Cast in dim, incandescent light creeping out of the dining room’s decorative lanterns, Kasbah Restaurant's cushy seats surround tables filled with slow-simmered tagines, fluffy couscous, and tapas plates selected from a menu of Moroccan fare. The chicken tangiers’ apricot-kissed sherry sauce helps it maintain its status as the restaurant’s best seller, but the house specialty is the fried calamari, which arrives dotted with cherry peppers and doused in a secret sauce whose recipe is only known by the kitchen’s chef and the mayor of Casablanca. An expansive drink list showcases the eatery's carefully crafted martinis and homemade sangria, and weekly events invite belly dancers to shimmy to the sounds of a live Middle Eastern band.
Jocelyn’s Restaurant's menus offer up healthy, reverently crafted Lebanese and American cuisine for lunch and dinner. Playful palates can begin a meal with bouncing kibbee balls, volleying seasoned ground beef, crushed wheat, and pine nuts and spiking hunger in the face ($8). Sea-sourced entrees include baked haddock topped with tahini, cilantro, garlic, and pine nuts ($18) and grilled shrimp skewers transfixing six jumbo shrimp with garlic-paprika spice ($21). Jocelyn's falafel plate satisfies stomachs with creamy ground chickpeas, seasoned and fried fava beans with tahini sauce, and promises of meat-free dreams ($15). The mixed mediterranean grill compiles one beef skewer, one chicken skewer, and two kafta skewers—a kebab comprising a mixture of lean ground beef and lamb—nicely charred over an open flame ($24).
Rockafellas delights diners by dishing up a menu of fresh steaks, seafood, and gourmet pizzas in a casual, historic setting. Stop by for lunch to try a fresh lobster roll ($17) or a Missing Staircase, a shredded-chicken panini named for the building's grand foyer staircase ($8), which was demolished after the simultaneous invention of fireman's poles and jetpacks. Evening eaters can placate their palates with entrees such as the 12-ounce, brown-sugar-smothered grilled harvest pork chop, which comes plated with cranberry chutney ($21), or the fresh crab-stuffed haddock, served buttered and lightly seasoned ($17).
Situated at the core of Davis Square, Diva Indian Bistro brims with the aromas of a menu that borrows from the culinary traditions of regions from Bangalore to Bombay. Beneath a bubbly goldenrod ceiling that looks like a collection of soft-lit skylights, patrons settle onto plump black benches to munch samosas and peruse offerings of lamb, seafood, beef, and tandoori dishes soaked in the warmth of the traditional clay oven. Saffron- and cardamom-scented basmati rice stars in biryani dishes, and dosas, a type of crepe crafted from rice and lentils, enclose chicken or veggie fillings alongside coconut chutney and lentil soup. The wall behind Diva’s bar mimics the ceiling’s rectangular bubble pattern in white, with a long row of blue glass bottles bisecting the surface. High black and chrome chairs slide up to the brushed-silver bar, where patrons murmur over cocktails and ice clicks occasionally like a tap dancer having a nice dream.
Jazz has had many homes over the years. Born in the South, moving to New Orleans and Chicago, and a world traveler in its old age, the musical form brings to mind myriad influences. Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen is inspired by the storied musical form, from its lively cuisine to its song-filled atmosphere. Live jazz musicians coax classic strains and improvised notes from their instruments Tuesday through Sunday, drawing from every chapter of the genre’s varied history. Chefs riff on the bluesy style with a delectable menu of Southern eats, from crispy cheese grits with shrimp to fried chicken atop buttermilk waffles. The club’s vibrant lights and exposed-brick walls call to mind some of the most renowned jazz bars to be found in New Orleans or Chicago. To enhance this antique-nightclub atmosphere, bartenders whip up a lineup of craft cocktails while referring to their patrons as “hot chick” or “cool Felis catus.”
Francophiles, oenophiles and jazz lovers adore Les Zygomates, a French wine bar/bistro in the Leather District that offers something for each kind of fan. The name of the restaurant roughly translates to “the muscles in the face that make you smile,” which it aims to inspire with its French cuisine, award-winning wine list and live jazz and blues performances offered most nights. The dinner prix-fixe three-course menu is a popular option, as are bistro standards like French onion soup, escargot with garlic butter and steak frites. The restaurant also has a popular raw bar with a changing roster of fresh seafood. One of the best deals is a dish composed of half a dozen oysters and clams, four shrimp and two crab claws. It is perfect for matching with a glass of wine or a creative cocktail like the Dead Can Dance.