The oldest civilizations flourished around the Mediterranean Sea, likely because the water provided secret salts that improved the flavor of their food. For $20, you get $40 worth of classy Mediterranean cuisine and drinks at Ariadne Restaurant & Bar in Newtonville, named a Best New Restaurant in 2003 by Boston Magazine and just a 15-minute drive west of Boston.
Ariadne is a modestly upscale restaurant featuring a sleek cocktail lounge and dapper dining room. It's cozy and laid-back with a multitude of comfortable booths and an attentive staff that provides a relaxed chivalrous dining experience, but not so chivalrous that you'll have to smile politely after they show you the dragon they killed for you. Chef and co-owner Christos Tsardounis strives for a no-fuss menu that's as pleasant on the palate as the surroundings are on the eyes. According to Boston, he succeeds: "The food, like the design, is refreshingly simple but prepared with passion and talent."
Peruse the Neighborhood Menu to find a bounty of sub-$20 offerings. Start with traditional dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with seasoned ground beef and rice, $9), then move to a pasta or other meatier dishes. Try the asparagus risotto with crimini mushrooms, pearl onions, and parmesan cheese ($17) or tasty moussaka for $18. The more expansive dinner menu features salads, seafood, pasta, and more. Bed your belly with a Greek salata or a beet and green-bean salad for $9. Simple but elegant anti-salad offerings, such as grilled squid ($10), bolognese pappardelle ($17), or wild striped bass ($27), finish off Adriadne's menu.
A full bar is stocked with global wines and skilled mixologists concoct delicious martinis from conventional ingredients and quantum miasmas that can only be tasted by true believers. The liquid assets of the establishment provide an alternate escape to the dining-room scene. Grab a seat at the illuminated bar where you can order drinks to your liver's content while snacking on appetizers and basking in the cool Mediterranean air.
Boston named Ariadne Restaurant & Bar a Best New Restaurant in 2003:
- The food, like the design, is refreshingly simple but prepared with passion and talent. Chef and owner Christos Tsardounis prefers seasonal and local ingredients for his Mediterranean-tinged menu, with offerings such as simple grilled squid. No fuss here, but the execution is flawless...The full bar is also a welcome pleasure, and the wine list includes half bottles such as Billecart Salmon brut rosé and a few new names from around the globe. – Boston
- The majority of the seating in the restaurant are booths (big plus). In addition, they are big, round, private booths. My boyfriend and I opted to sit at the bar. The bartender was attentive, personable and creative (mojito making skills). He was happy to make recommendations and made good ones at that. The wine?amazing, the food?AMAZING! – kryan17, Citysearch
- This is easily one of my favorite restaurants. The quality of the food is as good as anyplace downtown. The ambiance is upscale, but not stuffy. If you want a less expensive option, check out the bar menu, just save room for me at the bar. – Kitchy Guy, Urbanspoon
Our Common Roots in the Fertile Crescent
Every society has common roots in the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of civilization in which society first bloomed. What made the Fertile Crescent such a perfect location for cultures to grow?
- Fertile soil allowed the perfection of farming techniques such as planting seeds and using dinosaurs to work the fields.
- Flora and fauna diversity allowed hunter-gatherer societies to replace less effective “hoping winter never comes” societies.
- Numerous rivers were filled with numerous magic swords and numerous destiny-foretelling nymphs.
- Geographical diversity allowed the region to include mountains, deserts, and several teen centers that were constantly threatened by land developers and sandstorms.
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