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WHAT SHE'S HAVING

Some of Greater Boston’s best food is in . . . Burlington?

From tacos to dosas to banh mi and more, Amy Poehler’s hometown has more than just a mall.

A feast at the newly reopened La Ventana in Burlington.

Words I never thought I’d write: Some of Greater Boston’s most exciting food is in Burlington. Over the past several years, the culinary scene here has flourished, thanks to expansions at the Burlington Mall, Wayside Commons, 3rd Ave. Burlington, and more. While there are certainly some chains — Five Guys; Shake Shack; Sweetgreen — there are also plenty of lesser-known, destination-worthy delights. Here are five of them.

La Ventana Taqueria: This is a taco pop-up inside Row 34, created by chefs Jeremy Sewall (Island Creek Oyster Bar, Lineage) and Isaac Reyes. The ghost kitchen had opened during COVID-19 and now it’s back, hopefully for good. Row 34 specializes in fresh seafood, and so does La Ventana: spicy crab tostadas; grilled shrimp in a tingly pineapple salsa. Tortillas are warm, soft, and double-rolled; fillings are generous. The sleeper hit: a silky jalapeno-chorizo queso with a side of warm, lightly salted tortilla chips. Note: It’s only open for delivery or takeout, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they open a permanent location soon. That’s how much the locals love it. 300 District Ave., 781-761-6500, www.laventana.co

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Mehfil: Formerly Ritu Ki Rasoi but now with new management, this is still a lovely below-the-radar bet for vegetarian Indo-Chinese food, served fast and fresh. Don’t let the unusual loading-dock location fool you. Step inside for creamy saag paneer, craggy cheese masala dosa, and my personal favorite: airy, popcorn-like gobi Manchurian — crisp cauliflower rolled in a starchy sweet-and sour sauce. The $17.95 bottomless lunch buffet is a true bargain ($12.95 for kids). 207E Cambridge St., Burlington, 781-229-8349, www.ritukirasoi.com

The OkiPoké: This bright, squeaky-clean, efficient poke bowl shop’s fish is glossy and pristine, sourced fresh from Fish Pier. The toppings-to-fish ratio is always nicely balanced: Hefty scoops of spicy tuna or salmon are saucy but never soggy, with bountiful chunks of avocado, sweet corn, sweet onion, cucumbers, slivered jalapenos, pickled ginger, squiggles of eel sauce or ponzu, and (almost) whatever else your heart desires, on a bed of sushi (or brown, if feeling healthy) rice. It’s a massive meal for a little over $10, served quick. 19 3rd Ave., Burlington, 781-365-0890, www.theokipoke.com

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Viet Citron: A thin paper wrapper can barely contain this crispy banh mi stacked with crunchy carrot sticks, pickles, jalapenos, and lots of cilantro, plus a savory slather of garlic soy and eggy mayo. Get it stuffed with smoky, chubby grilled tiger prawns and ask for a side of briny fish sauce. This is the type of sandwich you’ll eat in your car, the ideal symphony of flavors in six or seven bites. Online ordering is glitch-free; inventory is replenished regularly. 47 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, 781-750-3021, www.vietcitron.com

Yas Chicken: A new entry to the Burlington fast-casual market, Yas Chicken specializes in fried chicken sandwiches but also other food best eaten drunk, hungry, or savored virtually on TikTok: cheese-filled corn dogs, loaded tater tots, seafood Rangoon, Belgian waffles. Our crew stuck to chicken on the first visit (the menu wasn’t fully available), and I was pleasantly surprised: the white-meat chicken was juicy, the batter was crunchy but light, and the buttery brioche bun was sweet and squishy. A good place to visit with kids. 90 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, www.yaschicken.com


Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her @kcbaskin.