Somerville’s renaissance is in full swing and nothing exemplifies that better than its thriving food scene. Centered around – but by no means confined to – Union Square, Somerville has become a full-fledged diner’s destination, attracting foodies from far beyond its borders, eager to taste the truth for themselves. While there are too many to list them all, here’s a quick sampler platter of the best restaurants in Somerville, MA. Bronwyn
Think of your ideal Oktoberfest experience. Hearty saurbraten, spätzle, königsteller, schnitzel, and other delicious foods that are fun to pronounce, let alone to eat. Don’t forget the excellent, rich beers. Have the picture in your mind? Good. Now take a deep breath, open your eyes… and make a reservation at Bronwyn on Washington Street in Somerville. If authentic, excellent German cuisine – sprinkled with dishes from Central and Eastern Europe – is what you’re looking for, you can find it surprisingly close to home.
Dave’s Fresh Pasta
From the name, you might think that this is a pasta place. From their website, you might think that it’s a wine & cheese shop. And to be clear, picking up some of Dave’s pasta for dinner is always a great idea, and their wine, cheese, and specialty foods are like a European vacation in Union Square. By itself, that would be more than enough to merit inclusion on this list…but it’s arguably not even Dave’s Fresh Pasta’s best feature. That would be its incredible sandwich counter. Searching for the perfect sub sandwich? Head to Dave’s, you won’t be disappointed.
As much as we all love a good story, not every restaurant needs a gimmick, fascinating backstory, or celebrity chef to be counted among the best food in Somerville, MA. Ebi Sushi is a perfect example of this: locals know its good, and one bite of their “Somerville Special” – fresh tuna tartare resting atop tempura-fried nori – is enough to make a regular out of even the most distinguished of palates.
Every group has one. That one friend who can’t stop talking about their favorite spot with a near-religious zeal. You know the type? Well, get ready to become one: Highland Kitchen’s whimsical take on classic American comfort food inspires a special kind of loyalty in its guests. Enthusiasm aside, it’s hard not to love what Highland Kitchen has on offer. Buffalo fried Brussels sprouts and spicy coconut curried goat stew are served side-by-side with fried green tomatoes, pulled pork sandwiches, mac & cheese, and chili cheese fries.
Not to be “that person” in your life, but you really do need to try it for yourself. Plus, they have a jukebox! There’s something to be said for a restaurant with a strong identity, and it’s very clear that Highland Kitchen knows who it is, and who it wants to be. So if you’re ready to take a trip to an alternate dimension where this offbeat brand of offbeat American diner food is the norm, Highland Kitchenhas you covered.
Speaking of restaurants that know who they are, Union Square’s Juliet doesn’t have a single strong identity so much as it has three unique, separate identities. Though some of them change pretty frequently. If that sounds odd, don’t worry: it is! Juliet definitely marches to the beat of its own drum.
But it is so very worth it.
Evenings from Wednesday through Saturday are Juliet proper. You get a curated prix-fixe menu which rotates monthly. With themes like “Feast of the Seven Fishes,” and “Les Pommes Sauvage,” there’s an exciting, different night out always just around the corner. During the day, it’s Juliet Cafe’s time to shine, with brunch-tastic offerings like breakfast tacos or smoked salmon toast. And come Sunday night, it’s Romeo’s At Juliet, a more conventional restaurant with exquisite pasta offerings.
Suffice it to say, Juliet does things a little differently. But one part of its identity that doesn’t change, is its responsible, progressive approach to its business. There’s no tipping at Juliet. Instead, they proudly pay their staff a living wage, with profit-sharing ensuring that everybody’s incentivized to see the restaurant succeed. It also offers a “pay what you can” version of its prix-fixe menu, giving diners who might not otherwise be able to afford a night out at the moment, the chance to experience some of Somerville’s best.
Little wonder that Bon Appatit magazine named Juliet one of the nation’s 50 best new restaurants.
Today, Somerville’s Union Square is a trendy destination. But it wasn’t always a go-to hub for small plates, cafes, and chic décor: and the family-owned Neighborhood Restaurant has been churning out hearty, home-style diner fare for well over a decade. Open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., this cozy restaurant and bakery serves up American breakfast fare, lunch dishes with a distinctly Portuguese flair, and some truly choice baked goods. Plus, they’ll serve you up some cream of wheat on the side! What’s not to love.
Union Square Donuts
Some places just aren’t worth the hype. After a seemingly endless stream of glowing testimonials, gorgeous photos, and general hyperbole, you finally get to try it for yourself. And it’s…okay. Maybe even good? But the end result simply cannot live up to the hype, and you’re left with more disappointment than anything else.
Union Square Donuts is not one of those places. They do one thing – fresh, hand made donuts – and they do it extremely well. From well-known classics to imaginative modern fare, bringing in a box full of these iconic donuts is a sure-fire way to make you the most popular person in the office.
Just a Taste
There are far too many great choices to go into the scope of a single blog. But hopefully, this gives you a taste of what’s in store for you when checking out the dining scene in Somerville. So whether you’re moving into the area, a Tufts student looking for a night out, or just somebody looking for some good eats, Somerville’s got you covered. Don’t see your favorite listed? Disagree with our picks? Let us know your favorites in the comments below!