Devlin’s – Brighton Center, Brighton, MA

Located right smack in the middle of Brighton, Devlin’s Restaurant has a menu that exceeds your normal neighborhood bar. The selection of dishes on the diverse American menu will blow you away.

I’ve always thought of Devlin’s as a place to go during the summer; there’s an awesome outdoor patio around back with a full bar, decorative string lights, and big screen TVs. Even though it was winter, the restaurant was just as festive with Christmas decorations lining the walls of the restaurant – a nice feel for the holiday season. I arrived on a Wednesday night and it was reasonably crowded there, but no wait needed for a table for two.

Now… for our dinner!   There were 7 wings total, served with ranch dressing and a side of coleslaw. The sauce was tangy and sweet and worth trying for that reason alone. The chicken was tender and the wings were a nice size. There were a few other wing sauces to choose from that I was interested in trying, including maple sriracha.

I knew exactly what I wanted – a Devlin’s burger, and I was completely satisfied with my order. The Devlin’s burger is topped with blue cheese crumbles, crispy shallots, bacon, smothered in garlic aioli (can’t go wrong with garlic aioli) and lettuce, with brioche bun that sandwiches everything. The Parmesan truffle fries that I ordered as a side were just as good as the burger.

There were plenty of other interesting things I wanted to try. They had some great Wednesday specials including duck fat tater tots, charcuterie pizza, honey chipotle chicken tacos all sounded amazing. I hope they have it next time we’re there!

TL;DR: Devlin’s is your Brighton neighborhood pub with exceptionally great pub food. You’ll be surprised at both the amount and variety of menu choices that Devlin’s has to offer.

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Gustazo – Waltham, MA

Looking to go somewhere different, we found Gustazo on the old Google machine. The menu looked amazing so we decided to check it out on a Saturday night!

There was definitely an older crowd at the restaurant- it seemed like there were a lot of Waltham locals. Older families too, not necessarily with young kids but more like parents of college students and sons and daughters in their 20s.

Appetizers at Gustazo come one at a time as they are made in the kitchen. The waiter (who was very friendly and attentive) would just pop out with appetizers as they were made.

The appetizers ordered had me craving for more after I finished. They weren’t big in size, but damn they were delicious – and frankly, not easily found elsewhere.

The first appetizer ordered, the bacon wrapped sweet plantains, were unbelievably good. The menu description hooked us into trying them – it just sounded so unique! When it was served, the smell permeated through the air. It tasted even better than it smelled. The orange slices served added sharp contrast of tartness to the goat cheese that was served over the plantains. This was a petite appetizer, but heavenly and so worth ordering.

Yet another interesting appetizer that I just had to try was the oxtail. Served in a bowl, the braised ox tail meat was mixed in with warm creamy polenta and grilled avocado. The ingredients perfectly complimented each other, making it another outstanding order. No regrets here.

After sampling two appetizers, I needed to fill up a meal. We ordered the Arroz Con Pollo a la Chorrera – a Risotto-style Cuban rice with chicken thighs, grilled asparagus, soft poached egg, maduros and rice. Chicken and rice combo was money, and the plantains were awesome too. Samantha agreed, adding that said she wanted to “marry these fried plantains”. The grilled asparagus was lightly salted and was great addition to the meal. I ate all of it and loved every bite.

I decided to indulge with what would be our first affogato ever. As a restaurant that doubles as a cafe, we figured Gustazo would be the right place to give it a go. The espresso was great and the French vanilla ice cream was creamy. It was just the right amount of dessert to split, and we were so glad it was on the menu.

The whole Waltham area has such a great food scene with a diverse selection of restaurants to dine at – Gustazo certainly held its own.

TL; DR: Gustazo has great Cuban dishes with a unique and modern take. With the selection of dishes to choose from, you literally can’t go wrong.

The Back Eddy – Westport, MA

Westport is a small town with limited dining options to choose from. We were down there for the grand opening of the Zambezi Grace showroom (check out their crocodile leather wallets, belts and more online!) a client I work with. Because it’s an hour and a half drive from where we live in Boston, I wanted to extend the day trip and end it with a delicious meal. Many people I talked to at the event highly recommended The Back Eddy for delicious seafood by the water. So we took them at their word and had a bite to eat after the event.

River views from the patio or the warm dining room draw fans to this inventive seafood-centric spot. This was the view from the table.

It was around Halloween when we went to check it out. Of note: the Back Eddy closes from January-March, so we were glad to eat there before the winter months. The wait staff was dressed up in full for Halloween. The waitress was a sprinkled donut. You have to love the Halloween spirit (yes, I realize it’s nearly Christmas).

Now, for the food.

To me, nothing beats Bacon-wrapped scallops, so that was my order. The scallops were doused in delicious spices and wrapped in smoky applewood bacon and accompanied by a potato and spring vegetable hash, corn and lemon-dressed greens with some pesto sauce. Delicious!

It came with an assortment of little necks, oysters, and shrimp, all of which were so fresh they tasted like they were literally caught five minutes before they were served.

Whether you’re down there for a vacation or for a client meeting like me, the Back Eddy is definitely worth checking out for a top-notch seafood meal with a great view!

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Twin Donuts – Union Square, Allston, MA


Twin Donuts has been a staple in union square in Allston – everyone has seen the can’t-miss sign on the restaurant roof is almost as recognizable as the Citgo sign (okay, that’s a bit of a stretch). But the establishment has been in existence since 2001.

Another unique thing about Twin Donuts is that it opens at 4 a.m. It’s a favorite spot to not only Allston residents, but also to those who get up early to go to work – the everyday man (or woman).

I did not get up at 4 a.m. on a weekday to go eat at Twin Donuts, but rather 11:00 am on a Sunday morning.

This is your classic diner with a great menu selection of all the breakfast places. The dishes are nothing fancy but in terms of the quality, it sure does the job. A bonus to how great the food tastes is how cheap it is. It’s a real value deal considering how great the quality of food is.

I ended up ordering a breakfast sandwich. The deal with the breakfast sandwiches is you can mix and match different breads and meats. I went with the sausage on a croissant with egg and cheese. I was glad I went with the croissant- it was fresh and buttered up nicely. I ordered a side of corned beef hash (one of my favorite side dishes) and I was not disappointed in the least. Sizable serving too.

TL;DR: Twin Donuts is much more than just a restaurant with a cool sign: it’s a diner and donut shop that’s worth your morning and your money!

La Casa de Pedro – Watertown, MA

I can’t even begin to express just how much I love Venezuelan food. To me, it’s definitely not an every week thing, but every once in a while it just hits the spot!

The menu at La Casa De Pedro is HUGE. Whether it’s lunch or dinner, there are tons of meals to choose. There were so many things we wanted to try that sounded enticing.

The moment you walk into La Casa de Pedro, you feel the festiveness. We’re talking palm trees with Christmas lights and plenty of other plants. There was even a band that played live music. The people next to us left their table after dinner to salsa dance in the open space by the bar. My favorite part was probably eating to the sweets sounds of “Oye Como Va” cover by Santana.

As for the dinner itself, the portions are huge. I ordered an appetizer, which in retrospect seemed to be the right choice. The appetizer I decided on was a beef arepa – the beef was tender and juicy and the bread was spongy and delicious. Definitely worth a try.

The entree, Parillada Caraquena, was an amazing combination of white chicken and sirloin steak with rice, fried plantains, and spicy Spanish sausage.

To cap off dinner, I also sampled a dessert dish. The dessert menu isn’t huge, and there are some dessert drinks that certainly looked appealing. The waiter sold me on the churros, which were not on the menu. I mean, of course, we’re going to order the churros, their heaven on earth.

They were the bomb! Warm churros with melting vanilla ice cream with drizzled hot fudge. Definitely, ask for this if it’s still not on the menu next time you go.

TL;DR: For excellent Venezuelan & Spanish cuisine and lively bar scene, La Casa De Pedro is worth the drive out to Watertown.

Redbones BBQ – Davis Square, Somerville, MA

Everyone knows there is a scarcity of barbecue joints in Boston. You usually have to travel 20 minutes outside of the city to get good BBQ. Redbones BBQ in Davis Square is perhaps the one exception to this statement. As a longtime customer of Redbones, I was excited to come back.

Like many barbecue joints, there is rugged decor in the walls – license plates from other states, vintage metal signs etc. Classic rock blared through the speakers. Everything about this place (including the name) checks out as the perfect BBQ place.

Also important to note: there are sweet and spicy BBQ sauces on the table. My rule for barbecue restaurants is quality sauces = quality of food. Personally, I love to douse my meals with barbecue sauce, so I was very pleased with the tasty sauces at the table.

Now… for the actual food!

I started by sampling some biscuits and peach jam – an extra side that we ordered because we were interested to see how this combo tasted. No regrets here, because it was surprisingly delicious.

I ordered the St. Louis ribs. I loved the dry rub on them and with the sweet sauce, it was just what the doctor ordered. The ribs were large, with tons of meat on the bone. The two sides that came with it were good too. The BBQ baked beans were packed with flavor. The mashed potatoes were good too.

Next came the pulled pork, which came with a spicy BBQ sauce. The serving of the pulled pork and the sides were big, so I had a lot of food to take home (the perks of being a food blogger!). The Mac & cheese was great and cornbread is always a necessity for BBQ plate.

Redbones BBQ once again left me satisfied and smiling, and I had a great experience.

TL; DR: A large menu of southern BBQ classics, Redbones BBQ is the very best of barbecue in the greater Boston area.

Burro Bar – Washington Square, Brookline, MA


I had intentions of checking out The Abbey, in Washington Square, Brookline, but every table was taken when we arrived. Instead, I meandered over to Burro Bar, a Mexican joint that was nearby.

The vibe of Burro Bar is peppy and modern. Blasting Drake or Lupe Fiasco and the place is full of 20-somethings who love margaritas. Bright colors, contemporary restaurant furniture, and lights echo the vibe.

In terms of food selection, this place has tacos like you’ll never see. I mean, try finding beef tongue tacos anywhere else in the Boston.

Before dinner, we were served a starter of chips and salsa. You get a fair amount of chips. The salsa definitely had some kick to it, so if you don’t like spicy foods this may not be for you.

Now for the important part: the tacos.

The size of the taco is bigger than I expected but you only get one per order And for $7-8 it’s not cheap for the amount you’re getting.

I went with the crispy baja style fish taco – a taco loaded with fresh savoy cabbage, doused with a jalapeño slaw, baja mayo and topped with cilantro. It was melt-in-your-mouth good.

While my taco was delicious,short rib double stack – which featured a hard taco held within a soft taco. In addition to beef carnitas, it also featured tres quesos, beef carnitas, poblano + onions, oregano, Mexican crema, and cotija.

TL;DR All in all, Burro Bar is Mexican eatery that features a menu with creatively stuffed tacos & a large tequila selection in a colorful, eclectic atmosphere.

Bin 26 Enoteca – Beacon Hill, Boston, MA


The chic Italian wine bar and restaurant is located right on Charles St. The virtually endless wine selection imported from both France and Italy, and for someone who considers themselves a wine novice like myself, it can seem almost intimidating. Even the walls are made from wine glasses! In addition to the wine, Bin 26 is also known for its cheeses and charcuterie meats.

Bin 26 features a virtually endless wine selection imported from both France and Italy, and for someone who considers themselves a wine novice like myself, it can seem almost intimidating. Even the walls are made from wine glasses! 

In addition to the wine, Bin 26 is also known for its cheeses and charcuterie meats.

The first dish was the beef tagliata–a black & blue beef, with parmesan topped with Arugula, and tarragon, and doused in Truffle Oil. This was my personal favorite, as I’ve come to appreciate a good steak topped with cheese. If there’s one thing Bin 26 nailed was the unsuspecting yet perfect complimentary ingredients on each dish. The arugula and tarragon added excellent flavor that complimented the steak and cheese.  

The second small dish and  the Crispy Duck Leg, served with spinach, frisée, hazelnut butter, blueberries, drizzled with balsamic. Again, the plethora of ingredients added a dynamic punch to an already flavorful duck leg, and I would highly recommend the dish if you’re into ordering duck.

Because we felt like we had to order an Italian dish from an Italian restaurant, the final dish order was the potato gnocchi. The gnocchi was served with shrimp and topped with arugula, tomatoes, marsala, cream, and parmesan cheese. The shrimp and gnocchi combo was an interesting combo that I had never encountered. The quality of the dish was top-notch.

Although the portions are small, the dishes were delicious and the vibe is nice. The friendly wait staff took care of us just fine! Overall we had a great experience here, and would recommend for as a chic and trendy option downtown – and a bonus if you love tasting different types of regional wines!

TL;DR: With a grandiose wine selection and a wide selection of Italian-inspired dishes, Bin 26 Enoteca makes for a classy night out in Boston.

Cha Yen Thai Cookery – Watertown, MA


We went out to dinner with our friends, Todd and Ashley, at Cha Yen Thai Cookery – just outside the city in Watertown center. Cha Yen Thai Cookery is not what you’d call “fine dining”, but it is what you would call “delicious fooding”. There are also great vegetarian and gluten-free options here.

It’s a small space that was quiet that night – although to be fair, it was also raining, and nobody likes to go out when it rains – that and we also went later in the night around 8 pm.

To start it off, we ordered and split appetizers enough to taste test, ordering curry puffs and shrimp donuts ( Donut mind if I do)! The curry puffs had spices and the shrimp donut, which was not a dessert by any means, was nothing I had ever eaten, but in the best way possible.

The Seafood pad thai that we ordered was also nothing short of tasty. The dish had every type of seafood you could think of outside of lobster – calamari, shrimp, and squid. which worked out nicely because there was enough to split into two good-sized portions. In my humble opinion, it’s not Thai food if there’s no kick, so to give it some spice, I asked the waitress for some sriracha sauce for the portion.

After dinner, we debated off-and-on about whether or not we wanted ice cream for about half an hour, basically until they closed (worth noting that they close early on weekdays). The flavors sounded intriguing, and included flavors like green tea, ginger, and Thai iced tea (yes, Thai iced tea coffee, sounds amazing, right?!). The ice cream is also homemade, so it must be good! Next time we go, we’ll try it and report back.

TL;DR: The high ratings online hold up in my book – Cha Yen Thai Cookery is completely worth a trip out to Watertown if you’re in the market for Thai food.

Boston Superstar Athletes’ Favorite Restaurants

We all know Boston is one of the most storied sports towns of all-time. But what keeps these athletes going? Food, of course! We’ve detailed current and recently retired Boston athletes to tell you their go-to restaurants for fine dining in Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline. Read below to see where Celtics, Bruins, Patriots, and Red Sox players go to dine out in greater Boston! See what keeps them coming back for seconds.

Abe & Louie’s – Back Bay

Patriots’ Wide Receivers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman

Both wide receivers have visited this steakhouse, located on Boylston Street in the heart of Back Bay.

Craigie on Main – Cambridge

Patriots’ Wide Reciever Julian Edelman

Another Julian Edelman favorite, he covets the Craigie is one of his few favorite places to get a burger in Boston (even though it’s located in Cambridge near Central Square).

Strega Waterfront – Waterfront

Patriots’ Tight End Rob Gronkowski

The Patriots’ Tight End has hosted events here in the past, where he has bartended before. Beyond that, he frequents Strega Waterfront for fine dining in Boston.

Strip by Strega – Downtown Boston

Celtics’ Point Guard Isaiah Thomas

Strip by Strega is considered Isaiah’s “go-to”, and is often seen eating here with his wife. He’s apparently tight with Strega restaurant owner Nick Varano.

Merengue – Roxbury

Celtics’ Center Al Horford, Former Red Sox Designated Hitter David Ortiz

Both from the Dominican Republic, Al Horford and Big Papi love dining at Merengue, in South Boston, which is said to have authentic and delicious Dominican food.

Grill 23 – Back Bay

Red Sox Rightfielder Mookie Betts

An avid steak-eater, Mookie Betts mentioned his go-to dining spot in Boston to get a steak is Grill 23 right in the heart of Back Bay. Who doesn’t love Grill 23?

Vejigantes – South End

Former Red Sox Designated Hitter David Ortiz

A big fan of Dominican cuisines, another Dominican favorite of Big Papi’s is Vejigantes in Boston’s South End.

Union Oyster House – North End

Former Celtics Small Forward Paul Pierce

Pierce would frequently stop by the historic Union Oyster House for seafood after home games, often with two or three of his teammates.

La Morra, Brookline

Patriots’ Quarterback Tom Brady

The G.O.A.T. has been known to carbo-load at this hometown spot of his in Brookline. Brady’s favorite dish at La Morra is the tagliatelle al ragù.

El Oriental De Cuba – Jamaica Plain

Red Sox Shortstop Xander Bogaerts

Although he doesn’t go much, Bogaerts has long coveted El Oriental De Cuba in Jamaica Plain, serving authentic Cuban dishes.

Del Friscos – Seaport 

Bruins’ Goaltender Tuukka Rask, Patriots’ Safety Devin McCourty 

Both the Bruin’s goaltender and the Patriot’s Safety frequent Del Friscos Steakhouse in Boston’s Seaport district.

Stephanie’s on Newbury – Back Bay

Patriots’ Tight End Rob Gronkowski,  Patriots’ Wide Reciever Julian Edelman

Patriots’ players Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman have both been to this beloved Back Bay restaurant on Newbury Street.