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...