Five decades ago, Kirio Pantelis wheeled a wooden cart around Kalamata, Greece, peddling syrupy sweets to locals. Today, his son and daughter-in-law oversee the American patisserie and café that evolved from these humble roots, nestled in both Brookline and Brighton. The bakery pays homage to its heritage with walnut-studded cakes and tarts that echo back to communal baking in wood-burning Greek ovens, though the shop draws from all over Europe for luxurious ingredients such as chocolate genoise, poached Turkish apricots, and Belgian cocoa. Puffed éclairs, petits fours, and fruit tartlets evoke the patisseries of Paris, and the bakery’s from-scratch gelato transports tasters to Italy without the hassle of concentrating hard enough to teleport.
Along with these sugary delicacies, the Brighton location also dishes up savory, Mediterranean-inspired fare at a café with marble tabletops and loft ceilings. Diners here fork into cold poached salmon, munch on paninis layered with gruyere or house orange-scented sausage, and savor cold sandwiches filled with roasted pancetta.
Nothing goes better with Cafenation’s caffeinated drinks than one of its made-to-order crepes. Sweet or savory, the starchy parcels packed with eggs, black beans, and cheddar, Nutella and banana, or other decadent ingredients are made all day long. In the summer, meals almost turn al fresco thanks to the open front windows.
Marilda Kocibelli paints leaves all day. Rather than brushes and pigments, however, her tools are steamed milk and coffee. She runs Dolce Vita Caf?, a casual oasis of handcrafted espresso drinks, cozy little tables, and sandwiches and pastries. Marilda and her staff serve hot, Italian-inspired paninis, such as the carmine, with fresh mozzarella and prosciutto, as well as the tonno siciliano, featuring imported tuna. Hot mugs of lattes and dark-roast coffee bookend meals. The cafe also conveniently provides free wireless Internet.
Lilly’s Cafe & French Bakery owners Alex and Susan sate sweet and savory cravings with a lineup of deli-style sandwiches, pastries, and renowned specialty cakes. Lunchtime trips to Lilly's replenish flagging bodies like a puff of nutrient-rich steam with hearty deli sandwiches prepared with fresh ingredients including Boar's Head meats and cheeses. The mediterranean-chicken sandwich ($6.95) harks back to sunlit walks under Roman arches with a full complement of hummus, roasted red peppers, and lemon oregano on focaccia. Pastry lovers can select from a bouquet of croissants and sweets such as specialty red velvet cupcakes or miniature cheesecakes.
The menu of the recently renovated Eagles Deli and Restaurant crams gastro-caverns with fresh Angus-beef patties as well as healthy salads and wraps, its savory eats garnering attention from culinary programs such as the Rachael Ray Show and Man V. Food Nation. The Cowabunga challenge invites diners to try to consume two pounds of burger, eight pieces of American cheese, and two pounds of fries while pretending to surf on an ironing board ($25.99). Slightly less colossal cravings are curbed with the Hot Dog Lovers two-pound frankfurter ($15.99). Herbivorous fangs are kept at bay with delicious greenery such as Wafa's Heavenly salad, packed with torrents of sun-dried cranberries, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and balsamic dressing swirl atop a bed of baby spinach and romaine lettuce ($7.59).
Fruitée Yogurt's two locations invite customers to sprinkle 14 yogurt flavors with more than 50 fruit and candy toppings. Surrounded by bright green walls, self-service stations dispense the likes of passion fruit, salted caramel, and strawberry swirls of yogurt. Customers then belly crawl over to the buffet-style topping bar replete with fresh fruit, candies, and cereal. Finally, patrons weigh their sweet creations, pay by the ounce, and devour frozen yogurt filled with vitamins, essential minerals, and live cultures.