Honey-hued drapes span wall-to-wall windows. Polished silverware glimmers in the glow from dangling strings of lights and tiny wall sconces. Ristorante Pavarotti's Italian-born owner, Massimo, knows that little touches like this make a huge difference, whether you’re decorating a restaurant to create romantic ambiance or crafting authentic Italian cuisine. White tablecloths warm beneath veal and fresh seafood in red- and white-wine reductions, and other traditional dishes on the menu ramp up with gourmet ingredients such as artichokes, truffle oil, and pecorino cheese. Between bites of homemade fusilli or lobster and crab ravioli, guests can ask a server to suggest a bottle of wine to transport their senses to Italy, or a genie in a bottle to transport their physical bodies there.
Café Jag's chefs cater to discerning palates with fresh-made Italian pastas, seafood, and grilled meats. Dining bands collaboratively scour the dinner menu before harmonizing their orders of appetizers such as the Maryland crab cakes, dunked in house-made rémoulade sauce. The grilled rack of lamb tickles taste buds with a french-cut slab of meat and accompanies veggies as they careen down digestive canals. As soft light spills across multihued paintings and light cocoa ceilings, chefs house ocean-torn savories in the lobster ravioli, decorating pasta walls with a sherry-cream reduction and ricotta padding. An ever-rotating selection of desserts, including an oft-available five-layer red-velvet-and-chocolate-lava cake, coddles teeth with the sweet softness of a cloud of gummy bears.
For more than 30 years, Countryside Deli, Pizzeria & Caterers has mastered a vast menu of comfort dishes from America and Italy. Diners stroll up to the counter in Countryside's simple dining room to order hot or cold sandwiches, cheesy pizzas, or plates of gnocchi with eggplant and mushrooms. Its catering selection is equally diverse, featuring trays full of tortellini alfredo, chicken marsala, and eggplant rollatini, as well as sandwich platters and giant subs perfect for serving a bunch of fans watching a football game or one football player after a football game.
Referencing a revolving menu of bistro fare, the chefs at Melissa's Main Street Bistro carefully plate grilled seafood and meats with seasonal vegetables and sauces. They braise short ribs and pair them with a choice of starch, vegetable, and sauce, and help linguine win games of hide-and-seek by burying the noodles in the seafood fra diavolo's cornucopia of haddock, calamari, salmon, shrimp, mussels, and lobster. Armed with ladles and small plates, they dole out daily soups and tapas that accent the savory meals. The bar offers glimpses into the kitchen, and the eatery's large windows funnel sunlight from outside, where a maroon awning hovers over flower boxes that pepper the sidewalk as gracefully as a hopscotch course leading to etiquette school.
A 1953 International Harvester tractor parks outside Maggie’s Farm, and inside, barn lights and boards reclaimed from a 1700s barn evoke a cozy country feeling. And yet, despite the fact that the restaurant’s decor was harvested from and styled after local farms under the direction of a rooster with an interior-designer background, the menus widen their focus to include more internationally inspired meals.
Beyond homestyle eats such as meatloaf and Black Angus burgers, diners can settle into plates of fish ’n’ chips, Cuban sandwiches, and chicken milanese. A separate sushi menu boasts six types of nigiri and sashimi, 16 specialty rolls, and oysters pulled from the waters of Massachusetts, Virginia, and the Long Island Sound.
Thirty-four stools encircle the bar, where bartenders fill glasses with both macrobrews and local beers such as Cape Ann Kolsch and Cody Wheelers Brown. The bartenders also craft cocktails, infusing elderflower liqueur into gin-based elder and wisers, and plopping champagne floats onto mimosa martinis with orange vodka and Cointreau. Nearly 30 wines populate a list with varietals culled from New Zealand, Argentina, and Sardinia.
However, the founders of Maggie’s Farm envisioned it as more than a place to eat and drink; they were also inspired by the promise of meeting new friends and their love of counterculture music. Named after the Bob Dylan song, the restaurant maintains that spirit by hosting live musicians whose styles range from funk to bluegrass to acoustic. A magician mystifies families with tricks Monday and Tuesday, and ladies’ night on Wednesday dishes out $1 oysters while banishing the men’s room to another plane on the space-time continuum.