At Baku’s African Restaurant, which On the Menu calls “the place to go,” Nigerian-born Chichi Pat Ononibaku shares her love of made-from-scratch African fare with a menu of dishes crafted from recipes passed down through her family. Diners kick back while surrounded by tropical murals and yellow walls, peering into the kitchen where Ononibaku whips up black-eyed-pea fritters ($4.95). On the Menu says Baku’s African Restaurant “makes it impossible for its patrons not to love plantains,” which accompany the signature jollof rice along with curry chicken ($11.95) for a dish that’s more memorable than a baby panda handing you a winning lottery ticket. Savory aromas waft from curry goat meat, salmon, or lamb draped in the restaurant’s specialty curry-tomato sauce ($12.95–13.95). The gluten- and lactose-free menu also features pounded yams served with thick West African melon seed soup or nigerian stew ($12.95). The cozy dining room fills quickly with the clink of glasses bearing cinnamon iced tea ($1.95) or mango juice ($3.95), so some visitors may choose to take their meals to go or call ahead to make sure there’s space.
Since 1976, Bart’s Homemade has been a destination for ice-cream lovers of all ages. The shop scoops rich, 16% butterfat ice creams in an array of fun flavors, including chocolate Heath bar, mint chip, and Three Geeks and a Red Head—coconut ice cream with coconut flakes, chocolate chunks, fudge brownie, and a raspberry swirl. Local fruit makes appearances in many seasonal flavors, such as ginger peach, featuring ginger from Old Friends Farm and peaches from Franklin County orchards. Bart’s team also whips up batches of healthier treats, including five varieties of sorbet and three hard-serve frozen yogurt flavors.
The University Club’s New England roots are evident not just in its creamy, New England-style clam chowder, but in its very building. Nestled in two colonial-era farmhouses, one of which is the oldest, most wrinkly house in Amherst, the eatery is a venerable institution to the history of Massachusetts. The Boltwood-Stockbridge house contains the Daniel Chester French room, named for the Lincoln Memorial Statue sculptor who lived there as a child, and the Tory room, where nine loyalists hid during the American Revolution.
Today, the loyalists have given way to diners feasting on fare that changes with the seasons. Dinners consist of upscale proteins such as new york strip steak, braised lamb shank, and pan-seared salmon complemented by a farmer’s-market risotto loaded with fresh local produce. Alternatively, lunchtime visitors—or diners sampling the bar’s lighter fare menu—can nosh on a Black Angus burger or a jalapeño crab-cake po' boy.
Domino’s has been decorating dough canvases with flavorful sauces, an assortment of cheeses, and high-quality toppings that range from classic to unconventional since 1960. Domino’s dough is tossed daily and stretched by human hands, not by clumsy catapults and model airplanes flying in opposite directions. Treat friends to a tasteful feast by checking the online menu and crafting a custom masterpizza with Domino's wide range of ingredients. Famished diners too starved to choose their own toppings can select from Domino’s American Legends, featuring signature flavors from throughout the land. Pizzas such as the Pacific Veggie, Honolulu Hawaiian, or Wisconsin 6 Cheese impart all the delicious diversity of a road trip without the hassle of decoding an atlas. Nonpizza fare includes pastas, sandwiches, and breadsticks.
The talented roasters at Shelburne Falls Coffee—deemed Best of the Valley in 2009, 2010, and 2011 by Valley Advocate readers—percolate eight daily blends of organic, flavored, and single-origin coffees to entice tasters and nourish nostrils in a low-key, café environment. Guests can guzzle a regular cup of brewed coffee or add a splash of caramel-flavored milk, making sips as sweet and warming as a thank-you letter from a cupcake ($1.50–$3.21). After a hot cup of joe, cool off a piping-hot palate with the chai vanilla frozen blender—an enchanting swirl of homemade masala and exotic spices ($4.25). Acquire daily servings of fruits and breads without sneaking into the food pyramid with a fruit smoothie made of freshly squeezed orange juice ($4.50) and a bagel smeared with specialty olive or vegetable cream cheese ($3.30).
Tangerine-colored walls and colorful prints from the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, embody the spirit of the visual- and performing-arts celebrations for which Spoleto East Longmeadow—a member of the Spoleto Restaurant Group—is named. Yet, the inspiration doesn’t stop in South Carolina. Across the Atlantic, in Spoleto, Italy, the annual Festival of the Two Worlds showcases the Umbria region's dance, drama, cinema, and opera. The two yearly festivals in Charleston serve as the stateside mirror images of the Italian original. Spoleto restaurant owner Claudio Guerra has fond memories of taking part in these festivities with his mother as a child, and so christened his restaurants after them in homage.
Like the Northampton location before it, the East Longmeadow site offers a lively atmosphere and traditional Italian dishes such as stone-baked pizzas topped with cremini mushrooms and veal saltimbocca with fresh sage and marsala sauce. Diners can personalize their experiences by opting for the restaurant's multicourse meal option, or by carving their likenesses into meatballs before eating them.
Goten of Japan serves authentic Japanese fare by way of hibachi-cooked entrees and a sleek and stylish sushi bar. The menu’s hibachi eats fill empty stomach boxes with hibachi chicken ($15.95), Japanese-style scallops ($22.50), and a veggie special ($14.50). Sushi bites, meanwhile, boast baked rolls ($7.50 to $12), fresh rolls, and sashimi staples. Kids under 10 can peruse a children’s menu replete with entrees (between $10.45 and $16.95) that perfectly fit miniature mouths.