'Tis the season for every restaurant to add "pumpkin-spiced [noun]" to its menu. And we know, nothing says #basic like tweeting yourself with an autumnal gourmet coffee drink while meandering through a landscape exploding with leaves in red, orange and gold. (But that doesn't mean we won't still do it.) But hush, haters: There are actually some pretty tasty pumpkin plates now being served at menus around town. So suspend your cynicism and get into the spirit with these creative options.
Roasted Pumpkin Risotto at Abigail's
Fall calls for hearty fare, and Abigail's answers: rib-sticking autumn flavors await with the menu's just-added roasted pumpkin risotto ($19, pictured at page top) with taleggio, fried leeks and sage.
291 Third St., Cambridge; 617-945-9086
"Ménage à Squash" at Bastille Kitchen
The Fort Point French restaurant's cleverly titled take on squash three ways ($13, pictured below) could really be categorized as a foursome. It starts with a whipped goat cheese mousse layered between roasted butternut and spaghetti squashes, then wrapped in zucchini. But it's also topped with spiced pumpkin seeds — and a cranberry relish, for a bit of tart to cut through.
49 Melcher St.; 617-556-8000
Flan de Calabaza at Besito Mexican
For some south-of-the-border flair in cool New England climes, head to the local outposts of this high-end Mexican chain for pumpkin flan ($7, pictured below), topped with whipped cream and candied pumpkin seeds. Like the fall, it's fleeting: it'll only be available for the season. (P.S. This also made our list of 20 Things to Eat and Drink This Fall — head here for the full list.)
199 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill; 617-527-1155
Casarecce Pasta at Craigie on Main
It's bulky sweater season, so go ahead — bring on the carbs! Especially if they're prepared like this plate from chef Tony Maws: his housemade casarecce ($18) is served with a delish ragout of pumpkin and rabbit, accompanied by matsutake mushrooms. It's a flavor combo that'll feel like the grand finale to some fall harvest-and-hunt.
853 Main St., Cambridge; 617-497-5511
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies at FoMu
This duo of vegan ice cream joints (whose treats are coconut-based) in Allston and Jamaica Plain has revived its pumpkin whoopie pies ($4.95 each, pictured below) for the season: housemade light and fluffy spiced pumpkin cakes that sandwich vanilla bean buttercream. Even if it's chilly out, we'd take this sweet frozen treat during any season.
481 Cambridge St., Allston, 617-903-3276; and 617 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-553-2299
Kaddo at The Helmand
Unless you're familiar with Afghani cuisine, you've probably never had pumpkin like this — but you really, really should. Especially the signature dish at The Helmand: baby pumpkin that is pan-fried, baked, seasoned with sugar and served on chaka with a yogurt-garlic sauce, plus a sauce with ground beef. It's a vibrant delight.
143 First St., Cambridge; 617-492-4646
The Concord Smoothie at Jugos
Rather sip your squash? Jugos has you covered. The Back Bay juice bar is serving up a seasonal smoothie called The Concord ($6 for 16-ounce, $8 for 24-ounce), a mix of pumpkin with date, cinnamon, cashew milk, ginger and a few other autumnal additions. Take a break from your apple cider guzzling with this fresh and flavorful alternative.
145 Dartmouth St.; 617-418-9879
Pumpkin Donuts at Kane's Donuts
The Saugus-born donut maker has earned a cult following for its handmade treats, and now that it has a location in Boston's Financial District, we're, well, being slightly more cautious about our waistlines. But it's worth an extra gym trip to indulge in the seasonal pumpkin donuts ($3 each), available in honey-dipped or caramel- and butter-crunch-covered versions.
90 Oliver St.; 857-317-2654
Guacamole de Granada at Rosa Mexicano
Later this month, the Mexican chain will celebrate "Day of the Dead" by running a special menu of autumn-themed dishes from October 30 through November 2. Among the offerings is a unique spin on guacamole ($16) that adds toasted pumpkin seeds and pomegranate for added fall flavor — and crunch.
155 Seaport Blvd.; 617-476-6122
Sugar Pumpkin Pierogi at Scampo
Chef Lydia Shire recently rolled out a new fall menu at her contemporary Italian restaurant inside the Liberty Hotel, and among the seasonal hits is her sugar pumpkin pierogi ($19 half, $29 full) topped with crisped Brussels sprout leaves and candied chestnuts. It's hard to go wrong with anything that comes from the kitchen of this Boston restaurant scene matriarch — but this dish still feels especially (so, so) right.
215 Charles St.; 617-536-2100
Autumn Pumpkin Roll at Sip Wine Bar and Kitchen
This Downtown wine bar has a pretty eclectic menu, ranging from flatbread pizzas to American small plates (like Buffalo chicken fondue) and mains (like cider-brined pork). And then there's the sushi, maki and nigri selection, which beginning next week will feature a special (veggie-friendly) roll for fall: cinnamon-glazed and oven-roasted pumpkin with quinoa, brown rice, and maple-tamari-glazed crushed pecans ($15).
581 Washington St.; 617-956-0888