The new year promises a wealth of inexpensive and moderate new restaurants in Greater Boston. Here are a few that have us on tenterhooks.
ONE OF THE KIND
That restaurant name isn't a typo, just the kind of slightly fractured English that says "traditional" to budget-dining aficionados. This Chinese stall in the city's best food court will feature some dishes from Shandong, a regional cuisine that is underserved in Boston.
Hong Kong Supermarket Food Court, 1095 Comm Ave, Allston
Devotees of the recently shuttered Don Ricardo's can take some comfort that in the wake of his retirement, the Don's successor is bringing nice-priced Puerto Rican fare to the South End, a neighborhood notoriously short on cheaper dining options.
57 West Dedham Street, Boston
LONE STAR TACO BAR
Deep Ellum, Allston's beloved slinger of beer-geek brews, craft cocktails, and modest American fare, is finally ready to open its expansion project next door. January will see the long-awaited debut of this Texas-style taqueria.
477 Cambridge Street, Allston
THE TIP TAP ROOM
This new Beacon Hill spot is a complete revamping of notorious Chinese dive Shangri-La. The folks behind the Parish Cafés and the Rattlesnake, including chef Brian Poe, will frame a wide beer selection, cocktails, steak tips, and other American fare with casual tavern atmosphere.
138 Cambridge Street, Boston
WEGMANS FOOD MARKET
A new mixed-use development across Route 9 from the Mall at Chestnut Hill will be the closest outlet of this famed supermarket chain. The cheap-eats news is its Market Cafe, an extensive prepared-foods section that includes a salad bar, wok station, rotisserie meats, soups, sandwiches, pizza, and sushi for takeout.
200 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill
ORINOCO HARVARD SQUARE
Orinoco already has two smash hits with its South End and Brookline Village locations. This third outlet will bring its mid-priced take on Venezuelan fare to the hidden Harvard Square location that most recently was home to Small Plates.
56 JFK Street, Cambridge
GUCHI'S MIDNIGHT RAMEN
Chefs affiliated with swank, costly, modern Japanese restaurant O Ya noticed the dearth of good late-night dining options and a proper bowl of ramen in Boston. They aim to address both problems at once with this new stand.
The team behind the North End's Bacco is debuting a new Mediterranean concept in the space formerly occupied by the Kirkland Café, complementing a cluster of nearby eateries that includes Dali, the Kebab Factory, Bergamot, and the Biscuit.
425 Washington Street, Somerville
Despite a wealth of budget restaurants, Allston has long lacked a great breakfast-all-day joint. This successor to the former Grain and Salt should help close that gap with a Southern-accented menu featuring chicken n' waffles and some vegan-friendly dishes.
431 Cambridge Street, Allston
Here's hoping 2012 finds you dining out well and thriftily! Ganbei!
LOOK AHEAD: All the movies, music, theater, games, restaurants (and more!) you'll be checking out in 2012