No matter what country her family was living in at the time, Longteine “Nyep” De Monteiro—the wife of a Cambodian diplomat—always heard the same thing when she served dinner at one of her lavish parties: “This is so good! You should open a restaurant!” It wasn't until the rise of the Khmer Rouge forced Longteine and her family to relocate to America that she began to seriously entertain the idea. Longteine finally opened The Elephant Walk in 1991, where she filled the menu with a mélange of her favorite Cambodian and French recipes.
Since then, Longteine’s daughter Nasda and her son-in-law Gerard Lopez helped her expand The Elephant Walk to three locations. All three Elephant Walks separate their kitchens into French and Cambodian preparation lines, each staffed with chefs adept at both traditional and contemporary dishes. Each dish makes meticulous use of flavorful, wholesome ingredients such as ripe plum tomatoes, fresh tuna, Vermont goat cheese, and organic tofu. The Elephant Walk also serves up a host of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free variants.
The Elephant Walk loves to feed the mind as much as the mouth. During its regularly scheduled Cafe Science series, Brandeis professors deliver compelling lectures on a variety of topics from the Large Hadron Collider to explaining why science alone cannot turn water into chocolate milk. The restaurant has since given upwards of $200,000 to local, national, and international nonprofit organizations fighting poverty.
Wielding a bountiful bevy of certified U.S. comfort foods, Johnny's Luncheonette has garnered fame and fortune from myriad magazines. No matter how late you get up, Johnny's celebrated crunchy french toast ($7.95) is always waiting to greet your face. For diners whose style doesn't include a breakfast out of bed, Johnny's serves burgers and sandwiches as well as classic American dinners. Eating a 50s burger (served with coleslaw and a pickle; $7.50) brings people back to a time during which they almost certainly weren't alive, and a roast turkey dinner with stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and choice of bread ($12.95) transports the mouth to a different day and age without the aid of a flux capacitor. Pair any delectable selectable with an old-fashioned malt ($5.50) or a raspberry-lime rickey ($3.50) to complete the mouthsemble.
Lauded by Daily Candy for accommodating raw and vegan diners, Prana Restaurant balances native temperatures with mouthwatering flavors in organic and gluten-free dishes. After being greeted by fresh hair streaming through wide-flung windows, diners dip flora-favoring taste buds into garlic, veggie, or fig balsamic pizza on naan crust ($10). Chefs trade off gluten-rich pasta for ribbons of zucchini in the pesto primavera entree, served raw or slightly warm with spinach, a seasonal garden medley, and almond-and-cashew cream sauce ($16). Chard leaves or chia-seed shells trump humdrum tortillas in a lunchtime burrito that bulges to bursting with vegetables, beans, guacamole, sour cream, and salsa ($12). Refuel after fatigue-inducing feasts or all-night model-UN deliberations by chugging a coconut-rich SuperCharger smoothie tinged with cacao, dates, and cashews ($9.75).
Lumière's menu features cleanly executed, creative French cuisine crafted from local and sustainable ingredients by world-class chef Michael Leviton. First-course favorites include the Verrill Farm corn fritters ($14) and sea scallops wearing a caramelized coat and accessorized by locally grown beets, orange, ginger, and chervil ($16). Tickle tongue bumps while calming your conscience with a bite of humanely raised, succulent veal loin reclining on a luxurious bed of braised greens, kalamata olives, and tzatziki ($30). Or, catch Skippy's mustard-crusted Chatham bluefish, swimming through monotonous mealtimes with a retinue of Verrill Farm zucchini, buoyant spring onions, potatoes, and salsa verde ($26). A $35 prix fixe menu grants guests two choices for three courses, including the dessert decision between a decadent dark chocolate and peanut butter mousse parfait doused in caramel sauce, Chantilly cream, and candied peanuts, and a lightly sweet watermelon sorbet.
Lilly’s Cafe & French Bakery owners Alex and Susan sate sweet and savory cravings with a lineup of deli-style sandwiches, pastries, and renowned specialty cakes. Lunchtime trips to Lilly's replenish flagging bodies like a puff of nutrient-rich steam with hearty deli sandwiches prepared with fresh ingredients including Boar's Head meats and cheeses. The mediterranean-chicken sandwich ($6.95) harks back to sunlit walks under Roman arches with a full complement of hummus, roasted red peppers, and lemon oregano on focaccia. Pastry lovers can select from a bouquet of croissants and sweets such as specialty red velvet cupcakes or miniature cheesecakes.
Winner of Improper Bostonian's Boston's Best Diner 2010, Deluxe Town Diner serves classic and creative American diner grub within a vintage 1947 setting. Those looking for a hearty breakfast can fill up at any time of the day with a goat cheese and spinach omelette served with thick slices of bacon ($7.25), but Deluxe Town Diner is known for its pancakes, available in six different varieties and served with genuine maple syrup. Take a lunchtime break from the electric shovel factory with a falafel sandwich with sesame tahini ($8.50) or a triple-decker cheeseburger club ($9.95). For dinner, Deluxe Town Diner cooks up simple, classic meals, such as Frank and Beans ($8.95), next to gourmet offerings including chicken picatta ($12.95). The diner's mammoth drink menu washes down diner fare with smooth NYC egg-cream ($2.50) or a bottomless cup of organic fair-trade coffee ($2.25).