The Tavern at Great Meadows might seem like a typical tavern at first. Friendly bartenders behind a full bar, occasional Fireball specials and karaoke nights, and a kitchen churning out classic bar food, like burgers. On closer examination, though, you'll notice the food's Portuguese flair. The culinary team braises steak Portuguese style, for example, and tops it with ham and egg, or adds pizzazz to the house clams with chourico, Portuguese sausage. Even the house burger, topped with caramelized onions and mushrooms, arrives on a rustic Portuguese roll. However, there's some pure Americana, too, like chicken wings smothered in sauces such as buffalo or teriyaki.
Andre's is a humble, family-run Euro-American eatery, which Zagat members recently named one of the Top Restaurants in the United States. Andre de Waal, chef and owner of Andre's, and his wife Tracey opened their restaurant in an old storefront building in 1998, adorning the exposed brick walls with their wedding photographs and paintings by local artists. Their eatery offers a rotating menu that is inventive, elegant, and comforting. Though the situation may turn at the drop of a switch, diners can currently begin the evening with house-cured salmon, cucumber salad, and fresh herbs ($8.50) or duck confit, penne pasta, and black truffles ($9) before they are ready for rare-roasted tuna and white-bean chorizo ($29).
Upon its opening in 1924, the Newton Theatre beamed with a handsome colonial exterior, delicate stonework, and a façade glittering with 180 electric lights. Despite all this, the owners felt it most important to emphasize its steel load-bearing columns, declaring the building "the safest type known to modern engineering science" and “kind of like a castle, but, you know, without all the dungeons.” That sensible, utilitarian attitude has served the venue well ever since. The Newton found success as a movie theater for decades, then briefly closed in 2010, only to reopen in 2011 as a music venue with a sold out performance by Todd Rundgren.
Chuck and Debbie Leanza, the owners of Table 42, transformed a former 1870s hostel into an inviting dining space trimmed with soft lighting, black and white photos, and rich wood accents. Overhead, the original tin ceilings serve as a reminder of the building's long-standing beauty. Head chef Aldo Cerili and his kitchen staff keep the dining room filled with the smells of quattro formaggio ravioli, char-grilled New York strip steak, and shrimp scampi. Shipments of oysters, clams, and jumbo shrimp pour into the raw seafood bar, but there's also typical pub fare including burgers, quesadillas, and buffalo wings. On Wednesday nights, the restaurant hosts open mics and live music acts on Fridays.
Music is a way of life at Taste Bar & Bistro, especially Thursday through Saturday nights, when the restaurant thumps to the sounds of karaoke, DJ music, or live jazz. But it’s Taste’s thoughtfully prepared pub food that draws crowds even before the musicians take the stage. The menu comprises small plates such as steamed littleneck clams and spicy calamari, as well as heartier entrees that include cheeseburgers and spaghetti and shrimp fra diavolo. Throughout festivities, bartenders mix specialty martinis and pour wines and draft beers that enliven dinner time or can be used to paint a smiley face on one’s shirt during happy hour.
From its quiet corner on North Sussex Street, The Laughing Lion stands as a beacon beckoning diners to come enjoy gastropub fare inside newly renovated bar and dining areas. Hanging lights illuminate walls clad in flat-screen TVs, artwork, and the portrait of a lion who, though he isn't laughing, probably thinks giraffes look hilarious. For a more intimate dining experience, the Blue room gives groups private, personalized service during nights on the town or special occasions. Live entertainment—from bands and DJs to standup comedians—fills the space with music and laughs on select nights throughout the week.