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Chow-worthy in Nonantum?

katzzz May 17, 2012 12:52 PM

In the past few months I've had occasion to drive through Nonantum several times a week. Lots of restaurants, an Italian pastry shop, and DePasquale's, which is the only place I'm familiar with. Any other places I should check out?

  1. Prav May 17, 2012 01:16 PM

    Steamers seafood (a few steps from Antoines, the Italian pastry shop you mention) sells good seafood, but also makes a quality fried clam plate (and decent chowder), which nicely fulfills a hankering if you live/work out here.

    There's also "Nudo Gelateria" across the street a little ways, too, which I've heard is not bad.

    Too bad Bobalicious is closed - it was a little Vietnamese boba shop which also served good banh mi and special soups, and it was run by the two lovely sisters.

    1. Science Chick May 17, 2012 01:31 PM

      Fiorellas, which is off the main drag on North Street is excellent and moderately priced, so usually very busy. Antoine's pastry shop is outstanding....matches the best of the North End! Across the street is Vecchia Roma, a little fancier, small and intimate and excellent Italian food.

      1. g
        gourmaniac May 17, 2012 01:34 PM

        In addition to the aforementioned, Guiseppe's for a $3.00 meatball or sausage and pepper sub and Maria di Napoli's for pizza.

        4 Replies
        1. re: gourmaniac
          bartleby May 17, 2012 03:25 PM

          Second Maria di Napoli's. Superior pizza, great eggplant, other stuff looks good but somehow I never get past the pizza and eggplant. Lovely people, too.

          1. re: bartleby
            Scruffy The Cat May 17, 2012 07:54 PM

            I had a "panini" the other day at Maria di Napoli. Super friendly people, but sadly, the sandwich was meh. Cottony commercial bread, sad tomatoes, and some harsh vinegar with some mozzarella. It was lunch, but definitely not worth having a second time.

          2. re: gourmaniac
            Jenny Ondioline May 17, 2012 03:43 PM

            The subs at Giuseppe's haven't been $3 for years. A small runs over $5 now, which is still excellent value for money.

            1. re: Jenny Ondioline
              gourmaniac May 18, 2012 06:15 AM

              that's sad. i remember they were $1.99 forever. Gee, I sound old.

          3. Bob Dobalina May 17, 2012 01:50 PM

            What about Francesca's? I have not been there in years, but I seem to recall decent chow.

            1. k
              katzzz May 18, 2012 06:14 AM

              OK, I'm going to get a slice at Maria di Napoli, some pastries at Antoines and if I can swing a sit down dinner, I'll check out Vecchia Roma and Fiorellas. And I have to look into Steamers too. Thanks for the suggestions. I'm guessing from the lack of mentions that the Chinese restaurant (can't remember the name) is to be avoided.

              8 Replies
              1. re: katzzz
                Science Chick May 18, 2012 07:29 AM

                Have fun! Be aware that Steamers is a fishmonger and the prepared food is really takeout only.

                1. re: Science Chick
                  katzzz May 18, 2012 12:35 PM

                  Got it. But I might have to try a fried clam plate to see how it compare's with Celebrity's.

                2. re: katzzz
                  hyde May 18, 2012 07:51 AM

                  ginger root (gingerrootnewton.com) is competent but unexciting american chinese. depasquales MARKET (on rt.16) already mentioned, but Depasquales GROCERY (241 adams st), closer to trinity, has great sandwiches, looks..um..unassuming.

                  D&A pizza across from Giuseppes, has a pretty good rep, but i have never warmed to the place. Maria is the best pizza in the nabe but she still cooks too cool.

                  johnnys smokehouse is incorrectly named as i have never had anything from here that tasted remotely of smoke.avoid.

                  the wonderful magni bakery, just behind Ginger Root) is, alas, closed.

                  get your knives sharpened at stoddards across from the true value.

                  1. re: katzzz
                    sushidad May 18, 2012 11:09 AM

                    Leave room for a Sundae or Frozen Yogurt at Cabot's on Washington St.

                    1. re: sushidad
                      Science Chick May 18, 2012 11:17 AM

                      I'd have to respectfully disagree with the Cabot's rec. I don't know what the draw is to this place, other than perhaps nostalgia if you grew up there and frequented Cabots as your hangout. I think their ice cream is sickeningly sweet. But to each his own....

                      Also, technically they are in Newtonville, not Nonantum.....

                      1. re: Science Chick
                        Jenny Ondioline May 18, 2012 11:35 AM

                        Well, there's the fact that they're the only place around that knows how to make an ice cream soda. Yeah, the quality of the ice cream could be a bit higher, but there's much worse ice cream in the area, and I commend that they keep a lot of the old-school parlor standards on the menu.

                        But yeah, they're barely even Nonantum-adjacent.

                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                          Science Chick May 18, 2012 11:43 AM

                          I'm curious, what ice creams in the area do you think are worse? JP Licks? Coney Island in W. Newton (forget which ice cream they are serving since they stopped selling Toscaninni's)? Surely JP Licks makes a decent ice cream soda, no?

                          1. re: Science Chick
                            Jenny Ondioline May 18, 2012 11:53 AM

                            Nope, JP Licks' ice cream is perfectly acceptable, but their ice cream soda is crap. I've never seen anyone working at any location who knows how to make one. They don't even have the proper glassware.

                            I think Crescent Ridge ice cream is worse than Cabot's, and I say that as someone who gets their milk delivered every week,

                            And it's a different standard and style, but I'm one of those people who thinks Christina's is completely overrated: the fat content is so high that it blunts the flavorings. All you end up tasting is the cream. I don't think I've ever bothered to finish even a small from Christina's because I just get bored halfway through.

                  2. nsenada May 18, 2012 07:42 AM

                    And of course Russo's is not far away.

                    1. s
                      Stride May 18, 2012 10:34 AM

                      Vecchia Roma restaurant is a small family-run place with very good food (as of the few years ago I tried it.)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Stride
                        mmocpi May 19, 2012 06:47 AM

                        I agree! Great, authentically Roman, dining experience! Can't believe it took this long down in the thread to be mentioned.

                      2. justbeingpolite May 18, 2012 11:32 AM

                        Isn't Buff's Pub in this area?

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: justbeingpolite
                          Prav May 18, 2012 11:39 AM

                          Buff's Pub is more Newton Corner.

                          1. re: justbeingpolite
                            Science Chick May 18, 2012 11:43 AM

                            Newton Corner...

                            1. re: Science Chick
                              hyde May 18, 2012 01:37 PM

                              the max and leos for pizza then buffs for wings and beers is a great newton corner crawl, but yes, they are not in "the lake".

                              1. re: hyde
                                katzzz May 24, 2012 05:58 AM

                                This is not a food question, but as a non-Newtonian I've got to ask: What's with "the lake"? Is there a body of water near Nonantum?

                                1. re: katzzz
                                  Bob Dobalina May 24, 2012 06:17 AM

                                  "The lake in question was filled with construction rubble and built over from the 1930s into the late 1950s."

                                  The whole "Lake" dialect discussed in the wiki is "pissa" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonantum,_Massachusetts

                                  A bit more history - http://www.ci.newton.ma.us/gov/histor...

                          2. lipoff May 18, 2012 12:48 PM

                            I am a big fan of Antoine's Pastry Shop, especially their almond macarons. I think it is much better than anything in the North End, even Modern Pastry.

                            Nudo Gelateria replaced Bobalicious. I really miss Bobalicious a lot (especially when it was operated by the original owners), but I have to say that Nudo is quite good, and run by a very enthusiastic young Italian man.

                            I really do not like Fiorellas.

                            Chung Shin Yuan is excellent for Taiwanese brunch on weekends, but I would skip it during the week when it reverts to ordinary, Americanized Chinese food.

                            Cabot's is not exactly in Nonantum, but it is close by and I do like it a lot. Not for their ice cream (Richardson's) per se, but they make fun, old-school sundae creations, good ice cream sodas and lime rickeys, and they have excellent chicken salad sandwiches. Black raspberry is my favorite ice cream flavor there. They also make quite good dairy free frozen "yogurt" if you're so inclined. And yes, I did grow up literally around the corner, and even attended Cabot Elementary School, around the corner. If you're willing to go to Cabot's, George Howell's Cafe in Newtonville is worth a visit too.

                            Finally, Max & Leo's for pizza in Newton Corner, right near Nonantum.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: lipoff
                              Science Chick May 18, 2012 01:15 PM

                              Forgot about Chung Shin Yuan.....good call!

                              1. re: lipoff
                                Prav May 18, 2012 01:40 PM

                                Antoines has good lobster tails, too (sfogliatelle). The quality of their pastry cream is high; it's flavorful without being too rich or heavy.

                                After picking one up, it was hard to drive back to my office without sneaking a couple red light nibbles. Came back to my desk with a guilty powdered sugar face.

                                1. re: Prav
                                  total13 May 24, 2012 04:23 AM

                                  Even tho wiki and others list lobster tails and sfogliatelle as being the same thing, they're two completely different items at Maria's in the north end. Sfog have a ricotta filling and crunchier crust while the tail is bigger w/ a chantilly type cream and different pastry. Have people always used the words interchangeably?

                              2. tatsu May 18, 2012 01:55 PM

                                Maria di Napoli's boasts (and I do mean boasts) a Neapolitan style pizza, while not D.o.C., is pretty decent. It's on the level of Gran Gusto, which are both, to me, not as great as recognized outlets in say NYC or DC.

                                It's a very odd neighborhood, but lots of good eats. Also notable is the local computer shop, it's gotta be the most resourceful PC repair shop I've ever seen, better than the MIT flea on a good day!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: tatsu
                                  WilderPenfield May 23, 2012 07:14 PM

                                  Seconding brunch at Chung Shin Yuan, and adding take-out from Fiouna Catering (also on California Street, on the way to Russo's). The family who run Fiouna's are super-nice, and the food is great -- got us through a rough period of no cooking at home -- very fond memories!

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