I think one of the advantages of being in the food business is I get to flaunt my knowledge of all the cool little places around the greater Boston area, especially Metrowest, to find not only unusual ingredients, but also great, ethnic fare. It would be great to hear about your favorites as well, so share yours with us in the comments section. Here are a few of my favorites:
Favorite Ethnic Restaurants/ Take-out Places:
Minerva Indian Cuisine- 1318 Worcester Rd., Natick right next to Christmas Tree Shop; 508-653-2000
Fabulous lunch buffet for $10.95, but packed at 12PM sharp, so arrive early. Great Tikka Masala, Tandoori Chicken, fabulous onion filled pancakes, various Dals, and some lovely Vegetarian Entrées.
Green Chili Indian Restaurant- One Nicholas Rd., Framingham, Pinefield Shopping Plaza; 508-877-4670. Credit cards accepted.
This one is hard to find, but worth the effort. It’s also a hole-in-the-wall, but if you want really authentic Northern and Southern Indian food, this is your place. Outstanding dosa’s (chick-pea crepes stuffed with a variety of Vegetarian or non-Vegetarian fillings), great curries like tikka masala, channa masala, malai kofta and a burning hot vindaloo. Their pancakes and chaat (dips) alone are worth the trip! This used to be a great hot dog joint, so they actually still serve a great variety of hot dogs, as well as chicken nuggets and burgers in case the kids are joining you. Open from 7am-9pm, daily.
La Tapatia Taqueria Restaurant- 460 Lincoln St., Marlborough; 508-624-7005. Credit cards accepted.
Another absolute hole-in-the-wall but we’re talking absolutely authentic Mexican food. They make their own corn and flour tortillas. Delicious tacos, tamales, burritos, enchiladas, mole poblano, enchilades verde, gorditas, nachos. Their pozole, a soup made with hominy, pork and other seasonings, is to die for.
No liquor served here, nor can you bring your own. I checked!
Domenics Italian Deli- 987 Main St., Waltham; 781-899-3817
I’m of Italian descent and have never found such an authentic Italian kitchen. I swear they’ve got every Italian grandmother from Waltham working in the kitchen baking their fresh baked ciabatini (think Ciabatta). My daughter and I go there every Saturday after her acting class. Invariably, she’ll get the Dom’s special which is Imported Parma Proscuitto, with fresh Mozzarella, Basil and tomatoes on the ciabatini. I sometimes get their Tuna Sandwich; an amazing blend of EVOO, herbs and sea salt with mixed greens. Unbelievable! And, their Eggplant Parmagianna rivals my great grandmothers, and that’s no small feat. You can tell that someone spends a lot of time in the kitchen making this dish. Everything here, and I mean everything is made from scratch. They also sell Risotto Arancini (Risotto Balls), their tomato sauce with meatballs (I make better meatballs though!) and Chicken Parm. Add a huge list of other sandwiches, soups, salads and fabulous cannoli and there’s no excuse for not checking this place out. An absolute must!
Favorite Ethnic Food Stores
HMart- 47 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington; 781-221-4570
A football sized warehouse of every Southeast Asian ingredient you would ever need to make sushi, Korean bi bim bop, Indian Curries, Fried Fish with sweet chili sauce. You name it, they have it. Not to mention the hugest Produce section I’ve ever seen with honey mangos, mangosteens, fresh herbs, exotic fruits, amazing vegetable selection.
Their fish prices rival any other fish store. Some are live. Selection is huge. They also sell sashimi and thinly sliced cuts of meat for stir fries. There’s a large Kimchi bar near the produce area which is very popular with the locals. A food court lets you stop for a few maki or a Korean pot of soup.
You’ve got to see this place to believe it. If interested, I conduct tours here. Gather a few friends, contact me and I’ll show you around and help you make some good buying decisions.
Waltham India Market- 327 Moody St., Waltham; (781) 899-6016
A newcomer to Moody St. with a Halal butcher in the basement. Great prepared foods that change from week to week like authentic samosas, pakoras. Gorgeous produce as you can see from the pics, and rows and rows of Indian dry goods from peas to lentils, canned curries and spices, to rice and chickpea flours and many rice choices.
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