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Buttonwood in Newton proves that you don’t have to compromise your foodie values to go out with the family in the ‘burbs. From the same roots as sibling restaurants Sycamore and Little Big Diner, Buttonwood is a warm, casual joint serving rustic American fare and thoughtful drinks that’ll make you want to be a regular even if you don’t live in the neighborhood.

The menu here is highly changeable, according to season and whim, but be sure that you’ll find unpretentious good eats for everybody in your party (even the young’uns). Start things off with a section devoted to spreadables—think mousses, cheeses, and preserves—followed by Starters, Mains, Grilled, and Sides where you’re just as likely to find a pizza-shop-inspired salad as you are exotic African spices. Vegetarians won’t be disappointed with selection or creativity, and bar-flies rejoice: there’s a very good burger.

The restaurant itself is cute as a button. Nestled onto a neighborhood corner, it’s simply adorned with warm hardwoods and mismatched chairs reminiscent of a hastily thrown-together dinner party. There are comfy blue banquettes strewn with funky pillows, the tables are minimally set (just a water glass, small plate, and a roll-up), and an open kitchen adds to the friendly, bustling ambiance.

Over at the intimate bar you’ll find a selection of local beer and small-production wines that fit with the overall homegrown vibe. Cocktails are house-made and creative, and the by-the-glass selection was clearly curated by someone more interested in taste than buzzwords, with grapes and growers representing the lesser-known world of wine. On tap you’ll find beers you might be hard pressed to find elsewhere, leaning, like the menu, heavily on local talent.

51 Lincoln Street
Newton Highlands, MA 02461