A tucked-away, self-professed "hole in the wall," Bondo's Dining & Takeout is the brainchild of Bondo Benjamin and his partner Sheila Hart, who source ingredients from local farms and the garden behind the restaurant. These ultra-fresh components are integrated into a menu of upscale American dishes such as a 10 oz. sirloin with wild mushroom sangiovese reduction, or pappardelle pasta tossed with sweet roasted pepper puree, fontina, cream, lobster, and romano cheese. A well-curated wine list includes many reds and whites by the glass or bottle.
Vincent and Annette Agostino had one goal when founding Ava Cucina: re-create the spirit of a casual family kitchen in the Old World. Now, they have a place where housemade meatballs and marinara sauce top Sunday spaghetti dinners, which are followed by rich bites of housemade tiramisu dotted with a sweet raspberry sauce. It's also a place that's been like a second home to their five grown children, who have all chipped in at Ava Cucina at one point or another.
The taupe-hued walls feature homespun touches, too, including a hanging collection of cast-iron skillets and three impressionistic paintings of the Italian countryside. Guests can dine among them at tables draped in black tablecloths or in Ava Cucina's glass-enclosed section, which provides the benefits of an outdoor-seating view without any of the downsides caused by inclement weather or lonely skywriters.
Harnessing techniques passed down from their family's first generation of haircutters in Italy in the late 1800s, the Zona clan continues garnering acclaim for its hairstyling prowess, including a spot in the hair salon category of Boston Magazine's Best of Boston 2009. Today, the family of hair experts trims tresses alongside graduates of the salon's three-phase training program. Trainees also brush up on shearing skills at advanced academies in London and New York before adroitly shaping their clientele’s hair, fashioning stylish updo's, and executing full color transformations with an extensive stock of Aveda products. The salon's three locations bring their styling prowess to neighborhoods around town, making it easier to look good than to persuade others your split ends are intentional.
The chefs at Peppercornz on Main share their love of Italian cuisine with the masses via an authentic menu and in-house cooking classes. Amid yellow walls and scarlet accents, diners pack away forkfuls of pumpkin ravioli or bites of porcini-mushroom ravioli in a white-wine blue-cheese cream sauce topped with scallops or shrimp. Three-hour cooking classes consist of chef-led demonstrations on how to churn pasta, make sauces, or do the splits without ripping aprons. For foursomes who’d rather dine at home, Peppercornz prepares family dinners for pickup, in addition to its catering services.
For decades, The Union Chowder House has been a homey respite from the blustering Atlantic winds, dishing up hearty plates of pasta, seafood, and steaks for the South Weymouth community. Classic New England cooking is the star here, with a menu populated by mainstays including chowders, lobster rolls, and fried oysters. Guests will also find specialty pizzas and kids’ options, a people-pleasing move more effective than serving pasta shaped like Tom Brady’s silhouette.
The cooks at Caffe Tosca fashion rustic recipes that recall Tuscany and Sicily, melding traditional Italian styles with American influence. Whet appetites better than scrolling through online image galleries of breadsticks with a quartet of traditional meatballs adorned with toasted brioche breadcrumbs ($8) or a beet salad crowned with crumbled goat cheese ($11). Caffe Tosca’s chicken saltimbocca brandishes prosciutto and sage between sides of rustic potatoes and asparagus ($19), and beef dishes such as veal chops, skirt steaks, or filet mignon ($23+) come with a choice of butter and two sides. The mezzi rigatoni bolognese intermixes cinnamon and parmigiano reggiano ($11) in a marriage of sweet and savory flavors more harmonious than a boy band dancing on a teenaged piano.