Papa John's has been popping out perfectly personalized pies 'round the clock for more than 25 years, arranging a lineup of specialty pizzas and sides on a munificent menu. Patrons can bedeck dough disks with carnivorous confetti in the form of pepperoni, ham, spicy italian sausage, bacon, sausage, beef, or grilled chicken. Golden-voiced fresh vegetables make palates swoon with a jukebox's selection of green peppers, portobello mushrooms, roma tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, onions, black olives, pineapple, banana peppers, and newly harvested 45s. Eaters can prod cooks with the click of a mouse, alerting them to special requests such as an extra layer of parmesan romano or the three-cheese blend of the asiago, fontina, and provolone. Like a popular club or an especially bangin’ fireplace store, Papa John's stays open late, making it an opportune place to stock up for impromptu pajama jams and uncontrollable sleep-feasting.
Surly Johnson Sports Bar & Grill's cooks assemble a menu of hearty pub fare, which diners fork into while cheering on their favorite sports team or battling in trivia. The fried turkey Gobbler piles deep-fried turkey, stuffing, and homemade cranberry sauce pile onto a hoagie roll ($7.99)—a traditional sandwich invented by pilgrims in the 1960s—and asian beef skewers ($6.99) spear char-grilled sirloin steak as lightly pan-fried crab cakes dip into chipotle sour cream ($8.99). Flat-screen TVs broadcast sports games as patrons perched at a long, dark wood counter bite into Surly Johnson’s signature Surly Pizza ($11.99), a pie loaded with bacon, sausage, pepperoni, and bolognese sauce. On Trivia Tuesdays, the 10-ounce Stockyards bistro steak teams up with blue-cheese butter ($13.99) to answer questions such as, "What is the capital of India?" and "Who was the first president to time-travel?"
Named for chef Mario Sanfilippo's native Italian town, Porticello Ristorante showcases authentic Italian dishes prepared from traditional recipes. Couples share appetizers such as cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto di parma, a bite that is both sweet and salty like a lollipop's tears. Entrees include the mozzarella-topped veal saltimbocca with mushrooms and sage and the grilled swordfish with hints of lemon, basil, and garlic. Among pastas, gnocchi sorrentino incorporates fresh tomatoes and marinara, and pasta norma dresses penne with fresh basil, plum tomatoes, and caper cufflinks. For dessert, chantilly cream softens flaky pastry dough and diffuses the tart zing of wild berries to create frutti di bosco. Alternatively, spumoni layers cherry, pistachio, and chocolate ice cream to commemorate the flavors of the Italian flag.
The McMahon clan doesn't just advocate family time; they live and breathe it every day at McMahon's Countryside Grille. Owned by Mom and Dad, the kids also chip in at the eatery, a fact applauded by Wicked Local. The menu's house-made comfort food, steak, and seafood dishes welcome clans coming together to break bread or draft the new family crest. The homemade meatloaf hails directly from the McMahon's own dinner table, and is a perfect precursor to the Bliss ice cream served at an outdoor window near picnic tables.
Indoors, weekly entertainment sets the restaurant abuzz, from live local musicians and comedians on the weekends to open-mic Thursdays, when amateur funnymen test their chops and skill for fending off flying tomatoes. Each Tuesday, contestants crowd into cozy maroon booths around wooden tables and answer quick-fire trivia questions.
Drawing on the zesty flavors of Portugal and Spain, cooks at Sangria's Tapas and Wine Restaurant craft an eclectic selection of shareable small plates. Here, tapas range from peppadews filled with goat cheese and shrimp steamed in Old Bay seasoning to gluten-free helpings of pork belly piled atop grilled oranges. Entrees include dishes such as classic paella and braised rabbit simmering in white wine and bacon sauce.
To complement feasts, bartenders pour red and white wines from the U.S. and abroad, as well as mix plenty of classic cocktails and martinis. Then, of course, there are 10 blends of Sangria?s namesake made in-house every day, including the Portuguese Passion, a medley of riesling, champagne, and passionfruit vodka. Served amid intimate lighting and exposed brick, meals unfold as live musicians perform and flat-screen TVs broadcast the latest stateside sports and parliamentary rugby matches.
Garbed in crisp white jackets, chefs in the Apna Punjab dart among pans of simmering curries and pots of bubbling biryani rice as nimbly as dancers, their faces aglow in the open flames. They fold fresh meats and seafood into a sweeping array of authentic North and South Indian dishes, from tender butter chicken to flavorful goat curry. In a fiery clay oven, the chefs bake lamb kebabs, tandoori shrimp, and naan breads stuffed with minced lamb and fresh green chilies. One of the most popular dishes—chicken tikka masala—was lauded by reporters from India New England as "distinct and rich."
To enjoy those dishes, customers perch on cushy green booths, clinking mugs of imported Indian beers. Others linger over last bites of sweet rice pudding, watching the sun set through lofty yellow-curtained windows. During lunch, 15 freshly made specialties pour forth steam at a lunch buffet, ideal for diners who need to rush back to work or hurry home to see if their long-lost childhood parakeet has at last returned.