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Chow-worthy in Nonantum?

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?

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  1. 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. 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. 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

          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

            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

            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

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

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

            1. 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

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

                1. re: Science Chick

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

                2. re: katzzz

                  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

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

                    1. re: sushidad

                      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

                        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

                          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

                            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. And of course Russo's is not far away.

                    1. 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

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

                            1. re: Science Chick

                              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

                                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

                                  "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...

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

                          1. 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

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

                              1. re: lipoff

                                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

                                  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. 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

                                  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!