Hidden Gems: Waterfront Restaurants Away from the Ocean

You don't have to head to the seaport in order to get a sparkling water-side view.

In Hidden Gems, local food blogger Marc Hurwitz (of Hidden Boston and Boston Restaurant Talk) spotlights off-the-beaten-path, under-the-radar restaurants.

It is no secret that the Boston area has a number of dining spots along the ocean. But how about the waterside restaurants that are away from the coast? While there aren’t all that many within the city limits, if you look hard enough (and drive far enough), you can find a few—like the places below— scattered about here and there.

88 Wharf Street, Milton, 857-598-4826, 88wharf.com

All photos (except for Salvatore’s) by Marc Hurwitz

Just south of the Boston line near Dorchester’s Lower Mills is an upscale eatery called 88 Wharf, which sits above the Neponset River in Milton Landing. Milton Landing itself is a bit of a hidden gem, being located in a gorgeous setting on a dead-end road behind Milton Village, and the restaurant’s location on the ground floor of a condo complex only cements its under-the-radar status. 88 Wharf has a bit of everything, including a bustling bar near the main entrance, a relatively serene dining area off to the right, and during the warmer months, a spacious patio that affords sweeping vistas of the river. Italian dishes were recently added to the mostly New American menu (including a plate of delicious meatballs marinated in a red wine sauce), thanks to a makeover by the folks from La Morra in Brookline.

20 Crest Road, Wayland, 508-655-0010, thedudleychateau.com

For folks who love lakeside dining—and love places in the middle of nowhere—it is tough to beat the Dudley Chateau in Wayland. A former fishing lodge, speakeasy, and men’s drinking club that sits by Dudley Pond at the intersection of a couple of side streets, “The Chat” looks like a spot that you might find in the middle of the Adirondacks in New York rather than an affluent western suburb of Boston. The main dining area (and bar) is located upstairs in a rustic and weathered room, while downstairs includes a low-ceilinged space that feels like a rather sketchy rough-and-tumble tap room (and it may have been, back in the day). Food at the Dudley Chateau is mostly solid pub grub, with decent chili, burgers, steak tips, turkey tips, sausage plates, and onion rings along with a few beer, wine, and liquor options.

139 Lakeside Avenue (Route 20), Marlborough, 508-485-4300, alloraonline.com

A more upscale option in the western suburbs is a lakeside Mediterranean spot in Marlborough called Allora Ristorante. Located on Route 20 between downtown Marlborough and the Route 495 intersection, this elegant eatery has absolutely marvelous views of Lake William from its sprawling seasonal patio, while the interior of the eatery—which includes an attractive mahogany bar–is both classy-looking and quiet, making for a great place to go on a date or if you just want to have quiet conversation. The menu at Allora tends to lean toward Italian fare, including such items as risotto arancini, fried mozzarella, wedding soup, chicken milanese, house-made sausage, and swordfish puttanesca. (A gluten-free menu is available as well.)

354 Merrimack Street, Lawrence, 978-291-0220, salvatoresrestaurants.com

Photos courtesy of Salvatore’s

North of Boston in the old mill city of Lawrence is a restaurant with a familiar name—Salvatore’s. And yes, this is indeed the same Salvatore’s that is found in Boston’s Seaport District and Financial District as well as in Medford and Andover, but what sets the Lawrence location apart from the others is its spectacular setting in a massive old mill building along the Merrimack River. The dining spot is a spacious one that has upscale touches while retaining much of the charm of the restored structure in which it resides. And perhaps the best part of the restaurant is its long, narrow outdoor deck that features jaw-dropping views of the Merrimack, though during the winter months the views from its indoor table aren’t too shabby, either. Northern and Southern Italian dishes such as pan-seared salmon, gnocchi and chicken marsala are offered at Salvatore’s, along with pizza from Sal’s (Sal’s Pizza is affiliated with Salvatore’s).

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