When you go out to eat, everybody wants good food and friendly service, but for a lot of people the bottom line is – did you have fun? Was the experience enjoyable? These are the Phantom’s 8 favorite spots for a good time and a great meal.
Flying Saucer Pizza
Kicking off the Great 8 is Flying Saucer Pizza in Salem, Mass. Far from an ordinary pizza place, this wacky sci-fi themed pizzeria is what happens when ‘Live Long and Prosper’, meets dough, sauce, and cheese. The dining room is filled with photos, collectibles, and action figures while the menu is a lineup of pies named for nerdy legends. Take for example the Dark Phoenix, a Buffalo Chicken pizza that burns even hotter thanks to fresh jalapenos.
For a truly transformative treat, try the Megatron. “The Megatron is a loaded baked potato pizza, and it’s just as dominating as the name sounds. It’s a very, very powerful pizza. It’s very heavy: potatoes, bacon, scallions, ricotta, on a white crust with cherry tomatoes. It is heavy duty.”
Wasabi in the Natick Mall has busy shoppers feasting with their eyes before their bellies. With tables lined around a snaking conveyor belt, fresh and fun sushi weaves through an open dining room surrounded by stores and shops. When you see something you like, you just reach out and grab it.
“It’s nice seeing your options as opposed to simply picking something from a menu. We could grab food as we wanted to, which I think with sushi is the way to go, since they’re such small plates.”
Another Great 8 winner is Q’s Nuts in Davis Square, Somerville. This quirky, family run snack store specializes in all things nuts. Owners Brian and Beth Quinn roast almonds, cashews, peanuts and pecans in intriguing flavors like Key Lime Ginger and Sea Salt with Herbs. While this fun loving duo is serious about their product, coming up with the name “Q’s Nuts” was very tongue-in-cheek.
“It started as a joke. It’s a little hard to change the name at this point, but it’s a lot of fun. I tend to think I don’t want to sell to anyone that doesn’t have a sense of humor.”
FiRE + iCE
Cambridge, Boston, Providence
FiRE + iCE in Harvard Square, Boston, and Providence is an interactive dining experience where customers choose from over fifty different ingredients – from meat and seafood to vegetables and sauces. Then the grill experts take over and stir fry it on a gigantic grill, right before your eyes. While dinner is delicious, brunch is even better, with enormous omelets and pancakes stuffed with anything you want.
Watch: Fun Restaurants, Part 2
Tres Gatos in Jamaica Plain specializes in Spanish style tapas, but this is no ordinary restaurant. There’s a full-fledged book and music store in back, where hungry diners browse the shelves while waiting to sink their teeth into crispy chicken confit, grilled flank steak, or tasty patatas bravas. And funny enough, no one ever seems to mind the wait.~
“It certainly seems to beat waiting outside in a vestibule with one of those little light up buzzer things. I have seen people waiting 45 minutes to an hour without ever raising the question. ‘ is our table almost ready?’”
Located right on Plymouth Harbor, The CabbyShack is like a non-stop party, whether you’re eating outside on the multi-level deck, or inside the fun and festive dining room. From big plates of fried seafood, big bowls of creamy clam chowder, to even bigger platters of lobster, the food is about as fresh as you can get.
“You can’t get any fresher than our lobster. They come out of these waters, right over to our loading dock.”
Silly’s in Portland take fun food to new levels. The space is decorated with crazy lights and silly toys, and the menus are kept in lunchboxes. Appetizers include homemade Sweet Potato Fries with honey mustard, and a dish known as Gravy Danger: hand-cut fries topped with gravy, bacon, and melted cheese. Silly’s over the top shakes come in crazy flavors ranging from chocolate S’mores to peanut butter and bacon.
Rounding out the Great 8 is Chips Shots in Littleton, where you can dine while teeing off at the front nine. This is a sports bar where you don’t just watch the game on flat screens, you play it on a big screen. Chip Shot’s menu is lined with all of your favorites, like crispy pepperoni pizza and tasty steak tips. While you’re putting for birdie, you can sink your teeth into the Birdie Burger topped with bacon, cheese, jalapenos and a fiery chipotle ranch sauce.
Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.
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