The restaurant scene in Lawrence, Massachusetts is incredibly varied, ranging from Japanese and Korean to Caribbean and Mediterranean fare in over 150 restaurants. Whether you’re looking for brunch, lunch or dinner, here are 10 top choices for good food in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Renowned in Lawrence as one of the most dazzling and delightful restaurants in the city, Japu specializes in Nikkei cuisine: the riveting fusion of Japanese and Peruvian styles brought about from Japanese emigration to South America in the 1800s. Old classics like maki rolls, soba noodles, and teriyaki salmon are jolted to life with the piquant Peruvian flavours of aji amarillo – the ubiquitous yellow pepper that characterizes the nation’s cooking.
As the name hints, Cafe Azteca is a Mexican restaurant offering an authentic Mexican dining experience. The interior is decorated with vibrant colors and lots of Mexican crafts, from paintings to pottery and tablecloths, and the menu features staple dishes such as tamales, in both meat and vegetable varieties, tacos, burritos and quesadillas. The enchiladas come in a variety of combinations, and there’s also a host of delicious vegetarian options. Should you want to make a night of it, you can wash down your food with a strong margarita or some light sangria.
It’s fair to say that you wouldn’t expect to find top-class Vietnamese pho in the heart of the brisk Eastern Seaboard, but T & N Restaurant has been turning out steaming bowls of noodles and broth to dedicated Lawrence residents for well over a decade. Their pho, rich with beef and bean sprouts, is one of the best bowls in the city, but don’t skip the rest of the menu – their summer rolls are crisp and crunchy; their salads sharp and sour. It’s an unmissable dining experience, bringing the flavors of Hanoi to upstate Massachusetts.
With a simple interior and a warm atmosphere, Lee Chen provides some of the best Chinese cuisine in Lawrence. House specialties found on the menu include the tangerine chicken, the ‘dragon and phoenix,’ which combines lobster and a Szechuan chili sauce, and General Tso’s chicken in an exotic Hunan sauce. You will also find plenty of duck dishes, a staple meat in Chinese cuisine. Besides the regular menu, it also offers seasonal specials and gluten-free options.
Tacos Lupita is another Mexican restaurant in Lawrence known for serving authentic food. The menu is both in English and Spanish, and features staple dishes such as tacos, burritos and tortas, each in a variety of flavors, with or without meat, and side dishes. Among the drinks, they serve horchata, a typical non-alcoholic beverage made from rice and sometimes vanilla flavoring.
Jim’s Kabob is a small and basic place serving Mediterranean fare, especially Middle Eastern-influenced food and kebabs. Located in downtown Lawrence, next to the Merrimack River, Jim’s Kabob offers either a quick eat on the premises, delivery or catering options. Their menu features traditional dishes like dolmas on Syrian bread, falafel rolls, and lamb kofte. Other specialties include the stuffed eggplant or meat pie, and Italian spaghetti with veal and parmesan – another Mediterranean specialty, albeit from a different side of the sea.
Tripoli is a traditional, long-standing bakery serving a large selection of homemade pastries and bread, along with pizza. It also offers a direct view over the preparation area where the breads and pastries are made. The recipes are influenced by Sicilian cuisine, as the original owners, pictured on the walls, were from Sicily. You’ll find delicacies like cannoli, cheesecake, strawberry cake and various types of pizzas, beside the staple loaves of Italian bread – all of which are made fresh daily.
Located in the northern part of Lawrence, near the Spicket River, Pollo Tipico is a small and stripped-back establishment offering Caribbean food in a unique atmosphere. Typical dishes you can expect to find on the menu range from rotisserie chicken with rice and beans, plantains or pork rinds to empanadas. You can go in and have your meal in the restaurant, or order to go. They also have a bar in the back where they host weekend parties.
Nothing says New England like chowder (pronounced “chow-da” in these parts), and at Boston Chowda Company, you can enjoy the richest and creamiest bowls of the stuff that Lawrence has to offer. Specializing in clam chowder, lobster bisque and liberally stuffed lobster rolls, this New England-style café is a place to find comfort on a chilly day. Arrive hungry, and leave full.
For well over a decade, Jim’s Original Subs & Pizza has carved out an unimpeachable reputation in Lawrence as the place to go for gigantic, decadent and exceptionally priced subs. Made with freshly baked bread each day, Jim’s packs its footlong subs with handfuls and handfuls of steak, cheese, veggies – anything you could care to mention. Their pizzas are similarly legendary: five-inch-thick pies, stuffed with salami and sauce and topped with mountains of mozzarella. Jim’s is where Lawrence goes to treat itself – a tradition that you can expect will continue long into the future.