Since its founding in 2001, The Upper Crust Pizzeria has fashioned artful thin-crust pizzas in 19 storefronts with modern, architectural touches. Chefs craft specialty pies inspired by local landmarks, from the sundried-tomato cobblestones of the Beacon Hill to the pesto-painted walls of the Green Monster. Diners can opt to spread sweet sauce over a regular or whole-wheat crust or request that any pie be served white without sauce, and combine slices with crisp salads or pounce on the geometric goodness of a spinach square or half moon-shaped calzone. Restaurant interiors are accoutered with modern flourishes such as flat-screen TVs and pan-decorated ceilings, allowing one to lie down and admire their reflection before a postmeal nap.
The chefs at 29 Newbury arrange fresh ingredients into artfully presented, gourmet cuisine for guests dining between crisp white walls or on the outdoor patio. Both the eatery's menu and the local art adorning its walls rotate with the seasons to incorporate the latest harvests and trends in art criticism. A starter of steamed clams and mussels prepared with white wine, chorizo, and garlic warms up palates for a pan-roasted entree of sesame-encrusted salmon, which floats atop a blizzard of snow peas drizzled with soy-sesame sauce. Warm lobster salad tosses together sautéed white beans with mixed greens, avocado, and basil-lemon vinaigrette. Patrons concerned with etiquette debate between dessertspoons and grappling hooks before spelunking into layers of 29 Signature tiramisu or sojourning through heaps of homemade whipped cream topped with seasonal berries.
Viva Bene Ristorante’s culinary gurus combine fresh ingredients with classic techniques to create an extensive menu of artful Italian, Mediterranean, and seafood dishes. In the dining room, servers set plates of grilled calamari and chicken capicola atop white-clothed tables. Wall sconces illuminate paintings that depict sailboats and Italian countrysides as idyllic as puppies barking at mountains. A rustic, expansive island bar lit by low-hanging pendant lamps surrounds gleaming bottles, which watch over patrons as they check email on Viva Bene's free WiFi.
Haute Italian Cuisine | James Beard Award | Casual and Formal Dining Rooms
Where to Sit: Via Matta offers four distinct dining experiences: a white-tablecloth-clad dining room, a more casual (and slightly cheaper) café, a friendly bar area, and a flower-laden patio. For a more exclusive meal, head downstairs to the chef’s table, which received raves for its excitement-fueled ambiance in Haute Living magazine.
While You're in the Neighborhood
For the shopper: Pick up some “unexpected necessities” such as world-map wrapping paper and quirky kitchen knickknacks at Black Ink (101 Charles Street).
For the nature lover: Stroll around the lush Public Garden (Boylston and Arlington) to admire the seasonal foliage or take a swan-boat ride.
If You Can’t Make It, Try: Chef Michael Schlow also whips up Italian favorites at Alta Strada (92 Central Street, Wellesley, MA), as well as modern Latin American cuisine at Tico (222 Berkeley Street).
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, diners had just three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. The restaurant first expanded four years later, when an enterprising waiter at the initial location opened up a new outpost in Tallahassee. Today, the company?now owned by that original waiter, Mark Johnston, and his brothers Mike and Bob?reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada with more than 140 restaurants and plans to expand to Saudi Arabia and Dubai. The restaurant's menu has also expanded, and patrons can now select from six varieties of hot dipping cheese fondues paired with salads, entrees, and their signature chocolate fondue.
On a given night, groups of viscous-dip-loving foodies gather around tables to nosh on cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads while cooking a variety of steaks and seafood in a choice of one of three flavored broth or traditional oil styles. Birthday revelers and romance seekers cap decadent evenings sharing the chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
With multiple locations across Boston, Viga has become a go-to lunch spot for fast-casual eaters looking to grab some quick food before heading back to the office. Each location, including the Back Bay space on Stuart Street, can sport long lines during the lunch hour crush, but inside things move with surprising speed. Many entrées – think calzones, pastas and rotating daily specials – can be made quickly, while single slices of pizza and sandwiches can be taken. A supply of breads and pastries satisfy the earlier-side crowd, but there isn’t really any seating to speak of, as this is primarily a takeaway operation. Just avail yourself of the friendly service and sunny charm of the space before heading off to enjoy your food elsewhere.