These 3 Mass. restaurants made Yelp’s top 100 list of places to eat

Boston's North End, the neighborhood where Carmelina's is located.
Boston's North End, the neighborhood where Carmelina's is located.ONATHAN WIGGS/GLOBE STAFF

Three Massachusetts restaurants, including one in Boston, made Yelp’s national list of top 100 places to eat in 2020.

Carmelina’s in the North End came in at No. 49 on the list, which was released Tuesday. The Hanover Street restaurant opened in 2012, and features traditional Sicilian comfort food with a Mediterranean twist, according to Carmelina’s website.

“The small space offers an intimate dining experience and diners can watch their dishes come together from beginning to end,” the restaurant’s website states. “During the summer months retractable front walls allow for open-air dining.”

The menu also seems to be priced fairly reasonably for the North End: many pasta dishes run about $18, chicken mains cost about $20, and glasses of wine start at $9, according to its website.


The restaurant was also touted by the Phantom Gourmet in 2012, which focused heavily on the “Sunday Macaroni” dish ($29), which is a bowl of rigatoni with tomato sauce, meatballs, sausage, short rib, and ricotta cheese.

Carmelina’s is joined on the Yelp list by Pruller Restaurant in Marlborough, which came in at No. 76, and JJ’s Caffe in Brockton, which wasn’t far behind at No. 78.

Pruller, located on Marlborough’s Lincoln Street, is a Brazilian restaurant where everything is served buffet style, including churrasco barbecue meats.

“My cooks are very talented and very passionate. They do it with real love,” owner Erich Pruller told the Globe in 2015. (At that time, the buffet cost just $13 per person.)

A sampling of the buffet fare at Pruller Restaurant in Marlborough, which features churrasco barbecue meats.
A sampling of the buffet fare at Pruller Restaurant in Marlborough, which features churrasco barbecue meats.Katherine Taylor for The Boston Globe

The Phantom Gourmet also reviewed JJ’s Caffe on Brockton’s Main Street in 2016, an unassuming building (and interior) that serves up breakfast and lunch fare. Behind the counter: Justino “JJ” Fernandes, who was a chef at Boston’s Park Plaza hotel and has cooked for presidents and mayors, according to the Phantom Gourmet piece.


“What we try to do is create a restaurant where everything that comes out is going to be the best thing you’ve ever had,” his son told Phantom Gourmet.

The cafe is known for its “indulgent” dishes such as the creme brulee french toast ($9.25), which “flies off the shelves,” as well as the “hash bomb" ($10.25), which consists of deep-fried corned beef hash balls stuffed with cheese and hot sauce.

The Yelp list’s rankings are based on restaurants’ ratings and amount of reviews in 2019, which were then curated “with the expertise of our Community Managers around the country,” according to Yelp.

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JaclynReiss