Five Things Nadsa de Monteiro Loves

The executive chef of the South End Elephant Walk shares her favorite places to eat, shop, and stroll.

Want to know where the pros go? We’re asking Best of Boston winners to divulge their five favorite places in Boston. Below, Nadsa de Monteiro—the executive chef of the South End location of French-Cambodian restaurant Elephant Walk—shares her picks.

Nadsa de Monteiro

Nadsa de Monteiro / Courtesy photo

Seven Stars Bookstore

“This bookstore is a gem for all things metaphysical. An extensive variety of esoteric books, a huge collection of crystals at great prices. [Owner Stuart Weinberg] is very knowledgeable and passionate about his very special store. I love going there and stepping into a different dimension for an hour or two browsing the books and playing with the crystals, indulging my curiosities about the mysteries of the Universe.”

Seven Stars, 731 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617.547-1317.

Almond Croissants at the South End Buttery

“Having lived many years in France and Paris, I have not been able to find croissants here that would satisfy me. But when our restaurant moved to the South End location last year, I discovered the almond croissants at the South End Buttery, and I must say that they are quite extraordinarily delicious! Just like the ones in Paris! Only problem is that they sell out quickly, so you have to hurry!”

South End Buttery, 314 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-482-1015,

Grilled Catfish at Phở Lê Vietnamese Cuisine

“One of my favorite feasts to share with my mother is when we share a whole two-to-three-pound catfish grilled to perfection, served with lots of fresh herbs, rice noodles, rice paper, and sauces to wrap and to dip it in. It’s best to call ahead of time to order the fish so that you don’t have to wait 45 minutes and it’s ready when you walk in. The fish is golden and so crispy, you can eat almost everything—including the head, tail and fins—and the flesh is moist and sweet! I like to watch my mother enjoy it even more than I do, and I love sharing this favorite with her.”

Phở Lê Vietnamese Cuisine, 1356 Dorchester Ave., Boston, 617-506-6294,

A Stroll at Castle Island

“One of my favorite places for a walk is Castle Island, especially in warmer weather. It’s such a beautiful place, and even with a lot of people around enjoying the fresh air, it always feels peaceful and relaxing. It’s also a great place to hang out with friends, maybe with a picnic. I love feeling the ocean breeze, and places like this are the reason why I love living in Boston. With the Atlantic Ocean so close, we can smell the ocean at our house when the wind is in the right direction.”

Castle Island, 2010 Day Boulevard, South Boston, 617-727-5290,


“Korean food is one of my favorites! And Koreana offers a wonderful barbecue at the table to enjoy cooking together with friends and family. My favorite is the pork bulgogi, which is thinly sliced pork marinated in spicy sweet barbecue sauce, served with an array of pickled, fresh, and fermented side dishes. The scallion pancake is one of the best in this city, and I love all their soups.”

Koreana, 154 Prospect St., Cambridge, 617-576-8661,