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Weekend Recommendations: A Greek Party in the South End and Black Friday Beer Bashes

Ilona brings the Mediterranean vibes, and a new social club for women cozies up to Caffe Vittoria in the North End

A bright restaurant interior with baby blue booths and gold accents.
Ilona in the South End.

Welcome to Eater’s periodic roundup of weekend food and drink events worth checking out around town. Want to let us know about an upcoming Boston-area event? Get in touch at

November 24 to 26

Greek Feast

By Saturday, you’re probably sick of Thanksgiving leftovers. Skip the reheated turkey and head to Ilona in the South End for its monthly non-ticketed Greek Night on November 25 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m for your fill of Hellenic cuisine and entertainment. Dig into Ilona’s bites and cocktails while DJ Souhleris of Greek AF Radio — the globe’s largest Greek streaming service — spins the high-energy beats. Whether you’re hanging out in the restaurant's bright dining room or lounge, the plates pave the path from cloudy Boston to the sun-kissed Mediterranean. Graze over Greek mezze like halloumi cheese served with figs, honey-citrus sauce, and sesame seeds, along with grilled octopus and herb-packed falafel. Larger dishes include seafood risotto and slow-roasted lamb with tzatziki and pita. Check out the globe-trotting wine list, too.

Taproom Time

One surefire way to make Black Friday a lot less bleak: Skip the chaotic holiday shopping and instead head to Castle Island Brewing for its Stress-Free Friday. The free bashes at both the Norwood and South Boston taprooms let you unwind with yard games and South-Shore style bar pizza and other bites from Bardo’s Bar Pizza, as the brewery celebrates the release of a new beer. Plus, with discounts on mix packs and merch, you can probably multitask and get the jump on some holiday shopping, too. The party starts at noon at both locations, and the Norwood taproom is open until 9 p.m., while the South Boston location is open until 12 a.m.

Sip and Be Social

Discover Her, a social club aimed at creating fun social spaces and community events for young women to meet, takes over Caffe Vittoria on Sunday, November 24 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Dubbed “Cozy Cafe Day,” the event begins with a quick icebreaker to introduce attendees, before casual socializing. Tickets are $40 and include one drink and one pastry, and you’ll want to spend a while with some new friends as you explore the four-floor cafe and its vintage decor (best enjoyed sipping on a caffee corretto, or a shot of espresso in hot chocolate). While you’re in the neighborhood, stay for an early dinner at Parla, which opens at 4:30 p.m. Considering the generous modern Italian plates and novel-length drink menu, you just might be thankful for the early start.

November 17 to 19

Reign on Me

There’s even more of a reason to head to fan-favorite pick-me-up place in Dorchester, Reign Drink Lab, this weekend. Sandgies, the Southern-inspired biscuit sandwich pop-up by Patrick Johnson, brings three breakfast beauties to the shop on Saturday, from 8 a.m. until sold out. Choose from bacon, egg, and confit tomato aioli; Vietnamese nem with egg and lemongrass aioli; or double egg with confit tomato aioli. Sandwiches are $10 each, and you can pre-order here. (While pre-orders are not required, keep in mind that Sandgies is likely to sell out by noon.) And on Sunday, Pon de Joy is popping up with delightful mochi donuts from 8 a.m. to sold out, too.

Wash the sandwiches down with Reign’s stellar coffees, teas, and blended drinks — the dark and stormy, with nitro cold brew, Vietnamese coffee, and sea salt cream is a favorite. And drink up while you can: Reign closes for its usual winter hiatus on November 22nd. (It’ll either reopen after renovations in the spring, or later in the spring in a completely new spot in Dorchester.) Worried about going that long without Reign? The cafe’s second location within B/Spoke in South Boston will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. starting on Friday, November 24th.

Little Helpings

Calling all future chefs: Let the little ones learn how to craft different kinds of pasta with Seven Hills Pasta Co. at the Boston Public Market. On Saturday, November 18 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., chef and pasta instructor Avery Perry—also an experienced camp counselor—will guide the petite chefs through the process of making pasta from scratch and using pasta machines. Then, they’ll (most importantly) eat their creations. The relaxed, hands-on lesson includes handling flour and eggs, with both vegan and meat options for lunch. Tickets are $30 per child. And just think, the class comes at the perfect time to put them to work helping you cook those holiday meals.

Sweet Spot

In case you find yourself at the Street in Chestnut Hill to get a jump on the holiday shopping, you might notice a New York newcomer. Brooklyn-founded Mia’s Bakery is now open at the outdoor shopping area — its first location in Massachusetts — bringing a feast of globe-trotting goodies. Within the bright and airy space, find French macarons (both classic and seasonal special flavors), along with tiramisu, baklava, generous New-York style cheesecakes, and just about every dessert and pastry right out of your sweetest dreams. Fuel up with breakfast plates (including a savory waffle with egg, bacon, and maple syrup), soups, sandwiches, and a handful of heartier entrees, too.

November 10 to 12

Let it Snowport

Snowport, the mini holiday neighborhood that brings a bit of the North Pole to the Seaport, reopens again for the season this Friday. Escape from the chilly weekend weather by warming up at the faux fireplaces and within the heated tent. Along with offering a space for over 100 small businesses — mostly from Boston and elsewhere in New England — to show off their goodies, Snowport is also a culinary hotspot during the cold months. The “après-ski” lodge-themed dining area features 17 food and beverage spots, from the warm and gooey raclette cheese by Baked Cheese Haus, hearty bisques and chowders from Bluefin, and the Nada Cart’s empanadas. New this year, Cheese Wheel Pasta serves carby deliciousness in (you guessed it) cheese wheels. This weekend, Snowport is open on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Breakfast feasts and football

The Patriots make their debut in Germany with a game against the Colts this Sunday. And if you can’t hop a plane to Frankfurt to see the action in person, you’re not totally out of luck. Banners Kitchen & Tap at the Hub on the Causeway will be playing the game on it’s almost-40-foot-high LED TV, and debuting its new brunch menu at the same time. The action starts at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, with a hangover burger — an eight-ounce patty with cheddar, barbeque pork, a fried egg, and frizzled onions — plus a waffle breakfast sandwich, and a fruit acai bowl on the menu, too. For a bit of tableside gameplay, the hanging bacon dish is torched tableside and comes with bourbon maple shots. Starting next week, weekend brunch kicks off its normal hours of 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays and Saturdays.

A new post-work hangout

What makes heading back to in-person work downtown, especially with the sun setting so early, just a little more bearable? Friday post-work bar hangouts. Boston Chops Downtown just launched a new “Chopping Block” menu only available at its handsome bar, with less-expensive options to have a quick pre-dinner snack, or stay for a whole meal. Slurp down $2 oysters before 6 p.m., then pick through plates of tuna tartare, calamari tossed in Thai chili and sweet soy sauce, and loaded poutine. Heartier helpings include a filet mignon sandwich with mustard sauce and crispy shallots on a potato roll, and a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich. The menu is available all week starting at 5 p.m. and starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday when the restaurant opens earlier.

November 3 to 5

Abruzzo Appetites

In the Abruzzo region of Italy, where Ducali Pizzeria owner Phil Frattaroli hails from, polentata is a unique meal. The dish consists of corn flour cooked in a large pot and then poured out directly onto a table, where loved ones eat without dishes or utensils. At Ducali, polentata is a new communal large-format dining experience which sees the warm golden cornmeal served tableside on large wood blocks, then studded with various ingredients like braised radicchio, Italian sausage, and prosciutto and peas. The dish is available for parties of six to 20 people at $50 per person. Diners must order up the polentata in advance — it’ll take the guesswork out of picking plates for the whole party, anyway.

Town Table

Gifford House in Provincetown is enjoying a community-focused renaissance since local Steve Azar took over the 33-room hotel from longtime owner Jim Foss earlier this year. Every Sunday through the winter, the cultural hub — with an events space, a club, a bar, and a lounge joining the hotel proper — is hosting a free potluck from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Wilde events hall. Guests are encouraged to bring their favorite winter-minded dishes (maybe it’s time to break out the crockpot for some comforting and easy-to-make chili) or desserts to share with other folks. Gifford has ovens on-site for heating things up, if needed. If you find yourself on an off-weekend visit to the Cape haven, drop in for some company. Don’t cook? Perhaps you can bring some takeout from one of the essential restaurants in town.

Chocolate Cravings

Things just got a little sweeter at the Avery Bar within the Ritz-Carlton, Boston with the launch of Avery Bar Chocolate late last month. Each Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m. through the holidays, pop into the hotel bar and warm up by the marble fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate and accompaniments by pastry chef Christoper Goluszka. His concoction is a mix of Maracaibo Créole milk chocolate — a cream-forward chocolate with hints of caramel — and Maracaibo Clasificado dark chocolate, with notes of coffee, plum, and orange blossom. Adults can choose to spike their sip with their spirit of choice, and kids can enjoy a more classic (booze-free, naturally) hot cocoa. Alongside hot chocolate, savor candy cane shortbread cookies, double-fudge brownies, vanilla bean marshmallows, caramel whipped cream, and more. The sweet escape sets you back $20 per adult and $12 per child. Stop in after a day of shopping downtown, or when you just need a chocolatey pick-me-up.