Kickass Cupcakes: We all scream for...cupcakes!
Kickass is a tiny bakery filled with big flavors right outside of Davis Square. You will not be able to decide on just one - the have a specialty flavor every day (see the menu on their website) and an all star line up of available flavors like Sam Adams beer, champagne and Mojito and the more traditional cookies and cream, mocha, chocolate and vanilla. There is even a deep fried version and a double baked cookie like crunchy cupcake. The offer vegan varieties as well.
If you are outside of the Somerville area you may want to check the Cupcake Mobile food truck schedule to catch them in nearby Boston and Cambridge.
They have a parking lot and are open until 10pm Friday and Saturday nights.
Favorite Dish: Sunday special Coco Kick - white chocolate cupcake and cream cheese frosting dusted with sweet all natural coconut
Don't forget your pets - there is a peanut butter carob Pupcake and a Catnip cupcake for your dog and cat!
Mike's Restaurant: Best Spot for People Watching in Davis Square
A historic landmark of Davis Square, Mike's is a great place to hang out, have a big slice of pizza or a sub, look through the gigantic windows at the people and constant happenings in Davis Square, or watch the Red Sox game on one of the big flat screens. Locals and visitors alike flock to Mike's just about any time, any day. The menu is huge, the prices are fair...especially the beer. Mike's flavors of the week are usually offered for about $2.50 a bottle (and are always decent). There is always someplace to sit. You can even sit outside on the brick sidewalk during the warmer months, but you can't drink alcohol out there. (They have a full bar.) Mike's, of course, also offers take-out, catering, and delivery.
The pizza is good. The slices are huge, and the entire pizzas cooked with toppings baked in look great; however, if you ask for a topping on your slice, they'll just throw the topping on a slice of cheese. The pasta dishes are very good. They range from spaghetti and meatballs to chicken parm, to ravioli, to spinach fettucini, to lasagna, and usually run about $7 to $8. The portions are huge, and pasta dishes come with toasted garlic bread and butter. You can also get just about any kind of sub you can imagine, burgers, fries, roll-ups/wraps, salads, and fabulous desserts. The possibilities are endless!
The staff at Mike's is historically ... well, a bit rude. They're quick, though. And they never make you feel unwelcome. I've sat at Mike's talking with friends for hours without feeling like I had to go. (You pay at the counter, you pick up your food -- sometimes they'll bring it over -- and you decide how long you stay.)
I would recommend Mike's to anyone. It's a cheap way to really enjoy a night out in Davis Square.
Favorite Dish: I've never really been disappointed at Mike's. I'd get the pasta more often, except that I cook it at home all the time. So, I'd have to say my personal favorite is the pizza. Almost without fail I order two slices (maybe a tomato, a spinach, usually at least one cheese), and a 12-ounce beer. (They have 24 and 32 ouncers as well.) I always know I don't need to eat two slices: they're huge. But one could never be enough. So I sprinkle some parmesan and red pepper on my slices, relax, and enjoy the view.
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Gargoyle's on the Square: Somerville's swankier side
Although we had lived in the neighborhood for a while, it wasn't until we received a gift certificate from a very generous friend that we made our first visit to Gargoyle's. After our first visit, we assumed we would be back regularly, but it actually took us a few years to get back to Gargoyle's. Now, we swear we are going to become regulars!
The decor is very elegant and the service is exceptional: attentive and informative, while never rushing us. The menu always seems to contain a variety of unfamiliar items resulting in a lot of questions, so friendly service was even more appreciated than normal.
And, perhaps most importantly, the food has really been outstanding upon each visit!
Favorite Dish: The menu changes regularly, so it probably wouldn't be helpful to pick our favorites. Everything we had, from appetizers through desserts, was excellent.
One comment, though, is that some of the ingredients really are quite unusual. Our suggestion would be that if you have questions, you shouldn't hesitate to ask. If we had followed our own advice, we probably wouldn't have had the only dish we weren't wild about!
Tacos Lupita: Horray for Tacos!
Having moved from Texas, I was desperate to find good, cheap tacos. And Tacos Lupita delivers. It's a small El Salvadorian restaurant that doesn't have much in the way of atmosphere, but delivers in the way of inexpensive, quality food. I absolutely adore this place as it cured my homesickness with a belly full of goodness!
Favorite Dish: Tacos de Lengua. I know, it sounds gross, but I LOVE tongue tacos, and put this place second only to Taqueria Arandas in Austin, TX when it comes to a good lengua taco. For those of you who don't care for a meal that tastes you back, they also have great chorrizo, fresh guacamole, and delicious horchata. I never had anything there that wasn't delicious and they've even won awards for their tacos. Just writing this review I'm lamenting the fact that I live in Berlin now and coudn't find a tongue taco to save my life .
Sound Bites: Sound Bites is all Hype!
I find it shocking that this place always has a line out the door. One would think that that's the indication of a tasty restaurant, but it indeed is more of strange social phenomena indicating that the restaurant was probably once tasty, and people keep going out of habit and because it's the "cool" place to go when you're hung over and craving breakfast. The line typically doesn't start until about 11:00 or so, and it certainly isn't worth the wait. I used to live around the corner from this place and gave it two fair tries. Both times the food literally tasted like it came from a can, I had to squeeze my way through to serve my own drink, and the waiter was ready to take my plate and shoo us out to make room for the next suckers in line when I still had food on my plate. It was quite unpleasant, and to top it all off I find the owner quite rude. There are plenty of other places in the area you can wait in line for breakfast.
Favorite Dish: I didn't like anything I tried there (which is sad 'cause I'm not too picky).
Tu Y Yo: Fabulous, burrito-free Mexican food
Tu Y Yo has won the Boston magazine award for best Mexican restaurant in the Boston area and it's not hard to see why.
There's none of the usual Tex-Mex food (we like that, too, but this is great for something really different!) Instead, the restaurant offers home-style cooking based on family recipes. It's also exceptionally good value, and they work hard to build customer loyalty, with birthday vouchers and very friendly staff (your waiter might be one of the three owners).
Recently, Tu Y Yo began offering breakfast as well. We've only been once, but it was very fantastic!
Favorite Dish: We've tried quite a few things in several visits, but Bisteces en salsa Borracha and Pollo Chiapas were both especially good. There are others, but the menu changes from time to time, and it's difficult to keep track of so many good things!
The gringas are an excellent appetizer, too!
Oh, and don't forget the sangria!!
True Grounds: Sandwiches and coffee in Ball Square
We walked into this place a right after it opened and became absolutely hooked. The area was crying out for a good coffeehouse, and this has quickly become a favorite. The owners couldn't be more friendly, the decor is gorgeous, there's plenty of light, and the food and drink are some of the best we've come across locally.
It's a real pleasure to be able to recommend a local place that's doing everything right. Of course, the laptop-toting set found this place before you could blink, but we were struck by the local trade, too, and see ourselves being regular pilgrims!
Open Monday through Friday, from 7 am to 8 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, from 7:30 am to 7 pm.
Favorite Dish: Whether it's breakfast or lunch, you're in for a treat. Their breakfast sandwiches are fabulous: bagels laden down with eggs and the toppings of your choice. Later in the day, they have a small but excellent selection of sandwiches, all of them with the freshest ingredients. There's always at least one unusual bread choice, too.
The Joshua Tree: Great dining choice in Davis Square
I love Davis Square and still cherish the time that I was able to live there. This was one of the places I would bring dates while I lived there.
A modern looking establishment that emphasizes beer selection and TV's. The bar takes center stage here with tables surrounding it. They have quite a well stocked selection of beers from around the world.
Food is adventurous and not your ordinary fare, although the bashful can find American staples. I don't think I ever got the same dish twice here, I always wanted to try something new because everything sounded so good.
One plus is the barfront windows open up in the summer to let the breeze in, which is ideal for Davis Square people watching. If you haven't experienced such a thing do so, it's worth every invested moment.
Rudy's Cafe: Tex-Mex Restaurant & Margarita Bar in Teele Square
Rudy's is located on the corner of Holland Street and Broadway. The atmosphere is warm, especially during the winter when the fireplace is lit. There is always a crowd on the weekends, and Rudy's is busy most nights. On a Saturday, arrive early or expect to wait up to an hour for a seat (they don't take reservations). You can have a margarita while you wait, and if you're lucky, you might get a seat on one of the sofas.
Favorite Dish: Rudy's food is consistently good, reasonably priced, and quickly served. Tacos, quesadillas, burritos, salads, burgers, and fries: all large portions for prices ranging between $7 and $10. The menu hasn't changed much (if at all) during my four years in Somerville, but the standard fare, though it's not outstanding, doesn't disappoint. The appetizers are also good. Nachos or just chips and salsa are delicious, and my favorite, the jalapeno poppers, are fantastic -- fried and filled with cheese, and just spicy enough. The list of tequila drinks is long, and if you're in the mood for dessert, I highly recommend the fried ice cream. The brownie sundae deserves an honorable mention. All the desserts I've tried have been excellent. Unless you're in a masochistic mood, though, watch out for the jalapeno margarita!
Out of the Blue: Delicious Seafood!
Although they have other menu items, this is a seafood place above all! This theme impacts their pasta and other dishes too: there are clams and shrimps in seemingly everything that doesn't have fish as the main event! The "plain" fish is just as good, though. Out of the Blue keeps it simple, focusing on a few ingredients to complement the fish itself. If the prices seem a little higher than usual, that's a reflection of the quality of the fish and other ingredients.
They moved to Davis Square in 2006 from a less prime-time location and seem to be really benefiting from the relocation. The dining room always appears full, but don't worry, you rarely have to wait long.
Dali: Tapas with attitude
This is one of our favorite places to eat in the Boston area, one which we've returned to regularly, and place we love to take out-of-town visitors. They serve Spanish tapas, which is probably why it's a hit with everyone we bring: there's literally something for everyone, and there's enough variety in the menu that you have to go pretty frequently to see too much of any one thing (the seasonal special menus are hit or miss from our perspective: sometimes we go for everything, sometimes they don't interest us).
The waiters are always fun here - we seem to get the same one almost every time, and he's a real character - and it's chock full of atmosphere, from the bar surrounded with garlands of peppers to the decadent decor. The place can get a little loud at times - there are often big groups - but that quibble aside, this is one of the most consistently good places around.
Sound Bites: Somerville's most popular breakfast joint
If you're not familiar with the area and are attempting to find Sound Bites, here's a little tip: the people nearly always waiting outside for a table give its location away. This might be a bit of a turn off if you can't stand waiting in line, but don't be scared off. The tables turn over quickly, the owner keeps the line pretty well entertained, and you are welcome to go inside to the self-serve coffee bar for a 'cuppa joe' while you wait.
The service is fast, the food is delicious, and there is plenty of it! You won't mind the wait once your seated - trust us! In Spring 2007, Sound Bites began to re-decorate the place next door, in anticipation of a planned move into bigger digs, so we're not sure if things will change with the move (there's also a "Sound Bites Grill" across the street, which serves pretty conventional sandwiches and wings, though there are a couple of good Middle Eastern items).
Sounds Bites is open daily for breakfast from 7 am to 3 pm. They serve lunch Monday through Friday, from 11 am to 2:45 pm.
TU Y YO: Authentic Mexican for Tu y Yo
Tu y Yo is an authentic Mexican restaurant in Somerville. You will not find typical Boston-area "Tex-Mex" here. Tu y Yo serves homemade dishes based on family recipes. The menu isn't comprised of tacos or burritos, but fear not, the food is incredible. If you are the type who doesn't like to try anything new, don't let the menu scare you. I promise that after you eat at Tu y Yo, you will chose it over Taco Bell anytime!
The decor is colorful, the service is friendly, and the food is great.
Favorite Dish: We've had many delicious meals here including;
Tamales de Oaxaca
Corn dough with chicken and cilantro sauce fillings wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.
Flautas de Pollo
Corn tortillas stuffed with shredded chicken topped with lettuce, sour cream, onions, and anejo cheese
Chicken breast marinated in orange and anato sauce.
Boneless chicken breast stuffed with cuitlacoche (corn’s black mushroom) and spinach sauce.
Spinach, celery, apple, cucumber, and orange slices in a yogurt-balsamic dressing and topped with sesame seeds
The salad was so yummy I tried to replicate it at home!
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Vinny's at Night: Vinny don't care what you are
Owner, Vinny's at Night: "My theory is, I don't care if you're Jewish, Polish, Black, whatever you are, everybody has tastebuds..."
I have to thank the Phantom Gourmet for bringing this hidden jewel to my attention. It's practically right down the street from where I live, but I never would have found it without the Phantom.
Vinny's Superette is a conveniece store with a Sicilian restaurant in the back behind a curtain. Who can resist such a place?
Favorite Dish: self-serve antipasto table
The Blue Shirt Cafe: Juice bar with food
We'd seen the crowds making a pilgrimage to this Davis Square hangout, so we were pretty excited to give it a shot ourselves. It was a disappointment, however. The Blue Shirt may have many virtues, but they weren't on display the night we called in.
The wraps were bland - some of the ingredients didn't seem to be of the first quality, either, like the very chewy beef - and the atmosphere was unappealing. This is definitely an 'alternative' spot, but that doesn't have to mean grubby tables and a chilly 'welcome'. We may try it again sometime, if only to sample their signature juices, but this place seems to be coasting on its past reputation (we saw some good reviews online, but we don't concur!).