- Where to Go
- The Best of Vermont
- Rumblings of Revolution
- New, New England Dining
- Boston’s Artistic Expression
- Vermont Leaf Peeping
- Into the Wild
- Vermont Skiing at Its Best
- Visit Vermont’s Maple Sugar Shacks
- Connecticut for Kids
- Vermont’s Covered Bridges
- A Shore Thing
- Vermont with Kids
- Portland Maine Art Galleries
- Small-Town Flavor
- Connecticut’s Wine Trails
- New Hampshire’s Farmers Markets
- A Weekend of Vermont Art
- Family Matters
- Maine Wilderness Camps
- Vermont Cheddar Houses
- Connecticut Spas
Playing the part of both cozy neighborhood restaurant and urban sophisticate, Central Kitchen (567 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617/491-5599, 5 p.m.–1 a.m.Tues.–Thurs.; 5 p.m.–2 a.m. Sat.; closed Sun. and Mon., www.enormous.tv/central/index1.html, $20–28) hosts a nightly scene of regulars in for squid salad and grilled flank steak.
Rialto (1 Bennett St., Cambridge, 617/661-5050, 5 p.m.–11:30 p.m. daily, www.rialto-restaurant.com, $27–39) chef-owner Jody Adams has rightfully earned a following for her Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Her spring pea soup is electric with both color and flavor, and her gnocchi is a marvel.
Few restaurants could pull off being so unabashedly glamorous in fusty Harvard Square, but Upstairs on the Square (91 Winthrop St., Cambridge, 617/864-1933, 5 p.m.–11 p.m. daily, www.upstairsonthesquare.com, $13–34) does so with huge fireplaces and walls of gold leaf and animal prints. Don’t miss the buttermilk panna cotta with basil.
The fun and boisterous Green Street Grill (280 Green St., Cambridge, 617/876-1655, 5 p.m.–1 a.m. Mon.–Sat; 5:30 p.m.–1 a.m. Sun., www.greenstreetgrill.com, $11–24) is as loved for its spicy tropical menu as it is the well-mixed and potent drinks.
France and Cuba may be far apart on a map, but at sultry Chez Henri (1 Shepard St., Cambridge, 617/354-8980, 6 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat; 5:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Sun., www.chezhenri.com, $26–30) they mingle seamlessly. The steak tartar with cumin and chile-cocoa sauce shouldn’t be missed; ditto on the Cuban sandwich.
The living room of Davis Square’s lesbian community, Diesel Cafe (257 Elm St., Somerville, 617/629-8717, 7 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, www.diesel-cafe.com, $5–6) has crossover appeal for everyone, with a photo booth tucked by the pool table in the back, and a menu of creative coffee drinks and vegetarian sandwiches.
High-octane coffee and a decidedly cool vibe are what have Central Square hipsters addicted to 1369 Coffeehouse (1369 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617/576-1369, www.1369coffeehouse.com, 6:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Mon.–Fri; 7 a.m.–11:30 p.m. Sat.; 7:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun., $3–6). The regulars come in as much to hang out as they do to nosh on freshly baked scones.
Good old-fashioned hospitality and simplicity of dining are in the spotlight at Salts (798 Main St., Cambridge, 617/876-8444, 5 p.m.–10 p.m. Tues.–Sun.; closed Mon., www.saltsrestaurant.com, $28–36). The humble bistro’s homemade bread, lavender crème caramel, and thoughtful service are all reasons to keep coming back.
The spirit of simple French bistro cooking is found at Ten Tables (5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, 617/576-5454, www.tentables.net, 5:30–10 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 5:30–10:30 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 5–9 p.m., $19–25), an offshoot of the popular restaurant in Jamaica Plain. Chef David Punch assembles beautiful plates of locally sourced, intensely flavored, and always seasonal dishes—the likes of Atlantic cod with brussels sprouts in winter, garlicky roasted lamb in spring, and sumptuous freshly made tomato tarts in summer. Regulars come for the laid-back but romantic atmosphere as much as the food—and know to make reservations well ahead of time.
It’s hard to argue with a burger so big and juicy you can barely manage it with two hands. Said patty is the reason for the line outside Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage (1246 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617/354-6559, $8–12)—though accompaniments like sweet-potato fries and raspberry-lime rickeys have also earned fans.
Surrealism meets romance—usually over sangria—at Dalí (415 Washington St., Somerville, 617/661-3254, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Tues.–Sat; closed Sun. and Mon., www.dalirestaurant.com, $6–16), the brightly tiled den serving excellent Spanish food with an emphasis on tapas. Share a few plates of potatoes, spicy baked cod, and a bottle of rioja in the dark bordello-like setting to experience the whole effect.
© Michael Blanding and Alexandra Hall from Moon New England, 2nd Edition