East Boston, which was a predominantly Italian neighborhood not all that long ago, is now heavily Hispanic, and the dining scene certainly reflects this trend, with many restaurants serving Mexican, Salvadoran, Colombian, Brazilian, and Peruvian cuisine, to name a few. And while it is up for debate as to which of these restaurants are the cream of the crop, there is one place in the historic Eagle Hill district called Angela's Cafe that some consider (including this writer) is one of the best Mexican restaurants in the entire Boston area.
Angela's, which resides in a primarily residential neighborhood, could easily be mistaken for a cafe or sub shop from the outside, but the relatively plain exterior and simple (but attractive) interior mean little to those who dine at this restaurant. Whether patrons sit at one of the handful of tables or head up to the counter to pick up takeout food, they are greeted with some truly outstanding food. The sauce is the thing here, with a slightly hot red sauce and a cooler green sauce adding much flavor to select dishes. And the mole sauce is like no other you will find in or near Boston, as it is overflowing with a mix of flavors, including bitter chocolate, chiles, cinnamon, and a number of other spices and ingredients.
Some of the daily menu items you will find at Angela's Cafe include a guacamole appetizer which is smooth and mild and comes in a traditional stone dish; a delectable tortilla soup that has a zesty tomato base; a nicely-textured tostada (shredded chicken, crumbled cheese, sour cream, homemade refried beans, and lettuce, all layered on a crispy corn tortilla); a simple but tasty taco that (comes with onions and cilantro and can be ordered with pork, chicken, or grilled steak); the aforementioned gordita (soft tortilla with sauce and shredded chicken, crumbled cheese, and onions); a delightful chicken enchilada dish with their wonderful mole sauce; a similarly good chicken mole poblano dish; and a savory pork adobo, which includes pork loin in a slightly smoky and slightly bitter/sour sauce. Dessert includes a creamy flan that consists of a rich and sweet vanilla custard and a Mexican rice pudding that gets an added boost from cinnamon. A few beverage options include beer, wine, and Mexican sodas (including mango and tamarind).
As is the case with restaurant guides, not all dining spots on Boston's Hidden Restaurants are equal in quality, but there are precious few that make us say, "Wow." Angela's Cafe certainly is one restaurant that has that "wow" factor, and the fact that it is a family-owned spot with friendly, down-to-earth people running it doesn't hurt, either. A tip of the hat to Angela's Cafe, which has helped make it even more exciting to go to East Boston for dining out these days.
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