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!!
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!
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!).
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!
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.
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.
Rosebud Diner: Authentic Old-Style Diner
This is a true slice of the old diner world, with its metal exterior and its long interior bar. Even the name sounds perfect for a place like this.
The service can be a bit oddball, however, and we've witnessed strife between the wait staff, but against that if you come in the evening, you can sit down and have a microbrew here and order up some comfort food. It's surprisingly quiet later in the evening, perfect for a beer and a chat, but it's jammed on weekend mornings.
Favorite Dish: We've only eaten breakfast here, and the omelets were all you'd expect: tasty, large portions and loads of home fries on the side.
JP Licks: Serious Ice Cream
We miss the days when this local shop used to be Denise's Homemade Ice Cream, but the recent buyout by JP Licks hasn't been all bad.
The place is still both an ice-cream shop and a popular hangout - for the students who can't get into the bars nearby, and for all manner of eclectic skater/alternative types, as the very diverse noticeboard makes clear.
But we go for the ice-cream, and it's wonderful: a wide variety of flavours, both fruity and calorie-heavy, served in huge portions (bear this in mind when you've eaten a big meal beforehand!).
Favorite Dish: We've only tried a small selection of the flavours, and we have no complaints to date: they all sound great! They also do frappes and frozen yogurt.
Diesel Cafe: Coffee and pool
This is a prime Davis Square hangout, popular with students but also the recently-graduated-wannabe-students who pop in on the weekends, perhaps with laptop in hand.
Down the back, there are pool tables and booths, but despite all the emphasis on cool people-watching, Diesel doesn't forget that it's really about the coffee and the cakes, and they serve up very good versions of both.
Favorite Dish: We haven't eaten a full meal here - we've heard it's good - but the cranberry orange scones are truly to die for. They have pretty decent bagels, too.
Redbones: Barbecue and more barbecue
This is the place to go if you're in need of a meat overload: Redbones is for barbecue, especially ribs, and if that?s not your style, they?ll do brisket or chicken, and all of it with traditional Southern side dishes, like yams, fried okra, and mac 'n' cheese. The place is humming most nights ? it?s great with a group, and the service is very rapid even if the numbers are large ? and with good reason: the food is succulent and very carefully seasoned, and they have a decent beer selection (it?s not large, but the quality is high, even if they could do with adding a darker microbrewed beer on tap). Unlike some other places of this style, the portions, though certainly not small, are also kept on the right side of the reasonable/ridiculous line. Beware the corn bread, however: you might be hungry when you sit down, but too much of this and you?ll have no room for the main event!
Favorite Dish: The fried catfish and pulled chicked sandwiches were great: full of tang and cooked so they stayed very moist.
Redbones...: Redbones... This is barbecue heaven...
This is barbecue heaven and perhaps the best BBQ North of the Mason-Dixon line, with one exception being Q&Ls in Muncie, IN.
So, if you are a carnivore, love it a little spicy and I think you do, then head to Redbones in Davis Square... But be forwarned, this place is for serious feasting...the combo specials are piled high with about five to seven inches of bbq meats, so, bring your favorite bib and consider wearing loose clothing.
Favorite Dish: Redbones has these get combo specials. I usually get the one that comes with Arkansas ribs, Texas sliced brisket and the homemade sauage. Start off with some fried Okra and wash the whole thing down with a Shipyard IPA. By the way, if you are feeling nostalgic about the Midwest, they even have PBR on tap...
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
Rudy's Cafe...Southwest style...
Rudy's Cafe...Southwest style cafe serving TexMex dishes.
Rudy's always has a really cute girl working the Tequila bar which compliments their fine selection of Tequilas well... A fine selection indeed, perhaps the largest selection of Tequilas in the Boston area, including my favorite Herradura Anejo (thanks to my buddy Jack in Dallas)...
Favorite Dish: Combination Plate Four that served with a chicken chimichanga, an enchilada verde, and a beef taco with the diablo rice. This, I wash down with Tecate...
- Food and Dining
Anna's Taqueria: Anna's Taqueria
Anna Taqueria is a sort of fast food Mexican joint. Fast in the sense that you order your burrito, taco, carnita or whatever and watch them make it (or even tell them what extras you want added to the concoction).
Anyway, I really fell in love with this place while living in Boston. Their hot sauce is the best and their salsa is loaded with cilantro, which I love... So, if you are looking for a quick bite to eat, head to Anna's Taqueria.
Favorite Dish: The Super Steak Burrito or Steak Carnitas...
- Food and Dining
Redbones always has great beer on tap and also makes a mean margarita. There is always a wait for a table, but the bar downstairs always has room for more. The original art on the wall changes periodically and is fun to look at. Watch out for the trick bathrooms downstairs - check ALL of the doors - even the ones that look padlocked!
Finally, Redbones is a bikers haven. They offer free bike valet service from 6 pm to midnight.
Favorite Dish: Rebones is all about the BBQ. They have a variety of ribs on the menu. The pulled pork is also very good and they make their own sausage, which is always delicious. The collard greens and potato salad are wicked yummy!
- Study Abroad
Dali - Spanish Tapas...
Dali - Spanish Tapas Restaurant.. Yummm !
Great Atmosphere and Sangria. In the past I've seen them hire a little Mariachi band to go from table to table, but I don't know if that is a regular thing..
Favorite Dish: Garlic Shrimp, Meaty Portabello Mushrooms, Goat Cheese. You can't go wrong. All of the food is wonderful.
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