The chefs at Yoki Restaurant can prepare all types of Japanese delicacies, from nama-harumaki appetizers with raw salmon and jumbo shrimp to hibachi steak. But sushi is their specialty. Behind the bar, sushi chefs slice raw fish to serve as sashimi or create maki rolls such as the ninja maki with shrimp tempura and eel. Four of the most popular rolls are named for local sports teams; the Patriots, for example, tops white tuna and cucumber with rainbow tobiko and three types of fish?precisely the list of ingredients that New England's quarterback shouts during every snap count.
Sports can be found elsewhere at Yoki?namely on the flat-screen TVs that anchor the restaurant's modern vibe. A rounded bar aglow with bright, multicolored lights creates a sleek Tokyo vibe that contrasts nicely with the dining room's high-top tables, long banquettes, and private booths.
The San Francisco–style taqueria's menu specializes in the large, Mission-style burritos perfected in NoCal. The MexiCali Burrito ($6.52) comes with one filling, two toppings, rice, and beans. Available fillings include grilled chicken with red chili sauce, citrus-marinated achiote chicken, spicy pork, slow-roasted beef, marinated-and-charbroiled steak, and three daily options of seasonal vegetables. Add even more flavor with the toppings, including pico de gallo bursting with fresh tomato flavor, delicious guacamole, a mozzarella / Monterey jack mix of shredded cheese, and more. For a bigger appetite, try “Boston’s biggest burrito,” the Big Sur ($8.33), and make your snake-father proud by dislocating your jaw to eat it.
Ana Sortun’s fresh, flavorful Turkish cuisine gained such a following that she began boxing it for home kitchens. According to the Wall Street Journal, a nutritionist challenged her to create a healthy, natural family meal that could be prepared in 20 minutes. Clearly, this was no obstacle—Ana created a line of Chef Set Meals in a customizable, home-cooked reflection of the globally inspired dishes she crafts on a daily basis in Oleana’s kitchen. The menu there consists mostly of meze, or small plates, such as bread and cheese dumplings, warm buttered hummus, and grilled octopus Carpaccio. But there are also some heftier entrées, including monkfish and barley-couscous brik (a delicate stuffed pastry) and local lamb seasoned with yogurt and Turkish spices. Veggies come from nearby Siena Farms, and play a central role in the vegetarian meze menu that earned Oleana a spot on Zagat's Nine Must-Try Tasting Menus in Greater Boston. For dessert, the on-site pastry chef churns signature ice creams—cocoa-rose with a date-rose truffle, salted-butter with a pumpkin-brown butter crepe—as distinctly Mediterranean as the patio, where an herb garden and fig tree flourish. Inside, the small kitchen opens to a dining room where Turkish carpets cover the walls and a fireplace crackles out the Turkish national anthem.
At the end of March in 2013, chef Barry Maiden won his third-straight Madness title. This wasn’t March Madness, though; it was Munch Madness, a Boston.com competition that pitted 64 local restaurants against each other to find the city’s favorite. It seems that Bostonians have an unwavering dedication to Maiden’s restaurant, Hungry Mother, which serves up hearty, southern-style dinner fare. One glance at the menu and it's easy to see why. Smoked-cheddar pimiento cheese dip and sea-salt sprinkled boiled Virginia peanuts ready palates for hearty plates of crawfish and grits, cast-iron chicken, and catfish and shrimp served with scallion hushpuppies. The after-dinner menu is just as thoughtfully curated––bartenders mix a quartet of after-dinner drinks meant to end things on a sweet note, similar to Beethoven’s intentions when he replaced all of his piano keys with Fun Dip sticks. Of course, there’s traditional dessert, too, including a decidedly southern buttermilk chess pie topped with blueberry-mint preserves and whipped crème fraiche.
Hailed as 1 of 11 coffee shops that “put Boston on the map,” according to the Boston Globe, Simon's Coffee Shop decided the only way to top itself was to literally put itself on the map again. Despite just opening, Simon’s Too looks a little more grown-up than its predecessor. Instead of playful orange walls, the coffee shop has exposed brick; instead of scrawling the menu items in multicolored chalk, the baristas print them carefully with white block letters. But Simon’s Too still has the same energy as the flagship location. And it still uses only local coffee, which is brewed from beans roasted in Arlington and Acton. Like a cartoon pie cooling on a windowsill, the coffee bean grinder entices guests with its deep aromas, luring patrons to the wooden counter to order one of the day’s available soups or a signature drink concocted by a La Marzocco espresso machine.
Show up to 1369 Coffeehouse in the morning, and you might just be tempted to stick around all day. This cozy shop fills out its selection of coffeehouse staples—including fresh-baked pastries—with café dishes made for a carefree lunch. Follow your morning cappuccino with a rotating selection of homemade soups, tarragon-chicken sandwiches, and a mug of locally sourced apple cider.