I have spent most of the past 40 years in the Boston area, except for brief stays in New York, Toronto, and London. I now live in Cambridge, (see Cambridge, MA Restaurants for my suggestions there). There are many more places in Boston and it is time I update my picks. It has been almost two and half years since I first posted on Boston. Here are a few of the ones that I like. With the exception of Artu, Toro, and Rabia, these are more for a big night out than everyday dining so I do not get to them as often as I might like. Please provide your suggestions to add to this list.
Part One, today, includes places in Boston proper that I have been to in the last few years and Part Two, out next weekend, covers the greater Boston area, except for Cambridge.
Davios describes itself as a Northern Italian steakhouse. It is much more and has a wonderful wine list. Antipesto includes: La Quercia Americano Proscuitto, Caramelized Pear, Sardinian Goat Cheese, Pan Seared Jonah Crab Cake, Caramelized Fennel, Watercress Olive Salad, Aioli, and Philly Cheese Steak Spring Rolls™, Spicy Homemade Ketchup. Now I have had Sardinian goat cheese in Sardinia and Philly Cheese steak in Philly but I sure their variations will take them to a new level. Here are a few of favorites Fettuccini, Roasted Butternut Squash, Brown Butter, Sage, Caramelized Apple; Sautéed Calamari, Anchovy, Shallots, Garlic, Lemon, Hot Pepper, White Wine, Cream; and Roasted Haddock, Smoked Tomato Leek Broth, Toasted Fregola, Littlenecks. So more than steaks, it is located at 75 Arlington St. , Boston MA, 02116 Tel: (617) 357-4810.
Hamersleys' Bistro - another great place for a big night out. We went there recently for my wife’s birthday. Their site (which has good pictures and recipes) writes, “We see Hamersley's as an elegant Boston translation of the homey, family-run country bistros of France. You'll see how the beautiful architecture of the restaurant reflects the meeting of France and New England, with the rough wooden ceiling beams salvaged from a Connecticut barn in harmony with French tapestry florals. The open kitchen- one of Boston's first- creates a lively, fun touch, and gives Gordon Hamersley a chance to show us all how much he just plain loves to cook.” There are often notable Boston celebs dining with you. It is located at 553 Tremont Street Boston, on the corner of Tremont and Clarendon and next door to the Boston Center for the Arts. 617-423-2700
Zygomates is a French bistro that provides great live jazz to go with their excellent food. Be sure to sit on the music side. We went there recently and were glad we did. We heard Marianne Solivan, a wonderful jazz vocalist with her band. The menu is classic French bistro and both the duck and the duck confit are excellent, as are the pommes frites. It is located at 129 South Street Boston MA 617.542.5108.
Clio is another French influenced restaurant run by chef Kenneth Oringer. It has some of the best visuals I have seen on a restaurant web site, real food porn. There are pictures of almost every dish. Some that strike me are Louisiana crayfish bisque with morels and chervil flowers and sauted frogs legs with wild herbs, marcona almonds, and crispy potatoes. I am sure they are nothing like the stuff that my relatives made as I grew up in New Orleans but still good. They have good looking duck also and I am sure that you do not have to pick out the bird shot as we did as kids. It is located at 370 Commonwealth Ave. Boston. 617-536-7200.
Toro is a new Spanish tapas place started by the chef/owner at Cleo. It has received good reviews for the food but less so for the setting which is a bit crowded and dark, although we sat by the front window so it was not an issue. They have great pan con tomato which is always a test. It is located at 1704 Washington St (Cross Street: Massachusetts Avenue) Boston, MA 02118 (617) 536-4300
Rabia (North End Italian) -- City Search says, “One of the North End's hidden gems delivers scrumptious Italian fare in a charming setting… While the kitchen prepares all the expected favorites with great aplomb, it stands out for its inventive preparations of fresh fish.” It is located at 73 Salem St, in Boston’s North End. (617) 227-6637
Mamma Mia has long been my favorite Italian place in the North End. There is grilled calamari with fennel and herbs and then good adaptations of Italian themed fish and meat such as Pan-seared tenderloin of pork with sweet Gorgonzola Dolce and wood-grilled heirloom vegetables and Homemade spinach spaghettini tossed with fresh Maine shrimp, smoked bacon and sweet local corn, It is located in an old brick building at 3 North Square near Paul Revere’s house. 617- 523-0077
Artu is one of my North End favorites for lunch. City Search agrees and writes "One of the North End's top spots for an affordable, well-prepared meal resides just off of busy Hanover Street...Artu's location--along a narrow side street in the heart of the North End--belies its big-time flavors. The kitchen's smoky grill churs out delicious roasted vegetables that make up a fine antipasto place and terrific meat (try the rotisserie chicken). Also available are excellent pastas and, at lunch, delectable panini sandwiches." I have had the porchetta twice. It is an intense garlic marinated eggplant and roast pork panini. They make the contents themselves. I like to eat the filling first and then have pieces of the bread which have absorbed the flavors of the filling second. The bread becomes like stuffing. Artu is located at 6 Prince St, Boston, MA 02113 Phone: (617) 742-4336.
Lala Rokh is a Persian restaurant that is a great introduction to this flavorful food. The owners, Azita-Bina Seibel and Babak Bina, write on their site, “we use ingredients, staples of our parent's from native Azerbaijan in northwest Iran, to recreate the home style Persian cuisine we grew up with.” Here is a link to the legend around the title. Persian cuisine focused on smells as much as tastes. For example, Mirza Ghasemi, is an appetizer from the Caspian Sea region with a smoky blend of roasted eggplant, garlic, tomato, and saffron. Morgh Pollo is Saffron seared chicken in a light tomato broth and Basmati rice perfumed with cumin, cinnamon, and rose petals topped with barberries. It is located at 97 Mt. Vernon St. on Beacon Hill, Boston, 617-720-5511.