Here's a little fun fact for you: "Phantom Gourmet," the TV show that celebrates New England food, has visited the SouthCoast well over 100 times.

Five of those visits were in Fall River.

As much as I love the local cuisine, I wasn't always a foodie. As a kid, I survived on chicken nuggets and cucumbers. I'm aware of the strange combination, but it got me by and made me the man I am today (sadly). The older I became, the more my tastebuds explored and the more courageous I became in trying new foods.

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My one regret is not indulging in my Vavo's cooking sooner. Her Portuguese recipes still linger in my nostrils years later -- specifically her kale soup.

I'm as adventurous as it comes with new restaurants. I try my best to stay away from the common menu "go-to" items such as chicken wings or chicken parm. I want the path less taken, the hidden gems.

I've gained a whole new level of respect for "Phantom Gourmet," watching it over the years I trust their judgment when it comes to good eats.

From Portuguese cuisine to hot dogs, here are five Fall River establishments The Phantom has visited:

1.) FANEEK'S HOT DOGS [269 Rhode Island Ave, Fall River, MA]

"Since 1966, there's been a small hot dog shop that's made the diners of Fall River fanatical. Chris and Liz Carpenter are the couple behind Faneek's -- a quaint counter service spot decked out in historical shots of the SouthCoast. Here they offer the Coney Island Dog, a handheld phenomenon with a cult-like following in the area." 

2.) HARTLEY'S ORIGINAL PORK PIES [1729 S Main St, Fall River, MA]

"Hartley's is comfort food. [They've] been making pork pies for 121 years ... with a nice crispy crust with a delicious filling with gravy. Don't miss the chourico Pie, chili pie and Buffalo chicken pie."

3.) THE TIPSY TOBOGGAN [75 Ferry St, Fall River, MA]

"It's everything you love about a ski lodge, just without the skiing."

4.) ESTORIL [1577 Pleasant St, Fall River, MA]

"Hospitality doesn't get any better than this because no one works a room like Nancy Moniz. And at Estoril in Fall River, Nancy and the rest of her family have created a Portuguese restaurant that feels more like an extension of their home."

5.) PATTI'S PIEROGIS [1019 S Main St, Fall River, MA]

"Nothing goes better with a good polka than with some great pierogis at Patti's Pierogis. A 'Phantom Gourmet' hidden jewel."

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