Thursday, June 14, 2012

Trying Small Plates and Tapas in downtown Boston

With so many diverse dining options right in our city, we often find ourselves enticed by one too many dishes on one too many menus - and we want to try them all!  When dining at a restaurant that offers a variety of sharing-sized small plates and appetizers, everyones taste buds can be tickled.  Clarendon Square Boston Bed and Breakfast in the South End neighborhood is very close to a few of our flavorful favorites, and public transportation or a taxi can take you to the others!

 Toro: South End
A short walk from our bed and breakfast, Chef Ken Oringer wins the praise of Bostonian foodies for his thoughtful ingredients and expert preparation.  The dim lighting, bold furnishings, and traditional decor in this Barcelona-esque "taberna" is both complimented and juxtaposed by a wonderful variety of dishes from mouth-watering steaks to lighter vegetarian fare.  Reservations aren't an option, but the buzz is nearly deafening for this perpetual Best of Boston winner, so our recommendation is to go for lunch, or get there early to try it on a weeknight. The best surprise of all: the all-Spanish wine list is very reasonably priced.

Bar Lola: Back Bay
If you are shopping on Newbury Street, Bar Lola has answered the call for a just-off-Newbury retreat to rehydrate and refuel with this Back Bay gem. It's chic, cavey, dimly lit interior plays popular electronic and European sounds, and the patio boasts lively evening scene along the Commonwealth Ave streetside. Mediterranean treats abound on the tapas menu, and their signature cocktails are equally exciting: an edible orchid floats atop the Lolita martini, and the house sangria recipe is the best we've found.

Chinese barbecue pork buns at Myers+Chang
Myers + Chang: South End
The East-meets-1950's dining room is jam-packed nightly, and their popular Tuesday night "date night" menu has the midweek diners out in droves. But their small plates and dim sum offerings are the not-so-secret gems: the Chinese barbecue pork buns and lemony shrimp potstickers are just a few of our favorites. This foodie favorite is just a few blocks away from our Boston boutique hotel.

Cuchi Cuchi: Cambridge
Unlike the popular Spanish-influenced tapas joints, this one in the Kendall Square neighborhood offers small plates from around the globe. Their eclectic decor reminds us of vintage Hollywood glamour and the delicious dishes are equally as memorable. The staff is as wonderful as the extravagant furs and flapper dresses they wear, and whether you come with a group of friends or a romantic date, Cuchi Cuchi will provide an evening you wont soon forget.
Oleana: Cambridge
The sumptuous North African and Mediterranean-inspired small plates like tuna & black olive deviled eggs, or Armenian bean-and-walnut pâté are out of this world, and the entrees are equally tempting. The warm, carefully decorated dining room transports you to the streets of Bodhur and Marrakesh. Visually magnificent, their patio is also wonderful for summertime alfresco dining.  The garden is put to good use, too - Oleana's kitchen staff often harvest herbs, fresh tomatoes and garlic, and a thriving fig tree.

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