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.
Tim and his wife Georgia ran a pizza place for 20 years before deciding to refocus their restaurant around authentic Greek cuisine. The transition paid off: Esperia Grill was named "Best Greek Restaurant 2013" by Boston magazine, who praised the family-owned restaurant's spinach pies, gyros, keftedes (Greek-style meatballs), and tzatziki. The menu covers everything from beef kabobs and baked lamb shanks to grilled Mediterranean paninis, and also includes a number of Greek wines pressed from the finest olives.
The menu at Porter Belly's Pub is packed with savory, soul-satisfying eats. Dig into a plate of homemade pork sausages, grilled to deliciousness with dried cranberries, garlic, and herbs ($8). Each of the nine signature burgers—such as the Alamo with roasted red pepper and monterey jack cheese—comes with your choice of a beef, chicken, turkey, or veggie patty ($9). Entrees include a hearty portion of shepherd's pie made with fresh ground beef and select vegetables in home-style gravy. This particular pie also is accompanied by a heaping helping of mashed potatoes layered with melty cheese ($9.95). Saturday night's ailments can be cured with a time machine or a hearty Sunday brunch, served from noon to 3 p.m. This Groupon is also valid toward Porter Belly's Pub's prix fixe neighborhood menu.
Devlin’s dishes out upscale cuisine in a friendly and casual atmosphere, pampering patrons with a menu stocked with innovative twists on traditional fare. Philly cheesesteak spring rolls come partnered with smoky chipotle sauce ($10), and lobster penne marries fresh seafood and pasta using a flavorful marsala cream sauce as both ring bearer and maid of honor ($23 for large, $14 for small). For a sharable snack that doubles as a flightless Frisbee, try a crispy pizza topped with prosciutto, fig jam, and blue cheese, with caramelized onions and arugula officiating the taste-bud tug-of-war between savory and sweet ($14). Though Devlin’s has convenient night-owl hours, the weekly Sunday jazz brunch lets early birds practice their sophisticated snaps whilst pecking at sleep-betraying orders of eggs benedict served with canadian bacon ($10) or soul-satisfying portions of challah french toast drizzled with Vermont maple syrup, served with bacon, sausage, or ham ($10).
Papa John's has carefully crafted a menu of specialty pizzas to satisfy any taste or mouth shape. Order a Hawaiian BBQ Chicken, or go all-out and get The Works, a top-heavy combination of pepperoni, ham, spicy Italian sausage, fresh-sliced onions, green peppers, gourmet baby portabella mushrooms, and ripe black olives. Satisfy herbivores and herbivoyeurs with a Tuscan Six-Cheese or Garden Fresh pie. The full list of specialty pizzas includes several more; take the hassle out of haggling over individual ingredients and boldly cast your straight-ticket ballot for the pizza party that your conscious dictates.