A banner printed with tiny white fish flutters above Ma Soba's sushi bar, where chefs in pert white hats tuck ribbons of fish atop rice and seaweed. In the kitchen, stovetops sizzle with Chinese, Korean, Thai, and other Asian dishes, such as bulgogi, tempura-battered seafood and vegetables, and entrees spiced with chili-and-ginger general tso's sauce. Wine and water goblets moor maroon tablecloths in the softly lit dining room, where potted orchids and bromeliads complement a Japanese screen painted with branches and cherry blossoms. Ma Soba also packs entrees into tidy containers for carryout and delivery orders to offices, homes, and tree houses.
A restored, 14-foot whaling dory hangs from the ceiling at the Barracuda Tavern—a tribute to the tavern's husband-wife owners' honeymoon in Key West, according to The Thrillist Boston. It's one of many nautical accents in the eatery, which also features nautical wheels, an antique ship lamp, a menu packed with seafood specialties, and an overprotective clownfish just looking for his son. An L-shaped bar juts out from exposed-brick and blue walls and it's where guests dine on tapas like buffalo shrimp, spicy scallops, and Key West conch fritters or sip seasonal drafts and glasses of wine. Along with small plates, the menu catalogs seafood specialties such as clam dinners and New England clam chowder, plus crab-cake sandwiches and burgers.
One of South Shore Living's "10 Influential People You Should Know" in 2010, Jimmy Liang evenly divides his time among his five Boston-area restaurants. At Fuji 1546 Restaurant & Bar, his culinary crew whips up contemporary Japanese dishes with a focus on maki, sushi, and sashimi. The sushi selection ranges from eel-filled caterpillar rolls to sweet-potato maki to the BLT roll, which guests must order without using any vowels. The menu also includes traditional eats such as gyoza, sweet-and-sour crab-meat balls, and filet mignon cooked in a housemade lime-soy marinade. For entertainment, Fuji 1546 Restaurant & Bar has a live DJ that spins every Friday and Saturday night.
Tucked away on Salem Street is Pauli’s, a popular breakfast haven-turned-–restaurant, where hungry locals belly up to the counter. In the early morning glare, they come for hearty steak and egg breakfasts, hashes and cheesy three-egg omelets. Come lunchtime, diners look to the restaurant’s chalkboard-black walls, which are highlighted with the day’s specials. Rotating dishes may include a gnocchi marinara, tortellini alfredo, steak tips, fish ‘n’ chips, veggie burgers and every kind of sandwich imaginable, including some more adventurous finds like the Mezza Luna with grilled chicken and eggplant parmesan, or the Killer Bee, stuffed with a crispy chicken cutlet, bacon, provolone and honey mustard.
Year after year, accolades and awards shower down on Erbaluce, often named the best Italian restaurant in Boston by local and national press alike. This Bay Village restaurant run by chef Charles Draghi draws from the cuisine of the Piemont region in Italy, but with the ingredients of New England. There’s no set menu as dinner courses change on a whim, but guests can always expect pasta – handmade, of course – and something approaching Draghi’s signature dish, wild boar with wild Concord grapes and lavender sauce. Best of all, Draghi doesn’t depend much on butter or oil for flavor; instead, he uses fresh herbs and sauces based on fruit and vegetable essences, as well as roasting juices, to give his dishes a much lighter touch. Service in the mostly white dining room with wooden accents and a mosaic-tiled floor is excellent, offering a calm oasis to savor the fine cuisine.
In the kitchen at Ristorante Euno, the chefs forge a Zagat-rated menu that also embraces the homespun spirit of the Sicilian countryside. Beginning with seasonal produce and locally sourced seafood, they remain true to Italian culinary traditions by making everything from fresh pastas to sweet sausage in-house. The wine list complements the hearty food with its selection of crisp whites and full-bodied reds from throughout Italy as well as from the vineyards of California, Washington State, Oregon, New Zealand, and France.
Walls of exposed brickwork and Tuscan plaster, a cellar featuring cubbies of wine bottles, and French windows with views of the bustling street all contribute to the restaurant's cozy, Old World bistro ambiance. Such an ambiance led Gayot to hail the two-story eatery as, "one of the neighborhood’s more genuinely charming spots." The Sicilian-influenced restaurant beckons passersby with a vintage sign hanging beside the front door, inviting them to a dining room that manages to feel rustic and intimate, yet refined at the same time.