Everyone gets in a dining rut now and then. Whether you find yourself sitting at the same old booth every weekend, or just feel like you’re never experiencing any new flavors, heading to a great ethnic restaurant can give you the amazing meal you need to break out of those dining doldrums. These Massachusetts ethnic restaurants are packed with charm and dishes that are anything but boring.
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1. Tumi Peruvian and Italian Kitchen, Hyannis
Tumi specializes in an unlikely blend of Italian and Peruvian cooking, but it totally works. Located on scenic Main Street in Hyannis, this restaurant is quickly becoming known for its delicious paella, ceviche and and empanadas. Don't come here expecting anything boring, and be prepared to sample something new. Try the lobster risotto (pictured) for the perfect blend of creamy carbs and delicious seafood flavor. (592 Main Street, Hyannis)
2. Istanbul’lu, Somerville
This small Teele Square restaurant in Somerville is a true hidden gem. The atmosphere is cozy and colorful. Even though the seating is limited, the food is amazing and well worth a quick wait for a table. Try the sumptuous Sultan's Delight, the Kofte plate, and the laz pancakes with a side of scrambled eggs. (237 Holland Street, Somerville)
3. Saray II, Springfield
This place has a very unassuming exterior, but don't be fooled. Inside, a world of delicious Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine will unfold across your table. The atmosphere is classy but not too stuffy. Try a little bit of everything, but don't miss the mixed grill platter, the saray special pie, or the classic Turkish tea. (1374 Allen Street, Springfield)
4. Rega's Grill, Lawrence
This place is a buffet-style restaurant with a twist – each table is equipped with it's own grill, so you can prepare your own delicious Korean BBQ right at your seat. If you don't feel like cooking, there are plenty of prepared options that you can just heap onto your plate and enjoy. Try the veggie dumplings, the beef bulgogi or the BBQ pork belly. (609 South Union Street, Lawrence)
5. La Fogata, Pittsfield
The Columbian food you'll find at La Fogata rivals any you'd find in Columbia itself. It's easy to overlook this place based on its casual appearance, but the quality is unmatched in the area. Prices are great as well, considering how generous the portion sizes are. Try the Bandeja Tipica Pequeña, which is steak, pork rind, fried egg, beans, rice, arepa and sweet plantain perfectly cooked and served together. (770 Tyler Street, Pittsfield)
6. Amanouz Cafe, Northampton
This Northampton spot has plenty of local devotees, but is still enough of a hidden gem that you won't be battling the out-of-town crowds. Amanouz Cafe serves delicious Moroccan and Mediterranean food that is full of flavor and authentic character. The portions are huge, and there are almost too many choices. Meat fiends should try the beef tagine or the chicken couscous with tender drumsticks. The falafel is also to die for. (44 Main Street,
7. Thai Blue Ginger, Greenfield
Authentic and delicious Thai food is right at your fingertips (or fork-tips) at Thai Blue Ginger. If you like your dishes spicy (like, actually spicy and not just "American"-spicy) you can ask them to serve your meal Thai-style and you'll get all the spice you desire. The pad see yoo is yummy, and the orange chicken is among the best around. P.S. – try the fried Oreos for dessert. (298 Main Street, Greenfield)
8. Sarma, Somerville
Sarma is a standout Middle Eastern restaurant in an area that is known for its strong dining options. They specialize in gorgeously presented and thoughtful classics, often mixing cuisines with amazing results. The atmosphere here is definitely on the classier side of casual, so it would make a great date spot. We recommend feta cheese gnocchi, the halloumi fries with fig ketchup or the lamb kofte sliders. (249 Pearl Street, Somerville)
9. Brazilian Grill, Hyannis
You've never had Brazilian food like this. You pay one price at the door, and have access to all the gourmet meats and treats you could dream of. The servers come around with skewers of everything from flank steak to chicken hearts. They'll shave off a slice of whatever you wish – you simply tell them "when." This is a true meat-lover's paradise, but there are plenty of options for vegetarians at the massive buffet. (680 Main Street, Hyannis)
10. Fatima's Cafe, Worcester
Fatima's Cafe serves African cuisine that is full of flavor and homemade taste. This place has a cult following, and many diners praise their massive portions that don't sacrifice taste for quantity. Even though this place offers plenty of delicious chicken, beef and goat dishes, there are lots of gluten-free and vegetarian options as well. Try the Somali anjero or the delectable samosas. (43 West Boylston Street,
11. Antara Peruvian Restaurant, Medfield
If you've never had authentic Peruvian food, you've been missing out. Antara does a great job of balancing bold traditional flavors with modern presentation. Try the calamari appetizer in a martini glass, or the Arroz con Mariscos. This place is also BYOB (with a small fee), so feel free to bring your favorite libation. There's also a liquor store next door in case you forget the drinks at home.
There are so many great ethnic restaurants in Massachusetts, but these are a few of our favorites. What are yours? If you’re hungry for more, check out
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