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Urban Safari: Rozzie “Hidden Gems”

Local businesses of all communities have been hit hard by the pandemic. Many in our area have made great efforts to shift from table to takeout to bridge the gap before diners can eat out again.

RainyDayMagazine has been doing its part to help local eateries survive by ordering directly and picking up.

In Roslindale, a “village” of Boston, there are some amazing places to eat. Some are fancy and up-scale, others are quirky and casual, but they all have this in common: “hidden gems” on their menu. All of these are incredibly delicious, unexpectedly unique, and completely worth the trip.

We have been to these eateries and have had every single one of these treats more than once, so we know first-hand that they are not one-offs! We decided to share these “gems” because we are all in this together 🙂


NOTE: We always pick up the food, so the merchants get as much of the profit as possible, but if you are going to have the food delivered, we would urge you NOT to use services such as GrubHub. They take way too big a chunk and leave very little for the businesses. 

Jimmie’s Cafe : (617) 323-0838

The lobster roll is a signature item for New England. A good lobster roll is available at many locations up and down the coast. We have had some experience with this so when we say we are blown away by the lobster rolls we have had at Jimmie’s, we want you to understand the full meaning of our statement.

Jimmie’s Lobster Roll:

  • Lobster chunks in a toasted buttered roll
  • Lemon aioli, chives, salt & pepper
  • Caesar salad
  • Fries

Delfino Restaurant : (617) 327 8359

Many places in Boston serve Italian cuisine, and Delfino is right up there with the best of them. When COVID-19 hit, Delfino, like everyone else, was forced to figure out how to bridge the gap between shut-down to whenever.

The restaurant reworked its menu for takeout, allowing you to snag score still eat many of its signature dishes. The stand-out deal for us is the $39 Dinner for Six. Our favorite is the Chicken Parmigiana…OMG good!!! 

Chicken Parm Dinner for 6:

Note: even though this was listed as “dinner for 6,” the chicken breasts were so large we had to cut them in half. So, for us at least, it is really an order of Chicken Parm Dinner for 12!

Pleasant Cafe : (617) 323-2111

The Pleasant Cafe’s pizza was voted 2018’s “Best of Boston” and yes we helped (vote for who you love, you know?). The “bestie” honor is well deserved. We have eaten literally hundreds of pizzas from the Pleasant Cafe in the 30 years we have lived in Roslindale, and we can personally attest to the absolute deliciousness of their pizzas!!! 

Their crust is thin but not brittle. There is enough sauce to make it flavorful, but not so much to make it soggy. Just the right amount of cheese to round it all out. In other words…perfect.

NOTE: Also perfect cold for breakfast…in the rare times when there is a slice left over 🙂

Our favorite Pleasant Cafe pizza:

  • Half sausage
  • All Mushroom

La Taqueria : (617) 942-8117

If awesome street food is performance art, then the folks at La Taqueria are artists!!! When this place opened up a few years ago, we were excited because the RainyDayMagazine office is just a stone’s throw away. Since that time, they have expanded with outdoor seating, and was going to open a bar next door.

The bar plans are on hold due because of this stooopid virus, but La Taqueria is doing an awesome, busy-as-a-bee take-out business. We are so, so happy, because while good food can be had at a lot of places, great food is harder to find!!!

Our favorites from La Taqueria:

NOTE: Until the bar opens, we are perfectly happy to make our own margaritas at the office to have with our La Taq takeouts 🙂

Hong Kong 888 : (617) 323-8122

Chinese takeouts are literally EVERYWHERE. We have two close to the office: one around the corner and the other less than half a mile away.

So for us to order from one where we have to wait at FIVE traffic lights before we can pick up the food…well, that says all you need to know about how good we think Hong Kong 888’s food is!!!

When COVID-19 was peaking in April, they closed down for a few weeks. As soon as they reopened, we celebrated with a feast of all our favorites, and have not stopped since 🙂 Supporting our local businesses has never been tastier!!!

With a bottle from Solera Wine – as local a meal as you can get

The one Hong Kong 888 dish we ALWAYS order:

Effie’s Kitchen : (617) 942-2247

Looking for the most delicious authentic Greek “fast food”? Effie’s is the only choice! When we say “fast,” we mean they serve it up fast—the food is made when ordered and always with the freshest of ingredients!!!

The one we almost always get:

Sofia’s Grotto : (617) 323-4595

We remember walking into Sofia’s Grotto when they were just about to open and chatting with Joe, one of the owners, about the restaurant. Roslindale was a bit “rough” back then and didn’t have many places to eat so we were REALLY happy to see something like Sophia’s Grotto come to the neighborhood.

Fifteen years later, they are our favorite “go-to” place whenever we want to eat outside, eat inside, and now get takeout!!!

The “must-try” menu items at the Grotto:

  • Calamari Fritto: deep-fried calamari with citrus aioli sauce
  • Torino pizza : shitake, portobello, and oyster mushrooms, truffle oil, fontina and mozzarella cheeses
  • Parma sandwich: mozzarella, prosciutto, sliced tomatoes, and basil

For a special treat, we would suggest the Grotto’s NY Sirloin. The meat is from Tony’s Market, a local institution. They serve it topped w/gorgonzola cheese in a red wine glaze, with mashed potatoes and green beans. Truly a celebration!

Solera Wines : (617) 469-4005

Liquor and wines stores have stayed open during the pandemic because they are deemed an essential services. We aren’t disagreeing. Our favorite local wine store, Solera-A Shrine To Wine, is our first stop whenever we order takeout.

During the COVID-19 crisis, they made it even easier to have the right wine by offering their Quarantine “Wine Combos” cases. No need to search around the store reviewing their great selection. Solera’s Wine Combos are hand-picked wine choices from different regions that pair nicely with a lot of foods, or can be enjoyed by themselves.

We can vouch for every single bottle that we got in our “8 reds/3 whites” selection (one white had two bottles – not a bad thing at all). The accompanying “flavor profile/drinking notes” was really helpful, too.

Buying wine by the case at SOLERA is a great way to explore new wines during the Quarantine, save a little money, and support this local gem of a small business!

Long live the locals!

Links to business mentioned:

1 Comment on Urban Safari: Rozzie “Hidden Gems”

  1. Two more gems:
    Village Sushi in Roslindale Village

    La Lechonera, serving Puerto Rican dishes, on Cummins Highway at American Legion.

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