not well-known, as it resides on the second floor of an upscale marketplace away from the hustle and bustle of East Milton Square.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Update on O'Rourke's Diner, Middletown, CT

Just a quick update on O'Rourke's Diner, a Middletown, CT institution that was destroyed by fire a couple of months ago.

A fundraising committee they have has raised over $90,000, with another $60,000 needed to begin construction. As far as demolition, it is pretty close to completion.

If anyone has any ideas for future fundraising for O'Rourke's, give them a call at 860-759-4081...


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wings, Beer, and Peanuts at Donohue's in Watertown, Then a Coyote Sighting

My usual Friday night crew and I went to Donohue's in Watertown last night for some good conversation over a few beers, a couple of servings of peanuts, and some wings. As usual, it was a good time had by all at this great pub situated on a back street near UPS and the Arsenal Mall.

Later that night, however, I was driving along Route 60 through Arlington when I saw what I thought was a mangy dog sauntering down the middle of the road. As I approached, it moved to the side, and I noticed that it was a full-sized coyote. The nasty-looking animal just looked at me, then continued to head toward Arlington Center.

I guess this should be a warning to Arlington residents to keep their cats inside, at least for the next few days!

Donohue's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon


Friday, November 17, 2006

Canestaro's, Boston, MA (phone number: 617-266-8997)

My apologizes to Canestaro's in Boston: We have been showing an incorrect phone number for their restaurant on the restaurants near Fenway Park page within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. The correct phone number (which we fixed on the page) is 617-266-8997.

Sorry for any inconvenience...

Boston Restaurant Blog (Another Blog I'm Involved With) Getting an Upgrade

As many of you know, the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site has its own blog, which is a bit different from this one. While this blog typically has short news stories and brief reviews on an almost daily basis, the Boston Restaurant Blog has fewer, but often more detailed, blog entries.

The Boston Restaurant Blog is also in the process of being updated, with real permalinks being added (separate pages are being given to each entry, rather than a section of a longer page, as was previously the case). In what way will this help viewers? Well, if someone wants to bookmark a specific blog entry, he or she will be able to bookmark a specific page from now on.

Please note that this is a long process, so it will be awhile before all blog entries are given their own pages, but for now, here are a few entries that have been updated:

>> Bringing Back Tacky at Kowloon, Saugus

>> Quincy Dynasty: Another Good Restaurant in Quincy

>> Good Comfort Food at Grumpy White's, Quincy

>> Get Automatic Updates with Our New Feature

>> Good, Basic Breakfast at the Breakfast Connection, Randolph

>> A Few More New York City Restaurants

As always, you can post comments to the Boston Restaurant Blog, or copy the RSS feed to get automatic updates on it. Let me know if you have any questions on this "other" restaurant blog!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Brazilian Churrascarias in Boston

photo of Green Field, Allston, MAHas anyone noticed that more and more Brazilian restaurants are popping up in places like Woburn, Everett, East Boston, Allston, and other places around the greater Boston area? And some of these places are churrascarias (Portuguese for "barbecue house") that are ideal places for lovers of all kinds of meat. Two Brazilian churrascarias that come to mind are the Midwest Grill in Cambridge and Green Field in Allston. I love Green Field; have yet to been to the Midwest, though.

If anyone can think of any other churrascarias in the Boston area that really stand out, let me know! I really want to try them over the coming months.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

RSS Feed Information

Now that Internet Explorer 7 is out and much more RSS-friendly than Explorer 6, it seems that all the major browsers are now capable of handling RSS feeds.

Both this blog and Boston's Hidden Restaurants have been RSS-capable for quite some time now, and a few upgrades have been done to the RSS feeds on Boston's Hidden Restaurants to make it more user friendly. The RSS feed for the blog on that site now includes photos and handy links, and the RSS feed for the forum includes links to the particular forum where each forum entry resides.

Whether you use an online RSS feed reader or a desktop reader, these feeds should help viewers easily find information on both this site and Boston's Hidden Restaurants. Below are the RSS and Atom (for this site) feed links you might want to bookmark or copy.

Boston Restaurant Blog:
Boston Restaurant Forum:

RSS Feed:
Atom Feed:

You might be wondering why this site has both an RSS feed and an Atom feed. Well, it's a bit like the old VHS vs. Betamax debate; they pretty much do the same thing, but some people prefer RSS, while others prefer Atom.

Send along any questions or comments on these feeds, or RSS feeds in general. Thanks!


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Alta Strada to Replace Figs in Wellesley

Figs, a popular restaurant at 92 Central Street in Wellesley, is now closed, with a new restaurant opening up in its place. It appears that Alta Strada will be an upscale, yet casual Italian restaurant; no more details are known at this time, and the Web site for Alta Strada is currently under construction. If anyone has any more information on Alta Strada, sent a comment along.


Monday, November 13, 2006

One More New Review: Armando's Pizza, Cambridge, MA

photo of Armando's Pizza, Cambridge, MAAnother new review is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. Armando's Pizza is a terrific little pizza joint located in the Huron Village section of Cambridge. In addition to having delicious thin-crust pizza, Armando's is an institution of sorts in the neighborhood, as the owner is a friendly, gregarious person who gives free cookies to children, supports little league teams, and just seems to really like people. Armando's is definitely worth seeking out if you are a pizza lover...


Sunday, November 12, 2006

An Old-School Kind of Weekend at Sal's Pizza and Kowloon

photo of Sal's Pizza, Lawrence, MAOn Saturday, we went to two, uh, rather cheesy restaurants. We started out at Sal's Pizza in Lawrence, which actually gets better and better with each visit. The pizza was fantastic; fresh, delicious traditional pizza with lots of pepperoni on top. Delicious!

For dinner we headed down to Kowloon in Saugus. The food was just ok, but the atmosphere is classic, with volcanoes, lakes, and pu pu platters everywhere!

Every now and then, it's good to go to the old-school places. They are anything but generic, that's for sure. And with Sal's, you also get some amazing pizza (and a great view of the Merrimack River, which flows past the windows there).


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Happy Veteran's Day, and Thanks to Those Who Have Served

Just a quick timeout from the world of restaurants to say a great big thank you to all who have served for our country. And to those folks who are presently stationed in Iraq and elsewhere, best of luck to you all, and fingers are crossed that you get home safely to family and loved ones when your stint is over.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ground Round in Cambridge Is Closed Again...This Time for Renovations

Once again, the Ground Round in Cambridge is closed, but it appears that they are actually renovating the place. I'm not sure whether they are trying to make it more "upscale" (egads if this it true) or just replacing old carpeting, repainting walls, etc.

Based on the meal I had there a few weeks ago, I'm not sure I want to check out the renovations when they re-open. The meal I had there was horrid.

Still, if anyone does go there once they re-open, let me know what you think. Perhaps I'll go there for a beer during the Pats game if I feel so inclined...


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Boston's Hidden Restaurants is Number 4 and climbing

In our last newsletter, we had mentioned that Boston's Hidden Restaurants was the 6th site that came up in a "Boston restaurants" search in the #1 search engine (we all know which one that is!).

As of this week, Boston's Hidden Restaurants is up to number 4 in the search engine.

Much of our rise toward the top has to do with the viewers of the site, including their participation in the forum, the favorite restaurants section, and the "other" blog that is within the site. Once again, a great big thank you to all who visit Boston's Hidden Restaurants!


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pizzeria Regina in the North End: Still Great, But...

photo of Regina's in Boston, MAA large group of us went to Pizzeria Regina in the North End of Boston the other night. Their pizza is truly amazing, with one of the best crusts I have ever had (made even better by requesting it to be "well done" so that it is slightly blackened on the bottom).

As much as I like the gourmet pizzas there, I tend to stick with the classics, such as the pepperoni or mushroom pizza, though the gourmet toppings are pretty popular at Regina's (the people who were with me went for those instead of the basics).

So why is there a "but" here? Well, after going to Pepe's in New Haven, CT, and Grimaldi's in Brooklyn, NY, I'm not so sure that Regina's and Santarpio's (in East Boston) are my two favorite pizzas anymore. The more I think about Pepe's, the more I realize that it may be at the top of my list. Things change quickly, however, so ask me again in a few months! But I guess the bottom line is, you really can't go wrong with any of these incredible pizza places.

By the way, if you would like to get involved in a discussion on the best pizza place in Boston, go to the Santarpio's vs. Pizzeria Regina Debate in the Boston Restaurant Forum.

Pizzeria Regina on Urbanspoon


Monday, November 06, 2006

Yet Another New Review: Traveler Restaurant in Union, CT

photo of Traveler Restaurant, Union, CTThe latest review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is Traveler Restaurant, a roadside dining spot just off of Route 84 in Union, CT. The Traveler Restaurant is a quirky place that has stacks of books along with its food. In fact, if you order a meal there, you get your choice of three free books!


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tapatio Mexican Grill in Somerville Destroyed By Fire Last Night

A large fire occurred at Broadway in East Somerville last night, gutting the Tapatio Mexican Grill and at least two other businesses. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire. At this point, it is unsure how the fire started. Whether Tapatio rebuilds or not remains to be seen; hopefully they will be able to re-open at some point.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Time for a Restaurant Poll!

It is getting close to the end of the year, and I am getting the "best restaurants of 2006" list ready for Boston's Hidden Restaurants. It is not easy to pick a winner in some of the categories this year, since there have been so many good restaurants that we have tried, but I suppose that's half the fun!

My question to viewers out there is, what are your favorite restaurants of 2006? In particular, I'd love to hear from you in particular about any or all of the following:

Best Pizza in the Boston Area
Best Hamburger in the Boston Area
Best Hot Dog in the Boston Area
Best Italian Restaurant in the Boston Area

Feel free to pick from any other categories. I'm just curious to hear from you about this. Perhaps I can check out a few of your choices as we head into 2007. Thanks!


Friday, November 03, 2006

Speaking of the Boston Restaurant Forum...

image of Boston Restaurant ForumNow that the Boston Restaurant Forum is back online, I figured it might be a good time to update folks on some of the latest topics added to the forum. A few of the forum topics are listed below if you would like to read them: [ED NOTE: We have taken out the links to our forum, as it is now closed.]

Feel free to sign up for the forum if you are interested in posting new topics or replying to old ones!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Salem Wood Cafe, Malden

We tried a restaurant in Malden last night that has been getting some good press of late. The Salem Wood Cafe, which is on Salem Street in Malden, is a place that looks like so many other working-class bars and restaurants in Malden, Everett, Revere, and the surrounding area, but it is a big step above most of them as far as quality is concerned. The steak tips, for instance, seem nearly as good as those at the New Bridge Cafe in nearby Chelsea, which is saying a lot. The tips were tender, had a slightly sweet marinade, and had very little gristle at the Salem Wood. In fact, I'd say that the tips themselves were equal in quality to those at the New Bridge, though the New Bridge may have the best marinade anywhere in the Boston area.

The other food was good there, too, including a special they had last night. It was a type of lasagna that had sheets of pasta rolled into cylinders, and it was very good. The lasagna came with dense, hearty meatballs that had at least two or three different kinds of meat in them (I definitely tasted pork in them; possibly veal, too). Other items we had included a baked sweet potato, good rolls of bread, and basic salads.

I want to get back to the Salem Wood Cafe to try some of the other dishes, including the veal parm and the burgers. But it will be tough to get past those steak tips, so perhaps I'll have to go there a few times!

Salem Wood Cafe on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Boston Restaurant Forum Is Back Up!

Thanks to the good folks who fixed the database problem within the Boston Restaurant Forum. It is back up and running!

If you would like to read posts on the forum, or post new topics (or reply to old ones), head over to the Boston Restaurant Forum and join in on the fun! [ED NOTE: We have taken out the link to our forum, as it is now closed.]

Boston Restaurant Forum is Down Today

Just a quick note that the Boston Restaurant Forum within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is down today because of an issue with the database, so if you try to get into the forum, you probably won't have any luck.

If this problem looks like it might go on for awhile, I will let everyone know later today or tomorrow. It looks like a simple problem in that the database is not accessible right now; hopefully it will be up again ASAP!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Classic India in Quincy Still Rules!

photo of Classic India, Quincy, MAWe headed to Classic India in Quincy over the weekend. This is about my 10th time there, and while the last time was slightly less than impressive, our meals on Saturday night were outstanding once again.

We had a number of items, all of which were delicious. We started with mulligatawny soup, moved on to a basket of naan, then enjoyed some chicken tikka masala and chicken saagwala.

Boston's Hidden Restaurants is currently trying to organize a list of best restaurants of 2006. While Classic India won best Indian food in 2005, it has come up against some strong competition in the Himalayan Bistro in West Roxbury and Kebab Factory in Somerville, among other dining spots. But Classic India may just continue its reign this year; viewers will soon find out, as the list should be out shortly.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Our Latest Review: Jake's Seafood Restaurant in Hull, MA

photo of Jake's Seafood Restaurant, Hull, MAOur latest featured restaurant on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is Jake's Seafood Restaurant, a seafood place in Hull, MA. Jake's is a homey dining spot located on the water with great views and great food. It has been around for more than 50 years, and is well-known among locals, but little-known outside of Hull.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Good Food, Terrible Service at Dolphin Seafood, Natick

A large group of us went to Dolphin Seafood in Natick Center today. I had been there a few times before, and while I have never been bowled over by their food, I have never had a really bad experience there, either.

Well, today, we arrived at 12:30, ordered soon after, and did not receive our food until 2:00. Yes, we sat for about an hour and a half before getting our meals (including mistakes such as getting salad orders wrong and forgetting to bring drinks). My meal was very good, and others at the table had mostly decent meals (though the steamed mussels were at room temperature and tasted rather tired), but it is inexcusable to have to wait 90 minutes for food, especially when the restaurant is mostly empty. I don't see myself going back to Dolphin Seafood, especially since there are other good options for similar food in the Boston area.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Pizzeria Regina Is..

..Now open in Medford. I hope to get there soon. Will let you know how it is as soon as I get there. Sorry about the short message--sending this from my cell phone (yes, I am a geek!).


Fire at Montilio's Bakery, Quincy

A two-alarm fire early this morning caused extensive damage at Montilio's Bakery, a famous bakery on Adams Street in Quincy.

Montilio's has been around for more than 50 years, making baked goods for everyone from Ronald Reagan to Queen Elizabeth. Let's hope they are able to re-open as soon as possible.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Another Great Meal at Sala Thai, Arlington

We stopped by Sala Thai in Arlington Heights last night for dinner. I have been there several times, and have never been disappointed there. And once again, I was very satisfied with the food.

Sala Thai is a smallish, almost romantic place on Mass. Ave. in the heights. The family who owns it is extremely nice, and they definitely know their Thai food. We had a drunken noodle entree as well as a hot basil, chicken and rice dish. Both were excellent, as were the miso and Tom Yum Goong soups. And both the syrah and pinot grigio wines were outstanding.

Arlington has some good Thai restaurants, including Thai Moon and Sweet Chili, but I find myself going to Sala Thai more than the others. Perhaps it's the nicer atmosphere or the fact that the people there are so friendly. It is definitely worth trying out if you haven't been there yet.

Sala Thai on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Boston Has Run Out of Liquor Licenses for Its Restaurants

Believe it or not, Boston has hit a self-imposed cap on liquor licenses and for the time being, cannot issue them to new restaurants.

This is absolutely crazy; why would anyone even bother opening a restaurant in Boston right now, since so much of the money to be made, is made either directly or indirectly through the serving of alcohol.

Boston had better get its act together soon; otherwise, restaurants that have just opened are in danger of closing right back down, and anyone who is looking to open a restaurant might go elsewhere.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wanted: A Good Deli in Boston

Ever since I returned from New York City, I have had a craving for some good deli food, including corned beef, potato pancakes, kasha, noodle pudding, chicken soup, and knishes. But aside from a handful of average-to-good delis, I don't really know where to go. I do like Maxie's in Stoughton and Joan and Ed's in Natick, but they are a bit too far away to go to on a regular basis. And Rubin's is just too expensive.

I hope that one of these days, a great new deli opens up in Boston. But I'm not holding my breath; Manhattan certainly has it all over Boston when it comes to good delicatessens, that's for sure.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Another New Review: Blackie's, Cheshire, CT

photo of Blackie's, Cheshire, CTAnother new review is on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. The restaurant is Blackie's, a hot dog stand and hamburger joint in Cheshire, CT. Blackie's is a good old-fashioned roadside stand where you can get a burger AND a hot dog for under $5.00 (or two burgers and two hot dogs for under $10.00)! They also use the same type of hot dogs as Al's Hot Dog Stand in nearby Naugatuck uses. This is a good thing, as Al's is one of the best hot dog stands in New England.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Two More Good Restaurants Tried Over the Weekend

I finally got over to Grumpy White's in Quincy on Saturday. What a great place for comfort food! The burger was excellent, the hot dog was better, the garlic bread and backed potato were delicious, and the turkey tips were....well, they weren't bad, though I've had better. All in all, though, Grumpy's is definitely a place I'll want to go back to.

On Sunday, we went over to the Traveler Restaurant in Union, CT. For anyone who drives from Boston to New York City (and vice versa) on a regular basis, I am sure you have seen the sign that says "RESTAURANTS AND BOOKS" near the border with Massachusetts. The food at the Traveler Restaurant was terrific, with a perfect turkey dinner, an excellent eggplant sandwich, and a really good chicken soup. Oh, and the sweet potato fries were tasty, too.

Both of these restaurants will probably be featured sooner or later on Boston's Hidden Restaurants, so keep checking back over the next few weeks!


Friday, October 20, 2006

Rumor Mill: Bear Rock Cafe May Be Coming to Woburn

I heard the other day that the Bear Rock Cafe, which presently only has two other locations in Massachusetts, might be coming to the shopping center in Woburn on Route 3 that has the new Whole Foods. Not 100% sure about this, but that is the word going around. If anyone can confirm this for me, I'd love to hear from you!

For those of you who don't know about the Bear Rock Cafe, it is a chain of restaurants that concentrates on healthy fare, much like Panera, but with a more interesting selection of soups and sandwiches, in my opinion. One of the two Bear Rock Cafes in Massachusetts is located in Reading near Jordan's Furniture; I went to that one awhile ago, and thought it was very good.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Doing the Right Thing at Finian's, Quincy

photo of Finian's, Quincy, MAWe went to Finian's in Quincy last night for dinner. I've been to Finian's several times, enjoying their comfort food and mixed drinks (Finian's is a bit like what Amrhein's in South Boston used to be before they changed last year). This time, however, my macaroni and cheese entree (a special for yesterday) was overcooked, mushy, and not very satisfying.

While we were getting ready to pay the bill, a person who must have been the owner came over and asked how our meal was. We told him about the mac and cheese, and without hesitation, he graciously said he would take it off the bill.

Even if they hadn't done that, I would still continue to go back to Finian's, since last night was an aberration, in my opinion. But the swift action he took cemented that fact, and should be a lesson to all restaurants: If a diner has a bad meal, do whatever it takes to make that person happy. In my previous experiences, this has not always been the case, but it should be, I believe.

Finians Restaurant & Pub on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Jana's Cupboard in Jeffersonville, VT, Has Closed

I heard the other day from someone (thanks for the notice, BTW) that Jana's Cupboard, a longtime truckstop and restaurant in Jeffersonville, VT, is no longer in business.

Jana's, which was located where Routes 108 and 15 met just north of Smuggler's Notch, was a bit of an institution; skiiers, truckers, locals, and tourists could be found on any given day here, enjoying the hearty breakfasts as well as the decent lunches and dinners. I have many memories of the place, as I spend time at Smuggler's Notch usually at least once a year.

I will definitely miss the place...


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

New Review: La Summa, Boston, MA

photo of La Summa, Boston, MAWe have a new review on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. It is La Summa, an Italian restaurant in the North End of Boston. La Summa is a true hidden jewel, as it sits on a narrow side street, away from the hustle and bustle of Hanover Street. And the food is outstanding--incredible homemade pasta, great veal, excellent arancini. Definitely worth checking out!


Monday, October 16, 2006

Joe's Pizza, Manhattan: Good, But Not the Best

I was in New York City the past few days and tried a number of restaurants I had never been to, including the famous Joe's Pizza on Carmine Street in Greenwich Village. We ordered some slices and grabbed a couple of seats inside the place, waiting in anticipation for the pizza. After a few minutes, we got our order and started downing the huge slices that they make there.

At first, I really liked the pizza, but after a few bites, I realized that it was not quite up to the level of Grimaldi's in nearby Brooklyn or Pepe's in New Haven. Granted, it is a bit different from those places, as it is classic New York pizza--the type of thin crusted pizza that you fold up to eat--but the flavors did not wow me like those at some of the best pizza places I have been to.

Overall, I'd rate it slightly below Grimaldi's and Da Nico in Little Italy, but I would put it above some of the other pizza places I have been to in Manhattan, including Mimi's on the Upper East Side and Vinnie's (recently closed) on the Upper West Side.

I definitely want to keep looking for that perfect pizza in Manhattan. After reading randominnyc: Pizza Quest: Manhattan Below 14th St., I think I have a few places I will need to try on my next trip to New York later in the year.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Ground Round, Cambridge -- Same As It Ever Was

We went to the new (old?) Ground Round at the Fresh Pond Rotary in Cambridge the other night. I wasn't expecting much, and boy, did I get it! The food was pretty poor, though the service was decent and the beers were cold. Now I remember why I stuck to beers and appetizers at the Ground Round when they were around a few years ago at this same location. The burgers are decent and the burritos aren't bad, but much of the other food is lousy.

I still say it's a little better than TGI Friday's and Applebee's, though!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Good Football Food at Tennessee's in Braintree

A few of us grabbed some food at Tennessee's in Braintree for watching the Patriots game last Sunday. The last time I went to Tennessee's, I made the mistake of getting a sandwich; it was not very good at all. So I wasn't expecting much on Sunday when we placed our order, but the food we got at Tennessee's turned out to be really good this time (probably because we avoided the sandwiches!). We got some delicious ribs, which were lean and cooked through pretty well (if you like fatty ribs that are cooked a little less, you might not like the ones here). We also got chicken, which was good, too. Finally, I ordered a BBQ steak burrito, which was terrific--tasty beef and good sauces made it very nice.

I don't think Tennessee's will ever approach the level of, say, Blue Ribbon BBQ in Arlington and West Newton, but depending on what you order there, it can be a pretty satisfying experience.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Latest News on the Boston Restaurant Forum

I have recently upgraded the restaurant forum that is within the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site, adding two new sections (one for announcements/notices, and one for restaurants outside of New England and New York City). The forum is perhaps the fastest-growing part of the site, popularity-wise, with many individual topics exceeding 1,000 views by our readers.

The forum can be viewed by anyone, but if you would like to post new topics (or reply to existing ones), you have to register. Registration is free and only takes a few minutes, and can be accessed from the Restaurant Forum Home Page if you would like to sign up.

Below are some topics from the forum: [ED NOTE: We have taken out the links to our forum, as it is now closed.]

There are about 150 more topics at this point in time on the restaurant forum, so plan to spend some time looking through it!


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Latest Review on Boston's Hidden Restaurants: Toraya, Arlington, MA

photo of Toraya Restaurant, Arlington, MAThe latest review on Boston's Hidden Restaurants was posted last night. Toraya Restaurant is a tiny Japanese dining spot just west of Arlington Center that has some of the best sushi this side of Oishii. Their non-sushi entrees are excellent, too, so there is something for everyone at this terrific spot.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Great Meal at Sweet Chili, Arlington

I did takeout at Sweet Chili, a Thai restaurant in Arlington, over the weekend. I had forgotten just how good Sweet Chili is, as I hadn't been there in perhaps two years. But it certainly was good; the country style pad Thai was simply amazing, with some pretty hot spices mixing nicely with the rest of the ingredients.

Sweet Chili might just get featured on Boston's Hidden Restaurants one of these days, which would give Arlington 3 Thai restaurant that are featured on the site. Not bad for a town that used to be known for pizza places and sub shops!

Sweet Chili on Urbanspoon


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Jake's, Hull, MA

Just a quick note, as I'm heading out to see some (hopefully) spectacular fall foliage in the Harrisville and Peterborough section of New Hampshire this afternoon, but I wanted to mention the restaurant we went to last night.

Jake's in Hull is a classic seafood shack right on the water on the outskirts of Hull. This place has amazing views (during the day, that is--we went at night), great seafood, and a terrific waitstaff. I will soon be writing more about this restaurant on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site, so stay tuned...but in the meantime, if you find yourself in the Hull area, you might want to check out this terrific dining spot.


Friday, October 06, 2006

New York City Pizza

If you could pick one pizza place in Manhattan, which one would it be? I am in NYC next week and will be looking for that one special pizza that is head and shoulders above anything I have had in Boston!


Thursday, October 05, 2006

All Star Sandwich Bar Review

photo of All Star Sandwich Bar, Cambridge, MAWe finally got to the All Star Sandwich Bar in Cambridge last night, and it lived up to its expectations for the most part. To read more about our experience there, go to our Review of the All Star Sandwich Bar, Cambridge on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. There is also an interesting review of the All Star Sandwich Bar on the leather district gourmet blog.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ground Round Returns to Cambridge

It looks like the Ground Round is making a bit of a comeback these days. The Tin Alley Grill, which had replaced the Ground Round at the Concord Avenue rotary awhile back, has been replaced by none other than the Ground Round. Strange but true!

Word is that another Ground Round will be opening in South Boston later in 2006, and a new Ground Round has opened on Mass. Avenue in Boston.

What a long, strange trip it has been for the Ground Round chain. Let's hope that this time around, they have a bit more success than the last time, as it is indeed a good place to go for a burger and a beer while watching a Sox or Pats game on TV.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

El Oriental de Cuba to Re-Open This Week

El Oriental de Cuba, a popular restaurant in Jamaica Plain that was destroyed by a firebomb in the summer of 2005, is about to re-open.

Surely, many Boston-area diners will be celebrating this week, as one of the most beloved restaurants in Boston will be back in business. Best of luck to El Oriental de Cuba, and congratulations on your re-opening!


Our Latest Review: Las Palmas de Cuba in Hanover

photo of Las Palmas de Cuba, Hanover, MAOur latest featured restaurant on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is Las Palmas de Cuba, a Mexican and Cuban restaurant on Route 53 in Hanover. Las Palmas de Cuba is a new restaurant that dedicates half of its menu to Cuban entrees and the other half to Mexican entrees. One of the people who started this restaurant used to manage El Sarape, which is one of the best Mexican restaurants in the Boston area. It is not out of the question that Las Palmas de Cuba could end up being our top choice for Mexican and Latin restaurants in 2006--it is indeed that good.


Monday, October 02, 2006

All Star Sandwich Bar, Cambridge -- What's the Consensus?

In the past few weeks, I have heard wildly conflicting opinions on the new All Star Sandwich Bar in Inman Square, Cambridge. The All Star Sandwich Bar is another Chris Schlesinger restaurant (he also owns the East Coast Grill, which is considered one of the best restaurants in the Boston area), so you would expect great things from the place, but I have read and heard some negative comments, as well as many positive ones (and a number of people who say the place is pretty average).

One positive review on the place is at Good Eatin With Lynne: All Star Sandwich Bar: The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread. After reading this, I'm thinking that it may just be worth checking out.

I hope to get there in the next few weeks to try it myself. In the meantime, if anyone has been to the All Star Sandwich Bar, let me know what you think of the place.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

La Summa: A Pleasant Surprise in the North End

photo of La Summa, Boston, MAA group of us went to La Summa in the North End of Boston last night. I had heard about La Summa from many people over the past few years, but it's one of those places that is off the beaten path, and it's a rather humble, unpretentious spot that is easy to overlook. But I finally got there, and what a tremendous experience it was. From the wonderful atmosphere to the efficient waitstaff to the fabulous food, La Summa pleased in many ways.

The standout dish there had to be the Pappardelle E Melanzane. This amazing entree had homemade noodles with eggplant, basil, and garlic in a delicious red sauce. But the arancini (rice balls) were also outstanding, as was the veal with prosciutto and mushrooms in a sweet wine sauce. The calamari was a bit on the bland side, but not too bad an entree. And the wine we had--a terrific Italian merlot--was one of the best red wines I've had this year.

I'm glad I was finally able to make it to La Summa. It definitely won't be the last time I go there.

La Summa Cantina Italiana on Urbanspoon


Friday, September 29, 2006

Wanted: The Best Burger Joint in Connecticut

I will be heading to Manhattan in a couple of weeks, in part to check out various restaurants around the city (as well as to visit family!). I usually take the bus to NYC, but this time, I will be driving to Irvington or Katonah, then hop a train to Grand Central. Since I'm driving, I have the option to check out at least one restaurant in Connecticut, either on the way down or on the way back. I had been thinking of getting pizza at Pepe's or Sally's in New Haven, but now I'm reconsidering.

Basically, what I would love to find is the best burger joint in the state. I'm just not sure which place I should try, though. Should I go to Blackie's in Cheshire? Or Doogie's in Newington? Or Louis Lunch in New Haven? Or somewhere else? I'd love to hear from people who know their burgers. Send me some comments about great burger joints in Connecticut if you have a chance. Thanks!


Thursday, September 28, 2006

New Burger Joint Coming to Boston

UBurger, a new restaurant in Kenmore Square, will be opening up sometime in the next few days, if it hasn't opened already. It appears that UBurger will be a burger joint, but the place will concentrate on healthier versions of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and fries.

This may become a huge hit in the area, since there really aren't that many great burger joints around the Boston area. And with the recent gentrification of Kenmore Square, college students (and others) in the area will likely give UBurger a warm welcome when they open, since so many dining spots around Kenmore that concentrated on cheap eats have shut down of late.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Technorati Tags on the Way for Boston Restaurant Talk

I will be adding tags to my postings over the next few weeks. What are tags? They are a fairly simple concept that allows for easy categorizing of key words, topics, etc. For instance, on my Pepe's Pizza blog entry, I have tags for "Pepe's Pizza New Haven," "pizza places," and "New Haven pizza." When you click on the links, you will find a number of blogs, including my own, that talk about these topics. These blogs are listed on a blog search site called Technorati.

There are lots of sites out there that explain tags, including The Church at the Gate, which gives info on how to set up Technorati tags. These tags will be coming slowly but surely, but once they are in place on Boston Restaurant Talk, hopefully they will make it easier to find information on the topics mentioned on this blog.


Pizza to Take Home from Tripoli Bakery, Lawrence

Tripoli Bakery makes one of the best pizzas in the Boston area (as well as some of the greatest pastries, too!), but I never thought of getting it to take home until recently, when I discovered that they sell frozen 5-slice packs for under $6.00. I bought a pack, brought it home, cooked the slices in my oven, and I have to say, not much was lost in the freezing process, as the slices were delicious.

This might be the start of a trend for if only Galleria Umberto in Boston (my other favorite Sicilian pizza place) would do the same...


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bertucci's Buys Vinny T's

Bertucci's announced yesterday that they will be buying Vinny T's from Buca, a company from Minnesota. It sounds like Bertucci's will keep Vinny T's and Bertucci's as separate restaurants, which is probably a good move, since the two restaurants generally cater to two different demographic groups.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Honeypot Hill Orchard, Stow

One more quick note today: If you plan on apple picking soon, think about going to Honeypot Hill Orchard in Stow. Amazing spiced donuts there! It's a scenic orchard, too, with lots of views from the hills and a nice little pond at one end of the orchard.

Restaurants I Wish I could Go To Today

Photo of Pipes Cafe, Cardiff, CAIt's another Monday, and the summer is quickly slipping away in New England. And while I do like the cold weather (and the foliage, football, and other stuff that comes with it), the end of the summer always means that I won't be going on quite as many road trips for awhile.

There are some restaurants in various parts of the country that I went to this spring and summer that I really wish I could be back at today. I'd say that my top 5 would be:

Al's Hot Dog Stand, Naugatuck, CT
Pepe's Pizza, New Haven, CT
Pipes Cafe, Cardiff, CA
The Brickskeller, Washington, DC
Diamond Dairy of New York, Manhattan

I might get my wish for #2 and 5 in a few weeks, as I am heading to Manhattan and may stop in New Haven on the way back, but that remains to be seen. In the meantime, I'll be dreaming of these 5 special restaurants as I go through the day today...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

New Review: Grandma's Kitchen, Whitefield, NH

The latest review posted on the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site is Grandma's Kitchen, a terrific diner in Whitefield, NH. The town of Whitefield is pretty far from Boston (it is north of the White Mountains), but if you happen to be in the great north woods of New Hampshire, Grandma's Kitchen is a place you might want to seek out.

Zeppy's in Randolph Is Closed

It looks like one of my favorite bagel places in the Boston area has closed for good. Zeppy's on Route 28 in Randolph has been making great bagels for a long time, but they are gone for good. So now there is one less place for bagels in the Boston area. I guess I'll have to stick to Kupel's in Brookline from now on...

If anyone has any news about their closing, please let me know. I can't seem to find any information on its closing anywhere.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

One More Burger to be Added to the Top 5 Burger List

I omitted one of my favorite burgers from the list I posted a few hours ago. The Druid in Inman Square, Cambridge, makes what I think is one of the best burgers in the Boston area. It is heavily spiced, so if you like your burgers plain, The Druid might not be for you. But it is one heckuva burger, in my opinion.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Top 5 Burgers in Boston

I was at O'Sullivan's in Somerville once again last night, this time getting the blackjack burger. That is probably my favorite burger there, as the spicy sauce and cheese combination just makes the flavor of that burger really come out.

I was thinking about burgers last night, as lately everyone has seemed to be talking about what the best burgers in Boston are. Well, we all have our opinions, but this would be my list of top 5 hamburgers in Boston, in no particular order:

O'Sullivan's, Somerville
Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage, Cambridge
Kelly's Roast Beef, Revere Beach
M.J. O'Connor's, Boston (Theater District)
Mission Bar and Grill, Boston (Brigham Circle)

There are others, including Charlie's Kitchen in Cambridge, 75 Chestnut on Beacon Hill in Boston, and Audubon Circle near Kenmore Square, but I'd say that the 5 above are the places to go for me when it comes to burgers.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Latest Review: Duck Creeke Tavern, Wellfleet, MA

Duck Creeke Tavern, Wellfleet, MAA review of the Duck Creeke Tavern in Wellfleet, MA, has been added to the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site. This is a restaurant that I would have to put at the top of my list for restaurants I have been to in 2006.

If you happen to be on the Outer Cape over the next few weeks (they will be closing for the season a bit later in the fall), I would definitely recommend checking it out!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Orinoco, South End, Boston

I was just reading the Good Eatin With Lynne: Orinoco - Venezuelan with Mis Amigos post and it brought back memories of the incredible meal I had at Orinoco in the South End of Boston several months back. I really do need to get back to this cozy, friendly Venezuelan restaurant. The domino arepa (tortilla with beans and white cheese) appetizer and polvorosa de pollo (chicken in a flaky dough with mixed greens), as well as the pabellon criollo (shredded beef, black beans, rice, carmelized plantains), were all outstanding.

Perhaps I'll head back to Orinoco in a week or two. It was definitely one of the best restaurants I've eaten at this year.


More on Cafe Marliave

It appears that Cafe Marliave was shut down because of nonpayment of back taxes. What a shame that they had to go out in this manner. They aren't the first restaurant to do this, though, and they won't be the last. It would be nice to think that restaurants, or any businesses for that matter, could stay on the straight and narrow and run a clean operation.

Oh well, another old Boston restaurant is gone...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Two Old-School Boston Restaurants Have closed

Well, they weren't the best restaurants in Boston, but Cafe Marliave in downtown Boston and the Biltmore Cafe in Newton Upper Falls have both closed over the past couple of weeks. And I am a bit saddened by both of these closings.

Cafe Marliave was one of the few really old-fashioned Italian restaurants left in Boston (outside of the North End, of course). It had a simple charm to it, with its plain booths, red sauce dishes, and gruff waitresses. The food was average at best, but it was a place that was memorable in its own way.

The Biltmore Cafe was a true dive in a town that is surprisingly full of dives (Newton is a very wealthy community). The food was not all that great--mostly pub grub and Italian food, but it was a good place to have some beers while watching the Sox or Bruins on TV, and it was about the least pretentious place around.

I'll miss these two places. Yes, they were by no means fine dining, but they both had an old-time charm to them.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Delis in New York City

I'm making yet another trip to New York next month (and I can't wait!) and will be looking for delis this time around, as I never really seem to get to good delis when Im in Manhattan. I'm hoping to hit either Barney Greengrass in the Upper West Side, the Carnegie Deli in Midtown, or perhaps the Stage Deli, which may be the best of them all.

Diamond Dairy of New York, ManhattanIf I can't find a new deli or Jewish restaurant, I may end up going back to the Diamond Dairy of New York Restaurant on 47th Street. It is actually in the back of a jewelry store (upstairs, looking out over the store). The Kosher food there is outstanding, and while it isn't technically a delicatessen, much of the food on the menu is what you would find in a deli.

I would love to find some hidden deli, though (one that is good, that is!). If anyone knows of any, post a comment here. Perhaps I'll check it out when I'm in New York in a few weeks.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

C.F. Donovan's in Dorchester Is the Perfect Neighborhood Restaurant

We went to C.F. Donovan's in Savin Hill, Dorchester last night for dinner, and as usual, it was a terrific experience.

I had the steak and red bean chili to start, then had the turkey dinner with a salad, garlic mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Everything was delicious; the two Smithwick's I had were great, too!

To me, C.F. Donovan's is the type of place that every neighborhood should have. Both the young and the old come here to eat, and to enjoy the great overall laid-back feel of the place. The people who work there are as nice as can be, too.

I know I'll be back there soon. Next time I might try the lobster raviolis, as I hear they are excellent!

C.F. Donovan's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pepe's Pizza, New Haven: Best Pizza in New England?

Pepe's Pizza, New HavenI'm starting to think that Pepe's Pizza may indeed be the best pizza place in New England, though I'm not quite ready to move Santarpio's and Pizzeria Regina down to #2 and #3 just yet. I've only been to Pepe's once, so I think I need to go back there one or two more times to convince myself that the pizza I had there recently was as good as I thought it was.

I hope to get to New York City later in October. Maybe I can make a quick stop at Pepe's on the way down (and maybe on the way back, too!). Of course, there are other pizza places in New Haven that are supposed to rival Pepe's, including Sally's and Modern Apizza, the latter of which I just read a mouthwatering article on at Pizza Notes from Modern Apizza: Perfection in New Haven. I also did some more reading on the subject of New Haven pizza at randominnyc: Pizza Quest: New Haven.

Perhaps I will go to all three and sample slices from each, taking the rest home. Hmmm, now I REALLY can't wait for my trip to New York!


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Couple of Pizza Places I Want to Try

I have been reading a little about Monte's in Lynn and Picco in the South End of Boston. And while they supposedly are very different places for pizza, they are both supposed to be outstanding.

Monte's is a little dive bar near the Lynn/Swampscott border that has been there for a long time. From what I hear, they make one heckuva thin-crust pizza, perhaps like Bianchi's Pizza at Revere Beach or Regina's in the North End.

Picco is a slightly upscale place for pizza and ice cream that is located in the heart of the South End. I have heard mostly good things about their pizza, though a few people have said it is nothing special.

If anyone knows of any other pizza places to try in the Boston area, I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Excellent Subs at D'Agostino's Deli, Arlington

I picked up a couple of turkey subs at D'Agostino's Deli in Arlington Heights the other day for a hike to Walden Pond. I have always liked the subs at D'Agostino's, but after having several subpar subs at other places, the ones at D'Agostino's seem even better than before.

Other good subs at D'Agostino's include the ham and cheese, the meatball, and the chicken parm. Also, D'Agostino's has ready-made dinners that are mostly very good, including ziti with meatballs, mac and cheese, eggplant rollatini, and lasagna.

It's nice to see that the quality at D'Agostino's Deli is still good after all these years. Residents of Arlington Heights are lucky to have such a good spot in their neighborhood.

D'Agostino's Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Latest Review: Pho Yuen Dong in Quincy

The latest review on Boston's Hidden Restaurants is that of Pho Yuen Dong in Quincy. Pho Yuen Dong is quickly becoming my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in the Boston area (with all due respect to Apsara in Providence, which may be the best I have been to anywhere).

Pho Yuen Dong is in President Plaza, which is just south of Quincy Center, heading toward East Braintree and Weymouth Landing. If you like Vietnamese food, check this place out while it's still not very well known!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Brunch at the Centre Street Cafe, Jamaica Plain

Centre Street Cafe, Jamaica Plain
We went to the Centre Street Cafe in Jamaica Plain over the Labor Day weekend. Our meals were outstanding. The truck stop breakfast was huge, with tasty scrambled eggs, good home fries, an organic pancake with berries in it (and it came with real maple syrup), and crispy bacon. The french toast was also delicious, with a big pile of fresh fruit on top of it.

Dinners are also good at the Centre Street Cafe. If you want to read more about dinners there, head over to the Centre Street Cafe entry on the Boston Restaurant Blog.

Centre Street Cafe on Urbanspoon