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Boston Restaurant Blog -- April, 2011

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Four Often-Overlooked Cities for Dining Out

photo of Frank's, Brockton, MA A big part of the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site centers around exploring communities that aren't considered "hot spots" for dining in order to find some real hidden gems that few know about outside of their respective neighborhoods. Indeed, there are entire cities in the Boston area and Eastern Massachusetts that aren't on the radar for many folks, as the communities are either considered dangerous to go to, lacking in restaurants, or simply uninteresting places. I tend to be on the other side of the spectrum, taking rides into these areas to find out about some great dining spots that are often neglected by diners and restaurant critics alike. A number of cities (and towns) in the area could be included here, but I'll keep it to the following four:

1) Brockton
This old shoe-producing industrial city of nearly 100,000 people is one of several communities south of Boston that have plenty of restaurants, yet don't get mentioned all that much. Too bad, as there are a lot of places to eat in Brockton, from the Back Bay Bagel Company near the Easton line to Frank's near the Stoughton line (great hot dogs) to, of course, the Greek restaurant Christo's just east of downtown, which is perhaps the one place that many folks seem to know about in this city. Other spots that may be worth checking out include Cape Cod Cafe, which features bar pizza; George's Cafe, an old family-owned Italian restaurant; Daora Sushi for Japanese cuisine; and Paradise for Jamaican fare.

2) Chelsea
It is hard to believe that a city bordering Boston could be nearly completely ignored when it comes to dining out, but its tough reputation as well its somewhat inconvenient location (connected to the downtown area of Boston by a single toll bridge) probably has a lot to do with this. There are so many dining spots in Chelsea that it is hard to know where to start, but personal favorites include the Brown Jug (good pizza) on the Revere Beach Parkway and the NewBridge Cafe near the Everett and Revere borders, along with a very good bagel place in Katz Bagel Bakery, which is just east of downtown. Some others that you might want to consider include Fusion Foods, an Asian restaurant on the edge of downtown; El Santaneco, a Salvadoran restaurant also near downtown; the Chelsea City Cafe, a place for coffee, tea, and mostly lighter fare north of downtown; and Tijuana Mexican Food, a Mexican restaurant located downtown.

3) Lawrence
Formerly an industrial powerhouse, the city of Lawrence is now a struggling city that nevertheless has a lot going for it, including interesting historic sites, scenic waterways, and many good restaurants. Some dining spots that we have reviewed within the city include Tripoli, a bakery in the "Little Italy" section of the city that boasts some of the best Sicilian pizza in Eastern Massachusetts; Napoli, which is across from Tripoli and also has excellent Sicilian pizza; and Cafe Azteca, a downtown Lawrence spot that rivals the best Mexican restaurants in the Boston area. With its large Hispanic population, Lawrence also has a lot of Caribbean and Central American eateries, including La Tambora on the western edge of downtown, Pollo Tipico north of the downtown area, and Rio Bar and Grill just south of the common.

4) Lynn
Most people probably know the "Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin" poem, but this old factory city is actually a rather fascinating place, with a huge wooded conservation area, a beautiful coastline, nicely restored homes near the water, and countless dining spots. Some of our favorite eating places in the Boston area are in Lynn, including the Italian restaurant Antique Table on the Swampscott line, an old-school neighborhood restaurant (with great bar pizza) near Swampscott called Monte's, and the Blue Ox, an upscale eatery in the downtown area. For roast beef lovers, there is Mino's and Superior, both of which are near Sluice Pond, and for ethnic cuisine, diners can choose from many spots, including Pho Minh Ky on the eastern edge of downtown for Vietnamese food and Rincon Macorisano in the same section of the city for Dominican fare.

If you love to explore like I do, the four cities above really are quite interesting places to go for dining out, especially if you like ethnic cuisine. For those of you who have any favorites in these cities that I didn't mention, please post some comments on this page, telling us about them, thanks!

Related Blog Entries: Brockton restaurants, Chelsea restaurants, Lawrence restaurants, Lynn restaurants

NEM said:
I grew up on Mattapan. I am now 72 years old and live in Phoenix, moving here in 1988.
The best hot dogs in the world were found at Simco's on Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan.
Eventually, from what I have been told, Frank's opened in Stoughton/Brockton on Rte 28 and they served hot dogs, as well as most of their menu, exactly as they were prepared at Simco's. I was told that the owner had worked at Simco's and brought their style when Frank's was opened.
Best hot dogs in the world..... well, at least as good as Nathan's and Sabrett of New York.
Posted on 8/7/11

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