Dine on fresh Mexican specialties, from enchiladas to burritos, at the family-friendly Margaritas (81 Main St., 603/357-4492, www.margs.com , 4 p.m.–11 p.m. daily; opens at noon Sat.–Sun.; open until 1 a.m. Wed.–Sat., $7–12), where service is generally fast. There’s a sizeable vegetarian menu available.
Still more veggie-only specialties compose the lunch-only menu at Country Life (15 Roxbury St., 603/357-3975, 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Fri.; 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun., $4–7), a small and inexpensive spot popular with students. Choose from all-natural homemade soups and made-to-order sandwiches.
Close-to-authentic Italian is what pulls the crowds into the handsome dining room of Tony Clamato’s (15 Court St., 603/357-4345, www.tonyclamatos.com , 4 p.m.–1 a.m. Tue.–Sat.; 5 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Sun., $14–22). Dishes include fried calamari, fettuccine Alfredo, and shrimp with polenta.
When you’re ready for an Italian meal you’ll be remembering years from now, make a reservation at Nicola’s Trattoria (35 Central Square, 603/355-5242, 5 p.m.–9 p.m. Tue.–Thu.; 5 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Fri.; 5 p.m.–10 p.m. Sat., $22–30). The romantic, refined room bustles with staff feeding enthusiastic diners plates of seared duck breast in red-wine reduction sauce, sautéed shrimp, and generously sauced fresh-made fettuccine.