There aren't all that many Greek restaurants in the Boston area, and out of those that exist, a good number of them, such as Desfina in Cambridge and the Farm Grill, are virtually unknown to diners. And perhaps even lesser known than these places is a local favorite in Natick called Nicholas Restaurant that, while perhaps not quite up to the level of the best Greek restaurants in the Boston area, is a pleasant, comfortable place that is perfect for families and large groups.
Nicholas Restaurant started in 1979 as a roadside drive-in, but has since become a rather large restaurant that includes a lounge in the front and a function room in the back. The main dining area has a number of booths and tables, and a high ceiling that gives it a spacious feel. A couple of chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and the dark-colored walls and carpeting add a touch of coziness to the place. To the left is a walkway partitioned off from the main dining area that has a few more booths situated along it.
Open for both lunch and dinner, Nicholas Restaurant features a mix of Greek-American and traditional Greek dishes on the menu. Appetizers include some wonderful traditional Greek dishes, including the saganaki cheese plate, which features a tangy and slightly bitter cheese that is crusted brown on the outside. Other apps include tasty (though slightly dry) Greek-style meatballs with herbs and spices, and a flaky, rich spinach pie that has a nice mix of feta cheese and spinach. Greek salads come with a bit less feta than you might get at other restaurants, but the dressing is zesty and delicious. Soups include the classic lemon soup that is perfect on a cold winter day. For entrees, the seafood casserole is outstanding, with a perfect mix of lobster, shrimp, and scallops along with veggies, white wine sauce, and cheese. The baked lamb is delicious and leaner than you might expect, while the lamb souvlaki is similarly lean and tasty. The grape leaves are warm, soft, and tender, and include a lot of beef inside. And both the moussaka and pastitsio come with a mild yet flavorful red sauce and a heavenly bechamel sauce. Sides include roasted potatoes that are tender and have little grease, and rice pilaf which comes with the same mild red sauce used for the moussaka and pastitsio. A number of dessert options are offered, including a tasty wedge of baklava with nuts and honey. The wine list is impressive, while the beer list includes a couple of Greek beers (Marathon and Mythos).
Nicholas Restaurant might not be the best Boston-area Greek restaurant, but it has an atmosphere that is more comfortable than its competition, and the food is hearty and quite satisfying. And you simply won't find many people outside of Natick who know about it. So if you like Greek food and are a bit tired of going to the same few places inside Route 128, head over to Natick and find out why the locals make repeat visits to this pleasant spot.
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