This sprawling neighborhood of Boston is often overlooked when it comes to dining out, in part because it is just so far from the downtown section of the city. Indeed, to get from Faneuil Hall to the Readville section of Hyde Park will take you a long time even without traffic, and parts of Hyde Park (including Readville) look a lot more like the suburbs than the city. But there are definitely some excellent options for food and drink here, and because it is miles away from the trendy bistros of the South End and the hotspots of the Seaport District, you’ll tend to find a lot of simple neighborhood eateries and some real under-the-radar spots.
For some local flavor at a place that’s about as out-of-the-way as you can get, Richy's (1461 River Street) is a terrific option, especially if you like a good, hearty breakfast. Mainly a place for folks who live in the quiet residential areas west of Cleary Square, this old-fashioned diner is a classic greasy spoon where you can order heaping portions of bacon, eggs, corned beef hash and more, and there’s a good chance you’ll run into some real characters here.
Located in the heart of historic Logan Square, Antonio's Bacaro (5 Fairmont Ave) is a cozy little Italian restaurant that offers casual upscale dining at prices that tend to be lower than similar places closer to downtown Boston. Here you’ll find such options as calamari, risotto, sausage gnocchi, crispy duck, carbonara, grilled chicken and pan-seared salmon, along with an extensive selection of beers, wines and martinis.
An eclectic fusion spot in the Cleary Square/Logan Square area of Hyde Park, ZaZ Restaurant (1238 River Street) is a bit of a hidden gem that doesn’t get a whole lot of press. The restaurant focuses in part on modern and classic American fare with international influences, with dishes such as jerk chicken, spicy basil fried rice, fish tacos, lemongrass chicken sandwiches and plantains sharing the menu with burgers, club sandwiches and chicken tenders.
Caribbean food is quite popular in and around Hyde Park, and one option for it is Only One Jamaican Restaurant (1345 Hyde Park Avenue) which resides in a little strip mall just south of Cleary Square. Meat eaters will be happy at this tiny storefront, with such options as beef patties, curry chicken, jerk chicken and oxtail as well as some items you might not see all the time, including cow feet and escovitch fish (fried fish in a pickled sauce).
Another option for Caribbean fare is Rincon Caribeno (18 Fairmount Avenue), with this Logan Square eatery featuring dishes typically found in the Dominican Republic. Fried cheese and chicken turnovers are on the menu here, along with mofongo (plantain lovers, take note), pork chops, grilled skirt steak, goat stew, paella and red snapper. Oh, and if you’ve never tried fried pork skin, do yourself a favor and try this tremendous delicacy here.
10 in Your Town
More of an Italian specialty shop than a restaurant, Tutto Italiano (1889 River Street) is where locals go for bread, wine, olive oil, meats and nearly every other Italian fave you can think of. In addition, this hidden gem near the Dedham line also offers outstanding sandwiches, including an Italian (of course), ham, turkey, tuna, roast beef, prosciutto and grilled eggplant as well as hot options such as meatball subs and a classic chicken parm.
Half the fun of going to B.C. Baking Co. (27 Como Road) is simply trying to find it, as this local bakery is hidden away in an improbable location on a side street in an old residential neighborhood of Readville. Once you do find it, you’ll enter a place full of goodies including a variety of pastries and baked goods, while lovers of Sicilian pizza slices surely won’t be disappointed here. By the way, if you’re looking for a sandwich, a tiny deli area is set up in the back as well.
Readville feels frozen in time, as its little center looks like something out of an old movie, complete with a barber shop, general store, postcard-sized village green, and a takeout joint called Olympic Pizza (187 Wolcott Square) that is your classic “house of pizza” place. Expect to find Greek pizza, calzones, subs, burgers, pasta dishes and grill items at this local hangout, and if you like curly fries (and who doesn’t?), you’ll find a solid version of those here, too.
The name might throw you, but Las Vegas (6 Maple Street) is not a bustling gambling spot nor is it a chic nightclub, instead being an unassuming Haitian restaurant hidden away on a side street between Cleary Square and Logan Square that serves up a variety of dishes at extremely low prices. Some of the dishes that you’ll find at this little eatery include fried chicken, red snapper, fried shrimp, stewed goat and rice and beans.
For those who like both Brazilian food and Italian food, River Grille Restaurant & Cafe (1263 River Street) certainly has a little of both, and you’ll find some Chinese and Mexican influences among the offerings as well. Located in the heart of Cleary Square, this casual dining spot offers everything from codfish cakes and cheese bread to pizza and calzones, and such items as chicken teriyaki and shrimp corn soup are also offered.