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Where to Eat in Greater Boston

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By Diane Severin, Boston Globe

Posted Dec. 10, 2015 at 6:00 AM


"Where to Eat in Greater Boston" Credit Jonathan Wiggs (Boston Globe staff)
“Where to Eat in Greater Boston” Credit Jonathan Wiggs (Boston Globe staff)


Live Noodles / $$ If you are a fan of Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles, add Live Noodles to your list. But bring a big appetite. The soup pot-size serving bowls that many dishes arrive in are no joke. You can see the chef rolling, pulling, pounding, stretching, and swinging dough in the open kitchen. 1026 Commonwealth Avenue, Brookline, 617-879-1700, livenoodles.com — Catherine Smart


Shepard / Cambridge /$$$$ James Beard Award winner Susan Regis and Rene Becker of Hi-Rise Bread Company opened this restaurant in the former home of Chez Henri. The food is Francophile if not French, seasonal, and local. To those not fond of wood-fired food: Shepard may not be your cup of lapsang souchong. Some recent hits on the regularly changing menu: chamomile ricotta, just about any pasta, and chicken. 1 Shepard Street, Cambridge, 617-714-5295, www.shepardcooks.com— Devra First

State Park / $$ Perhaps the best little pseudo dive bar in town. A Tabasco-honey version of fried chicken is good, but if you’re at all inclined, the Nashville hot chicken is the way to go. “Snappy’s famous pork chop sandwich” comes with chili and coleslaw — and it’s impaled with a knife. Look, the thing tastes great. 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-848-4355, statepark.is— Devra First


 Eastern Standard / $$$ Eastern Standard is a perfect restaurant. A big, bustling brasserie that isn’t overdone or self-conscious. It’s just right. Always grand here: the roasted bone marrow, fries, and butterscotch bread pudding. Oh, and those cheese plates with fetching accompaniments. 528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, 617-532-9100, easternstandardboston.com— Devra First


 Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca / $$ Mario Batali’s Boston outpost is one of the Seaport’s best deals. Pizza and pasta are mainstays. Salads are a highlight, from a simple combination like spinach with ricotta salata and truffle honey to the “Babbo chopped salad.” Meatballs are tender. And for pure meaty pleasure, order the sausages, made at the Babbo team’s Tarry Market in New York. 11 Fan Pier Boulevard, Boston, 617-421-4466, babbopizzeria.com — Devra First


 Tasting Counter / $$$$ Chef Peter Ungar has been practicing for this 20-seat restaurant inside the Aeronaut Brewing Company space his entire career. There’s just one seating most nights (two on Saturdays). The menu is revealed, course by course, over the two-hour meal. Nonrefundable tickets are purchased online and include beverage pairings. 14 Tyler Street, Somerville, 617-299-6362, tastingcounter.com — Devra First

Momo N Curry / $ Momos are having a moment, especially in Somerville, where at least two restaurants bearing the Nepalese dumpling name have popped up. A chalkboard lists several flavors and rotating specials. The chicken chili momos come in chewy wheat wrappers, coated in a sweet-and-sour sauce with bell peppers, scallions, and onions. If you like the sweet heat in this dish, try the chicken chili straight up. 431 Somerville Avenue, Somerville, 617-764-1563, momoncurry.com — Catherine Smart


 Worden Hall / $$$ Deep-dish pizzas here just might please homesick Chicagoans. Worden Hall impresses in other ways, too, starting with appetizers like polenta fries and smoked lamb ribs. More upscale bistro fare includes roasted beef shoulder tender served with grilled broccolini, potatoes, maitake and king oyster mushrooms, red wine jus, and horseradish crema. 22 West Broadway, South Boston, 617-752-4206, wordenhall.com — Devra First


 Banyan Bar + Refuge / $$$ Set in the former Hamersley’s Bistro, Banyan doesn’t look like it, doesn’t feel like it. Its flavors are inspired more by Asia than Europe. Fried pig tails are succulent little nubs in a garlic and black bean sauce. “Takoyaki” are fritters made with calamari rather than traditional octopus. 553 Tremont Street, Boston, 617-556-4211, banyanboston.com — Devra First


Lynn, MA - 08/25/15 - The Blue Ox Restaurant and Bar in Lynn for Globe North dining out column. Photo of Spicy Tuna Tartar, cucumber, cilantro, scallion, chive cream, ox chili sauce, homemade potato chips. - (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section: North Week, Reporter: Naomi Kooker, Topic: 30nodine, LOID: 8.1.2899918291.

Barry Chin/Globe staff/file

Spicy tuna tartare with homemade potato chips at The Blue Ox in Lynn.

 The Blue Ox / $$$ Chef-owner Matt O’Neil’s “sin” burger — prime beef with applewood-smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, and truffle aioli — has drawn accolades, but there’s more on the menu. The upscale family-friendly restaurant also features fare like tuna tartare, raw oysters, and roasted cod. 191 Oxford Street, Lynn, 781-780-5722, theblueoxlynn.com— Naomi Kooker

Cafe Piazza Dolce / $$$ Ever traveled through Italy and stumbled on the restaurant locals keep secret? That’s the feeling here. The eggplant Enzo appetizer is crispy cutlets stuffed with prosciutto, spinach, and cheese. Order it as an entree, it’s that good. A seasonal special, lamb carbonara, has two kinds of bacon sizzled together until crispy, then mixed with tagliatelle, parsley, and cheese. It’s served with a poached egg on top; you toss the ingredients yourself. 831 Main Street, Winchester, 781-838-6092, cafepiazzadolce.com — Kathy Shiels Tully

Fusion Andina / $$ Here they serve up a potpourri of Bolivian and Peruvian flavors. For less adventurous diners, try the Saltenas appetizer, baked puff pastry stuffed with beef or chicken, and Lomo Saltado marinated steak tips. For a more adventurous palate, try Sajta de Pollo — on-the-bone chicken thighs simmered in a yellow pepper spice mix and presented with boiled potatoes, dried potatoes (called Tunta), and salsa. Fricase de Cerdo is a piquant pork stew. 150 Cabot Street, Beverly, 978-720-8955, fusionandinarestaurant.com — Brion O’Connor

The Marina Restaurant & Bar at the Wharf / $$$ This 260-seat restaurant’s menu has Italian flair. Options include meatballs, pasta, and chicken Parmigiano. The nachos are topped with Bolognese instead of salsa. There’s also lobster, fried seafood, burgers, steaks, and daily specials. Shrimp risotto was nicely al dente and the pan-seared scallops decent. 543 North Shore Road, Revere, 781-629-3798, marinaatthewharf.com — Naomi Kooker

Nobo / $$$ Opened in 2015, Nobo serves Japanese dishes fused with pan-Asian influences. Highlights include the premium sake list. Garden tempura features crispy battered green beans, broccoli, onions, asparagus, and zucchini. The honey walnut shrimp is fried tempura-style, drizzled with light honey sauce, and served with noodles and broccolini. For some heat, try dry tossed salt-and-pepper pork loin with grilled shishito peppers. 18 Boston Road, Chelmsford, 978-770-2499, noborestaurant.com — Diane Severin

Papa Razzi Metro / $$$ Long a staple in Burlington, Papa Razzi has been transformed by new owners, who reopened this location last April. To start, try the salumi boards. For a main course, perhaps the basil rigatoni with pulled chicken, tomato, mushrooms, roasted garlic butter sauce, and pecorino or the orecchiette salsiccia with broccoli rabe pesto and a dash of hot pepper flakes. 2 Wall Street, Burlington, 781-229-0100, paparazzimetro.com — Diane Severin

Wow Barbecue / $$ After finding success with a Chinese barbecue food truck, the owners launched this brick-and-mortar location. Don’t expect typical American-Chinese takeout favorites. Fare includes steamed cold noodles, a jellyfish appetizer, lamb skewers sprinkled with a rub of almost 20 spices, and grilled fish served whole — from head to tail. 184 Salem Street, Malden, 781-605-2766, wowbarbecue.com — Kathy Shiels Tully


Newton, MA: 11-06-15: Bacon wrapped date on a spoon at Four Spoons restaurant in Newton, Mass. Nov. 11, 2015. The dish is served with four dates on four spoons. Photo/John Blanding, Boston Globe staff story/Rachel Lebeaux ( 22wedine )

John Blanding/Globe staff/file

Bacon-wrapped date on a spoon at Four Spoons in Newton Centre.

Four Spoons / $$$ Opened last summer in Newton Centre, the Thai-inspired restaurant fills a 46-seat space. Lobster goat cheese Rangoon is a twist on the ubiquitous crab version. Popular dishes include garden fresh rolls and crispy bronzini mango salad, the Mediterranean fish tossed with spicy mango, scallions, red onions, peanuts, and cilantro. Madagascar pad Thai, featuring grilled tiger prawns, is a dramatic turn from the typical. 796 Beacon Street, Newton, 617-332-5888, fourspoonsnewton.com — Rachel Lebeaux

 Amuleto Mexican Table / $$$ Amuleto’s menu explores regional differences in Mexican cuisine, embracing mole, carne asada, fish tacos, and Mexico City-style quesadillas. Some dishes would be at home in any upscale bistro — grilled salmon al pastor, for example. But the food works with tradition rather than exploding it. In ceviche de coliflor, cauliflower is folded together with fresh salsa and citrus, creating a satisfying vegetarian dish. 484 Moody Street, Waltham, 781-893-1389, amuletorestaurant.com — Devra First

The Curry House / $$ Located in a former KFC, the Curry House has a detailed menu, and meals are cooked to order. Recent standouts included Peshawari naan, flatbread filled with dried fruits and sprinkled with coconut; Baigan bhartha, a smoked, pureed eggplant dish served with rice pilaf; and Reshmi kebab, tandoor-baked chicken with onion, peppers, and a light sauce. 418 West Central Street, Franklin, 508-520-2900, www.thecurryhouse.com  — Mary MacDonald

Derek’s Steak and Seafood / $$$ Set in a strip mall on Route 109, Derek’s offers its own spin on some Gulf Coast specialties. A Cajun-influenced calamari appetizer is topped with jalapeno slices, red peppers, and a chipotle chili-based sauce. The jambalaya entree comes with andouille sausage just spicy enough to flavor the dish; it’s served over risotto. 112 Main Street, Medway, 508-533-0823, derekssteakandseafood.com — Mary MacDonald

Home Taste / $$ Home Taste’s menu contains some dishes found at many Chinese restaurants — sesame chicken and the like — but diners are rewarded for venturing off the beaten path. Freshly made hand-pulled noodles are a spectacle. Chinese burgers, or rou jia mo, are a street food. The wheat flour bun is more of a pocket stuffed with meat; it’s incredibly satisfying. Xinjiang sauteed spicy chicken is a stew served with bone-in chicken. 58 Mt. Auburn Street, Watertown, 617-923-0227, hometastema.com — Rachel Lebeaux

Pueblito Paisa / $$ For newcomers to Colombian cuisine, it’s advisable to start with the bandeja pueblo paisa. It’s everything you’d want in a Colombian dish. First there’s morcilla sausage, chicharrones, a steak filet, and ground beef packed with rice. Then there’s white rice, pinto beans, sweet plantains, avocado slices, an arepa, and slaw. The dish is topped with a fried egg. You may want to share. 66 Hollis Street, Framingham, 508-424-1125, facebook.com/pueblitopaisaframinghamma — Rachel Lebeaux

Red Lentil Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurant / $$ Chef-owner Pankaj Pradhan is vegetarian. His menu is a mash-up of Indian specialties, Middle Eastern dishes, Spanish, Italian, Mexican, and old-fashioned hippie. The signature bowl of red lentil soup is nourishing. Gobi Manchurian, deep-fried cauliflower florets coated with chickpea flour, served with peppers and onions, is a menu star. Butternut polenta is delightful for something that is gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan. 600 Mt. Auburn Street, Watertown, 617-972-9188, theredlentil.com — Sheryl Julian

Zhu Pan-Asian Vegan Cuisine / $$ Lucy Zhu and her brother Bowei modeled this Asian-vegan restaurant after their Providence spot, Veggie Fun. Faux meats are prominent. A platter of “spare ribs” features seitan, a glutinous wheat protein, sliced into thick strips, nestled on green beans. King oyster mushrooms are sliced and battered, dunked in a golden fat bath until crisp, and sauteed with scallions and green and red peppers. 166 Massachusetts Avenue, East Arlington, 781-646-7600, zhuvegan.com — Ellen Bhang


Cohasset 08/19/2015: The Citrus Glazed Long Island duck breast, confit Leg, and roasted sweet potatoes dish at Bia Bistro in Cohasset. Photo by Debee Tlumacki for the Boston Globe (regional

Debee Tlumacki for the Boston Globe/File

Citrus-glazed Long Island duck at Bia Bistro in Cohasset.

Bia Bistro / $$$$ Nestled in the first floor of an old white Colonial with green shutters, Bia serves up satisfying French comfort food along with a few pizzas, pastas, and risottos. Try the shrimp and grits appetizer, citrus-glazed Long Island duck, and pan-roasted salmon. Free-range duck-fat-roasted chicken is beautifully crispy with Madeira jus. 35 South Main Street, Cohasset, 781-383-0464, biabistro.com — Joan Wilder

 2 Jerks BBQ Kitchen + Bar / $$ Everything is made in-house, including the popular Plate of Bacon appetizer, a half-pound of house-smoked candied bacon made with brown sugar, maple syrup, and cayenne. Appetizers also include fried green tomatoes and chicken wings as hot as you can stand. You can eat small, such as brisket chili and salads, or go big with country fried chicken or New Orleans gumbo. 701 Broadway, Raynham, 508-386-2737, facebook.com/2jerksbbq — Paul Kandarian

Cibo Matto / $$$ Nearly everything is made on-site, including dressings, mayonnaise, breads, and desserts. Rigatoni Bolognese features al dente pasta, and the Parma pizza is a work of art — arugula, strips of prosciutto, and shaved Parmesan heaped on top of brick oven pizza. Room for dessert? Order the gingerbread sundae if available. 254 Chauncy Street, Mansfield, 508-339-9800, cibomattocaffe.com — Ellen Albanese

Crystal’s Kitchen / $$ Crystal’s offers classic Malaysian, Thai, and Japanese dishes and creative fusions. On weekends, expect a wait. If you like savory noodles, order pad see yew, flat rice noodles stir fried with chicken, eggs, broccoli, and carrots in a soy-based sauce. For celebrations, seafood in a nest will impress: scallops, shrimp, and squid mixed with napa cabbage, snow peas, and mushrooms in a bed of crispy noodles. 4 South Main Street, West Bridgewater, 508-510-5295, crystalskitchenma.com — Wendy Chow

Eggs & Thai Cafe / $$ This place has a huge menu. Need suggestions? Grilled Thai sausages are accompanied by ginger, peanuts, and a head-clearing spicy dipping sauce. Coconut soup is creamy, studded with chicken and mushrooms, and not too sweet. A sauce with massaman chicken curry has a hint of heat. 2 Kings Court, Dedham Square, 781-326-2538, eggandthai.com — Johanna Seltz

Porticello Ristorante / $$$ Named for the Sicilian town where the chef-owner was born, Porticello serves up some dishes inspired by that Italian heritage. The Bolognese sauce, for example, tends to be Tuscan style, with beef, veal, and pork. Spicy seafood fra diavolo and a filet topped with Gorgonzola and roasted red pepper cream sauce are standout items. Gnocchi, pappardelle, and sauces are made in-house. 454 Turnpike Street, South Easton, 508-230-0220, porticellorestaurant.com — Ellen Albanese

Tavern on the Wharf / $$ The waterfront restaurant’s ambience is casual with an elegant flair. PEI mussels are a tasty starter. There’s lots to choose from on the regular menu, from fisherman’s platter to mac & cheese. But a rotating special menu offers up treats like grilled white marlin. 6 Town Wharf, Plymouth, 508-927-4961, tavernonthewharf.com— Paul Kandarian

The Townshend / $$$ They’re serious about sustainable fishing here. But that doesn’t mean fish is the only thing they serve. The “rustic American” menus are small and well considered. Fare includes well done familiar foods like cheeseburgers, hanger steak, and gnocchi. Pan-seared trout was another recent standout. 1250 Hancock Street, Quincy, 617-481-9694, thetownshend.com — Joan Wilder


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