- By Sam Spencer
A satellite city lying two miles outside of Boston, Somerville has quickly become, in culinary terms, the cool younger brother of the Massachusetts capital. It is packed with well designed and delicious culinary options, inspired by the best of local and international food and ideas. In Somerville you are never too far from a great cocktail or tasty dish – here are 10 of the city’s finest restaurants.
Even after many accolades and praise, Bergamot has managed to maintain its neighbourhood vibe. This has been achieved through its commitment to ingredients and produce as local as possible. Ingredients are made to shine in what the restaurant terms its ‘progressive American cuisine’. The wine is obsessively temperature-controlled by the famed sommelier and is just as esteemed as the food.
Bergamot, 118 Beacon Street, Somerville, MA, USA, +1 617 576 7700
Serving some of Massachusetts’ best BBQ food, Redbones Barbeque prides itself on being a Southern BBQ joint that a Southerner would enjoy. That is not to say that there is nothing for a New Englander or Somerville native here, with the pulled-pork in particular never disappointing. The restaurant specialises in a casual atmosphere, big portions, and craft beer, of which there are over twenty different varieties, which pair perfectly with the hearty food. The large portion sizes have made this a popular destination for the local college football teams ever since Redbones opened in 1987. Do not miss out on the appetisers, a selection of traditional dishes like cornbread and fried okra cooked to absolute perfection.
Redbones Barbecue, 55 Chester Street, Somerville, MA, USA, +1 617 628 2200
As may be expected from a restaurant run by a pair of architects-turned-restaurateurs, CasaB is one of Somerville’s most stylish places to eat out. Shiny white dominates here and there’s a feature ‘living’ wall made up of plants fed by a hidden system. Unlike some other style-over-substance dining experiences, CasaB has the food to match the sleek minimalism of the restaurant’s interior. Serving beautifully designed versions of family recipes from one of the owner’s Colombian family and the chef’s Puerto Rican family, there are many delicious variations on the ubiquitous Latin vegetable yucca, and some inventive tapas.
CasaB, 253 Washington Street, Somerville, MA, USA, +1 617 764 2180
Dali Restaurant and Tapas Bar
Dali Restaurant and Tapas Bar’s interior is just as bizarre as you might expect from a restaurant named after the famed artist Salvador Dali. This Spanish restaurant, which is celebrating 25 years in Somerville this year, offers delicious tapas, which has long made it a dating hotspot in the area. Couples queuing for the no-reservation tables are a common sight in Washington Street. Offering regional Spanish classics (including excellent chorizo and a killer sangria), it is no wonder that this lively and idiosyncratic restaurant has endured for so long.
Foundry on Elm
Bringing elegant French dining to an area saturated with tapas and gourmet fast food restaurants, Foundry on Elm has the sort of class that makes it feels like a little piece of the Parisian rive gauche transported to Boston. Inside its stunning décor of steel, iron and glass that gives a clever nod to the restaurant’s name, visitors will find a raw bar serving deliciously fresh seafood, alongside a menu of unpretentious versions of French brasserie classics. There is also a seriously impressive roster of ales and cocktails that will have you coming back time and again for more.
Foundry on Elm, 255 Elm Street, Somerville, MA, USA, +1 617 628 9999
Although the service is infamously sedate, everything at Journeyman is worth the wait. Housed inside a converted pasta-sauce factory, the design is industrial and the food is incredibly inventive. The taster menu is adapted both to the season’s best fresh produce and to the particular customer’s needs, with inspired molecular touches and delicious food served by the knowledgeable staff. Previous visits have seen anything from razorback clams to what can only be described as deconstructed root beer, amongst many other fascinating farm-to-table dishes.
Journeyman, 9 Sanborn Court, Somerville, MA, USA, +1 617 718 2333
As authentic a Neapolitan pizzeria and trattoria as you are likely to get this far from the Motherland, Posto offers a winning combination of the finest Italian imported and local ingredients, including homemade mozzarella that the pizzeria makes fresh every single day. These hearty ingredients are brought to their full potential by the restaurant’s own wood-burning oven ─ the heart, soul and centrepiece of the pizzeria, and the only way to get the extremely high temperatures needed to cook pizza perfectly in the Neapolitan way.
Posto, 187 Elm Street, Somerville, MA, USA, +1 617 625 0600
A glorious throwback to the pre-prohibition drinking establishments that lined street corners across America is Saloon. The restaurant is defined by the rich browns of both its leather and dark wood interior and its brown alcohols, formed into an extensive list of drinks and cocktails taking inspiration from the golden age of uncomplicated drinking and dining. The food menu is small compared to that for drinks, but this leaves the emphasis on quality, with the dishes designed to perfectly accompany the whiskies and bourbons that are the foundation of all the best drinks.
Saloon, 255 Elm Street, Somerville, MA, USA, +1 617 628 4444
The word ‘sarma’ has two meanings that perfectly sum up this restaurant called Sarma. Literally, it denotes a bite-sized bundle of food as served in Mediterranean mezze (the speciality of this restaurant). It also means an embrace, with food here also perfectly fitting that definition, with each of the small dishes offering the warm, enveloping flavours of Greece, Turkey and the Middle East. There are both traditional dishes and playful takes on American snack staples such as sliders and beef jerky.
Sarma Restaurant, 249 Pearl Street, Somerville, MA, USA, +1 617 764 4464
The Painted Burro
Over the last few years, upmarket Mexican places have come to dominate the culinary landscape of Somerville, with The Painted Burro known as the definitive gourmet Latin American restaurant in the area. With a small, finely crafted menu focused on tacos (although other great appetisers and entrees are available), the restaurant has food that matches up fantastically with its lively atmosphere ─ an atmosphere made even livelier by the availability of over 100 (mostly craft) tequilas, served both on their own and in the perfect margaritas, to enjoy with the selection of Mexican meals and moles.
The Painted Burro, 219 Elm Street, Somerville, MA, USA, +1 617 776 0005