At the newly opened "Natick Collection" (formerly the Natick Mall), are two of the best known luxury department stores: Nordstrom's and Neiman Marcus, along with three separate restaurants, Sal de la Terre, The Met Grille, and Finale. Eventually, there will be eight.
Nordstrom's has also jumped in with Cafe Bistro, its signature restaurant, on the second floor. Nordstrom's prides itself on customer service, and you are greeted at the entrance with a tray of wine, or soup, or other goodies as you wait to place your order with the cashier. You pay in advance and are seated immediately, waiting for a server to bring your order to the table. The simple, gourmet-like menu includes soups, a wide variety of salads, pizza, sandwiches and full entrees. We tried the sauteed chicken and Angel hair pasta, and grilled salmon with gazpacho salsa which we enjoyed along with herb roasted pomme frites. It was fun watching the food prepared in an open kitchen. The atmosphere is warm and service is friendly. Prices are very reasonable. They also serve wine and beer, and take no reservations.
It's a great place to stop before, during or after your shopping spree at New England's newest mall.
Nordstrom "Natick Collection," Rte. 9
Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxboro
A growing all-American chain from the country singer-songwriter just a hop-skip away from Gillette Stadium at Patriot Place in Foxboro, 'whiskey girls' clad in short-short denim shorts and cowboy boots proffer platters of fries, burgers, ribs and Keith’s signature fried bologna sandwich with Miracle Whip and garlic toast (there's also a fried Twinkie dessert); the ginormus setting is done up with concrete floors, neon signs, corrugated tin accents, 50-ft. ceilings and an 85-ft. guitar-shaped bar, plus a whopping 43 HD-TVs, including larger projection screens that can disappear to reveal a stage for live music Wednesday–Sunday.
Sagra (in Dedham Center)
The Italian Sagra, near Legacy Place in Dedham, is their second location. It not only has its Somerville sibling’s menu, but also features a wider selection of seafood, including a raw bar and an expanded beverage program. No matter where you sit – the sun porch, the main dining room with the signature Sagra black-and-red decor, the 20-plus-seat horseshoe bar or the private dining rooms upstairs – the air is hospitable; N.B. Sagra Dedham has a $10 two-course lunch prix fixe from 11 AM–5 PM.
910 Washington St., Dedham
Legal Sea Foods "C" Bar (on Rte 1, at Legacy Place in Dedham)
Once again Legal Sea Foods has created another exciting casual dining experience with their "C" Bar restaurant. Located at Legacy Place in Dedham (just off Rte. 128, on Rte. 1), Legal's C Bar is a snazzy, new, contempory dining stop. A "while your shopping" or point of destination, the C Bar offers a limited, but outstanding selection of scrumptious fare with prices ranging from $10 -$30. A wine selection (more than 25 by the glass) and cocktail beverages (custom cocktails: at last count: 47) is not to be believed. Once you've re-gained your strength back you have a great opportunity to shop at the many shops at Legacy Place. Reservations are available so if you can, you might want to call ahead.
950 Providence Highway Dedham
A new waterfront house of Italian-Mediterranean grandeur in Hewitts Cove in Hingham. Brought to you by Chef Paul Wahlberg (older brother of Donnie and Mark), Alma is your new go-to along the Hingham Shipyard, with killer floor-to-ceiling views of the cove inside and a highly loungeable 40-seat patio outside. So say you've spent a lazy day along the beaches of the South Shore and realize it's not so much a Clam Box night as a Pancetta Wrapped Pork Tenderloin and Wood Grilled Spanish Prawns night. You'll want to glide up here, tie up your luxury schooner and warm up next to the exposed fire pit with a few beers.
22 Shipyard Dr., Hingham, MA
il Casale Cucina Italiana and Bar
With the same chef/owner team that runs Dante in Cambridge, this de Magistris production graciously bestows delicate housemade pastas and exceptional Italian style food. It's become one of the hot suburban destinations.
50 Leonard Street, Belmont, MA 02478
SuSu's Bakery and Boutique Cafe
Valentine's Day 2008 marks 8 years since this attractive and cozy bakery/lunch spot has been offering its signature confections, chocolate chunk cookies, ultimate brownies, cupcakes, croissants and now gourmet food. For those with a sweet tooth it has built a following bordering on the fanatic-- folks who travel to this Washington Street corner in Wellesley from far and wide. It's been a secret far too long.
Under the loving care of Susu Aylward, whose passion for food is evidenced not only by the treats available but also on presentation and display. The bakery business is thriving, and recently they opened for lunch . In keeping with her style, this is gourmet all the way. So successful has their lunch business been that they are looking forward to serving Sunday brunch. You'll see the attractive owner/chef Susu scurrying around greeting customers, always with a smile on her face. Civilized, peaceful and charming. Suburbia never had it so good! Mon-Sat 9-5.
SuSu's Bakery and Boutique Cafe
575 Washington St., Wellesley
Even the 'burbs have gone Italian with the opening of Chef/owner Michael Schlow's newest venture. Alta Strada is a 100-seat restaurant in the former Figs location in downtown Wellesley. Not as high-end as his other eateries (Via Matta, Great Bay), this newest spot offers more casual Italian fare at moderate prices.
92 Central St, Wellesley
The White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine is about an 80-minute drive from Boston. For the serious romantic, don't hesitate. Just do it. It will be one of the major dining highlights of your life. Not only is this one of the most charming old New England Inns (it has received a five-diamond rating from AAA for the past 5 years), the dining room is the centerpiece of the visit. Candles glittering on each of the dining tables transform this170-year-old barn into a gourmet paradise. Chef Jon Cartwright and owner Laurie Bongiorno have created a romantic hideaway that feeds the soul and fuels the spirit. Prix-fix dinner is $62. Best bargain: "a midweek romantic getaway" includes one night's lodging, 4-course dinner, afternoon tea, and breakfast the following morning ($210). Open winter and summer (closed the month of January). Very romantic, very special.
The White Barn Inn
37 Beach Street, Kennebunkport, Maine
Arturo's, Westborough, MA
(submitted by Alvin J. Sturdley III )
"DELIZIOSO" describes the meal, succulent describes the veal, pork and salmon entrees we discovered. It all happens at a hidden gem of Italian delights on Rte. 30 in Westborough. As you walk into the spacious open kitchen restaurant, you're greeted with an antipasto table with all kinds of tasty treats. The entrees came with a pasta dish or garlic mashed potatoes and a vegetable. Added to this we ordered Caesar and Misto salads that were of good size, tasty fresh and crisp. "Ah!! Contento!!!!" we murmured, as we finished up with cappuccino, espresso and feather light tiramisu. Hungry?? The menu also includes many varieties of pasta. Some were so tempting I almost stuck a fork in them as they went by our table! I decided to wait till next time since I had already polished off all the foccacia by dipping it in the olive oil. There's a full bar and an ample wine list, and plenty of free parking. This fine Northern Italian cuisine is served by a friendly wait staff. It's strictly casual with a modest decor and prices to match. If you add white tablecloths, a bit of attitude, and raise the prices, Arturo compares favorably with many restaurants in the big city. So go west young man and woman, relax and "MANGIA!! "
54 E. Main St., Westborough
Submitted by Robert Russo, S. Natick
Maxwells 148....a new gem among the proliferating boutique restaurants???
Having enjoyed the offerings at many new suburban gourmet restaurants, we decided to try Maxwell's 148, a relatively new oasis that has received praise from several quarters. My entourage arrived at six PM for an early dinner and the initial reaction upon entering was one of high expectations. The entrance was tastefully done as was the room....both of which had an understated elegance aided by the soft pleasant lighting. We were promptly seated and served by a very efficient, personable wait staff that were helpful and knowledgeable. We first order various drinks from the bar and all seemed content as we dipped foccacia and crispy won tons into a dish filled with a chili sauce and another with humus. We also order various appetizers that were very well presented and delicious. All shared with others as they raved about their selection.
The evening was going well and our entrees were soon delivered to our table as we finished off the remaining won tons. The dinners were also very good for the most part...however, the Cod with the Polenta was too mild for my taste and my dinner partner's Cod was not the "choice" piece that mine was....the Lobster Pad Thai was declared very good. The Steak dish and the Vegetable Curry were outstanding as was the Lobster and Scallops dish.
We would have been delighted to stay for coffee and dessert, but the Patriots playoff game was calling. As we left, we chatted with other diners who all expressed their satisfaction and determination to return. My overall assessment is that here is a wonderful option for all the gourmets in the Metro-West area who wish to stay near home and to others that wish a new experience.
Rte. 135 148 East Central St., Natick