Aromas of sizzling shellfish, spiced tomatoes, juicy steaks, and roasted fruits waft through the sleek modern interiors of Serafina, where chefs craft seasonal Italian dishes with a focus on the Tuscan style. At the raw bar, staffers serve dozens of oysters, jumbo shrimp, and littleneck clams on the half shell. In the dining room, servers ferry complex gourmet dishes whose ingredients complement one another. They serve Italian seafood stew, Tuscan-style sirloin steak, long island duck breast, and pizzas topped with roast pears and figs or barbecue chicken. It’s food that has been praised by reviewers from such publications as the Boston Globe and the Concord Journal.
Behind the bar, floor-to-ceiling wine racks house more than 60 wines from regions throughout Italy and the United States, as well as Chile, Argentina, and New Zealand. The sounds of general merriment are accompanied by regular live piano, bass, or sax in jazz and contemporary styles.
Vincenzo's Ristorante & Bistro's owners understand that people have different tastes, or sometimes just feel like a different experience. So, they decided to split their space in two. In the ristorante, they ferry fine Italian cuisine to candlelit, white-linened tables. In the bistro, they serve deliberately more casual fare as live singer-songwriters ply their trade at the piano with jazz and blues standards.
Nashoba’s owners and baker bromantics, Stuart Witt and John Gates, make everything in their breadbasket with a special slow-rise method. Each loaf rises slowly over the course of 24 hours, fueled by a unique starter developed by co-owner Stu that produces a profoundly pillowy texture and a beautiful, glossy, full head of crust. Every day, hundreds of these mesmerizing loaves float out into the world from Nashoba's 32,000-pound French-made bread oven like so many doughy dandelion spores buoyed by a warm, yeasty breeze. And each of Nashoba’s plethora of riseable dough varieties can take you someplace different. Transport yourself to shores lapped by wine-dark Mediterranean waters with an olive loaf ($5.50), or trick nearby turkeys into roasting, basting, and slicing themselves with a too-toothsome-to-resist rosemary garlic breadball ($4.45). Trek to an oasis of thick, chewy dates on the camel’s back of a seven-grain ($5.50), and avenge the pigeons that killed your father with pieces from a sourdough loaf laced with combustively spicy pepper jack ($4.10).
Inside Sierras, an antlered chandelier overlooks cream tile-plated tables, ocean blue floors, and walls festooned with antlered skulls and colorful plates in pale blues and vibrant reds. The meals are just as colorful, from the dollops of sour cream, pico de gallo, and chili that top a tower of homemade corn nachos to the roasted red peppers, sweet corn, and Monterey jack cheese that pops out of burritos.
Boredom meets its demise at Acton Bowladrome, a multifaceted complex owned by a family that has been entertaining other families for more than 40 years. There, 16 synthetic candlepin-bowling lanes speed balls toward rattling glory as friends, leagues, and parties rack up high scores. Away from the smashing pins, the Bowladrome's onsite, ‘50s-style restaurant, Burgerdrome, takes taste buds on a ride through time with burgers, shakes, pizzas, and views of the alley from its polished counter, bright-red booths, and checkered floor. Those vintage vibes continue into the arcade, filled with titles such as Guitar Hero and Bed Monsters, and the Retrocade, where gamers swap quarters for classic-game play and the chance to beat the Fonz’s high scores.
The chefs at Savoring Indian Cuisine have a couple different tricks for imparting every dish with a burst of flavor. The first involves their spices, which they grind in-house before sprinkling them onto coal-roasted eggplants and various flavored naans. The second's in their tandoor oven, which gives meat a smoky flavor and a light, juicy texture. This makes the resulting cuts of lamb, chicken, and salmon perfect for the house kebabs. The chefs don't only craft meat entrees, however. They also have a full menu of vegetarian entrees, which showcase vegetables like the invite list to a scarecrow's retirement party.
Helmed by experienced chefs Caitlin Adler and Christopher Vuich, Sweet Bites tantalizes taste buds with delectable baked goods, coffee, and lunchtime eats. While sitting in the cozy, wood-beamed dining room, diners can ogle paintings by local artists as they choose a joy-inducing indulgence from the bakery’s breakfast and lunch menu or fully stocked dessert counter. Delve into the fresh-baked goodness of mini or regular-size cupcakes ($2.50–$3.50), moisten a mouth with an individual quiche ($7), or abandon a boring nine-to-five for a whirlwind romance with a donut muffin ($1.95). Bite into layers of ham, mortadella, salami, capicolla, muenster cheese, and spicy olive and roasted pepper relish with a muffaletta sandwich ($9). Flavorful salads such as the cobb ($12), caesar ($8), or the crispy duck, sprinkled with herb goat cheese, roasted peppers, sweet 'n’ spicy nuts, and a lemon vinaigrette ($15) are sure to enchant, while the toasted tuscan bread bruschetta, spread with mascarpone cheese, fresh fruit, and honey, offers sucrose-rich portions to please sugar-starved palates ($8). Sweet Bites is a kid-friendly eatery, so pintsize companions can be treated to a grilled-cheese sandwich ($6) or pizza bagel ($6), while their fully developed wardens recharge with a cup of Java Tree fair trade coffee or Two Leaves and a Bud organic tea.