I don’t like to use the term “foodie” to describe myself, but if it means that I can run around the city equipped with a fork and a knife, and try to satisfy my perpetual hunger — then yes, I can be a foodie. If you’re tired of your usual Boston spots, I’ll let you in on my personal speed dial list — and you’ve probably never heard of any of them.
1. Azama Grill
A hole in the wall of Harvard Ave, this place has ridiculously good Middle Eastern food. Crispy falafel, zesty char-broiled salmon and oh, the onion sauce on these homemade fries! If you’re on the veggie side, there are a half a dozen roll-ups to choose from. Starving after a late night at the bar? Go right for the kebobs, that’s a perfect end to every night.
That’s right, not Anna’s, we’re talking Amelia’s. The lesser known of the two happens to be my favorite spot for Mexican food in the city. Their burritos are always as soft as a cloud, the Santa Fe chicken juicy is well-done, and the vegetables are fresh. For $6.95 a pop, burritos are an essential part of my broke grad budget. Thanks, Amelia’s!
I’m coming for you, crispy squid. Ittoku is my favorite izakaya place in town. Bring your friends and order a dozen tiny bites and some cold Sapporo. I almost moved into the building upstairs, just so I could eat here every day — but had to say no when my trainer advised against it. Once you’re done trying all the tiny fried items on the menu, get a slice of that flan. Goodnight and thank me later.
4. Totto Ramen
Best vegetarian ramen in town — simple as that. I’m normally the biggest fan of summer there is, but when the 100-degree heat and my desire for a rich vegetable soup clash, I’ve got to go with the latter. Make sure to bring cash and sit at the bar to watch the chefs drain the noodles and prep the soup. They never did tell me their secret, but ask — maybe you’ll have more luck.
5. Refuge Cafe
Before I go raving about the eggplant fries, let me tell you that Refuge has great coffee and awesome vegetarian meals. I hit it up during the week to make sure I get my dose of avocado, tofu, and greens before the weekend starts and bad dietary decisions start creeping up. I’m a huge fan of the sweet potato, arugula, and goat cheese roll and can never say no to the tofu bowl. You can get any of the sandwiches on a bed of greens instead of bread and make sure to get a side of the 100% delicious, 100% healthy eggplant fries — extra sauce, please. Bring a vegan friend, they’ll thank you.
There’s a reason I adore Sundays and it isn’t just because that’s my rest and relaxation day (read: lazying it up in bed followed by a Parts Unknown marathon on Netflix). There’s nothing that brightens up my Sunday more than a solid brunch at the Breakfast Club. If you know what’s good, you’ll call early and order for pick-up because this place is seriously poppin’ all day. The menu, influenced heavily by the cult movie, offers a ton of delicious sandwiches under the fun names of “The Jock,” “The Princess,” “Detention,” etc. Indulge in a waffle oozing with ice and whipped cream or get creative and build your own omelet. I honestly think that the dextrous people in the kitchen who can whip up breakfast so quickly should run the world. If you manage to get your bum out of bed early enough, go sit in the ’50s-inspired dining area.
If you love naan so much that you’d rather throw your pillow out and sleep on a stack of the fluffy goodness instead, go to Punjab Palace. They have an extensive menu of vegetarian meals (try the baingan bharta), their samosas are just the right amount of crispy and the lamb is always perfectly tender. Grab a bunch of papadum and go nuts!
You know that weird time of the day when you kind of want a coffee but also kind of really want to get a flight of wine and call it a night? Welcome to Jaho. Their wine and beer flights are what keep me coming back time after time. I even pretend to be a wine connoisseur at dinner parties sometimes, thanks to having tried four types of wine in a single evening at Jaho. Get the pizza to accompany your flight — its crispiness and richness will ensure a soft landing.