Organic Garden Cafe's vegetarian, organic dishes have earned the eatery nods in Edible Boston, Boston Magazine's "Best of Boston" in 2009 and 2013, and Northshore Magazine's Best of Northshore Awards every year from 2009 to 2013. As owner Robert Reid told Edible Boston, the menu consists largely of gourmet raw foods, but has evolved to include "transitional items" such as hot soups, which widen the eatery's appeal. Pizzas on buckwheat, carrot, or flax crusts and nut butter 'squash' ravioli are heated under a food lamp, so that the food remains 80 to 90 percent raw, yet "tastes like it just came out of the oven." He's also added more seasonal and local items, working with nearby farms for greens and root veggies.
The caf?'s staff also whip up smoothies at its juice bar, such as the Yoda's Jedi smoothie with strawberries, bananas, dates, and spirulina. Customers can also add a boost to their drinks with smoothie enhancers such as flax oil, maca root, bee pollen, and poltergeist sweat.
Named a Hidden Jewel by Phantom Gourmet, The Farm Bar & Grille's rustic wood furniture and floors and exposed brick walls inform the eatery's comforting vibe. To craft a menu of comforting southern-style fare, the kitchen team doesn't skimp by pulling ingredients from the freezer. Instead, they put together entrees from all-fresh components, including some of the vegetables they grow themselves in the on-site garden and the 90-acre cornfield they fit in their endless broom closet. As baby-back ribs bask in the smoke from a hardwood fire, the kitchen crew bastes them every half hour, in between searing burgers made from fresh angus chuck. Starters such as fresh beer-battered jalapeno poppers are made to order. The staff also pours a large selection of draft beers and specialty cocktails.
At 15 Walnut, the culinary team handcrafts gourmet dishes, from maple-barbecued steak tips to margherita pizza with walnut pesto. But you'd never guess it if you looked at the ultra-simple basics local farmers deliver to the kitchen.
The bistro's chefs take these simple ingredients and then craft their own sausages, bake their own breads, dry their own herbs, create their own chutneys, and make their own mozzarellas. And all of this is done in small batches that adhere to a strict farm-to-table philosophy.
The resulting upscale comfort food sates appetites at brunches, lunches, and dinners, which patrons can finish off with handmade desserts that are even more appealing than Oreos in an artisanal basket.
Waves of fresh seafood crest the tables at Hale Street Tavern, where succulent oysters, inventive sushi, and a family-friendly game room sets patrons adrift in a sea of neighborhood dining camaraderie. Start off with small bowl of scallop chowder, chock-full of corn, pancetta, and chives ($5/$7), or nibble on pancetta-wrapped shrimp with roasted-pepper relish and balsamic syrup ($12.)
The kitchen maestros at Harry's 240 draw inspiration for their seasonal menu from the culinary traditions of Asia, France, the American Southwest, and New England. Commence fused feasts with the crispy vegetable spring rolls ($7.95) or a bowl of New England clam chowder ($4.25). Hearty entrees include cheese tortellini bedecked with peas and sundried tomato pesto ($13.50) and sautéed chicken medallions ($15.50) that, unlike Olympic silver medals, do not constantly remind their recipients of bitter disappointment. This family-owned-and-operated eatery also handcrafts decadent desserts to keep sweet teeth sugared.
Francesco Pellino was born in Naples. At 9 he moved to the United States, at 15 he became a dishwasher, and six months after that, he was the assistant to the night chef at the acclaimed Stella's of Boston. He paid for his college education by continuing his work in restaurants, and in 1992 he opened the doors to his very own restaurant Pellino's Ristorante, which has flourished ever since.
20 years later, Francesco was ready for a new challenge, so he opened a sister restaurant called Mamma Luisa Cucina & Bar. Rustically-minded and swathed in cozy shades of red and cream, Mamma Luisa focuses on Northern Italian fare with Provencal influences, and many dishes are inspired by Francesco's yearly trips to Italy. That includes pastas, such as gnocchi amatriciana or penne bolognese, which are made in-house every day, or traditional entrees like veal saltimbocca topped with fresh sage and prosciutto. The dining area can also be reserved for intimate gatherings of up to 50 people or 100, if they all bring their imaginary friends, making it a perfect choice for birthdays, work gatherings, or holiday parties.