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Mar 21, 2007 09:25 PM

Great new restaurants in Boston area?

In January we made a pact with another couple to try one new restaurant per month...a place that none of the 4 have ever been to. Crazy as it sounds, it's already getting difficult to come up with highly recommended places that none of us have been to! Can anyone make suggestions for some great new places that have opened recently...Boston, Cambridge, suburbs, wherever. Thanks!

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  1. Salt and Grain in Allston has terrific Punjabi/Mughal cooking, very detailed spicing.

    If you're willing to spend ~$150-200 per person, I'd recommend trying O Ya in the Leather District for intricate and creative Japanese food.

    1. Some ideas from my list of newish or recently-refreshed places, plus a couple that aren't that new but maybe you missed:

      South End -- Pops (brand-new, beautiful, value-priced New American/Eclectic), Petit Robert Bistro II (modest traditional urban French), Orinoco (cool, tiny Venezuelan), Toro (good Spanish tapas, a bit crazy-packed), 28 Degrees (trendy lounge/restaurant with good small plates), Union Bar and Grill (handsome upscale New American with great service and cocktails, recently made its menu more affordable)

      North End -- La Brace (mid-priced Italian chophouse: great grilled meats, excellent pasta and seafood), MarcO (upmarket Roman cuisine)

      Kendall Square -- Anise (upscale, authentic Sichuan with good cocktails)

      Central Square -- Green Street (no-longer-divey value-priced American, great cocktails), Rendezvous (excellent value, upmarket New American, great service, good cocktails)

      Harvard Square -- OM (occasionally brilliant if uneven Eclectic, cool atmosphere, so-so service)

      Fenway -- Trattoria Toscana (modest, authentic, superb Tuscan and other Italian, maybe my favorite mid-priced restaurant in town), Eastern Standard (brasserie French, American, Italian, great cocktails)

      Back Bay -- Sorellina (slightly overpriced, chic, creative Italian, great apps and pastas), Douzo (upscale Japanese in a good-looking room, good sushi)

      JP -- Ten Tables (outstanding value for French-influenced New American under a new chef, tiny and extraordinary), Alchemist Lounge (new hipster bar with good modest food, great cocktails)

      Beacon Hill -- Bin 26 (excellent, buzzing wine bar with good small plates)

      Downtown -- Good Life (suddenly interesting with a chef grabbed from the North Street Grill, doing pretty much what he did there: excellent creative pizzas, sandwiches, salads, pastas at nice prices).

      Dorchester -- dbar (surprisingly sophisticated bar/restaurant with a nice-priced Eclectic menu, fancy drinks, diverse crowd, a bit like the Franklin circa 2002), Ashmont Grill (handsome neigbhorhood place with well-above-average comfort food menu at attractive prices, with solid bartending).

      Southie -- Cafe Polonia (casual but bright, with authentic Polish food that is novel and surprisingly delicious, friendly and cheap, with good beer.)

      Newton -- 51 Lincoln (very creative chef doing a unique globetrotting menu, but like many first-time chef/owners, hasn't nailed the service angle yet); Ariadne (tremendous Eclectic cuisine with strong Greek accents, very comfortable room, excellent service, a great all-around fine-dining value, especially for the 'burbs); The Biltmore (a real gastropub, a recently-remade, newly-handsome neighborhood place doing handcrafted comfort food with friendly, knowledgeable service and strong bartending: a hidden, value-priced gem.)

      West Roxbury -- Masona Grill (former South End restaurateurs doing delicious New American with some South American accents in an informal but attractive, airy space near the commuter rail stop, a very high level of food for the near suburbs)

      Waltham: La Campania (an elegant Italian that has branched out from rustic Neapolitan roots to cover a lot more regional ground, with an impressive Italian wine list; I'm told that the pizzas on the more casual bar menu are very nice)

      5 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        Pava in Newton Center (excellent food, stark atmosphere).

        1. re: emilief

          I know you've had some good things to say about Pava, but as I note in my recent Dig piece I'm not such a fan.

          It's the kind of place that might make a nice lunch sopt if I were the sort who shopped at Tess & Carlos (along the lines of a Restaurant L or Armani Cafe), but I was very underwhelmed on a couple of dinner visits.

          Maybe my expectations were too high: I think Regis has been a phenomenal chef at a bunch of places I've loved over the years (Biba, Pignoli, Monday Club at UpStairs), but there were way too many misfires, just plain badly-conceived dishes, at this place for me. Superb Pizza d'Oro (awesome guanciale and poached pullet eggs), but not much else to sing about. Puzzling.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Too bad that you have not had the same experience I have had. All I can say is every single thing I have had there has been outstanding and I am not very easy to please. The Squash bisque with lobster I had last time was the best lobster I have ever had and since I live in Maine in the summer and eat alot of lobster, that is really saying something. This food is 10000 % better than the new Alta Strada (although I like Via Matta and Radius ). Try again.

            1. re: emilief

              I'm glad you're enjoying it, but I had no such luck: two $100+ meals -- with only one standout dish, a passel of sub-standard others, an overpriced winelist, a not very attractive dining room for the fine-dining prices, and so-so service -- is enough for me. I'd love to see Regis return to her former excellence, but for now, I'm moving on.

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          Great recs, we have enjoyed La Brace, Douzo and Sorrelina as well to name a few.

          I would also add the Garden on Mass Ave. between Central and Harvard Square. . We had another great meal there this weekend (White Bean Dip, Beet Salad, Cesar Salad, Short Ribs, Tilapia special were all delicious), and the service is friendly and improving.

        3. Las Palmas de Cuba on Route 53 in Hanover has some of the best Cuban/Mexican food I've had anywhere in the Boston area (and their mojitos and sangrias are good, too). They opened up late in 2006.

          1. Rialto's got a brand new menu since Jody Adams has focused all her energy on this restaurant, a few old keepsakes, but lots of new goodies. Closed down for January and reopened with fresh look and new menu- all Italian. Yum.