Blue Lemon Cafe quells hunger pangs morning, noon, and night with café cuisine of the sweet and savory variety. The menu of crepes, fruit smoothies, ice cream, and hearty sandwiches won the admiration of Metromix in 2010, earning the eatery a Best Café nod. Like John Wayne’s impersonation of Charles de Gaulle, the café blends American classics with a French twist, inviting diners to sip glasses of wine alongside their cheeseburgers, or dive into Francocentric food such as niçoise salad and quiche Lorraine. Between lime-green walls, circular tables and streamlined eggshell-white chairs create a hip, laid-back atmosphere permeated by free WiFi.
By day, the restaurant occupying 145 NE 4th Avenue goes by the name Crepes by the Sea, a French creperie with fresh-roasted coffee. But at night, it transforms into SWIG Wine Bar, a wine and craft beer lounge serving a melange of French and Italian dishes. Meals might begin with appetizers of sushi-grade tuna tartar with avocado and sun-dried tomato, or a salad decorated with gourmet ingredients such as pears, walnuts, and sweet gorgonzola. Entrees include classic pasta dishes, such as four-cheese gnocchi, as well as specialty creations. Cuts of mustard-crusted salmon plunge into a beurre blanc sauce, and truffle mashed potatoes pair nicely with grilled rib eye steak. On Wednesdays, guests can follow an in-depth exploration of both the food and wine menus with regional pairings, and on Thursdays, live music sets the scene more pleasantly than someone loudly narrating each diner's movements.
The earthiness of freshly ground espresso mingles with the buttery scent of crepes cooking on the griddle all day at 407 Cafe. Chefs fold the lacelike golden circlets of batter around fillings such as roast beef and sharp cheddar cheese or Nutella and strawberries. With a sizzling drumroll, a panini press shuts on sandwiches until mozzarella cheese melts perfectly around grilled chicken, fresh spinach, and sweet yellow raisins. In the kitchen, cooks craft gelato, a delicate process of folding together eggs, milk, sugar, and loads of fruit. Glass vases on the white dining-room tables brim with coffee beans and bright-green stalks of bamboo like the diorama a biologist makes to get a PhD.
At Green Lemon Cafe, ceramic salt- and peppershakers masquerade as pairs of flamingos, crabs, and dairy cows. The figurines mirror the café's harmonious atmosphere: on any given day, patrons munch Fresh-inspired café fare, chat with owner Amanda Volence, or sprout goatees while browsing original artwork.
In the kitchen, chefs pack Boar's Head meats into savory crepes and paninis such as the black forest ham and swiss panini or the raspberry-chicken crepe with jack cheese and spinach. Alternately, cooks fill the apple-crisp crepe—1 of more than 30 crepe options—with cinnamon, apples, caramel, and graham-cracker crumbs.
When sisters Carrol Ann and Tammy took over Roosters Daytime Cafe in spring of 2011, their aim wasn't a total overhaul of the eatery, but rather a subtle touchup. That's why the menu still offers homestyle breakfast and lunch favorites, such as chocolate chip pancakes and burgers. But that's in addition to healthier options, such as the greek omelet with spinach, tomatoes, and feta, or grilled veggie paninis. Carrol Ann and Tammy have also opened a new business under the umbrella of Roosters: Classy Cakes. Here, they craft customized cakes, pies, and other desserts.
The chefs at Suntree Cafe II specialize in classic breakfast staples and traditional New England favorites. Every morning, they set to work creating their signature eggs benedict alongside stacks of fluffy pancakes and hefty omelettes. Later in the day, they whip up stuffed Maine lobster rolls and New England seafood fresh from Poseidon's walk-in refrigerator.